Friday, July 21, 2017

Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate


It's the 1920s, and for many couples, the Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage is the answer to their fervent prayers of having a child. Georgia Tann, the operator and touted savior, promises happiness in exchange for a great deal of money. She's mastered the art of manipulation when it comes to matters of the heart.

Tann was an all-powerful, conniving, ruthless individual who ran this institution with cold, calculating cruelness. Poor, innocent children were snatched off the streets, and taken from hospital wards and mental institutions. Under the guise of helping parents in time of need, Georgia and her associates preyed upon the vulnerable and naive, who never fully understood that their signature virtually made loved ones disappear. To make matters worse, a corrupt judge and a Memphis mayor perpetuated this shameful period in history until as late as 1950.

This compelling, historical fictional story introduces readers to Avery Stafford, a feisty Southern lawyer who returns home to her privileged roots. Her beloved grandmother has strong memories hidden in the crevices of her mind about a spirited, poverty-stricken family that once lived on the Mississippi River. Avery is determined to dig deep into the past, even if it ruins the family's pristine reputation.

As a result of this true scandal, Tennessee adopted new, reformed adoption laws in 1951.

"For the hundreds who vanished and for the thousands who didn't. May your stories not be forgotten". 

Friday, July 7, 2017

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor leads a simple life. After the daily grind of a menial job, she looks forward to the Friday evening ritual of pizza, Chianti, and plenty of vodka. Weekends are spent dreaming about a local musician she's never met, but loves from afar. And if someone at work or on the street, happens to stare at the hideous scars on her face, she understands. It doesn't bother her at all.

Things seem to change when she meets Raymond, the unkempt, geeky IT guy from work. By chance, they save an elderly man's life and become fast friends. Eleanor gradually ventures out of her sparse apartment, accepting luncheon "dates" with Raymond, boldly changing her drab appearance, and even socializing with total strangers.

What Eleanor doesn't share are the dreaded Wednesday night phone conversations with "Mummy". She doesn't like to talk about her painful childhood memories. Maybe her therapist can unlock the past she's tried so hard to forget. In any case, those painkillers she's been accumulating may eventually take care of the problem.

If a novel can be labeled a comedic love story, then this one falls into that category. Readers will laugh at Eleanor's hilarious, innermost musings about life in general. But expect to shed a few tears interspersed with the laughter, as Eleanor learns that she deserves a life filled with friendship and perhaps, even love. This character will capture your heart.

What a pleasure it will be to meet Eleanor when this novel becomes a movie for all the world to see.  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Identicals

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand


It's Nantucket versus Martha's Vineyard in this refreshing, truly entertaining story about estranged identical twins and the deep bond they share.

Tabitha and Harper Frost are separated as teenagers when their parents divorce and take each girl to a different island to live.

 The unlucky draw has Tabitha growing up on Nantucket with her famous, fashion designer mother. Polished and refined, she curses the everyday headache of running the financially strapped, stuffy boutique that caters to her mother's sophisticated, but somewhat passe designs. And then there's her rebellious daughter, Ainsley, who engages in self-destructive behavior, when all she really longs for is attention and a home-cooked meal.

Harper spends her life on Martha's Vineyard with their likable, easygoing father, finding that being carefree and irresponsible has dire consequences. People tend to gossip when you sleep with an admired married doctor and get caught delivering illegal drugs.

A series of circumstances force the now grown women to switch islands, essentially trading lives. Preconceptions they have of one another has taken a toll on the friendship they once shared. The root of their animosity dates back to a tragedy that occurred many years ago. Maybe it's time to shed the blame and become sisters once again.

What a delight this novel is...Hilderbrand cleverly meshes the twin islands with twin sisters for a thoroughly engaging story. Told with warmth and humor, readers will enjoy meeting memorable characters whose lives effortlessly intertwine. It's fun just anticipating what the next chapter will bring. Scandal, teenage angst, heartache, forgiveness..this one has it all.

 For those of you looking for the ever-popular beach read, put this selection on your summer list.
Outrageously good.





Saturday, June 17, 2017

He Said/She Said

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

Kit and Laura are eclipse chasers; that rare breed of people who travel to the far ends of the Earth to witness the magic of astronomy.

Their love is still new when they travel to a festival in Cornwall to see a total eclipse of the sun. It's here that Laura stumbles across what appears to be a brutal assault on a young woman. Horrified, she describes the scene to Kit who arrives moments later. He unsuccessfully pursues the assailant, who eventually turns himself into the police, fervently professing his innocence. But Laura knows what she saw and is determined to vindicate the girl who was violated, even if it means telling a little white lie at the trial.

