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BRIDGES: A Daphne White Novel ~Maria Murnane

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

BRIDGES is a continuing story of the “Three Musketeers” we discovered in WAIT FOR THE RAIN.  Those wonderful friends were reunited to celebrate another milestone in their lives.  KC, Skylar, and Daphne met 21 years ago at Northwestern University and became fast friends.   In the RAIN book they came together to celebrate their 20-year friendship and their 40th birthdays.  In BRIDGES they are supporting and celebrating Skylar in her big life change.

The reader goes with Daphne to New York City to connect with the threesome and spend a long weekend together.  The story includes a wonderful spa trip, some shopping, running, and a Broadway Play. Wouldn’t you enjoy doing all those things in the Big Apple?  Skylar’s lovely apartment is quite enchanting and a grand place to have those deep conversations, conflict, and work things out that need to be said.  Lots of emotions are expressed and the dialogue reflects a lot of problem-solving skills and good communications skills.  It is not a silly story but a real story about what could be and how one reassesses their life choices and adventures to move forward.   There is a happiness factor within the story that makes reading delightful.

I once again greatly appreciated the inner dialogue of Daphne, which was shared in the story.  I believe it was refreshing to know that she was having those emotions and thoughts and then finding that she could change her mind and own those feelings and make new decisions.   Daphne has written her first novel and submitted the manuscript to agents and has her fingers-crossed in anticipation of success.  Her friends are supportive when the secret is let out of the bag.

Murnane sent me a copy of both her books for review and I enjoyed curling up and reading them cover-to-cover.  I thought about reconnecting with one of my friends from college and wondered how we got so separated with out busy lives.

“Maria Murnane is a former PR Executive who abandoned a successful career to pursue a more fulfilling life.  She is the bestselling author of CASSIDY LANE, KATWALK, PERFECT ON PAPER; IT’S A WAVERLY LIFE, HONEY ON YOUR MIND, and CHOCOLATE FOR TWO, which garnered a stared review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.  Originally from California, she now lives in Brooklyn. “ (Book cover)

Maria Murnane Web
Maria Murnane Facebook

I would give this book ‘lots of stars’ for being delightful and for having characters that are capable of good dialogue and making constructive changes in their lives.  We could all enjoy this story and learn from this friendship.

Related:

Wait For the Rain
Another Brooklyn
Becalmed

BRIDGES: A Daphne White Novel ~Maria Murnane

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

BRIDGES is a continuing story of the “Three Musketeers” we discovered in WAIT FOR THE RAIN.  Those wonderful friends were reunited to celebrate another milestone in their lives.  KC, Skylar, and Daphne met 21 years ago at Northwestern University and became fast friends.   In the RAIN book they came together to celebrate their 20-year friendship and their 40th birthdays.  In BRIDGES they are supporting and celebrating Skylar in her big life change.

The reader goes with Daphne to New York City to connect with the threesome and spend a long weekend together.  The story includes a wonderful spa trip, some shopping, running, and a Broadway Play. Wouldn’t you enjoy doing all those things in the Big Apple?  Skylar’s lovely apartment is quite enchanting and a grand place to have those deep conversations, conflict, and work things out that need to be said.  Lots of emotions are expressed and the dialogue reflects a lot of problem-solving skills and good communications skills.  It is not a silly story but a real story about what could be and how one reassesses their life choices and adventures to move forward. There is a happiness factor within the story that makes reading delightful.

I once again greatly appreciated the inner dialogue of Daphne, which was shared in the story.  I believe it was refreshing to know that she was having those emotions and thoughts and then finding that she could change her mind and own those feelings and make new decisions.   Daphne has written her first novel and submitted the manuscript to agents and has her fingers-crossed in anticipation of success.  Her friends are supportive when the secret is let out of the bag.

Murnane sent me a copy of both her books for review and I enjoyed curling up and reading them cover-to-cover.  I thought about reconnecting with one of my friends from college and wondered how we got so separated with out busy lives.

“Maria Murnane is a former PR Executive who abandoned a successful career to pursue a more fulfilling life.  She is the bestselling author of CASSIDY LANE, KATWALK, PERFECT ON PAPER; IT’S A WAVERLY LIFE, HONEY ON YOUR MIND, and CHOCOLATE FOR TWO, which garnered a stared review in PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.  Originally from California, she now lives in Brooklyn. “ (Book cover)

Maria Murnane Web
Maria Murnane Facebook

I would give this book ‘lots of stars’ for being delightful and for having characters that are capable of good dialogue and making constructive changes in their lives. We could all enjoy this story and learn from this friendship.

Related:
Wait For the Rain
Another Brooklyn
Becalmed

ALL THE NEWS I NEED: a novel ~Joan Frank

Monday, March 20th, 2017

ALL THE NEWS I NEED is full of wonderful words placed with delicate care and mixed with adjectives, which are perfection.  Frank’s has created a word salad that is filled with glorious descriptions of feelings and attitudes and fears and delights that just move the reader along the page onto the next and each new expression.  It was a heady trip into two lives contemplating being old and the losses of their lives.

ALL THE NEWS I NEED is the winner of the Juniper Prize for fiction.

The story moves at just the perfect pace to draw the reader into the lives of two well-described characters, who lead us to our own feelings about aging and the use of our time.  Do we walk and walk or read and read remembering to water the plants and do our shopping?  What are our habits and routines that keep us moving forward?

