“Check Off ‘B’: The Beekeeper’s Daughter: A Review

In my Alphabet Challenge, which thankfully has no time limits or goals on it, I have read the book for the letter ‘B’.  Santa Montefiore’s The Beekeeper’s Daughter was a book due at the public library which I finished up (just in time) and counted as part of the challenge. An experienced writer, Montefiore presents a story of two romances (mother’s and daughter’s ) that span the settings of England during WWII and 1973 New England.

Grace Hamblin is the beekeeper’s daughter, living in England and who experiences a love that can never be fulfilled. Trixie, her daughter falls in love with Jasper, a singer in a band “on the brink of stardom.” He is part of the British Music Invasion of the seventies. Trixie’s story and Grace’s story (the latter told in flashbacks) have more in common than either could suspect. Both are searching for “lost love.”  “To find  what they are longing for, they must confront the past, unravel the lies told long ago, and open their hearts to each other.”

This novel is a very good read, engaging with many twist and turns, and good old-fashioned “escapism.”

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TWO RECENT READS–Morningstar:Growing up With Books and Playing with Fire: REVIEWS

The following two books were ones I read purely for escape while waiting for my delayed-by-ice semester to start:

First, Morningstar:Growing Up with Books a 2017 publication by Ann Hood, was a slim volume which needs to be read with one’s TBR list close by. The book might be described as a memoir organized by what the author was reading at various stages of her life. I had read her earlier novel, The Book That Matters Most, and thoroughly enjoyed it, sharing it with friends at my book club, so when I saw it displayed at the library, I checked it out. Hood grew up in a household that “didn’t foster a love of literature but discovered literature anyway. Sometimes lonely as a child she experienced “the companionship of books.” She read eclectically, pouring equally over classics, bestsellers, and books that were “not so nice,” her mother’s description. Because it was so short, it was a quick read and a unique one. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves books and is interested in other people who love them too.

Tess Gerritsen’s 2015 novel is one I found at Half Price Books.  As a fan of the TNT series, Rissoli and Isles, selecting Playing with Fire, was a no-brainer.  The cover alone was enough to capture my interest. Gerritsen employs great skills of characterization, and her plots and sub-plots combine psychological thriller appeal as well as mystery, action, and plenty of twists and turns. Beginning in the US and continuing in Venice, Julia, the protagonist, is soon caught up in espionage and violence, something she never dreamed a concert violinist would experience.  The intertwining stories of the modern-day professional violinist and the Jewish holocaust-era composer provide good reading and good mystery.

SUNDAY (EVENING) POST

Back to my traditional format for the Sunday (Evening) Post.

Books I have finished since the last post:

Emerald City, a book of short stories by Jennifer Egan, author of Manhattan Beach (to be reviewed this coming week)

Boy, Snow, Bird, a strange, really different novel (also to be reviewed this coming week)

Uncommon Type, short stories by Tom Hanks (reviewed recently on this blog)

Playing With Fire by Tess Gerritsen, author of “Rissoli and Isles,” TV series (book to be reviewed soon)

Barkskins  by Annie Proulx, author of The Shipping News

Continuing to Read:

Finishing Strong

Anticipating Reading: End of Life Book Club, recommended by a blogger friend; and Where’d You Go, Bernadette, my Third Tuesday Book Club selection for March

To be completely honest, I had started several of the books finished earlier in my down time when the start of my semester was delayed by icy weather, but once the semester was underway, much of the time I would have used for reading was spent grading, planning, and creating and typing handouts. We hosted our Bible Study/Support Group on Thursday, and a day was dedicated to shopping for new slacks for school, then returning two of the pairs two days later. It was a busy week, but My Better Half and I accomplished two major projects, including a session with the plumber and a session with our “computer guy”/ friend who checked out our security and “got us up to speed.” It promises to be another busy week, and I can hardly wait to see my class Wednesday and tell them what a wonderful job they did on the three minor writing assignments they did last time. It always is a blessing when you have such wonderful “raw material” to shape into excellent writers. Enjoy your week and KEEP ON READING!   

 

The Alphabet Reading Challenge: ALL THE MISSING GIRLS, A Review

Around the next-to-the-last week in January, I took on the challenge of reading a book whose title began with each letter of the alphabet.  I did this as an overlap challenge with my January six book challenge, and have “retired” several of the letters, but not necessarily posted any reviews of the books. Today I want to review Megan Miranda’s All the Missing Girls. Obviously, it is a mystery, but its uniqueness lies in that it is told backwards. It was published in 2016, and I found it at Half Price Books.

Nicollete Farrell, the protagonist, receives a phone call from her brother, Daniel, saying their father is rapidly declining and asking her to come home. Ten years before, she had left Cooley Ridge, a “town full of liars,” and set out on a new path and had begun a new life. She is satisfied with her current status and her engagement to a prominent attorney.

During her teen years, her best friend, Corrine Prescott, had mysteriously disappeared, and when she returns and runs into her old boyfriend, Tyler, she meets his now-girlfriend, who also mysteriously disappears. All the memories, and all the details of Corrine’s disappearance flood back, as do old feelings for Tyler.

There are many suspects, including Tyler, her brother Daniel, and her confused and sometimes incoherent father, who have been questioned in both disappearances.  Was there foul play or another case of a teen runaway?

The story is told in reverse, “keeping readers on the edge their seats until the last page is turned.” There are too many secrets which are unburied, and the whole mess is complicated by efforts to protect and to be protected from the truth. The author presents the question, “How well can we know other people–and ourselves”?