The Gilded Chamber By Rebecca Kohn Esther is orphaned when her parents both die in Babylon. She is a young girl and betrothed to a much older cousin, Mordechi, who works as the treasury official for the King. He has more or less hidden his Jewish affiliation and lived away from his family for many years. His relationship with Esther is more father/daughter than future wife but he grows very fond of her. After the evil Queen Vashti is banished from the kingdom, new virgin concubines are rounded up to bring to the King's harem. Esther is one of them. Pretty and 14 yrs old she is imprisoned into a life of slavery and desperately wishes to be back with Mordechi. Then the King chooses Esther for his Queen. Lust, romance, intrigue, murder. There is no modern day drama that can match the story of Queen Esther. A lot more fun to read than going to Sunday school. Great book!
Still Alice By Lisa Genova Dr. Alice Howland is a psychology linguistics professor at Harvard. She is married to John, a scientist at Harvard and they have three healthy successful grown children. Alice becomes forgetful but is reassured by her physician that as a 50 yr old woman under a lot of stress and most probably going through menopause, this appears to be normal. The memory lapses become worse. At first Alice thinks she is going crazy, words sometimes do not connect, items misplaced. When she is jogging near her home of 25 years, she gets lost and that is the end of her life as she knows it. Alice suffers from early onset Alzheimer's Disease. This novel is told by Alice. It is mesmerizing, watching the train wreck of this incurable, horrible disease wretch away Alice's life. As painful as it is to watch, the reader cannot put this book down. If you do not know anything about this disease, you need to read this. If you know everything about this disease, you need to read this, so maybe you will understand a little better those who cannot.
The Weekend By Bernhard Schlink Jorg, a convicted terrorist is pardoned and released from prison after being away for 24 years. His sister Christianne arranges a weekend in her country estate with old friends to welcome and ease Jorg back to society and everyday life. The small group varies with college and childhood friends, most revealing little or no sympathy and attending simply to assist Christianne. They feel Jorg has no remorse for his actions and despise his continuous revolutionary theories. There are a few small relationships of interest and a strong, nearly incestuous one between Jorg and Christianne. They are an interesting cast, the writing is impeccable but the reader only catches a small glimpse into their lives.