As a determined, smart, and independent young woman, Martha Gellhorn ventured out on her own to follow her dreams and become a writer. Starting with the Spanish Civil War in 1937, she is drawn to the stories of average people and devastatingly young soldiers. She is starstruck upon meeting and befriending none other than Ernest Hemingway and knows at that moment her life will never be the same. After years of travel, writing and the rollercoaster of emotions that goes along with being the third wife of Hemingway Martha feels she is slowly melting away into the background that is his life. When she can no longer define her work or their marriage she turns to her love of journalism and goes to Europe at the worst possible moment to become the only woman at Normandy on D-Day and one of the first to report from Dachau after the camp was liberated. The unprecedented work of Martha Gellhorn, combined with her great passion for the great writer is told beautifully by author Paula McLain. Just as I felt with her telling of Hemingway’s first wife (The Paris Wife) this controversial genius had met his match with Martha and I devoured every single page of their stormy romance. Highly recommend this fantastic work of historical fiction - a must read this summer!
Friday, May 25, 2018
The Brinkley family has moved from Dallas to the Big Apple! Michael quickly begins at the law firm while Allison dodges boxes in their small apartment and gets three kids ready for school. She doesn’t know who is more nervous, her or them. After years of imagining the lights of Broadway, New York and its overwhelming chaos of noise and people has Allison running on an adrenaline frenzy trying to fit in. When she unexpectedly starts working as a personal assistant for a talented but spoiled pop star (think Justin Bieber) as he prepares for his first musical, her life zooms out of control in directions she had never dreamed. Filled with great humor, this story portrays a frenetic world starring this hilarious and lovable family. Allison’s grit and determination to succeed and actually like their life in New York (even if it kills her) is a wonderful story with a trove of buried treasures. Just as I felt reading her first novel Small Admissions (which I LOVED) I am betting the bizarre escapades are more realistic than most people can even believe! I laughed and loved this latest novel by author Amy Poeppel. From start to finish, each catastrophe just barely averted only to quickly lead to another. Definitely recommend this enjoyable, fast paced summer read about life in the big city. Grab your beach chair and enjoy!
Monday, May 21, 2018
Margaret has meticulously planned her future. One successful step forward always leading to the next big accomplishment. With handsome fiance in hand, dream job waiting and townhouse purchased, she could not have been more devastated the day it was all taken away. A tragic accident leaves Margaret reexamining everything she has ever believed and each and every person she loves. Filled with unexpected humor and an abundance of hope, her long lost sister Kit rescues her from self pity and pushes Margaret to dig (really) deep and forge ahead. I read this fast paced, funny, thoughtful, emotional novel in one long sitting. It is completely unputdownable, thought provoking and heartwarming. Like the train wreck of Me Before You, the reader cannot look away and will be mesmerized by every single page of this beautiful story. Trust me reader friends, this is one you cannot miss.
Friday, May 18, 2018
Lauren Adelman grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, summers at the shore, idolizing her older beautiful sister Stephanie and trying hard to fit in at her local highschool. After unexpectedly capturing the heart of the most popular star of the winning hockey team, her life couldn’t seem more perfect. Rory and Lauren fell in love and after some rocky years separated by college, they finally marry. Their storybook romance takes a horrible turn when Rory leaves the NHL and the life they have built to join the armed forces. When tragedy strikes Lauren is widowed. Most young women are just beginning their lives and hers, abruptly ended, is filled with sadness and weighed by guilt. Lauren hides away and lives a barely there existence. One summer a handsome film maker approaches Lauren and after years of turning down all media inquiries about Rory, she is inclined to speak for the first time. Matt helps Lauren reexamine her past and turn her grief into forgiveness. After all she has lost, her relationships with her parents, sister and nephew teach Lauren about what she still has. This is a beautiful story about young love and a family turned upside down by secrets, jealousy and loss. Definitely recommend this enjoyable summer read.
Rosie and Peter meet in art college. She has led a rather hum drum middle of the road existence and dreads the idea of becoming her mother. Their young love affair is intense, Rosie’s first everything. They dream of a life in Paris, as artists, together, forever. But Peter’s well off family drags him away for the summer and he does not return. Rosie moves on with her life, marries, raises a family - her dreams of art, Peter and Paris disintegrating as if they never existed. 47 years later as fate would have it, Rosie and Peter are unexpectedly reunited. Their immediate attraction is still there but Rosie is struggling to find that young girl she abandoned, that free spirit she once consumed. This beautiful story is filled with questions about love, trust and connection to the people closest to you. Its interesting to ponder whether ones youthful feelings of love are fleeting or remain in your heart always. Its amazing how you see people through the eyes of the time in your life that you were closest with them. Whether its childhood or college years, they seem to know the younger you, maybe the one you have slowly forgotten. The other fabulous story line describes Rosie’s complete commitment to her daughters, often forgetting her own self, seemingly unfair that they cannot see her for the whole person she is, only as their mother. Highly recommend this sweet, thoughtful enjoyable novel by author Sue Watson. A perfect read for summer.
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Sunja is the only child of a poor Korean family. They run a boardinghouse in a small coastal village and just barely get by during hard times in the early 1900’s. After an unexpected pregnancy Sunja marries a kind traveling minister who is on his way to Japan. She follows him and begins a new life with his brothers family, befriending her sister in law and together raising her beautiful boys. In this foreign land these Korean exiles, of which there are many, have minimal rights and no citizenship. Decades later after WWII they are still searching for their identity as North Korea becomes unattainable and the South more and more unfamiliar. Sunja’s children’s children are still struggling with language barriers, cultural differences and intermarriage acceptance in a land they have a hard time calling home. Author Min Jin Lee’s writing is beautiful and a pleasure to read. The history lesson coincides with a lot I learned on a recent trip to Hong Kong. My book club unanimously agreed it led to great discussion. One bit of criticism - it is long and you feel it. I think it could have been at least 100 pages less and would have had equal impact.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Greer is pissed off from the moment she arrives at her second rate college instead of Yale. Her inattentive parents neglected their portion of paperwork and her dreams flew out the window. Now her high school sweetheart Cory is hours away at Princeton living the life, as she sulks around campus considering her future. Greer attends a lecture by the famous Faith Frank, an icon in the women’s movement. This speaker is beautiful, smart and doing all she can to make a difference. Greer is mesmerized as she yearns for the day she can shed her insecurity, become a writer and accomplish something meaningful. For more than 100 pages Greer’s feelings of inadequacy, fear and resentment tumble forward. Described in depth are her high school years, subsequent long distance romance with Cory, their small home-town and his bizarre family. Post college years continue in a similar fashion. Chapter after chapter of disappointment and loneliness. I have read and loved author Meg Wolitzer’s work and was so excited to read this latest best seller. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me. My preconceived notion of this novel focusing on women’s issues was not at all as I expected. Great writing but a choppy story that dragged and left me nowhere. Sad face.