Catherine Clarke is the right girl from the right family. Raised in a wealthy town in Connecticut, she is expected to marry the male version of herself. But Catherine defies all the rules when she falls head over heels in love with Gabriel. Gabe is a charming, handsome, Lebanese businessman that Catherine cannot resist. When they quickly marry and Catherine gets pregnant, their love story pushes all boundaries. With little choice in the matter, Catherine is slowly controlled and coerced to move to Gabe’s homeland. He is her husband and she naively dreams of a happy marriage as long as they are lovingly together. Once abroad Gabe dramatically reverts to his more conservative upbringing in a culture where the wife has no say even on the smallest decisions. As Catherine tolerates their dwindling relationship Gabe becomes more threatening and Catherine devises a plan to return to the U.S. The protection of the law is not on her side and even her phone calls are being tracked. Alone and afraid, Catherine does whatever it takes to keep her daughter safe. Told by alternating characters, Catherine’s story and Ann Marie’s future self learn about love, family and secrets the hard way. Well developed characters and fast paced suspense make No Time to Blink by author Dina Silver a must read. Could not put down this glimpse into another land where even the simplest gift in life has a price we cannot afford to pay.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Ella from Ohio is living the dream. Her dream, specifically, since she was 13 years old. To go to Oxford. She is a young political dynamo and recently named Rhodes Scholar doing her graduate studies at a college she has only visited in her imagination. Knowing she has a limited amount of time, Ella is determined to soak up every moment of her year in England. Castles, tea and the ghosts of every famous author she has spent a lifetime loving. Lost in Oxford’s immense history she soon becomes equally captivated by a pair of baby blue’s belonging to her professor, Jamie Davenport. He is the type of brilliant, romantic and beautiful man with a throng of women at his feet, the ideal mate for her fairytale fantasy. As we follow Ella on her humorous, thoughtful, journey she learns about the beauty of freedom and value of choice. Most importantly, when her tough exterior begins to crack, Ella learns more than English literature, she discovers the truth about her very own heart. This entertaining, well written love story/adventure abroad enveloped me in a fine mist of dreams and more dreams. Because it is never ever too late to follow them.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Celestial and Roy are briefly introduced in college but a few years after graduation an unlikely encounter brings them together and they quickly fall in love. Although from different backgrounds they are both intelligent, passionate people who live and love deeply. Roy encourages Celestial, an artist, to follow her dreams while he climbs the corporate ladder quickly. They leave their Atlanta home for a short visit to Roy’s parents in a very small town in the deep South. They stay at a motel for the night. The police barge into their room and Roy is falsely accused of a crime. He is railroaded and sentenced to 12 years in prison. While the newlyweds marriage slowly disintegrates, dreams and futures are placed on hold. Can career, children, family and love wait 12 long years? Author Tayari Jones brings us a story of marriage, family and racism that is undeniably beautiful and tragic at the same time. The reader can easily imagine each and every character, rooting for them all, knowing in the end there will be a price to pay. Tayari Jones wastes no words and no time. I love this book from first page to last and think it should be required reading. Do not miss this one reader friends!
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Karina escaped her mundane village in Poland with her god given talent as a pianist. At a young age she understood this was her ticket to another life. As an independent beautiful young woman this was not an easy journey. Alone and afraid she made it to the U.S. and a well known music school where she was quickly labeled the best. Romance with fellow pianist Richard quickly led to marriage and a quiet competition to follow their musical destiny. Young and in love Karina follows Richard to a post in Boston, motherhood and the end of her days sitting at the piano. Years later with her daughter away at college and a much anticipated divorce, Karina finds herself very alone. Richard, an extremely famous pianist has been recently diagnosed with ALS. It hits hard and fast. He has a daughter he hasn’t spoken to, girlfriends that have come and gone and an ex-wife that hates him. He, who thought he was triumphant, finds himself alone and unable to manage and very very angry. This novel is about dreams that come crashing down when marriage, career, health and all the choices one makes along the way do not align with the stars or ones future plans. Author Lisa Genova has (once again) taught me a great deal, left me hyperventilating and reminds us to be grateful for every breath, every day.
Monday, April 2, 2018
Many a young romantic’s dream, to travel the world after college, secure a job, share an adorable flat with a scandalous Brit in Rome and fall madly in love … with a handsome, sexy, engaged, older man. Assured that a woman on the side is often the Italian way, At 22, Anna cannot help herself and falls deeply in love with her boss at the language school. She quickly let’s go of her inhibitions and her heart. When Sergio orchestrates Anna’s weekends so he can spend more time with her, she unapologetically befriends the unsuspecting fiance. After a complicated year, a wedding and a heart shattered in a million pieces, she leaves Rome. Twenty-five years later Sergio contacts her. Anna must decide if she can share her deepest darkest secrets that may change her life forever. I read this story of romance and family, loyalty and deception in one single sitting. I didn’t always love the characters or their choices or the rush-to-the-finish ending but found the thread of time and setting in Rome mesmerizing. When there is a fork in the road your history is being created and future determined. Also, the notion that when we are with loved ones from our past we can once again see through the eyes of that younger self. Enjoyable, well written, delicious Italian love story.