SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAY: INTROS/TEASERS – “DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today I am featuring one of my newer books from a favorite author:  Daughters-in-Law, by Joanna Trollope.

 

 

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Intro:  From the front pew, Anthony had an uninterrupted view of the back of the girl who was about to become his third daughter-in-law.  The church had a wide aisle, and a broad carpeted space below the shallow chancel steps, where the four little bridesmaids had plopped themselves down, in the pink silk nests of their skirts, during the address, so that there was a clear line of sight between Anthony and the bridal pair.

The bride, tightly swathed in ivory satin, seemed to Anthony to have the seductively imprisoned air of a landlocked mermaid.  Her dress fitted closely—very closely—from below her shoulders to her knees and then fanned out into soft folds, and a fluid little train, which spilled carelessly down the chancel steps behind her.  Anthony’s gaze traveled slowly from the crown of her pale cropped head, veiled in gauze and scattered with flowers, down to her invisible feet, and then back up again to rest on the unquestionably satisfactory curves of her waist and hips.  She has, Anthony thought, a gorgeous figure, even it is improper for her almost father-in-law to think such a thing.  Gorgeous.

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Teaser:  Luke took Charlotte to Venice for their honeymoon.  The man who had preceded Luke in Charlotte’s life had worked in the City, on a busy and hugely successful trading floor, and his taste in holidays ran to Thailand and the Maldives, just as his leisure tastes had included cross-dressing and cocaine (p. 35).

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Blurb:  As Anthony and Rachel Brinkley welcome their third daughter-in-law to the family, they don’t quite realize the profound shift that is about to take place. For different reasons, the Brinkleys’ two previous daughters-in-law hadn’t been able to resist Rachel’s maternal control and Anthony’s gentle charm and had settled into their husbands’ family without rocking the boat.

But Charlotte—very young, very beautiful, and spoiled—has no intention of falling into step with the Brinkleys and wants to establish her own household. Soon Rachel’s sons begin to think of their own houses as home and of their mother’s house as simply the place where their parents live—a necessary and inevitable shift of loyalties that threatens Rachel’s sense of herself, breaks Anthony’s heart, and causes unexpected consequences in all the marriages. Then a crisis brings these changes to the surface, and everyone has to learn what family love means all over again.

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What do you think?  Does it pique your interest?  Would you keep reading?

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REVIEW: THE THIRD WIFE, BY LISA JEWELL

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Our story begins in Islington, England, in April 2011, when a young woman named Maya, in a state of inebriation and possible confusion, steps in front of a bus and is killed.

Adrian Wolfe was her husband, but she was his third wife. Like a serial adulterer or serial monogamist, he had the ability to move on whenever he felt as though the bloom had faded from his love life. Never mind that he had a total of five children: Luke and Cat with his first wife, Susie, and Otis, Pearl, and Beau with his second wife Caroline.

Now with Maya’s death on his conscience, we see Adrian wallowing in his grief and asking the unanswerable questions. Did Maya purposely step in front of the bus, or did some action by others drive her to it? When Adrian finds out about a series of vicious e-mails that someone had been sending to Maya, addressed to “Dear Bitch,” he wants to learn more.

When a mysterious woman who calls herself Jane appears in his life, on the pretext of adopting Maya’s cat, he wonders if there is a connection somehow.

A sweeping tale about learning to live with the consequences of one’s own actions, and also figuring out how to reinvent one’s own life in light of this learning, The Third Wife has multiple narrators and time periods that flow back and forth, from 2010 to the present. As the story unfolds, we learn more about each of the characters and begin to understand more about Maya’s actions, her thoughts, and what was going on with her at the end. We also see Adrian coming to terms with his own behavior and how he reframes his choices in order to make them fit with the fairytale narrative he has written for himself. A 5 star read for me, it will appeal to those who enjoy stories about family and relationships.

REVIEW: THE SOUND OF GLASS, BY KAREN WHITE

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Our story begins in 1955 with Edith Heyward, in Beaufort, South Carolina, where she secretly works on a project up in the attic of the old antique home, worrying about her husband’s return from his trip. It is obvious that she is afraid of her husband, and the bruises tell us more.

Nearby, her young son CJ is playing. With the breezes come the sound of the wind chimes scattered all around; Edith makes them from sea glass.

When two tragedies occur that night, everything changes for Edith.

Fast forward to 2014: we meet Merritt Heyward, whose husband Cal, the grandson of Edith, has died. She has left her home in Maine, as she has inherited the family home in Beaufort. Merritt has her own secrets and fears, and she just wants to curl up alone in the old house and decide what to do next. But will the stream of visitors change everything for her? Why is her deceased father’s wife Loralee there with her ten-year-old son Owen? What is her agenda, and what are the secrets she is keeping?

The Sound of Glass is a lovely, atmospheric tale full of family secrets, revealing them one by one, like unpeeling an onion. But will the price of the revelations be worth it in the long run?

The characters were the kind that grip your heart and make you feel every available emotion, the ones you must feel for the mother (Loralee), who always has a bright smile and a humorous Southern saying, but who has taken a difficult journey for her son; for Merritt, leaving behind the dark shadows of her life with Cal, but holding tight to the secrets until her heart opens again in the presence of the wonderful new people in the life she has fallen into. And then there was Gibbes, who was the kind of brother-in-law who could see beyond the surface and realize what those around him needed.

