Fifty Shades Freed By EL James The delicious romantic erotic saga with Ana and Christian continues. So that this review is not a spoiler I will cut to the chase. I surprised myself by loving all three books. They were enjoyable and different. I loved the characters and do not think there can ever be a movie as exciting and detailed as these stories. I thought I would be upset when they were over and saved #3 for months! It was just as good as the others but even with all the criticisms I heard regarding this author I thought she brought closure to the story. Number Three was enough for that saga and storyline and I can only hope she puts out some more books in the future. I think a new genre for a certain demographic has been tapped and all the haters do not have to partake if they need to weigh the literary skills against pure enjoyment. If you haven't ventured there yet, start with #1 and give it a try. Great summer reads, all three.
Wild By Cheryl Strayed This memoir is the journey of a young women who is sad and lost and finds herself in her mid twenties on an adventure of a lifetime. After losing her mother to a horrible battle with cancer, Cheryl finds has a series of bad relationships, menial jobs and city after city she is still unhappy. She stumbles quite by chance upon a book detailing the hikes of the infamous PCT, Pacific Crest Trail. Having never been much of a hiker Cheryl finds herself drawn to this idea and challenge. She decides to set her goals and hike the majority of the trail. She prepares herself to journey this solo hike starting near Mexico through to Oregon. This honest account of this often dangerous and always difficult adventure is an interesting and intense read. She finds out more about herself and her life than she ever imagined. Cheryl reaches to the very deepest parts of herself and her determination to begin again. Highly recommend this read, hiker or not, its enjoyable, easy and a great summer get away.
Unorthodox By Deborah Feldman This fascinating, heartfelt memoir is written by a young woman who grew up in a Satmar community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. It is an ultra ashkenazi hasidic community that is a small, private, Jewish group living by very strict religious laws. They speak Yiddish, separate men and women completely and educate by their own guidelines. Deborah is raised by her grandparents, who have her live by their unbending rules but love her and want the best life they feel they can give her. From a very young age this intelligent, independent girl can only wonder what life would be like outside of Williamsburg. She sneaks books from the public library. Reads and writes in English and dreams of a bigger, fuller life. Deborah is later married to a stranger set by a matchmaker at 17 yrs old. This is the beginning of a new life and the end of another. This memoir is an enjoyable, easy, must read. Are we the people we are told to be from birth or must we give in and lead the life we believe we were meant to live even if it hurts those who love us?
The Dovekeepers By Alice Hoffman In 70 C.E. when the Romans stormed Jerusalem, 900 Jewish people fled to a mountaintop called Masada. It was the palace for King Herod 100 years earlier. A city made of stone with provisions to house and feed an enormous amount of people. They lived there peacefully for 4 years until the enemy finally overtook them. This novel portrays the lives of four women who are brave, intelligent, faithful and most importantly, hopeful. Masada is one of the most exciting Jewish stories to survive. It still stands, and many many artifacts exist to collaborate the facts of its amazing history. I appreciate the beautiful strong women and historical value but the writing dragged slowly at times. Certain themes were repeated over and over again. Like The Red Tent, this is an intriguing period to imagine and learn about but admittedly, I was ready for this book to be over. With a story that good I usually don't want it to end.
Caleb's Crossing By Geraldine Brooks Bethia is a 12 year old girl living on an island, known today as Martha's Vineyard. It is the mid 1600's. (Think Scarlett Letter!) Her father is a minister and her grandfather the founder of this small enclave they call Great Harbour. Bethia is educated solely by listening to her brothers lessons because at this time females were thought not necessary to be educated as to anything but bible. Bethia is a quick learner in greek, latin, hebrew, reading and writing. She is also a lover of nature and one day while exploring the island she befriends a Native American Indian that she names Caleb. She begins to teach Caleb all that she has learned and he teaches her the native ways of the island. Their secret friendship remains for years until one day things change on the island and Caleb is brought to come and live with the settlers. He too is a brilliant learner and makes his way to Harvard College as the very first Native American to graduate (true!). This story is about friendship, loyalty, learning and love. Historical fiction is amazing, it is a great way to enjoy learning about a time period while immersed in a story that is both tragically real and fictionalized. At first the reader must get used to a rather difficult prose but it quickly becomes clear as to the direction of the story. These loveable characters leave the reader wanting more! Highly recommend this most unique story.