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Posts Tagged ‘Women’s Fiction’

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.

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A MOTHER LIKE MINE: A novel ~Kate Hewitt

Monday, September 4th, 2017

A MOTHER LIKE MINE just surrounds the reader with a comfortable story about a mother – daughter relationship that has been sorely damaged over time and yet it has been primed and opened up for a new beginning.  The story is situated in a small coastal village in the UK and both women have a command of their feelings and the ability to have complete and honest conversation.   It is a refreshing story. There is hope.

Abby Rhodes has lost her ability to stay in university to become a Vet because she now has a very young son and she has lost her fiancé to an accident.  She returns home to assist her grandmother in keeping a small café open to the tourists, hikers, and beach visitors.  They are just holding on and doing okay when her grandmother has a first heart attack.    Abby’s mother, Laura, left Abby with grandmother when she was two and so the struggle continues now with her delightful son, Noah.  The future feels like more struggles ahead.

Surprise!  Laura has returned home to stay after working her way to the US and recently has been let go of her position as a Night Club assistant manager and hostess.  She feels that she is ready to face a good future and she wants to be reunited with her mother and child.  Her focus is totally on the future and she does not want to revisit the past and all of her mistakes and troubles.  The duo is off to a hard start and then Gran has another huge heart attack.  They are forced to have the hard conversations and seek out a future.

The community is very fun that surrounds this family and there are quirky and delightful characters coming into the café for coffee and toasties, a number of friendships are developing.  I liked the language and the poignant and satisfying conversations as feelings were revealed and explored.   Quite a delightful read and it arrived just in time for a rainy weekend and a time to curl up and read.

Booklist says:

“At turns introspective and exhilarating, this novel proves that it’s never too late to start over.”

Kate Hewitt is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty books, including the Hartley-by-the-Sea novels Rainy Day Sisters and Now and Then Friends, and more recently, the Willoughby Close series. A former New Yorker, she now lives in Wales with her husband five children. She also writes as Katharine Swartz.

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FAMILY TREE: A Relationship Story ~Susan Wiggs

Monday, August 15th, 2016

“Susan Wiggs is the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of more than fifty novels, with her books in print in thirty countries.  A native of a small town in upstate New York, she now lives with her husband at the water’s edge on an island in Puget Sound, and in good weather can commute to her writers’ group in a twenty-one-foot motorboat.  A former teacher and graduate of the University of Texas and Harvard, Susan is also an avid hiker, an amateur photographer, a good skier, and cautious mountain biker – yet her favorite form of exercise is curling up with a good book. (From the book jacket)

FAMILY TREE is just a lovely read and it was such a pleasure to curl up and enjoy each page on a rainy summers day.  The story unfolds in a small rural community in Vermont, on a farm dedicated to Maple Syrup and healthy lifestyles.  Annie is the girl who drives herself to do everything well and is determined to follow her passion into a big career in the media.  She has learned under the careful tutelage of her Grandmother the ‘Art of Baking’ and she has an innate skill for the craft.

FAMILY TREE is a generational story, which includes the art of creating Maple Syrup to the art of building family relationships that grow and do not consume.  There is considerable wisdom shared in the gentle writing style through the school years, college years and into career building.  Will family patterns repeat and continue into future problems?   What will be success for the family, each character and for the community?

I learned a great deal about the small family farmer, the maple sugar industry, distilling and cooking.  The book came complete with recipe cards for some of the amazing meals served up between the pages.  The book is also about persevering and adapting to change happening to and around each of the characters. A very nice study and I am sure many readers will want this story to come true for them selves.

When I leave the movies it takes a minute or two to come back into the present tense.  It is the same with FAMILY TREE.  The story suspends time and relaxes the reader; taking them away from their own life and problems delightfully.  I am sure it is another bestseller in the making and I can recommend it.  I have not made any of the recipes but I did enjoy FAMILY TREE with several cozy cups of tea.

TLC Book Tours sent me a print copy of this book for review.

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A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD: A Novel ~Anne Tyler

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Anne Tyler won the Pulitzer Prize a few years ago and I have been a fan of her work since I read SAINT MAYBE .  When I heard that A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD was nominated for a Man Booker Prize I could not wait, I had to purchase a copy and read it right away.

I was not disappointed, it was just a wonderful family story and I cozied into a comfortable chair with a blanket and a big glass of water.   Two whole days of reading, and I hardly moved it was just that good.  Now as I am writing my thoughts about the book, I see that several books of summary and analysis are already on the market to accompany this good read.

We are once again in Baltimore, Maryland and studying the dynamics of an interesting family.  Four children, a mom and dad all within the HOUSE designed and built by paternal grandfather.  Once again it is a story where the house is a focal character and it’s location is important.   It is son Denny who is the original focal point and he is quite a character and concerns his parents mightily.  I have to admit at the start of the story he is worrisome to try and figure out; he is pivotal to the story and reveals the title of the story at the far end.  The back – stories are near the end of the book too and this makes for a grand amount of thinking about each character, how they got into the story and what is the theme that is truly being exposed and expounded upon.   The book group questions included in the book are mostly about this strange order and why it made the reader work harder to figure the family and motivations.  The characters just seemed nicely odd and interesting.

Abby is a retired social worker and the mother of the four children.  She invites lots of needy folks to the family home and feeds them especially for Thanksgiving.  Red is her contractor husband who is patient, kind and gruff who brought them all to live in his father’s incredible house.  The two older girls work at doing the right thing and keeping the family solidly together and try to help Denny remain a part of the family.   Stem is the youngest and he works with Red and will take over the construction business when Dad retires.  Parents are starting to have health scares as they age and support systems make for mirthful occasions and interesting interplay.

I think folks will enjoy this book very much and I think it will make a great holiday gift or a good read to start off a new year.  I give it and Ms. Tyler high marks for this novel novel.

From the book:

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina.  This is her 17th novel.  Her 11th, BREATHING LESSONS, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. A member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, she live in Baltimore, Maryland.

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