Friday, December 30, 2016

The Twilight Wife

The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

Why can't I remember?

Marine biologist, Kyra Winthrop, asks herself this unsettling question every day after a scuba diving accident results in a rare form of amnesia. It's soothing to know that husband, Jacob, is a constant companion, standing by her side with words of encouragement to help her recall lost details of their lives over the last four years.

But perplexing glints of the past gradually begin to emerge, creating a restless uneasiness in her life on this remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Jacob reassures her it's the perfect place to heal, surrounded by a small circle of friends and subtle reminders of the life they built together. It all sounds logical, so why is she increasingly apprehensive about trusting any of them?

This psychological suspense thriller starts strong, lags in the middle, but finishes with a flourish. Crime fiction aficionados will love the anticipation of paralyzing fear as Kyra's fragile memory returns and her terrifying ordeal begins.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Love, Alice

Love, Alice by Barbara Davis

"Young mothers shut up, never to be heard of again. Dead babies tossed into pits. Girls throwing themselves from cliffs".

Simple words of fiction? Sadly, no. These atrocities actually occurred starting in the mid-1920's at asylums known as the Magdalene laundries. Here, young pregnant women spent their days in hard labor because of their "sins," sent away by family members who looked upon their predicament as nothing less than shameful and worthy of the most severe punishment.

A heartbreaking historical fiction novel that details how a determined, strong-willed girl weathers deplorable conditions with one purpose in mind; to find the child she was forced to surrender at the hands of those who profited from her condition.

This tale of a mother relentlessly searching for justice, combines astonishing, little-known facts about a dark time in history, making this selection powerfully provocative.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Whole Town's Talking

The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg

Still Meadows is a very special graveyard overlooking an industrious little town by the name of Elmwood Springs, Missouri. Here, the dearly departed look down and observe the happenings in a place their Swedish ancestors founded over one hundred years ago.

It all starts with Lorder Nordstrom and his bride, Katrina, who arrived by mail back in 1889. Chapter by chapter, the residents struggle with the highs and lows of life. Surprisingly, they find their way back to one another in a place they never imagined. Existing in the afterlife while watching over the living, turns out to be most interesting, indeed.

Told with warmth, superb humor, and remarkable characters, this touching novel is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of love. Much like Flagg's The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion, (reviewed in 2013 under humor), this selection is a delight in so many ways.

Food for thought if you believe that life here on Earth is just the beginning.

Friday, December 16, 2016

When All the Girls Have Gone

When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

Charlotte Sawyer's tedious, uneventful life takes a dramatic turn when her vibrant stepsister disappears after a dear friend's murder.

Charlotte realizes that being jilted by her fiance is trivial compared to the fact that her beautiful sibling, Jocelyn, is missing. Supposedly, she's on a rejuvenating retreat, but this is just another well-calculated deception. In pursuit of the truth, Charlotte teams up with a has-been private investigator to uncover the truth and what they find is puzzling and disturbing. Jocelyn and her inner circle of friends are involved in some dangerous dealings and now they're all in jeopardy. A sinister someone knows they are getting way too close to the truth and will stop at nothing to silence them.

With tangled plot twists and a sprinkling of romance, this new suspense thriller delivers in every way. It's fun, fast-moving, and filled with likable characters who just might find their way into future releases from this talented author.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Mothers

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Haunted by the suicide of her mother, a defiant seventeen-year-old African American woman makes a life-altering decision and then silently watches as cherished friendships disintegrate and burn.

Nadia Turner doesn't understand why her mother chose to leave her without a simple goodbye. Her Marine father is vacant and distant, unable to raise a daughter while mourning a spouse. But what does seem comfortable and right is her relationship with Luke Sheppard, the decorated former football star and son of the esteemed pastor of the Upper Room Chapel. He's enthralled with her "prettiness",  and soon they forge a clandestine relationship resulting in a devastating secret that follows them into adulthood and beyond.

This debut novel from a new, rising author will attract an array of audiences, including young adults.  It examines the dynamics of open dialogue in family relationships, the fragility of true friendships, and the aftermath of idle community gossip and cover-ups, in this case perpetuated,  by "The Mothers" .