I read this book’s Audible Macmillan audiobook edition. I’ll be reading the hardcover edition too. It’s a wonderful choice for an audiobook. The narraI read this book’s Audible Macmillan audiobook edition. I’ll be reading the hardcover edition too. It’s a wonderful choice for an audiobook. The narrator, Morven Christie, is superb. I’d have never otherwise gotten the pronunciations correct if I’d read a paper edition, but I yearned to see what people and place names, and other words too, looked like on the page, and the hardcover edition has a map. I love maps in books. Not having maps is a real downside of audiobook editions, for me. My real world book club is going to be reading this in April and I’m going to be rereading it, and reading the hardcover edition. I enjoy being read to, but my current lifestyle isn’t conducive to audiobooks. I thought I’d be able to lie in bed and listen, but I often had to rewind by 30 seconds or more, too many times to count, and it turns out that I’m too sleep deprived to stay alert when at rest and listening to a book, even with black or green tea as an aid. I think I might be able to get into audiobooks if I ever regularly have at least an hour minimum sessions on treadmills or at least an hour uninterrupted in a car, things common in my past but not recently and not likely in my near future. I think with my current lifestyle the only way I’d read more audiobooks would be to simultaneously read a paper edition, but whatever word deviations occurred would drive me slightly nuts.
I was incredibly curious so I looked up information about the main character as I was reading, so I knew some of what to expect. This book stayed true to the real story. Of course, some of what was written had to be conjecture, but I bought the author’s theory, and naturally what the characters said was made up, but even a non-fiction wouldn’t have been able to provide that kind of information.
My opinion about capital punishment wasn’t changed one whit. I don’t think anything could change it, but this book strongly validated it.
The book is marvelous. I got an excellent feel for what Iceland was like circa early 1800s. It was almost too realistic. The sense of isolation and doom came right through the pages and wrapped itself around me. I literally kept turning up my heat as I couldn’t tolerate feeling physically cold while I was reading it.
It wasn’t the ideal book for me to read right now. I’m certainly glad I didn’t read it over the holidays. I enjoyed how it was told from the point of view of so many characters. I loved watching how certain characters’ attitudes and opinions changed over time.
The last chapter seemed a bit rushed to me but perhaps that was apropos.
I was shocked about how ever-present religion (Christianity) was in that time and place, how brutal life was for even the luckiest humans and animals, how survival itself was such arduous work.
The story is beautifully and skillfully written. I particularly enjoyed the exceptionally fine writing, made particularly impressive by the author’s fairly young age. I’m not surprised she’s getting her PhD. The characters are incredibly believable and the ways the reader gradually learns about them is exceptionally well done.
I know I’ll always remember Agnes. I’m glad I read the book. It’s an amazing book.
Despite all this I did consider giving it 4 stars, but given its excellence and the powerful effect it had on me, I can’t give it less than 5 stars.
I’m no longer finding reviewing much fun, and posting reviews in 4 places, along with other information such as shelves, and book editing at one place, well it all feels exhausting rather than enjoyable. Editing would take way too much effort, so I’m afraid my frequent typos and other mistakes will remain as is in virtually all my reviews. Ditto my omissions; I often think of more to say after I post a review but I think those things, however important they might feel to me, are going to have to remain unsaid.
I highly recommend the book and also strongly suggest readers have fun, amusing, or otherwise distracting things planned for after every reading session....more
My hardcover edition already has J.K. Rowling noted in the author information for this book. For her sake, and for the fun of it, I wish she hadn’t beMy hardcover edition already has J.K. Rowling noted in the author information for this book. For her sake, and for the fun of it, I wish she hadn’t been outed, but for my sake, I’m glad because I read this because it’s by J.K. Rowling. I likely wouldn’t have found it/the series otherwise, at least not for a long time. Here, the main protagonist and plot summary aren’t things I’d have probably found appealing enough to seek out. (That would have been a mistake on my part.) I’m so behind on all but a very few of my mystery series books and overbooked in general, so this book probably wouldn’t have attracted me on its own, though if trusted friends reviews raved about it, I’m sure I’d have at least added it to my to-read shelf. I’m glad I own a copy, although I did start by reading a library copy.
