NEVER HAVE I EVER by Joshilyn Jackson: A Review

Rarely do I read books described as “thrillers.” Either they don’t deliver or the thrill part is so good that it makes me anxious. Never Have I Ever falls into the latter category. This 2019 novel kept me on the edge of my chair and turning pages late into the night.

An excellent, suspenseful read

The story begins with a book club meeting (definitely a plus), and a strange woman who comes to the door wanting to join the group. This new-to-the-neighborhood woman, Roux, is as exotic as her name, especially to the mundane every-day housewives and mothers gathered at Amy’s house for book club. Time magazine calls this a novel with “dramatic reveals about [each] woman’s complex histories.” As the story progresses we meet up with blackmail. family secrets, relationships, second marriages, and step parenting issues.

It is a story of two women, both complex, compelling characters. Amy, the protagonist, the “good guy,” or is she? and Roux, the antagonist, the “bad guy, is she ever! plot against each other as they play out a dangerous game started that fateful night at the book club meeting.

Who knew what lurked in Roux’s past? Who knew the dark secret Amy was hiding? The women of the book club, although secondary characters are well-developed and integral to the progression of the twists and turns of the plot. And the ending–oh the ending –is both exciting and satisfactory.

This is a thriller I highly recommend. It was a “darned good read.”

I Regret to Say…

…that the on-line book club, Powerful Women Readers (PWR) is folding due to busy schedules and work obligations on the part of many of its members. THIS BLOGGING SITE, however, WILL CONTINUE. To be sure you get posts, reviews and other cool stuff included here, be sure to click “follow” if you haven’t already done so.

The last few get-togethers of the PWR book club were sparsely attended, and although the food and fellowship has been great, sadly many of our members simply do not have the time to read or at least to read “assigned” books.

It is with a sad heart that I bring to a close the book club originally established back so many years ago as an offshoot of the Alvin Chapter of AAUW, but I hope you, dear friends, will keep in touch through e-mail and perhaps through following this blog at https://powerfulwomenreaders.wordpress.com.

KEEP ON READING!

Rae

THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST: A NOVEL: A Review

To tell you what a good read this book was, keep in mind that I read it in a day and a half in a week I didn’t have any time to read in.  It was a fast read; it was an engaging read–I couldn’t wait to get back to it; and it was an informative, actually educational ,read.  And, all this in a novel!

This 2016 publication by Ann Hood includes everything I enjoy in a novel: It was about a book club; it was about a middle age woman whose husband was a cad; it was about friendship and was character driven.  The characters, both major and minor are vividly depicted, and the reader cares about each one. The relationships dissected were mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, and friends and lovers–which all make good reading.

To quote one critic, the novel is a “celebration of all that books awaken within us: joy, love, wisdom, loss, and solace.” There are enough twists and turns to satisfy even this reader who demands them, and Hood is a natural storyteller. It is a book for book clubs, specifically and book lovers, generally.

A bonus in the novel is the description of  year’s worth of the book club’s discussions on the selections of the year’s theme, “The book that matters most to me”, some of which I had not read.  The books discussed (linked to the characters who chose them) are: Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, Anna Karrenina, One Hundred Years of Solitude, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Slaughterhouse Five.   The mystery and revelation involved in the protagonist’s choice is a wonderful “touch,” leaving a twist for the last few pages.

This is an exceptionally satisfying read, stuffed full of the “good stuff” that makes us choose novels as well as a book you will enjoy on many levels.