Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Cottage by the Sea

November 7, 2018

aa bookDebbie Macomber’s latest novel centers around Annie Marlow, a young woman who experiences a heartbreaking loss, and compensates by moving back to a place she visited in summers past, where she felt both safe and happy. In the small town of Oceanside, in the Pacific Northwest, Annie is able to start over, making new friends and meeting a kind man, Keaton, that she finds herself attracted to. But when she experiences the chance of a lifetime, Annie may not be able to reconcile her professional life with her personal life. Macomber pens a “feel good” story that the reader can become immersed in and shut out the outside world for a spell.

Sea Prayer

October 7, 2018

aa bookThis slim volume by Khaled Hosseini addresses the heart-breaking plight of the Syrian families attempting to escape the horrible conditions of their homeland. It is a letter from a father to his young son, where he laments the fact that the boy is too young to have known the beautiful country he grew up in, and describes all the wonderful aspects of his (the father’s) childhood. Dan William’s beautiful illustrations are a perfect match to the text, and after reading Sea Prayer, one can’t help but feel incredible empathy for the Syrian refugees. Hosseini is donating his profits from the book to organizations serving refugees, an honorable gesture. A must read.

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.


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