I tend to like cozy mysteries much more than hard boiled mysteries, but this is hard boiled “lite” and is closer to soft boiled, in my opinion. Anyway, while not a cozy, I loved it.
Maybe the book is not “amazing” but I’ll try to explain why I feel it deserves my 5 star rating.
This was an ably told mystery story. It’s very cleverly done.
She played fair. There were lots of possibilities for what happened, and why, and who the culprit might be, and I didn’t guess correctly for almost sure until near the end, but she gave adequate hints all along to accurately predict who and their reasons. She didn’t cheat the way many mystery writers do.
I didn’t think I’d be interested in or care about the people, but I did, so much.
My reading experience was very enjoyable, much more than I’d expected from reading just about the main protagonist(s) and victim/victim’s world.
I enjoyed the many characters, the many red herrings, the many possible suspects, and the wondering if there were to be any guilty people at all, although I kind of assumed the truth about whether or not a murder had occurred.
I loved the quotes at the beginning of chapters and their literary quality and how apropos they were.
I appreciated that each section’s chapters started with chapter 1, as it made it easier to keep track of where I was in the book regarding chapters and sections.
I knew some of the English English (vs. American English that I use) and learned some more of those words, which I always find fun.
The storytelling is stellar, as it has been in every book by this author.
I got a kick out of the paparazzi comments and those about the public’s fascination with celebrities, especially knowing that the very famous J.K. Rowling is the author, and that is wasn’t written by an unknown, new author. I’ll bet she had fun writing those parts.
Robin is a character I really enjoyed and she was a perfect balance for the main character of Cormoran Stike, who, much to my surprise, I grew very fond of. She’s a wonderful character for mystery book fans, particularly women. In some ways I could really identify with her.
I am very eager to read the next book in the series. I’m glad it will be out next year.
I immediately loved the Harry Potter books, though with those I went in with a lot of information, already knowing the term muggles, and knowing some facts about Fluffy, etc. The Casual Vacancy took me a number of pages to become engaged, but then I thought it was brilliant, and once I started enjoying it, I did thoroughly. I found this book appealing almost immediately and I got more and more engrossed as I read; by the end it was incredibly difficult to put down. I’m in awe at how all these are such different types of books, in many ways. What they have in common is fine writing, fascinating characters, and highly skilled storytelling.
Three things I didn’t like:
I hate that Strike smokes. (The heavy drinking seems to be a British thing?) I don’t care if smoking fits his character. I fervently hope he gives it up in a future book.
And, “oriental woman” – really?! This is not supposed to be historical fiction. How did that term get in there?! (Now I can’t even remember the context. Perhaps that’s how a particular character would have expressed themselves?)
And, I’m sad. I love J.K. Rowling and her work. The Harry Potter books mean a great deal to me. Yet, in my opinion, she showed once again in this book that she’s got tremendous fat prejudice. Fat slurs come up, and some of her less desirable characters tend to be the ones who are fat. I admit I might be off about this, but I’m thinking not. (I’ll have to dredge up some memories and ask some friends who’ve also read all her books. I am thinking of some striking exceptions so this is more a note to myself.)
Just recently I read 2 comic novels in a row, both with some mystery components actually, and that was a lovely comfort reads period. I’m about to read another book in a mystery series I’ve loved for years. Come on library!: Get it from your vendor asap! Reading 2 mysteries (almost) in a row are also great comfort reading for me. I’ll remember this one. It’s memorable....more
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though I don’t think it was perfect. I found it riveting from beginning to end. The writing is lyrical, the storyI thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though I don’t think it was perfect. I found it riveting from beginning to end. The writing is lyrical, the storytelling skillful, the characters compelling.
I liked the historical sections the most, but I fully warmed up to the contemporary sections and thought how they were connected was brilliantly done.
This is a wonderful story that shows the power of good and caring teachers, the positive influence of mentoring, and the healing that can occur when talking about one’s life story.