What Kit and Laura don't expect, is to find the victim at their doorstep, months later. Her neediness becomes obsessive until one dangerous night that makes Laura question if she's trusted the wrong person all along.

Fifteen years later, Laura and Kit have changed their identities, making sure they leave no digital footprints behind. Kit leaves to view another eclipse, while Laura remains at home, awaiting the birth of twins. It's become a way of life to always look over their shoulders for the appearance of a familiar face from the past. And when that face finally surfaces, truth and fiction collide, revealing a long trail of calculated deception.

Tormented characters, intent on survival, do whatever it takes to win. Author Erin Kelly takes the reader on a wild ride of emotions in this one, and the result is thoroughly intoxicating.






Friday, June 2, 2017

Secrets in Summer

Secrets in Summer by Nancy Thayer


 Thirty-year old divorcee, Darcy Cotterill, finds that true friendship comes in all shapes and sizes during one memorable summer on the tranquil island of Nantucket.

Darcy leads a fulfilling life. Rescued many years ago from a dysfunctional family, she inherits her late grandmother's home, allowing her to live year-round on this little piece of paradise. Having a dream job as the assistant director of the children's library and spending time with a good-looking, mysterious carpenter, only adds to her contentment.

 The summer months bring in the usual onslaught of tourists, but she never imagined that her ex-husband and his new gorgeous wife and vulnerable, teenage stepdaughter would move in next door. Living on the other side, is a feisty, wise, elderly woman and her suave grandson. Darcy grows fond of them all, including a stressed out young mother with three rambunctious boys and a husband with a roving eye. Somehow, these new acquaintances become far more than just neighbors. In three short months, this motley crew of mismatched women share secrets and dreams, finding they are surprisingly alike in many ways.

If visiting Nantucket is on your bucket list (it's on mine), then close your eyes and travel there vicariously without spending a penny. Walk down the cobblestone streets and envision the sandy beaches. Author Nancy Thayer introduces the reader to a place she knows so well. As in any good beach read, there's desire and passion, but ultimately, this engaging plot speaks of lasting friendship, long after the season ends.

A smooth, savory slice of summer.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Light We Lost

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Perhaps it was fate that brought Lucy and Gabe together on that crystal clear morning in September. Two typical college students finding an instant attraction to one another.

But this wasn't just any day in September; it was September 11, 2001, and as they watched the Twin Towers fall, their lives and those of all Americans changed. "There's something about death that makes people want to live". And this young couple was determined to do just that. They vowed to make the world a better place after witnessing pure, unadulterated evil.

Lucy and Gabe's love story begins that day. They float in and out of each other's lives over the years. She becomes a producer and writer of children's television, he travels to dangerous parts of the world as a renowned photographer. The canvas of their lives includes marriage, children, contentment, disappointments, self-doubt, and wistful longings, until one defining moment changes everything that came before.

This particular love story will tug at your heart like no other. Is it fate that writes the story of our lives or is it choice that creates our destiny?  You may be angry with these extraordinary characters at the decisions they make, or joyous at their celebration of life. You may even write your own ending.

  But, most assuredly, you'll remember Lucy and Gabe, long after the last page turns.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Forever Summer

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner


The cover says it all...summer! Picturesque Cape Cod, with its rocky, sandy coast and brilliant blue skies, is the perfect setting for a story of  blossoming love, family turmoil, and well-kept secrets.

Marin Bishop's fall from grace is swift and certain. One day a polished attorney with a promising future and a pedigree fiance, the next day, she's relegated to office gossip about a scandalous affair. She dreads telling her parents that her life is in shambles, since they seem to have achieved marital bliss after thirty years. But in the days ahead, Marin is about to discover that losing her job and identity is just the beginning of a series of unexpected surprises and shocking revelations.

Suddenly, Marin finds herself in trendy Provincetown, Massachusetts meeting family she never knew existed. Four ladies and an array of quirky characters spend an unforgettable summer learning how to accept one another's flaws and shortcomings, realizing that life is too short to do anything but live in the moment. Marin unlocks a passion she never knew she had, sees loved ones in a whole new light, and opens her heart to taking chances on a future filled with hope and happiness.

Usher in the new season with this delightful, breezy, refreshing novel. You'll wish indeed, that summer could go on forever.