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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

ANOTHER BROOKLYN: A Young Adult Novel ~Jacqueline Woodson

Monday, August 29th, 2016

August is a young adult now with a PhD. in Anthropology who encounters a friend from the 1970s and it brings back memories of the friendships she had growing up in Brooklyn and how important Sylvia, Gigi, and Angela were to her life and the streets of their neighborhood.   It is here that we enter an almost dream sequence of events, which enable strength and survival though all the times of growing; creating a very special read.

“Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children, including the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DRAMING, which won the 2014 National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award.  Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.  She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.” (Cover)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down.  It just seemed to present so many discussion questions that I wanted to share with others.  I mentioned that TLC Book Tours http://tlcbooktours.com/2016/07/jacqueline-woodson-author-of-another-brooklyn-on-tour-august-2016/  had sent me a copy for review to my Children’s Librarian daughter and she said she knew the author well and has used Woodson’s books quite often with her middle school classes and “Yes! All her books include a trauma and are open to great discussions.”   I will share my uncorrected proof copy with her library.

August’s story travels from her beginnings in Tennessee to the adjustment of moving to New York.  From rural tranquil to noisy, dangerous city streets, she finally joined her brave and adventurous girl friends in feeling bold and happy when they were together,to coping with the advances of males.  August did not know for years that her mother back in Tennessee had died and she kept telling her younger brother that their mother was coming soon.  Father and brother got religion and the whole family always had enough food, there was that?

One of the reviews on the cover was by Ann Patchett, another best selling author and I had just finished reading her marvelous STATE OF WONDER, and I thought her description was so fabulous I needed to share:

“Another Brooklyn is a sort of fever dream, containing both the hard truths of life and the gentle beauty of memory.  The story of a young girl trying to find herself in the midst of so many conflicting influences and desires swallowed me whole.  Jacqueline Woodson has such an original vision, such a singular voice.  I loved this book.”

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Related:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Dancing In the Shadows
My Mothers Funeral

BROKEN GOUND: A Novel ~Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Broken Ground is a wonderful story, which started as a family story and as the author did her research expanded into a reveal about the historic deportations of Mexican Farm Workers from California in the 1930s.  This removal of immigrants was also described as “self-deportation” even when they had been born in the USA and had lived here all of their lives.  It proves to be a difficult story and a tarnished period of our history.  The writing is quite lavish and beautiful.

The story is about Ruth Warren a young widow who is finding a way out of the Oklahoma and Texas Dust Bowl with the assistance of her friend the local librarian.  Her life has not been easy and yet she steps onto a train to head west to a new life and a new future.  There is an emotional honesty to the story and the readers may find themselves holding their breath for Ruth’s safety and future.  Poverty and religious traditions keep a firm grasp on her life and the choices she is able to make, and yet she does find a future and hope.

When the character is able to question and is inquisitive there can be hope and resolution.  Change can happen.  The story is inspirational.  Together with her new friends there comes about a promising future.

“Karen Halvorsen Schreck’s novel SING FOR ME received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Her previous novels include WHILE HE WAS AWAY, a finalist for the 2012 Oklahoma Young Adult Book Award, and DREAM JOURNAL a 2006 Young Adult Book Sense Pick Her short stories have received various awards, including a Pushcart Prize and an Illinois Arts Council Grant.  Karen received her doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She lives with her family in Wheaton, Illinois.” (Cover)

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Larissa Ackerman | Claire McKinneyPR, LLC sent me a copy of BROKEN GROUND for review.  I am going to pass it on to neighbor right away, because I am sure she will enjoy this read as much as I did. The book already has 43 5 stars reviews on Amazon.

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A HOUSE FOR HAPPY MOTHERS: A Novel ~Amulya Malladi

Monday, June 20th, 2016

“Amulya Mulladi is the author of six novels, including The Mango Season and the Sound of Language. Her books have been translated into several languages, including Dutch, German, Spanish, Danish, Romanian, Serbian, and Tamil.  She has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in journalism and works as a marketing executive for a global medtech company.  She lives in Copenhagen with her husband and two children.  She loves to connect with readers on her Facebook page  and on her website at www.maulyamalladi.com.

“In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs—a loving husband, a career, and a home—but the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much—raising two children in a tiny hut, she and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads—but she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset—her womb—to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Together, the two women discover the best and the worst that India’s rising surrogacy industry has to offer, bridging continents and cultures to bring a new life into the world—and renewed hope to each other.”

I enjoyed reading this book very much and I learned a great deal about another culture and the trials of poverty  – more about what women need to do to support their children and to survive.  It came to me from TLC Book Tours   and I received a copy of it free from Amazon Prime First books.  I believe this book would expand other reader’s horizons and open eyes and hearts to troubling realities.

Mulladi deeply explores the feelings of these two women and includes the hormonal issues and how the society manipulates and individuals control others by their perceptions.  There are many writing devises explored to deeply touch each woman’s feelings and life.  How can there be true support miles apart and distanced by cultural experiences?  Lots to take in here and much to discover.  Who is actually making the money?  Oh yes! Once again we must follow the money and the real care.

Women are exploited in so many situations and here another one is exposed.  Is it a gift or is it abuse?  How do husbands support and love?  Is their relationship possible to be a friendship?  Must that remain separate?  How do the other members of the family interact and feel?  How do the social activists get involved and protect.

A great deal of depth in this story and many ideas to consider.  The author through the two women allows the reader into the idea and then the emotional fluctuations produce the outcome most hoped for and endured.  An informative and well – written story well worth considering and enjoying.

Related:
The Bounce
Scent of Butterflies
Trail of Broken Wings
The Last Conception