Fran and Ollie’s ‘rules for aging’ section makes this book well worth the price – actually the whole story makes the book a keeper.  I have bookmarked the rules and read them at least a dozen times.  They make me smile

From the cover:

All THE NEWS I NEED probes the modern American response to inevitable, ancient riddles – of love and sex and mortality.  Frances Ferguson is a lonely sharp-tongued widow who lives in the wine country.  Oliver Gaffney is a painfully shy gay man who guards a secret and lives out equally lonely days in San Francisco.  Friends by default; Fran and Ollie nurse the deep anomie of loss and the creeping, animal betrayal of aging.  Each loves routine but is anxious that life might be passing by.  To crack open this stalemate, Fran insists the two travel together to Paris.  The aftermath of their fun, bittersweet journey suggest those small changes, within our reach, that may help us save ourselves – somewhere toward the end.

I am sorry the publisher sent me this book so close to the review date as I would have loved to read it twice before writing the review, as it turned out I only had 3 days, so I will read it again and again at another time.  It is on the schedule for both of my book groups.

TLC Book Tours sent the book to me and Trish really insisted that I read this book, as she wanted to know my thoughts.  So here they are and I LOVED this book and now want to read some more of Frank’s words in the future.  Thank you so much.  ALL THE NEWS I NEED is definitely on the top of my list of great reads.

This book is perfect for those who have retired or suffered a loss and are curious about the next parts of life to launch for themselves.  It is really just a magnificent read for everyone.  Oh how important are those small changes that define and bring meaning.

“Joan Frank is a writer of sublime power who reveals the lives of her characters with such care, insight, and elegance, that deeply buried feelings of victory and loss become inextricably bound up with our own.” (Simon Van Booy, author of FATHER”S DAY)

JOAN FRANK is the author of five books of fiction and a collection of essays on the writing life.  She lives in Northern California with her husband, playwright Bob Duxbury.

www.joanfrank.org

“Joan Frank is a human insight machine.” —Carolyn Cooke

Related:
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Walter’s Muse
The Bridge Ladies
The Reinvention of Albert Paugh

THE ORPHAN’S TALE: A WWII Story ~Pam Jenoff

Monday, March 13th, 2017

We are partaking of a story, THE ORPHAN’S TALE, in which the author wishes the reader to ask the question –“What would I have done?” in these circumstances?  Since there are two protagonists who become friends in the course of the story this is particularly challenging.

Jenoff has been interested in this period of time since she worked at the US State Department and several interesting stories crossed her path during her work.  One story was about a trainload of small Jewish babies, which was transported across Germany during the war and what happened to these little people.   The second story was about a famous Jewish Circus in Germany and a famous German Circus from Germany who toured the war torn, occupied countryside during the war.  The German Circus Owner apparently protected and kept hidden a number of the Jewish performers so that they would survive.  A third story emerged about the Jewish women who had married German soldiers and officers and what became of them when they had to divorce.  Are you interested now?, as these stories are merged in an interesting fictional tale about the war?

Noa is a young 16-year-old Dutch girl who becomes pregnant by a German soldier and is expelled from her home.  She goes to a home for unwed mothers until the baby is born and the doctors and nurses take her baby from her as the boy is not blond haired and blue eyed.  She is told he will be adopted and she finds a job as a cleaner at the local railway station.  She steals a baby coming through on a train from a car of dozens of babies. Stumbling into the woods she is rescued by a German Circus owner at winter training.  Here she meets Astrid.

Astrid is the daughter of a Jewish family who for centuries has owned a Circus in Europe.  She has chosen to marry a young German man who is becoming an officer and she leaves her family and her trapeze artistry.   Her husband wishes to become an SS officer and thus divorces Astrid.  She cannot find her family yet returns to the winter site to help train the artists in the German Circus.  The circus is having a rough go of it financially working around the war and yet still in the spring begins its tour.  Lots of hiding and working out and scary circumstances to endure.

As these stories come together the two women create a bond as Astrid teaches Noa and Noa risks for the sake of the baby and for everyone’s future.  In such difficult circumstances, it is truly astounding the outcome and the resolution of this story.

THE ORPHAN’S TALE is not a difficult read and I think many, many readers would enjoy the story and learning about the circus trains of another time.  The capturing of the prejudice and the thinking of the time by Germans and by the Frenchmen of the countryside played well with the problems of being Jewish and of being in the Circus.  They were not gypsies, they were talented, well trained artists.

Another opportunity to look at history within a story and I believe High School students would also enjoy this read and seeing what it takes to “save” people for the future and how to change minds.   TLC Book Tours http://tlcbooktours.com/2016/12/pam-jenoff-author-of-the-orphans-tale-on-tour-februarymarch-2017/ sent me this e-book for review and I can highly recommend THE ORPHAN’S TALE.

Pam Jenoff:

“Pam Jenoff is the author of several novels, including the international bestseller The Kommandant’s Girl, which also earned her a Quill Award nomination. Pam lives with her husband and three children near Philadelphia where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.” (From TLC Books)

Pam Jenoff Facebook
Pam Jenoff Web
Pam Jenoff Twitter

“Jenoff expertly performs a pirouetting tale worthy of a standing ovation. A circus of hidden Jews, a powerful friendship, The Orphan’s Tale proves that the human spirit defies hate, fear, and gravity with a triumphant ta-da!” —Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children”

Related:
Adolfo Kaminsky A Forgers Life
The Mapmaker’s Children
Hannah Coulter