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THE SILENT FOUNTAIN: A Mystery Novel ~Victoria Fox

Monday, November 6th, 2017

THE SILENT FOUNTAIN tells its tale during two time periods and surrounding one main character through the unraveling of secrets to come to the final resolution of all the mysteries.   There is a darkness to the story.

Hollywood, 1978
Tragedy sends troubled film star Vivien Lockhart into the arms of Giovanni Moretti—and it seems her fortunes have finally changed. Until she meets his sister and learns that her new husband’s past holds dark secrets…

Tuscany, Present day
Lucy Whittaker needs to disappear. But her new home, the crumbling Castillo Barbarossa, is far from the secluded paradise it seemed. Strange sounds come from the attic. The owner of the house will never meet her in person.

The fountain in the courtyard is silent—but has never run dry. Across the decades, Vivien and Lucy find themselves trapped in the idyllic Italian villa. And if they are ever to truly escape its walls, they must first unearth its secrets…

Each of the two women’s stories begins with confusion about what is happening in their lives and how this problem came into being.   The reader then needs to read the interspersed backstories to finally figure out how the tragedies of their lives were played out into the contemporary situation.  They each had tough lives and hard luck experiences to get them to their current contact with each other.  The reader learns a lot about love, abuse and death to work up to the ending release and the complete overview of the story and the resolutions.

Most of my book group loves this kind of wound up formal mystery, but we have 2 members who will not read them after the first 25 pages if the confusion remains.  So this book will not be for everyone.   I had much of the story figured out and found reading the Hollywood sections of the story as though it was a segment on The Carol Burnett Show gave me more interest in the read.   There is a lot of darkness in the story and mental illness is exposed and exploited in the plot.

The story is almost more a puzzle to be pieced together and explored as to which piece fits where to bring together the whole.  There is not a great deal of great Italian Cooking in the novel either nor is the countryside expounded upon.  There is intensity.

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Victoria Fox is a bestselling author in the UK. She used to work in publishing and is now the author of six novels. The Silent Fountain is her breakout novel in North America. She divides her time between Bristol and London.

Related:
Two From Isaac’s House
The Light Between Oceans
The Gods of Heavenly Punishment

MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY: A Novel ~Fredrick Backman

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY is one of the most delightful reads I have enjoyed in 2017.  I can highly recommend this book and I want to tell you it was just what a needed to read and I will read it again I am sure of it.  I had a sense of contentment when I finished reading and I found several good chuckles along the way.  The book was a present from one of my daughters who knew I had read Backman’s book A MAN CALLED OVE and enjoyed that one too.  MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY was even better and perfectly timed.

Elsa is seven and about to turn eight.  She has been cared for by her super powered, “different” Granny all of her life and her mother has been working to support them.  They live in a large house, which is a series of “flats” that Granny calls ‘the castle’.  Granny and Elsa have lovely adventures and sometimes a bit crazy adventures along the way.  The book starts with one adventure that did go a bit wrong and Granny was in trouble for her actions.  Elsa needed to wait patiently while the adults figured it all out.  Elsa thinks about people’s actions and interprets them, as only a seven year old about to turn eight is able.  She is often “spot on” in her analysis even if she is “different”; she can figure out people.  Granny has guided her world though the telling of fairy tales about a new land with seven segments and dragons, warriors, and cloud animals.  Granny teaches Elsa that everyone has a super power and she just has to find it. The duo develops their own special language – maybe.

“You can’t kill a nightmare, but you can scare it.  And there’s nothing so feared by nightmares as milk and cookies.” (page 209)

Granny gives Elsa a big task to undertake and Elsa is determined to comply with Granny’s wishes.  She takes on the role of warrior to complete the mission that involves discovering and delivering envelopes to a number of different people.  Elsa must not be afraid and helpers begin to be discovered to assist her on the mission.

“I’m going down to pick up the spare chairs in the cellar storage,” he says and tries to smile at her like stepdads do on days when they have an extra-strong sense of being sidelined.” (page 209)

Everyone is different and nobody needs to be normal in The Land-Of-Almost-Awake and I loved that idea.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if everywhere was like that?

One is reading about life and death, the importance of serving others and loving the self.  It is a story about the heart beating with a comic accuracy that is just a joy.

I wrote down nearly 40 phrases that I just loved and thought contained a wisdom that would make a difference in my life.

I did have one small item of contention – very minor.  On the cover of my book is a little girl with a black lab and I believe the dog in the story was a Great Pyrenees, Lionberger, or Newfoundland each much hairier than a lab – just saying!

