Since I was away between July and August and so wanted to capture my rhapsodies about my reason for being away (Here’s to Twenty-Two!) when I got back, this issue of Salutations covers two of my all-time favorite months – SUMMER! In this first week of September – and yes, I am back to school already – it will do this slow-transitioner good to reminisce about her days in the hammock with a book! So here’s what I read in those two months:
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik
I’ve read and enjoyed Landvik before, but this one was a gem – a book about a book club that we discussed in my book club! These ‘Housewives’ had plenty of reason for anger – and also gratitude for the book club that saved each of them over the course of thirty years. Our book club – around for half that time, discussion about this book focused on our own gratitude. See what makes our book club work and how it saves me in I LOVE My Book Club!
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
I chewed through this psychological thriller that kept me guessing up to the end. Filled with human emotion and suspense, this book was a grabber that made me want to figure out every nuance. There’s a reason why this book has done so well, and I am glad I read it!
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Our book club chose two books that spanned decades this summer. Huh! I loved this story about a Russian aristocrat subjected to house arrest in a garret of a luxury motel. For decades from the Russian Revolution through the mid-fifties! It’s a premise that had me wondering how I might eke out a life spent within the confines of even the most lavish spaces. The Count did more than eke. He transformed from playboy to waiter, to father, and valued friend of those who had previously been his servants. I found him and this story both charming and inspiring!
Rosemary, The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson and The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
Rosemary Kennedy was the choice of my second book club in August, and when I went to my library, I couldn’t remember whether we were reading the ‘Missing’ or the ‘Hidden’ Kennedy. I think I can be forgiven since the books look so much alike. The cover photo was taken shortly before Joe Kennedy arranged her disastrous lobotomy in yet another attempt to fix this daughter with developmental delays. It would be easy to believe Rosemary was the least influential of the Kennedy’s since she was effectively institutionalized at age 22. But because of Rosemary, her siblings advanced the cause, understanding, rights, and opportunities for people with disabilities. It was good to read how her experiences changed things for others.
Sipped (The Penningtons Investigate Book 3) by C.T. Collier
Kate Collier is a writer friend who paints a picture of a college in our Finger Lakes where I’d never want to go. People get murdered there with frightening frequency! But amateur sleuths Kyle and Lissa are there to solve each crime. I hope next time, Lissa stays hale and healthy throughout, in addition to not taking crazy risks to unmask the murder(s)!
The Last Letter from Your Lover, by Jojo Moyes
I hope Jojo writes fast because I’ll reach for her books anytime I want thoughtful entertainment. This tale weaves two love stories – one over decades (again!), one contemporary. Chance, longing, pushing past bad choices, making your own way – they’re all themes that emerge with Jojo’s trademark verve.
Digging In by Loretta Nyhan
Here was a fun romp as widow Paige discovers a new passion and healing in gardening. Characters were engaging and flawed with a real-feel, and I liked the notion that finding something to stir interest can be a catalyst to push through grief. As this gardener will attest, it takes optimism to believe a plant will grow and thrive, so digging up your yard to plant a garden seems an apt metaphor for the sprouts of a new life.
I’ll be Your Blue Sky by Marisa de los Santos
Okay, here’s an author who needs to write faster! For me! I’ve loved all her books, and I always want more, more, more! But this one might mean more to you if you read Love Walked In and Belong to Me first because then you’ll already adore Clare and want her to make her best of all possible choices. You’ll also enjoy the harrowing choices the mysterious Edith makes and why she deeds her ‘blue sky house’ to Clare. Write more books, Marisa!
The Storyteller by Jodi Piccoult
When you finish the month with Jodi Piccoult, you can pretty much guarantee it was a good month. This one had more parallel stories – which seems yet another theme for the summer – and was told in my favorite multiple-points-of-view format that she always does so well. The subject – unspeakable crimes, guilt, retribution, forgiveness, and baking. Piccoult is the queen of moral dilemmas and creates humans in all their breathing, erring, and questioning glory. She’s always a good read – and I always need something light and fluffy to counterbalance the depth with which she explores her topics.
Stay tuned next month for the fluffy counterpoints…
And in this sunflower season, keep your eyes peeled for my own Come Back on free promotion – or pony up the $2.99 for your own Kindle copy or the heftier $16.95 for the paperback. Get it on Amazon. And please remember to drop a review on Amazon. A mere twenty words from you will help other readers find Come Back. (It’s got 43 reviews and a 4.7 rating today and edges nearer to the Amazon’s magic algorithm number so they’ll help promote it. So every review counts – and yours could be the one to hit the magic number!)