The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry By Rachel Joyce Harold Fry is a common man. A man that has lived his life hiding from love and happiness. One day he receives a letter from a co-worker some twenty years past. She was a friend, Queenie Henessey, that he never said a proper goodbye to and now she was dying of cancer. As Harold walks to the mailbox in his small English town, he hesitates before putting the letter in the mailbox. It is at that moment he decides to save his friend and bring her hope. He starts the long journey of walking across England to see Queenie and implores her to wait! Harold's pilgrimage shocks his wife and wins the heart of every person he shares his story with along the way. His story becomes bigger than himself and so begins Harold's personal journey into his memories and his future. Rachel Joyce is a beautiful writer. This novel is recommended if you desire a slow gaze into a simple truthful sad heart.
Left Neglected. By Lisa Genova Sarah Nickerson is a mother of three small children and lives in a suburb of Boston. She and her husband Bob both have stressful power positions with big companies. They juggle and multitask the day away, never a moment to spare (or enjoy) because there are just not enough hours in the day. This all seems commonplace, until Sarah is in a horrible car accident. She sustains traumatic head injury to the right part of her brain and a syndrome called Left Neglect. Sarahs life will never be exactly the same again but for every tough physical stride she makes, her life lessons trail right along with her. Sarah begins to realize that less can be more and time really is money but most importantly to celebrate how lucky she is instead of focusing on the struggle. Like the fabulous book, Still Alice, author Lisa Genova, once again brings these characters straight into our hearts where they will most likely remain long after the last page is read. Highly recommend this interesting, warm, heartfelt account of this startling syndrome.
The Romance Reader By Pearl Abraham This novel is told by Rachel Benjamin. It is the mid 1970's. She is one of seven children growing up just outside NYC in a chassidic family. She is the eldest, the most rebellious and most curious. She loves her family dearly and shares all her dreams with her sister Leah. But Rachel admits "This is why people shouldn't read." She and Leah read voraciously. They steal, borrow and secretly obtain a library card. They live in worlds outside of their own through these books. In their community this is not allowed. They are not to read English books and admire the lives of non Jews. But they do. And as Rachel approaches 17, the age where girls are matched and married off to start their own families, she questions everything she is intended to be and loses herself in the process. These feisty spirited girls are enjoyable characters and this novel is a pleasure to read. The girls remain in the readers mind long after the book ends. Highly recommend.
A Hologram for the King By Dave Eggers This novel is the story of Alan Clay. In his mid fifties, a has been as far as his career as sales/consultant is concerned and continuously depressed. He has one last chance, an opportunity to travel with a small IT team to Saudia Arabia and attempt to get the contract for the telecommunications in a new city being built by King Abdullah. It is a very simple quiet story of a man who is lost at mid life. There is a small desire and chance he can climb his way back to self satisfaction and pay back his many debts both financially and emotionally. There is another part of Alan that seems ready to give up completely. Life in Saudi Arabia and the characters he meets there are unique in every respect. The writing is excellent. It is easy to visualize each detail of Alans often bumbled adventures. I cannot say it was a life changing read but I thoroughly enjoyed this writer and would definitely recommend this novel.
The Hypnotist's Love Story By Liane Moriarty Ellen is a hypnotherapist that runs a small successful practice out of the beachfront cottage she inherited from her beloved grandparents. She is in her mid thirties and has been through the gamut of unsatisfying romantic relationships. When Ellen meets Patrick her entire life changes. He is a widow with a beautiful, 8 yr old son named Jack and wants all the same things that Ellen is searching for. Except for one rather large detail, Patrick is being stalked by his ex-girlfriend for the last 3 years. And now she is onto them! Ellen is a likeable character, the authors Austrailian word choice is both smooth and witty. The hypnotist details are extremely interesting as is the look at the stalkers side of the story. For as crazy as she seems, it doesn't appear far fetched or even fair. This contemporary love story/mild thriller is a good, easy, enjoyable read that I highly recommend.
The After Wife By Gigi Levangie Grazer I am still laughing and smiling from this delightful book that I didn't think I would read and was sure I would not enjoy. HOW WRONG I WAS!! Hannah and John live in Santa Monica CA. They live a romantic, idyllic life with a beautiful 3 yr old daughter. They have unique careers and a cast of bizarre friends and neighbors. Sadly, after four blissful years, Hannah finds herself a widow, alone, grief stricken and unemployed as a single mother. Her Grief Team, as she calls them, try to help Hannah get back on her feet and on with her life. As another twist Hannah begins to communicate with the deceased. This author takes a look at a sad situation and although there is real compassion for her characters, the story is a satire of LA life, an exaggeration (I hope!?#) of the women who live in NOMO (North of Montana) their crazy lifestyles and values that start and finish with a good latte. Easy fun read, could not put down, perfect for the beach!
Gold By Chris Cleave Tom has coached Zoe and Kate since they were 19, in world class indoor cycling. The girls are like daughters to him. They race and train in London. Now at 32 years old, the excitement is growing as the 2012 London Olympics approach. Zoe and Kate are like sisters and they are tough competitors as well. They are similar in their love and passion for cycling and complete opposites in matters of the heart. Jack, also an Olympic cyclist, is married to Kate and they have a child named Sophie. The friendship, love, loyalty and trust that these five characters share bring this Olympic story to life. If you liked Little Bee, you will also enjoy Gold as Chris Cleave again brings a quirky cast into your imagination with excellent writing, wit and passion.