Sunday, November 27, 2016

Always


While enjoying a romantic dinner at one of Seattle’s finest restaurants, Kailey and Ryan discuss the plans for their upcoming 5 star wedding. After dinner, while Kailey waits for the car, she glances toward a sad but commonplace scene - that of a homeless man resting against the wall. As she is about to offer him some food their eyes meet and in that moment Kailey’s life is changed forever. When she realizes she is not dreaming, Kailey sees that although haggard and thin this most familiar face is none other than Cade, her fiancé that disappeared and broke her heart more than a decade before. What begins as Kailey’s mission to help Cade get back on his feet turns into her journey to find the truth about what happened to him even though his eyes do not register even the slightest recognition. This wonderful new novel by author Sarah Jio is a love story of true friendship and big heart. It is also an inquiry into which lives matter. Are those on the street as quickly forgotten as we hand them our leftovers? If you have no money and haven’t had a bath, can your feelings and desires still be relevant and heard? As each chapter alternates between their past relationship and the present, a full beautiful life to one filled with despair and fear, one must realize that each person on the corner has a story to tell. Ms. Jio’s beautiful words will have you thinking about its characters long after the novel ends. Highly recommend this original and heartfelt read. We cannot mistake what “we” think someone needs and what someone really needs. You can enjoy this wonderful novel January 2017!

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Mothers

Brit Bennett’s debut novel has caused quite a stir. After reading an article she wrote http://jezebel.com/i-dont-know-what-to-do-with-good-white-people-1671201391 I thought this politically heated month is either the best time to read her novel or the worse. I wanted to read The Mothers - not the headlines. What did I learn? This young woman is an incredible new writer that speaks from her heart with poise and grace and poetry. I was not disappointed. 

Nadia Turner is a feisty high school senior counting the minutes to the rest of her life. Her mantra is get me out of this house, out of this town and let me get on with my life, the sooner the better. Sadly, just when all her hard work has finally paid off and her superior grades have gotten her into college in Michigan, Nadia’s mother takes her own life. Her father is devastated. As a marine he is stoic in nature and as a husband and father, he is completely lost. Nadia is lonely and heartbroken. She uses alcohol and sex to trick her mind into submission. And then she meets Luke, the son of the preacher. In this small California conservative town, much of life revolves around Upper Room, the church on the hill. Luke and Nadia keep their romance a secret until Nadia becomes pregnant. Nadia is haunted by her choices and her love for Luke for many years to come. As hard as she tries and as far as she travels she cannot escape what may have been, what they could have had. With the the loss of her mother also comes an incredible bond with her new unlikely friend Aubrey, the quiet religious girl at school, the sister she always dreamed of. The tangle of emotions that follows is filled with love, jealousy and loss. I highly recommend this incredible new novel by author Brit Bennett. These beloved characters pull the reader deep into their hearts and it is easy to imagine the story from everyone’s point of view. You will be thinking about The Mothers long after you turn the last page.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

We Could Be Beautiful


Catherine West is an unhappy woman. She grew up extremely wealthy and privileged but is well aware that her cold calculating mother has left her heart cracked in a million pieces. At forty three years old Catherine has experienced two failed engagements, the loss of her beloved father and is currently watching her mother slide downhill fast with recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s Disease. Living in NYC her entire life, in the lap of luxury Catherine blows her monthly trust stipend in ways most people cannot begin to imagine. But these purchases only fill her void temporarily. Loneliness fills her days and keeps her awake at night until the moment she unexpectedly meets tall, handsome William Stockton. Their whirlwind romance is everything she has ever dreamed and they quickly are engaged to be married. Slowly the trickle of uncertainty drips through their relationship. A photograph. A comment. A long lost journal. Something is not right and although Catherine would be happy to live in denial, these mounting clues leave her constantly miserable and worried. With or without money she knows she will never feel truly loved and safe until she discovers the truth. Fabulous debut novel by author Swan Huntley. The characters come alive and there were just enough twists and turns to keep me hooked. Smooth, descriptive writing, I highly recommend this captivating read and peek into another world where it is quite clear that money cannot buy happiness.