This is a novel for adults, but it often reads like a young adult or even a children’s novel. I would have enjoyed this book at ages 12 and 11, and maybe also at 10 and 9, but there are a few scenes many might think makes this a book for only readers 14 & up. I’d particularly recommend it to high school and college, and maybe middle school/jr. high, students who are inadequately cared for in any way and for foster youth and aged out foster kids.
This is a marvelous book for readers because there are 2 main characters who are both book lovers and readers. Fans of Anne of Green Gables and/or Jane Eyre (also orphan stories) will particularly appreciate these two characters. Anyone who enjoys orphan stories will probably appreciate this book.
I really liked that Molly identifies as and tries to be vegetarian.
I have to say that I wish that the adults in Vivian’s last home had made a different choice about her name.
Readers interested in genealogy and history will most likely appreciate this book.
The portaging project had particular meaning for me right now, and my guess is that it would have resonated for me as early as when I was 12, and many times throughout my life. Having such a project assigned in school is something I’d definitely have found helpful.
I’ve been reading tons of books that have characters who lead incredibly bleak and difficult lives. I guess writing about dire situations makes for good storytelling. What I don’t and didn’t like here is how, yet again, characters with horrific backgrounds with incredibly difficult lives and horrendous losses, somehow manage to end up well off and victorious and more adaptable than I’d expect as a common outcome. I guess stories about people who sink into failure and end up with as grim lives as does happen doesn’t make for an enjoyable novel, but if I could write I’d be tempted to write such a story anyway. I’m sure most readers would hate it but I know at least a small percentage of people would appreciate having it to read. So, especially toward the end, I found some of what happened too predictable, and that’s most of the reason for the half star off.
I was emotionally invested throughout, and deeply moved, but it wasn’t until the last 10 or so pages that my tears started flowing.
I loved the included extras in the paperback edition I read. The acknowledgements are particularly informative and show how much research went into writing the book. The PS section has information about the author, an interview with the author, a section about the real history of the orphan trains, that includes wonderful photos, and a reading group guide with discussion questions all contributed to the book.
I’m now interested in reading more about the orphan trains and about Maine’s Native Americans.
It was so wonderful to be in Kinsey’s company once again, and Henry’s, the only landlord I’ve ever loved, let alone liked. Henry is one of my very favIt was so wonderful to be in Kinsey’s company once again, and Henry’s, the only landlord I’ve ever loved, let alone liked. Henry is one of my very favorite people/characters.
My only 2 quibbles with this book, it’s that I’d have wanted even more of Henry than was provided and the author’s reflections on homelessness, particularly in the last few pages, when she writes a bit of here own philosophy, I think, and I believe misses the mark.
William is a hoot; I love him. Best of all, there is a new character in this book: a wonderful cat.
This book has, for me, the perfect balance of Kinsey alone vs. Kinsey with family ties, such as they are. I love the atypical mystery. There are just a few scary parts. Most of the story was a comfort read for me, as I reveled in the familiar and likeable (for whatever reasons) characters.
These alphabet series books have become nearly ideal comfort reads for me. I hope I’m around to read X, Y, and Z. (Hurry up, Sue!!!) I feel relieved knowing that Henry, and I assume Kinsey, will survive throughout.
Overall, Sue Grafton’s books keep improving. This book is one of my very favorites, maybe even my favorite of the bunch.
I know the times are back in the late 80s, and in a somewhat different type of place from what I’m used to, but I do remember to back then too, and the summary of and philosophizing about the homeless situation didn’t work for me, not enough for me to bring my rating to 4 stars though.
I borrowed my copy from the library. Virtually all libraries, at least in the U.S., are likely to have it. If you want to buy it, I heartily recommend independent bookstores. At Sue Grafton’s website, it lists her signing events, and the sites range from independent bookstores to libraries to book fairs, and yes some major chains and big box stores also. I’ve heard her speak (I forget what book she was promoting at the time) but I’ve never gotten a book signed by her. (I do own several of the alphabet series books, some in hardcover, some in paperback.) I’d love signed copies! Otherwise, I’m happy and grateful to be reading copies borrowed from the library....more