Mrs. Queen Takes the Train By William Kuhn The Queen of England is feeling a little blue. She decides to venture on her own (unheard of!) and visit a place she has found much happiness over the years. The Brittania was a yacht the royal family vacationed and traveled on until it was docked and made into a tourist attraction in recent years. This very British work of fiction both sympathizes with and somewhat makes of fun of the inner workings of the monarchy. The Queens adventure includes a most eclectic group of characters that normally revolve around her daily life and find themselves in a secret search for her whereabouts before the M15 secret service needs to get involved. This light, humorous novel humanizes the monarchy and the people who keep it in the peoples favor, an ongoing and difficult job. If you enjoy British writing (think The Uncommon Reader By Alan Bennett), and the monarchy, don't miss this most enjoyable read!
Astray By Emma Donoghue After loving the novel "Room" last year (if you haven't read it, a must!) I decided to try a new collection of short stories by Ms. Donoghue. These short stories were various types of people in the midst of traveling, to find gold, a new home, the truth or peace at the end of life. These stories varied throughout history from the mid 1600's to 1960's. Short stories are tough for me personally because just when I am getting involved, it ends. I loved that following each story Ms. Donoghue briefly details the source of the story and at the very end of the book, surmises the entire account. An excellent collection and easy to read. If you enjoy historical fiction and short stories, this one is for you!
Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn Amazing Amy is amazing; a clever beautiful, sophisticated girl, madly in love with Nick. They marry and are the ideal New York couple. Young, eager, happy and having the time of their life. Until they are not. Their lives change dramatically when they move back to Nicks small home town. Their lives unravel even more rapidly when one day, the day of Nick and Amy's 5th wedding anniversary, Amy is missing. And then their story really begins. This novel is told from 2 points of view. One chapter Amy, the next Nick. It is truly amazing how two people can see one story in two totally different ways. I rarely read mysteries of any sort. I could not put this one down. A must read.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao By Junot Diaz Oscar Wao is a teenager growing up in Paterson New Jersey with his outrageous, beautiful, intelligent sister, his completely off the wall but hard working intermittently very ill mother and again out of jail tio (uncle). Oscar is obese, science fiction obsessed, extremely girl crazy, brilliant writer and wordsmith. This family is originally from the Dominican Republic of which the past history, superstitions and cultures remain a stronghold within them all, whether they like it or not. The Brief Wondrous Life takes the reader on a journey backwards and forwards in Oscars life. Back to his ancestors tortured by Trujillo and his present search for acceptance, friendship, sex and love. Oscar is unquestionably a remarkable and likeable character. This author is no doubt full of talent, humor and a prose all his own. I enjoyed the DR history and spanglish very much but this story is at times hard to follow. It is not newly published but something I always wanted to read and although at times I was pushing myself to continue, there is no doubt I will read other works by this author and for me, that is the point.