FREDRICK BACKMAN is also the New York Times bestselling author of A MAN CALLED OVE and BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE, both of which were #1 bestsellers in his native Sweden and are being published around the world.  He lives in Stockholm with his wife and two children.

Fredrick Backman Twitter
Fredrick Backman WEB
Fredrick Backman Wikipedia

Related:
The Moon Sisters
By The Wayside
All The News I Need

BEAUTY AND ATTRACTION: A Novel ~Liz Rosenberg

Monday, October 31st, 2016
beauty-and-attention

beauty-and-attention

An Advanced Reader copy of this story arrived in my inbox and I just thought the cover of this book was a good first hook.  I found this story about a young woman in the 1950s to be very interesting and a good read.  The story is about a “freedom” which can manifest after a death; it is about how to express and explore this new stage in a time period known for being quite restrictive.

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of this book for review.  It is a good read.

The precision of the writing truly pulled me into the story of Libby Archer, a  naïve, young woman living in Rochester, New York as her father has just died and left her an orphan.  Her aunt and uncle who live in Ireland ask her to come and spend time with them and she choses to do just that as her friends push her to get married to be cared for and a young, smart enterprising local fellow is hoping she will say yes.

The banter between her cousin, an English Lord, and Libby is quite remarkable and compelling as Libby is quite outspoken and feisty.  Libby has very few resources at her disposal except her wit, charm, and kindness.  Her rather narcissistic aunt takes charge of her future and introduces Libby to a fascinating friend.  There are trips to Paris for clothing and style and Libby is loosing herself with each chapter.  She becomes more and more molded into a rather pathetic person and then falls in love or is manipulated into a relationship, when in Rome.  Money has come her way and this makes her an even greater “mark”.   Death keeps signaling change in Libby’s life – and then in a surprise twist she takes hold and takes a new direction.  Makes it worthwhile to read to the very last paragraph.

I enjoyed the book and liked that it was short and to the point.  There was good context material, such as reference to the McCarthyism pervasive in the USA and the focus on the development of computers.   I so liked how the story ended.

“The author of more than thirty books for adults and young readers, Liz Rosenberg has published three bestselling novels, including The Laws of Gravity and The Moonlight Palace. She has also written five books of poems, among them 2008’s Demon Love, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and After Great Grief, forthcoming from the Provincetown Arts Press. Her poems have been heard on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion. Rosenberg’s books for young readers have won numerous awards and honors and have been featured on the PBS television show Reading Rainbow. A former Fulbright Fellowship recipient, Rosenberg teaches English at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where she earned the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She lives in Binghamton with her daughter, Lily, and a shih tzu named Sophie. Although she has homes in New York and North Chatham, Massachusetts, her heart is still in Ireland.” (TLC book tours)

Liz Rosenberg Wikipedia

Related:
The Moonlight Palace
The Imaginary Life
The Time Travelers Boyfriend

NIGHT RINGING: A Memoir in Poetry ~ Laura Foley

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

I like to start my day with a poem.  I have an email subscription to a ‘poem a day’ site, which reliably sends something delightful to my inbox and I am introduced to many new writer’s words.  I have no expertise with poetry and did not study it much in school as I fell in love with the longer forms of storytelling.  This book arrived from TLC Book Tours in time to give me a full month of reading and re-reading and full on pleasure in the words.

This is the second book by Laura Foley; JOY STREET was the first.   I can only tell you whether I liked it or not – I really liked this book from cover to cover.

The Fast Course of a Relationship

Only last week, I brought her
a white magnolia snapped
from my front yard,
smelling like honey.

A country guest,
she accepted the blossom
with a kiss.  I find it today,
without a trace of fragrance.

“Laura Foley is an internationally published, award-winning poet, author of five collections. She won First Place in the Common Goods Poetry Contest, judged by Garrison Keillor, who read her poem on “A Prairie Home Companion”; and First Place in the National Outermost Poetry Prize, judged by Marge Piercy. Her poetry collections include: Night Ringing, The Glass Tree and Joy Street. The Glass Tree won a Foreword Book of the Year Award; Joy Street won the Bisexual-Writer’s Award. Her poems have appeared in The Writer’s Almanac, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pulse Magazine, Lavender Review, The Mom Egg Review, in the British Aesthetica Creative Writing Anthology, and many other journals.” (TLC )

There is an elegant simplicity to the words and phrases that centers the attention and sends a clear message.  The words get through and express what is needed and there are ups and downs with recovery and renewal.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and again and again.  I believe you will also.

Related:
Joy Street
Lust
Doll Gods