Saturday, June 11, 2011

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book by Kristin Hannah.  I remember being a fan back in the 90’s so I’m not sure why I stopped reading her books.  The interesting thing is that I’ve collected several of her books over the last couple of years and just haven’t read them.  I’ll have to remedy that because I’m still a fan.

Night Road has two narrators.  The first narrator is Jude, the mother of twins Mia and Zach.  She’s a very involved mother who defines herself by her children.  When senior year begins, she knows that she has to take control of her kids, making sure they apply to the right colleges and get good grades.  She hates that they want to go to parties and cautions them about driving drunk.  She reluctantly loosens the reigns but she hates every minute of it.  

The second narrator is Lexi.  She’s a teenager who moves in with her aunt after a string of foster homes.  Lexi meets Mia the first day of high school and the two become best friends.  She becomes a part of Mia’s family even though things change when she starts dating Zach.  One night, after a party, things change for everyone.  

While the novel was sad and tragic, there was always a bit of hope.  Ms. Hannah created three dimensional characters with lovely hopes and dreams.  The story read like a saga.  I knew something bad would happen but I was shocked at the ramifications from one event.  It’s a story that will suck you right in and leave you a little worn out at the end.  I highly recommend it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser

The Sweetest Thing, by Elizabeth Musser, is a story of friendship despite differences. It’s a story about how a life of faith can be tested and how a tragic loss can change a life, sometimes for the better.

Perri is a daughter of privilege. She grew up in Atlanta, in a community more or less immune to the depression plaguing the nation. At least that’s what Perri thought. Mary Dobbs is a teenager who has watched her family struggle her entire life. As the daughter of a pastor, she fully believes that God provides, because she’s experienced it in her daily life.

When Dobbs moves in with her aunt in Atlanta it is to give her the chance for a different kind of life. She meets Perri and after a family tragedy, becomes the one friend that Perri can really count on. The two girls experience highs and lows with Perri slowly growing in her relationship with Christ at the same time Dobbs begins to lose her faith, when old family secrets are revealed.

One lesson to take away from this book is that even in the darkest times, one little bit of God’s love, no matter what form it takes, can pull you out. I recommend this story to anyone who needs a reminder of that.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarity

I thoroughly enjoyed What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarity. It is an extremely well written novel about getting second chances and a fresh perspective. The novel flowed easily, even with three different stories being told. The focus was on Alice but I was just as moved by Alice’s sister, Elisabeth, and her story.

The story is fairly simple. Alice hits her head during a spin class and when she comes to, she can’t remember the last ten years of her life. She believes she is pregnant with her first child while in fact she is a mother of three and is in the process of a messy divorce. The Alice who wakes up is very different from the Alice who went to the spin class that morning. She doesn’t remember her children and doesn’t know why she and her husband are separated.

What the author does so well, is make us, the readers, care for the “new” version of Alice. She’s naive and sweet. She is encouraging and not bitter. The “old” version was frazzled and angry. While she may have had her reasons, I couldn’t help but hope that she would never get her memory back. I’ll remember this story for many years and have already passed the book along to another friend. I’m sure she’ll love it too.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

I almost gave up on The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton.  It was moving slowly, I just wasn’t in the mood, and the book was too long.  That’s what I thought anyway.  I’ll tell you upfront that I am totally happy that I kept with the book.  It is long, and it does move at a slow pace, but everything fits and the story is satisfyingly wrapped up in the end, with most of the mysteries being resolved.  

The story begins with Edie discovering a part of her mother’s life that she had never known.  As a young girl, Meridith was evacuated to the countryside during World War II.  During this time frame, she lived at Milderhurst Castle with the odd trio of Blythe sisters.  The novel jumps time frames, with the modern focusing on Edie discovering the secrets of the house, the sisters, and the mystery revolving around Mr. Blythe’s famous novel, “The True History of the Mud Man”.  The flashbacks to the past are narrated by Saffy Blythe, her twin sister Percy, and the young Juniper Blythe.  

The author does a wonderful job of making Milderhurst come alive, both during the war and in more modern days.  Each sister has their own dreams and secrets and yet you can feel the fierce protectiveness they have for each other and as a reader you know they would stick together, through anything.  When all is finally resolved, it all clicks and makes so much sense.  While parts are disturbing, and I may have a few nightmares about the Mud Man, I really feel that the story was completely satisfying.  I definitely recommend it, even if it takes you a while to read!