Thursday, April 21, 2016

Book Review: The Lake House by Kate Morton



Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by: Atria Books
Publication date: 10/20/2015
ISBN13: 9781451649321
Pages: 492
Format: Hardback
Source: Library



Synopsis


Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estatein Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…


One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.
 


My Thoughts

DC Sadie Sparrow's life is in a shambles following what turned out to be a bad call on her part even though she stuck with what her gut was telling her and that was that something was just wrong with this case. Cops rarely ever go to a journalist for help but Sadie needed to keep this case from being pushed to the back burner which was already starting to happen as the weeks went by and her theories were squashed by the higher-ups and even her own partner so she turned to a journalist, stating that the things is this case are not what they appear to be and what did she get for it, a nice vacation in Cornwall and maybe just maybe she'll get to keep her job. 

Sadie hadn't the easiest life her parents were very strict and so when Sadie finds herself pregnant as a teenager her parents wash their hands of her and she goes to live with her maternal grandparent's who have been estranged from the family for years. Her grandparents are kind and supportive during the pregnancy and even try to talk Sadie into keeping the baby but she doesn't want to burden anyone so she gives the baby up for adoption. Burdening anyone seems to bother Sadie a lot so as soon as she could she became a cop and was independent as possible after that. But giving up your child changes you and can cloud your judgement especially in cases involving abandoned children which leads you to do some really desperate things and Sadie was no exception.

After her failed attempt to make it right by talking to the journalist Sadie hightails it down to Cornwall where her grandfather, Bertie, relocated to after his wife Ruth died. Unable to confide in her grandfather about her big blunder she leads him to believe that she is there on vacation, taking a break from the big city and that horrendous last case she worked on. Instead of mopping around the house Sadie and her grandfather's dogs go for runs in the woods and soon Sadie stumbles upon an overgrown fairytale in the woods. The Edevane estate looks so full of secrets and mystery that Sadie just cannot help herself in snooping around a bit on the estate's grounds; oh and maybe looking in a window or two. Intrigued Sadie set out on an investigation to find out why the house has been abandoned and as she dives deeper into her research she finds that the house holds a secret so full of darkness and sadness that she gets sucked in to the mystery and cannot let it go until she finds out what happened that MidSummer's Eve, the night the Edevane's baby boy Theo disappeared into thin air. 

This story holds many small stories attached to the big story, but missing and abandoned children are recurring themes throughout the whole book, Sadie had to give up a child, the Edevane's child went missing, even the case that got Sadie in trouble revolved around a supposedly abandoned kid. Not just the sadness of these events but the life changing anguish these mothers had to go through connects them to each other through time and space.

Eleanor's Theo (Bertie). 
Sadie's Esther (Charlotte).
Nancy's Maggie.

Nothing creates such a gapping hole in a woman then the loss of their child does. And The Lake House does a superb job of showing the love of a mother for their child even when that means living without them so that they may have a better life, a life that they deserve better then the one that got served to them. Mystery; genuine, safe love; passionate, forbidden love; heart breaking loss; fear; regret; pretty much every human emotion is wrapped up in the 492 pages of this book. Oh and a little warning by the last three chapters I would have some Kleenexes close by if I were you!



Thanks for coming by,
Amy






Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Book Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton





Series: Standalone
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published by: NAL
Publication date: 2/16/2016
ISBN13: 9781101990261
Pages: 336
Format: Hardback
Source: Library


Synopsis

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen...

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…
 


My Thoughts

This book will rope you in and dangle you by a string till you are freaking out and then it will let you down at the end with a big old drop. I liked this book, well at least for most of the book, but was so disappointed in the ending, I thought there would be this huge revelation instead it was what I had already figured out and even that wasn't exciting. I tend not to listen to book comparisons but there was a lot of love going around about this one and it was compared to Gone Girl (which I loved) and Girl on a Train (which I didn't love) so that's why I picked it up and I did enjoy it while I read it but it definitely won't stay with me like Gone Girl did. I'm not even really sure this should be in the psychological thriller category, it was suspenseful in the beginning but that was it really.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Book Review: The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport



Series: Standalone
Genre: Non-Fiction/History
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 6/3/2014
ISBN13: 9781250020208
Pages: 381
Format: Digital Review Copy
Source: Netgalley


Synopsis

They were the Princess Dianas of their day—perhaps the most photographed and talked about young royals of the early twentieth century. The four captivating Russian Grand Duchesses—Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia Romanov—were much admired for their happy dispositions, their looks, the clothes they wore and their privileged lifestyle.

Over the years, the story of the four Romanov sisters and their tragic end in a basement at Ekaterinburg in 1918 has clouded our view of them, leading to a mass of sentimental and idealized hagiography. With this treasure trove of diaries and letters from the grand duchesses to their friends and family, we learn that they were intelligent, sensitive and perceptive witnesses to the dark turmoil within their immediate family and the ominous approach of the Russian Revolution, the nightmare that would sweep their world away, and them along with it.

The Romanov Sisters sets out to capture the joy as well as the insecurities and poignancy of those young lives against the backdrop of the dying days of late Imperial Russia, World War I and the Russian Revolution. Rappaort aims to present a new and challenging take on the story, drawing extensively on previously unseen or unpublished letters, diaries and archival sources, as well as private collections. It is a book that will surprise people, even aficionados.


My Thoughts

I started this book off intent on learning as much as I could about the Romanov sisters and I enjoyed around the first 4 chapters of the book and then after that the mundane facts of who their favorite soldiers were, who their tutors were and who had what illness, it just got mind numbingly boring. I did finish it though and in the end I thought it was okay because you do get to see the more human side of this story instead of telling a tale of duchesses it was really about just plain old sisters.

Thanks for coming by,
Amy

Book Review: The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende



Series:Standalone
Genre:Historical Fiction
Published by:Atria Books
Publication date:11/3/2015
ISBN13:9780501116971
Pages:322
Format:Hardback
Source:Library


Synposis

From New York Times and internationally bestselling author Isabel Allende, an exquisitely crafted love story and multigenerational epic that sweeps from San Francisco in the present-day to Poland and the United States during the Second World War.

In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco's charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

Sweeping through time and spanning generations and continents, The Japanese Lover explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption, and the unknowable impact of fate on our lives. Written with the same attention to historical detail and keen understanding of her characters that Isabel Allende has been known for since her landmark first novel The House of the SpiritsThe Japanese Lover is a profoundly moving tribute to the constancy of the human heart in a world of unceasing change.


My Thoughts

Isabel Allende is one of my favorite author's of all time and with the reading slump I had been in, trying to get through a previous book that just well drug on, I decided it was to her that I would run to for I knew she wouldn't fail me.

The Japanese Lover is a sweeping book of historical fiction starting in 1939 and taking us all the way to 2013, it is the love stories of Alma and Ichimei, Irina and Seth, and Nathaniel and Lenny. There is of course different types of love and they are all felt in this book, the love of grandparents for a grandchild, forbidden love, a convenient love, and of course a patient love. I sighed, felt my heart swell, then I cried, and I marveled at the magic that Allende is able to magically weave on the page, it put me in a trance, so that my last book's 7-day reading horror was wiped clean from my memory and I am once again reading with joy!

Just truly a magnificent book that I think anyone who loves historical fiction and even contemporary fiction would truly enjoy. 


Thanks for coming by,
Amy