Me Before You By Jojo Moyes After losing her job at the local cafe, Louisa Clark finds herself at a crossroads. Not much experience, limited education and little faith in her own abilities. She is a spunky 26 year old girl living in a small village in England where the biggest attraction is an old castle in the center of town and a strong cup of tea. Lou lives with her loving working class parents, her sister Katrina and her nephew Thomas. Her world revolves around a very small epicenter of work, her Running Man boyfriend Patrick and a weekly night at the pub. Until she meets Will, her new employer. Will Traynor is a quadriplegic. He is 35, handsome, wealthy and very very angry. Lou is hired to be Will's caregiver for 6 months and with this, her life is changed forever. This unique story is one I could not put down. The witty outrageous characters fill these pages with love, laughter, regret and possibility. They will remain with me long after the novel ends. Do not miss this one, a must read!!
The Light of Amsterdam By David Park Belfast, Ireland. Three different families are taking a weekend trip to Amsterdam. Gordon and Marion on going on a pre-Christmas holiday, they have been married for many years, are grandparents and Marion is critically analyzing all that has changed in their lives while she incessantly worries about their future. Karen attends her daughter Shannon's hen party with a group of young girls that drink hard, party often and expect instant gratification in every aspect of their lives. Karen is a struggling single mom that has sacrificed her entire adult life for her daughters' well being while sinfully neglecting herself in every way possible. A father, bitterly divorced, takes his 16 year old son Jack to see Bob Dylan. He reminisces about his past trips to Amsterdam and desperately tries to connect with his miserable, spoiled teenager. Maybe the depression lies in the reality of it all, while the writing is excellent and Amsterdam is a dynamic, intoxicating city, the story lines are rather dull and my AHA! moment never arrived. Can't say that I would not read this author again but this story was mediocre at best.
The Art Forger By B.A. Shapiro Claire Roth is a struggling artist living in Boston. After a tumultuous affair with her professor Isaac, she finds herself paid to do professional reproductions of famous works. Surrounded by an eclectic group of friends and filled with a burning desire to show her own personal work Claire longs to escape the label as the great pretender. Claire enters into an agreement with an unlikely, handsome art dealer that changes her life in every way. She is forced to choose how far she is willing to push aside her conscience to get what she has long desired. An intriguing look into the art world of the masters, forgeries, art dealers and museums. Likeable characters, a little romance and a unique world all its own. Highly recommend this read!
Reading Lolita in Tehran By Azar Nafisi After attending school in England and the U.S. Ms. Nafisi returns to her homeland of Iran. Shortly after the revolution begins and she spends the next 18 years pondering her existence as a woman, a wife, a teacher and a mother. She passionately loves teaching English literature at the University but life has become so difficult in the 1980's. The restrictions on women and the cultural arts has become suffocating. This memoir reflects her time as a teacher and the works she studied with her enthusiastic students. After leaving her teaching post she creates a small reading group in her home for some of her brightest and favorite students. These women embrace Austen and James and Fitzgerald to name a few. They begin to wonder who they are and what possibilities are available outside of Tehran. This memoir is very thoughtful and passionate. As a reader it is interesting to delve into the thoughts and ideals of these intelligent women. The freedom to choose what we read and when we read and have an opinion, is priceless.