Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers

I couldn't wait to read this one. I read part one (Her Mother's Hope) this past summer and was waiting for an opportunity to purchase this one. I'm so glad I did. Francine Rivers is my favorite author. I love the way she writes, I love the way she tells the story, the way she puts you in the moment, the way she makes the characters so believable. This series is a bit different for her as it is a saga. The two books span 4 generations of women. As time goes on you can see how the sins of the father repeat on the next generations. Each woman does the best that she can with what she knows, but doesn't see how their actions harm the generation down. They each hope for better than they had. This book takes you further down, but then begins to find a place in healing. I wouldn't want you to read this book on its own. It is well worth it to start with the first one and read the two books one after the other. When it all comes together it makes sense.
I understand from the author's notes that this book was inspired by her own family history. It's not completely autobiographical, but there was an unresolved rift between her mother and grandmother that had her thinking. I think all families have secrets, past hurts that can haunt them. The characters in this series are completely believable. Being the audience you have the privilege of knowing everything, which gives you great insight and has you rooting for openness and resolution.  Well worth reading.

One Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury

I was not expecting to read a book based on the events of September 11th at Christmastime. I had requested this book from the library way back in September, but it took this long for a copy of it to come through. So no, I didn't read it over Christmas, I waited a few days. I think Kingsbury did a good job on it. It was difficult to read, because the scenes she describes still feel like yesterday even though it's 9 years later. It's vivid, and it brings back your own memories of that day. I will look for Beyond Tuesday Morning, the sequel in the new year. I'm curious to see how she handles the healing process for these characters.

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner

Jennifer Weiner is one of those authors that I know I like before I even pick up a new book by her. That being said, I had no idea what this book was about when I got it. I didn't read the jacket cover, I just opened up the book. I have to say it was different than I was expecting by an author I like so much. It just felt a little off. I still enjoyed the book. It certainly is a timely topic. The premise focuses on Sylvie, a senator's wife and what scandal is like for those in the public eye. If you are new to Jennifer Weiner's writing, I wouldn't recommend you read this one first. She has so many better novels and stories out there to read.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith

Unintentionally, I've found myself reading a number of books set in the time of the War of the Roses in England. It was a time period that I knew nothing about and if I'm honest found quite confusing with all of it's Richards, Johns, Edwards, Henrys, Margarets, Annes and Janes. I'm pretty sure I've got it figured out now.
This book was a neat journey in the 'what if' aspect of history. Richard of Glouster is known to have sired 2 illegitmate children, Katherine and John (and likely one more). No one knows who the mother of these children were, it was a well kept secret. Anne Easter Smith in her own research found note of a Katherine Haute who received a regular stipend from the Richard's household. She figures that this woman could have been the mother of his children. It is from there that this story is inspired.
I have to commend Easter Smith on a well written tale. She transitions from common language of the country people, to the more formal language of the courts quite fluently. It is a believable story and quite an enjoyable read. I look forward to reading more of her books and will look for them. This one was published in 2006 and I know there are 2 more she's written set in the same time period since.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

I've enjoyed Weisberger's novels in the past. She generally writes good chick lit. This one I found didn't live up to standard. It was a good premise for a story. Unfortunately, it was so jumpy and disjointed that it didn't play out as well as it could have. The premise of the story is this. Brooke is a nutritionist living in New York who has been supporting her husband, Julian, a musician. Julian becomes 'discovered' which throws their life into a whirlwind of stress and strain, pulling their marriage slowly apart. I wish it had been told better, it was entertaining at times.