One Day in December reads like a more modern take on Bridget Jones’ Diary. Set in London, Laurie and Sarah are best friends and flat mates. While riding a double-decker bus home from work one afternoon, 20-something Laurie sees a young man waiting at a bus stop. Their eyes meet and it’s love at first sight for both of them. Yet, they don’t actually meet because the bus continues driving its route. Laurie is afraid she will ever find “bus boy” again. It’s only when Sarah brings her new boyfriend home to meet Laurie that they actually meet: “bus boy” is Sarah’s new beau! Of course, Laurie and Jack (“bus boy’s” real name) can’t acknowledge that they fell in love at first sight and the threesome triangle gets tangled and awkward. The novel follows the three friends for the next ten years as they mature and weave in and out of relationships and jobs. This is an enjoyable romantic read that had me hooked even while guessing how it would end. Fun!
Ana and Tom Bacon are a married couple facing down bankruptcy. Living “high on the hog”, Tom, a trader on Wall Street makes a disastrous mistake and loses his job. Ana walks out on hers after her boss makes an unwanted move on her. The plan is to for both to take out million dollar life insurance policies, and Tom to fake his death so Ana can collect. But he’s turned down due to mental illness in the family, so Ana must fake her own death instead. She goes over the rail while on a cruise, but was it planned or did her husband help her along? Ryan Monahan is investigating the claim, and searches for the truth. A few of the elements seem a little too forced, Ana’s father is beaten up by gang members in Brazil who demand money, for one. But on the whole the action is well paced and the conclusion is satisfying.
Many of you have probably heard in the news about Anna Delvey the “fake heiress” who conned fancy hotels and hedge fund managers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. If like me you read the New York magazine article about her then I am sure you were fascinated with just how exactly she managed to pull that off. When My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams (a former friend of Anna’s who she conned out of around 70 grand) hit the shelves, I was dying to read it and here are the reasons why:
- I wanted to know how she convinced everyone that she had all of this money.
- I wanted to hear some crazy story about Anna’s past life that lead her to such treachery (perhaps she was stolen at birth by a crazy mountain man and had to escape and was just trying to have some fun?).
- I wanted to know in detail how she was able to get away with it for so long and why she got caught.
Although Williams’s book isn’t bad and gives some inside info on who Anna was and how she pulled of this scandal, it does not deliver on providing all of the juicy information that one might want…or maybe the story just isn’t that fascinating? Half of the book is over-descriptive explanations of the scenery of the hotel in Morocco where Delvey convinced Williams to foot the bill for the sixty thousand dollar vacation, and the other half is anxiety-inducing and exhaustive play by play of months and months of text messages and e-mails between the two women wherein Delvey plays around with Williams and leads her to believe that she will get her money back.
Honestly, this book is entertaining enough and an easy read and definetly brings home the message that people are not always who they say that they are (duh!). I’m glad that I read it – and I am glad that Williams got her money back…sort of.
Ruth Ware’s latest novel is set in an isolated mansion in Scotland. Rowan has just applied to be a nanny and travels from London for an interview. She has been working for low wages in a day care and is hoping this job will give her the boost she is looking for. She is hired and left on her own with the two youngest daughters on her second day there when the parents are called away on a business trip. She knows there is a chance the house is strange or haunted (!) as the mother indicated such in her advertisement for the post. Not only is the house creepy and weird things occurring immediately upon her arrival, but the architect parents have updated the house so it operates using the latest technology- the ‘Happy” app. All of the lights, HVAC, and refrigerator are controlled through this app. There are also cameras in every room. The novel starts ‘at the end’ as Rowan is writing from prison having been arrested for the murder of one of the children. “Turn of the Key” is pure creepy atmosphere with an unexpected twist at the last chapter.
There are a number of interesting podcasts for kids and teen literature, according to an article by a former children’s librarian, Gwen Vanderhage, who now works for Brodart. Check this out for a list of podcasts that she has recommended…