Friday, August 4, 2017

What I've Read This Summer...So Far! (Part 1)

I love the summer!  The warm sun and longer days mean that I get to spend more time outdoors doing what I love best...reading! I haven't made it to the beach this summer, but I have spent many sunny days on my back deck with a good book.   Here are some I think you'd find worth reading. More to come in next week's post!

The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard.  
Fans of The Rosie Project by Grahame Simsion and Be Frank With Me by Julia Clairborne Johnson will find lots of similarities in this novel about a young woman who has been sheltered all her life by her mother due to "incidents."  Readers will realize that Elvira falls somewhere on the Autism spectrum and the author's experience as a teacher of adults with learning difficulties shines through.  When Elvira's mother suffers a fall and ends up hospitalized, Elvira must learn to survive by herself in the world she finds confusing.  Luckily, she has a neighbor willing to help as well as a list of rules of conduct that she tries to follow.  A heartwarming coming-of-age story.

Our Little Racket by Angelica Baker
The lives of four women in wealthy Greenwich Connecticut begin to unravel when an investment bank goes under in 2008.  Isabel D'Amico with her old money elegance finds her spot as the woman to envy in town usurped when her Brooklyn born husband's bank fails.  Her best friend Nina is there to lend support and Xanax, but finds herself caught up in the gossip as rumors of  bankruptcy and criminal charges follow Bob D'Amico. 15-year old Madison has always been a daddy's girl, but she begins to uncover some shady secrets that Bob has kept hidden. Her best friend Amanda's father focuses his newspaper column of exposing Bob which strains the girl's friendship.  A story about the American dream,  having and losing it all.

Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
Two young Irish Catholic sisters, Nora and Theresa Flynn, emigrate from Ireland to Boston in the 1950s.  Nora, at age 21, is heading off to marry a man you doesn't really love in order to provide for her family. Seventeen year old Theresa is a fun-loving girl who loves being away from the restrictive rural village and lives for fashion and dancing. When Theresa ends up pregnant the two make a decision that will tear them apart for decades.  A family death will finally bring Nora, the mother of four grown children, and Nora a cloistered nun face to face. This is a story of family and sisterhood that explores secrets and forgiveness, love and loss.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood star who is famous for not only her roles, but the fact that she married seven times.  At 80 years old and having outlived all seven husbands, Evelyn is finally ready to tell her story.  We learn of her early years in Hell's' Kitchen, the loss of her mother and her determination to find fame and fortune.  But which of her seven husbands was the love of her life. Or is there a secret that Evelyn has yet to reveal?

White Crysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht  (To be published in January 2018)
This is a heartbreaking story of two Korean sisters and their experiences during the Japanese occupation of Korea.  In 1943, 16-year old Hana is a "haenyeo," one of the "women of the sea."  These strong, powerful women work only for themselves and dive deep under the sea harvesting seafood to support their families.  Hanna and her younger sister Emiko have grown up speaking Japanese and are banned from their own Korean language and culture.  The novel tells the story of Hana beginning in 1943 and of Emi in 2011.  Hana is taken by Japanese soldiers and forced to become a 'comfort woman" in a military brothel.  Despite her terrible experiences, Hana never gives up on her pride or her heritage.  Meanwhile, Emi is a grandmother who has spent her life feeling guilty over her sister's abduction.  These two strong, resilient women illustrate the courage of women in times of war.  This is a moving story of two sisters that brings to light a piece of Korean history that few may know. 

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