Thursday, April 25, 2013

The House Girl

The House Girl By Tara Conklin  
It is the mid 1800's and Josephine, a 17 yr old slave girl that has never stepped foot off of her owners plantation in Virgina wants to/has to/ must! run!  She has been "lucky" if one can see that being a house girl was far better than being a field hand. Josephine's missus teaches her to read and allows her to assist with paintings and drawings that are her saving grace after 17 miscarriages. Josephine is beautiful and has an artistic gift that one can only be born with. Flash forward, Lina Sparrow is a young twenty something lawyer at an elite NYC firm and has taken on the historical case of a lifetime regarding reparations for slave descendants. These two worlds, so separate yet completely connected. Ms. Conklin brings the reader so deeply into the thoughts and hearts of its characters, it's as if you are under a spell as each chapter unfolds. The voices are palpable and while it is quite clear what the heroines should do next, the steps are never that easy. Highly recommend this amazing story of love and hope and dreams of freedom.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lean In

Lean In By Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg is the COO at facebook. She wears many hats; mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and high powered businesswoman. She wears them well. Lean In is about passion, living life to the fullest, and her personal experiences in the workforce. It describes Sheryl's compelling journey, the influential people she has met and her personal and sometimes public unease with the gender gap in the work place. After confirming a pattern in the many successful women and men she spoke with (and quotes) throughout this book, Sheryl Leaned In and faced her fears by chronicling her journey. There are a number of reasons to read this book, some you will agree with, some you will not,  but the most vital lesson is it is never too late to LEAN IN.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Light Between Oceans

The Light Between Oceans By M.L. Stedman   Life. Death. War. Love. The world does not stop spinning and the waves do not stop crashing on the rocky islands surrounding southern Australia. It is post WWI and Tom is an honored, brave soldier that is trying to rebuild his life and put the death and destruction he witnessed behind him. He falls in love with Isabel in a small town just as he is beginning his post as lighthouse keeper on a rocky deserted island 100 miles away, called Janus. They marry and live in their own little world, isolated from all of civilization. The only voices they hear are each others and there is nothing they would not do in the name of love. But things are not always easy and there is a fine line between right and wrong. They are struggling with protecting their happiness at whatever the cost, convincing themselves the circumstances allow it. This novel is a love story, it is a debate of moral values, of family and friendship. The best lesson, forgiving -  you only have to do once, anger you have to feed continuously. Quite interestingly, and not a spoiler, the author M.L., I was positive! was a male and it turned out to be a woman. It is shockingly her first novel and sure to be a smash success!! Do not miss this one!!! Highly recommend this excellent read!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lessons in French

Lessons in French By Hilary Reyl 
Katie has just graduated from Yale, it is 1989 and she is an aspiring artist. Her mom has struggled to provide for her and desperately wishes Katie to follow a more substantial path with a promising future. Through friends of friends she has discovered an opportunity she cannot resist, to assist a famous photographer in Paris called Lydia Schell. It sounds too good to be true, Paris, romance, culture and meeting other inspiring artists. Although she will struggle financially and work hard to avert her mothers growing worries and disappointments, Katie is on the quickest flight to France she can find. In addition to all she hoped Katie also finds, lies, subversion, manipulation and the craziest household she has ever witnessed. The dynamics of those around her are both interesting and scary and Katie learns to find her own "style" and true self. Thoroughly enjoyed this coming of age story. Great characters, love Paris and enjoyable story!

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon 
Kamila Sidiqi and her sisters find themselves trapped in Kabul during the Taliban regime. They are educated modern devout women from a large family. Of the nine girls in the family, Mr. Sidiqi, a former military man, insisted that all his girls are fully educated, independent and self sufficient. Although things had never been easy the Sidiqi family had learned to manage and live life to the fullest despite the constant fighting and political upheaval throughout their beloved Afghanistan. When the Taliban arrives in the late 90's, times are not just difficult and they are finally impossible. For their own safety, the men are forced to temporarily leave Kabul and Kamila and her sisters have to find a way to survive. They stick together, and with a tremendous amount of ingenuity, hope and perseverance reach success they had only dreamed of. Ms. Lemmon, a reporter/writer, business student, details this amazing family and the brave people of their community. Easy to read, hard to imagine, more personal than a news brief, don't miss this intimate account of these amazing inspiring young women!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Gift From the Sea

Gift From the Sea  By Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Usually when we read books written long ago we can relish in how different life was "back then" or how much times have changed. It is amazing how this collection of essays by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a poetic, magical writer, has captured the timeless essence of women. For mothers, sisters, friends, everyday life which includes your hopes and dreams, past, present and future. She says so much in so few pages leaving the reader craving more of her words. Fifty years after its publication, nothing has changed because what mankind ("womankind") holds deep in the heart is  true for all people in all places and at all times. A book to read over and over, I highly recommend this uplifting work of art that is truly the authors never ending gift to us.