Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What I've Read This Summer...So Far! (Part 2)

As you might guess, I love to read.  Being a librarian means that I am constantly bombarded with new books so my to-read list is constantly growing.  I hope to be able to share my recommended reads with you at least once a month.  Summer is prime reading time for me and I shared 5 great books with you in my last post.  Here are a few more from my summer reading pile that I hope you'll check out.

The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand
One cannot live in Massachusetts and not read Elin Hilderbrand's summer novels. In addition to her usual Nantucket setting this novel also is set in Martha's Vineyard.  It is the story of identical twin sisters who are separated in high school when their parents divorce, bringing to mind the movie The Parent Trap.  The girls do a rock, paper, scissors contest to see who will get to live in Martha's Vineyard with their blue-collar contractor father, Billy and Harper wins.  Tabitha goes to live with her blue-blood fashion designer (think Lily Pulitzer) mother on Nantucket.  Although the islands are only a ferry ride apart, the twins become estranged and lead very different lives.  But then circumstances reunite them after years apart in a novel about family, sisterhood, forgiveness and love. This is  great beach read with a bit of romance, but mostly it is a story of two sisters.

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
Berg has written a beautiful story about loneliness and family. Arthur at 82 spends every afternoon visiting the grave of his wife Nula and communing with the dead buried around her. Maddy is a high school senior who spend her lunch period at the cemetery seeking the peacefulness that evades her among the bullies at her school. These two strangers will come to find in each other just what they need - a true family. The addition of bossy octogenarian Lucille makes the little family complete. This is a seemingly simple story that draws on deep emotions and insight. The power of love and kindness among strangers can fill the deepest depth of loneliness and despair. The reader will fall in love the man whom Maddy nicknames "Truluv."

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
This is a story of mothers and daughters set against the background of Hollywood.  Ronnie Sunshine is a movie actress who has completely failed in the role of mother.  Her actions alienated her three daughters from both her and each other.  The oldest, Nell, finds a home away from all her mother's glamour on a Connecticut farm.  She raises her son on her own not far from her mother in miles, but very far away in lifestyle.  Middle daughter, Meredith, never thin or pretty enough for her gorgeous mother' approval, flees to England.  Suffering from low self-esteem, she is engaged to an overly critical and controlling man.The youngest, Lizzie, was born much later and received more of her mother's attention.  She has found success as a television chef but is following in her mother's footsteps as far as her family life is concerned.  All three are called to their mother's bedside expecting the usual hypochondria, only to realize something is very wrong.  Will Ronnie be able to fix things between the sisters after all these years?

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein  (YA fiction)
This one is YA fiction, but it has great crossover appeal for adults.  I highly recommend the sequel which was published in 2012, Code Name Verity.  One of my favorites.
This prequel to Code Name Verity, introduces readers to a young Scottish girl named Julie Stuart who becomes embroiled in a mystery at her family’s estate in Scotland. Set in the summer of 1938, Julie returns early from boarding school as her family is packing up her grandparents estate which is being sold to cover debts. Stopping by the river, Julie is hit on the head and wakes up 3 days later with no memory of what happened. But feisty Julie is determined to find out why someone knocked her out and how it relates to the missing Hugh Houseman, who was working to catalog her family’s treasures for a museum. Julie was rescued after her assault by a family of Scottish Travellers and befriends brother and sister, Euan and Ellen McEwan. This is a story full of mystery and danger where class issues between the Scots and the Travellers have been brewing over centuries. The book is filled with Scottish terminology that careful readers will be find easily decipherable. Those who have already met Julie in the sequel will welcome a chance to spend more time with her, while new readers will be eager to follow her story in the next book.

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
A family that is quarantined for a week during Christmas break finds that too much togetherness can reveal both fractures in relationships and chances for new beginnings. Olivia, a doctor who has been treating victims of the Haag virus in Africa, returns to spend her quarantine with her parents and younger sister, Phoebe at the family's country estate. The entire Birch family is united under one roof, but are separated from each other nevertheless. Andrew Birch is an acerbic restaurant critic who regrets giving up his calling as a war correspondent for his family. His wife, the endearing Emma, is overjoyed to have both girls home but is hiding a secret. Self-centered Phoebe is wrapped up in her wedding plans and resents Olivia getting so much attention. Olivia has trouble adjusting to a 1st world life after so much time spent in 3rd world countries. Told in alternating chapters by the Birches, including Jesse a young man who has traveled from the US to England to find his birth father, this is a wonderful story of family, filled with both heartbreak and humor. Highly recommended.

Class Mom by Laurie Gelman
This is a hilarious look at parental politics as experienced by Jen Dixon, an experienced kindergarten class mom. In addition her 5 year-old Max with husband Ron, Jen has two daughters in college, one of whom she thinks may be the offspring of Michael Hutchence of INXs. Jen has been here before and she fills her emails with lots of snark and humor that is quickly misunderstood by some moms who are more than willing to take over the position. Jen finds herself dealing with an elementary school crush who happens to be a class dad, a mom who's son is allergic to everything, another mom who sees herself as queen bee, and a very sexy kindergarten teacher. Full of humor and reminiscent of Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple, this one is sure to be a hit with moms everywhere! 

No comments:

Post a Comment