Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Women in Sunlight

September 5, 2018

111 bookThe author of Under the Tuscan Sun, Frances Mayes has written another great novel based in the region of Tuscany. Three vibrant women, Julia, Camille and Susan, all in their 60s or 70s, meet at a new over-fifty-five community in North Carolina, where they are considering a possible purchase. However, they really hit it off, and Susan offers them a stay at her beach house. From there, she persuades the others to split a yearly rental fee for a villa in Tuscany. They agree, and have the time of their lives living in Italy. Mayes’ descriptions of Tuscany will leave you wanting to visit and perhaps move there; the residents are friendly, and the food is delicious. The points of view move from one character to another, including a fourth: Kit Raines, a young poet who lives across the street and is befriended by the American ladies. All in all, a very enjoyable story with a satisfying ending.

How to Walk Away

August 29, 2018

111 bookMargaret Jacobsen has everything going for her, the promise of a new job, her looks, and her new engagement to the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, her fiance is flying a small Cessna when he proposes, (she is petrified of flying, but he talks her into it) and  sudden high winds cause him to crash land. He walks away unscathed, but Margaret is not so lucky. Katherine Center explores the idea of “the perfect man” in this romance where the protagonist is forced to re-examine her idea of a partner “to have and to hold”. It is a feel good story, and one comes to appreciate the twists that life takes while you are making other plans…

Silent Hearts: a Novel

August 22, 2018

111 bookFarida Basra is living in Islamabad, Pakistan in 2001 with her family. She is employed as an interpreter and is proud of her work as a single woman and the sense of freedom it provides. Her father, however, arranges for her to marry someone outside their circle of acquaintances, an illiterate son of an Afghan strongman, since Farida has rejected all the former choices. She must then move with her husband Gul’s family to Kabul, Afghanistan, a long way from her home and family.

Liz Stoellner leaves her job as a university researcher to follow her professor husband to Kabul, where they take jobs at an American not for profit designed to help the Afghani women transition into post Taliban rule. Her life becomes intertwined with Farida’s as they become colleagues. Liz’s husband, however, doesn’t seem to value her reports on the women of the area and their problems. The reader discovers that there is more to him than meets the eye.

Gwen Florio paints a vivid picture of post 9/11 Afghanistan and a fictional window into the lives of Afghani men and women in her novel. The author has previously reported from several conflict zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia and is now a city editor for a Montana newspaper, so I would tend to trust her descriptions. I would recommend this novel for anyone wishing to get a glimpse into Afghani and Pakistani culture.

The Summer I Met Jack

August 15, 2018

111 bookMichele Gable pens a fictional account of a woman who had an affair with Jack Kennedy before he became president. Alicia, a maid in the Kennedy compound bewitches Jack, a charismatic young man among the Kennedy clan. He even proposes marriage to Alicia,  but his father Joe pays a Hollywood agent to lure Alicia away from the Kennedys and Jack especially. She becomes quite popular in the Hollywood crowd, dating many of the leading men of the time, but always keeps her love for Jack. The novel is lively, with good characterization by the author. A good beach read!

I’ll be Your Blue Sky

July 25, 2018

111 bookClare Hobbes is set to marry Zach, despite some strong misgivings. However, on the morning of the wedding day, Clare runs into an older woman on a park bench, who gives her some good advice: “No one should live with someone who scares her.” And Zach does in fact scare Clare with his intense emotions, anger and need to be almost in her head. As the older woman, Edith, relates her story of her own loving husband, Joseph, who was her “blue sky” or safe place, Clare finds the courage to call off the wedding. As the story progresses, she discovers some amazing attributes of Edith, although unfortunately, not until after Edith’s death. The novel flips back and forth in time between Edith’s and Clare’s stories, which is a perfect fit for this novel. I found it to be a wonderful read about relationships and life choices, penned by the author Marisa De Los Santos.

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