Friday, November 20, 2015

Days of Awe

Isabel Moore has it all; a wonderful loving husband, an
adorable little girl named Hannah, over the top best friend and a job she loves at the local elementary school. Until she doesn't. Her best friend Josie is in a tragic car accident and Isabel's life quickly unravels. Isabel's dark sense of humor and biting personality push those she loves far away as she struggles to regain control of her life and find a new balance on her own. This crazy, funny, sad story was completely unputdownable. Moving quickly through Isabel's year the reader debates whether to laugh or cry while silently cheering for Isabel to figure out what we are all trying to do, everyday. Well aware of what she "has" in her life, she cannot get past the lost and sadness. You may wonder how that could possibly be funny at all but author Lauren Fox finds a way to wrap you around her little finger and laugh at things you are just not supposed to. Loved and highly recommend this fabulous read!

The Double Life of Liliane

This novel/autobiography/autofiction, call it what you may, is Liliane's life
from the perspective of a little girl to that of a grown woman. She is the daughter of a German movie producer and artistic mother also of German descent. Liliane is born in France where they reside and blend in as best they can. Not a word of German is spoken. The war is looming and her father is sent away with French troops. Her mother takes Liliane and her nanny on a wild ride across Europe, on a ship to America and later Peru. She ultimately remarries and resides in NYC. Liliane spends her adolescence traveling the world, meeting extraordinary people through her parents, both cultured and talented. They are unique and odd creatures that love her very much and Liliane spends her years trying to figure out where and how she fits in. Speaking a multitude of languages, intelligent and searching for the kind of love a young girl dreams of. This small diary like story contains snippets of conversations and moments of their lives, some meaningful and others purely anecdotal. Lily Tuck is beautiful writer, the words flow seamlessly. Highly recommend this enjoyable read and small peek into a rather intriguing family.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Hours Count

Mildred Stein may seem a simple, typical housewife of the
The Hours Count
late 1940's but she finds herself in the middle of a maelstrom of espionage. Millie who picks up her weekly brisket from the kosher butcher every Friday. Millie who is thrilled to live in a small, one bedroom apartment - with heat! - in Knickerbocker Village. Millie who takes care of her two year old son David who has not said a word, ever. Her husband Ed is a Russian immigrant, he is an accountant. The neighbors are Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. The first and only American couple to be executed for espionage, ever. Post WWII, the fear of the Russians, of the atomic bomb, the Cold War - has set America searching for communists. Anyone un-American must be investigated. As naive Millie navigates motherhood and a marriage she knows in her heart is no good, she starts to put the pieces together. The FBI shows up, Ed disappears and returns and disappears and returns. She falls in love with Jake. As author Jillian Cantor expertly pulls us through the lives of these characters, you can hear their words. You can smell the brisket. Ms. Cantor's superb writing took me to another world, another time. If she thinks The Hours Count, so does every word she has written. Do not miss this unforgettable look at history presented within a fictional story. Fabulous read.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Twain's End

Sam Clemens, better known as Mark Twain was one of the
Twains End
most famous humorist's of our time. His novels were known worldwide, as was his wit, charm and eccentricity. Twain was married for many years to wealthy socialite Olivia Langdon Clemens, who was very ill throughout most of her years, father of three daughters and a lover to the rest of the world. He became incredibly close to Isabel Lyon, his secretary for 6 years. A former governess, she grew up wealthy until her family lost everything, and later became Twain's confidante, scribe and house manager. But their closeness was strained when everyone began to notice the relationship that grew between them and was only definable as a romance. Although many years difference between their ages, Isabel vowed to forever look after Twain's interests, his welfare and that of his children. When rumors began to swirl, his conniving daughter Clara spread vicious lies and set Isabel up for complete and utter failure. Author Lynn Cullen (bestselling writer of the fabulous book Mrs. Poe) once again brings to life a beloved literary icon. Thoroughly enjoyed this unputdownable look at American literary history. Highly recommend this fabulous new work of historical fiction.