Was everything that happened to them a coincidence? There were connections and threads that seemingly bound many of them together, some before they were born. What is the meaning of that kind of serendipity? A wonderful story that made me laugh and cry, and close the final page wishing I could read more about them all. Five stars.

 

REVIEW: THE DAUGHTER, BY JANE SHEMILT

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When fifteen-year-old Naomi Malcolm failed to come home after her school play one night in Bristol, England, her parents, Jen and Ted Malcolm, both doctors, firmly believe that she will come home on her own. But they do call in the police after she has been missing for several hours.

The year is 2009, and as we follow the journey of the family, friends, and police, the answers seem to grow even more elusive.

For Naomi had her secrets, and it would be a long time before they are all revealed. And even fourteen months later, when Jen is living alone in the cottage in Dorset that she had inherited from her mother, we are still pulling back the layers of who Naomi was and what motivated her. In fact, Ted himself has been keeping a number of secrets, some of which he revealed early on, but the more significant ones were slow in coming out.

Ed and Theo, the twin brothers who were seventeen, have their own issues, and we gradually learn what is behind their anger and frustration.

Would Ted and Jen each have to face their own culpability in how events unfolded? Could their busy schedules and their trust in what their children told them have led to everything that happened?

It is not surprising that Ted and Jen would separate, nor is it a shock to discover that some secrets could have led to a resolution sooner if the characters had been forthright.

Jen is our first person narrator, and she tells the story, going backward and forward in time, from 2009 to 2011. In the end, just when I thought all the secrets were out, there is another shocking reveal. I enjoyed The Daughter: A Novel, but the sweeping narrative sometimes felt repetitive and sluggish. 4.5 stars.

SERENDIPITOUS TUESDAY: INTROS/TEASERS – “EVERY FIFTEEN MINUTES”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today I am excited to share excerpts from one of my new downloads:  Every Fifteen Minutes, by Lisa Scottoline.

 

 

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Intro:  I’m a sociopath.  I look normal, but I’m not.  I’m smarter, better, and freer, because I’m not bound by rules, law, emotion, or regard for you.

I can read you almost immediately, get your number right away, and push your buttons to make you do whatever I want.  I don’t really like you, but I’m so good at acting as if I do that it’s basically the same thing.  To you.

I fool you.

I fool everybody.

I’ve read that one out of twenty-four people is a sociopath, and if you ask me, the other twenty-three of you should be worried.  One out of twenty-four people is 4 percent of the population, and that’s a lot of sociopaths.  Anorexics are 3 percent, and everybody talks about them.  Schizophrenics are only 1 percent, but they get all the press.  No one’s paying any attention to sociopaths, or they think we’re all killers, which is a misconception.

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Teaser:  Eric hustled down the hospital corridor, followed by two medical students on their psych rotation, a female and a male talking among themselves.  He felt confident that he could protect them, and himself, without a gun. (p. 4).

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Blurb:  Dr. Eric Parrish is the Chief of the Psychiatric Unit at Havemeyer General Hospital outside of Philadelphia. Recently separated from his wife Alice, he is doing his best as a single Dad to his seven-year-old daughter Hannah. His work seems to be going better than his home life, however. His unit at the hospital has just been named number two in the country and Eric has a devoted staff of doctors and nurses who are as caring as Eric is. But when he takes on a new patient, Eric’s entire world begins to crumble. Seventeen-year-old Max has a terminally ill grandmother and is having trouble handling it. That, plus his OCD and violent thoughts about a girl he likes makes Max a high risk patient. Max can’t turn off the mental rituals he needs to perform every fifteen minutes that keep him calm. With the pressure mounting, Max just might reach the breaking point. When the girl is found murdered, Max is nowhere to be found. Worried about Max, Eric goes looking for him and puts himself in danger of being seen as a “person of interest” himself. Next, one of his own staff turns on him in a trumped up charge of sexual harassment. Is this chaos all random? Or is someone systematically trying to destroy Eric’s life? New York Times best selling author Lisa Scottoline’s visceral thriller, Every Fifteen Minutes, brings you into the grip of a true sociopath and shows you how, in the quest to survive such ruthlessness, every minute counts.

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What do you think?  Does it grab you?  Would you keep reading?

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SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAY: BOOK BEGINNINGS/FRIDAY 56 – “THE IDEA OF LOVE”

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Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s spotlight is shining on an ARC from Patti Callahan Henry:  The Idea of Love.

 

 

 

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Beginning:  In his mind, he was already writing her—the woman who stood at the patio table with her eyes closed and her face lifted to the sky.  She was only a subject, or more precisely, an object.  Her slumped shoulders folded inward and her beautiful mouth turned down.

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56:  Ella felt the panic of loneliness well up behind her chest, but she smiled anyway, because that’s what she’d always been taught to do.  “You are so sweet to invite me in and let me tell you my crazy story but I need to get on home.  I just wanted to…meet you.”

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Blurb:  As we like to say in the south,

“Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
Ella’s life has been completely upended. She’s young, beautiful, and deeply in love–until her husband dies in a tragic sailing accident while trying save her. Or so she’ll have everyone believe. Screenwriter Hunter needs a hit, but crippling writers’ block and a serious lack of motivation are getting him nowhere. He’s on the look-out for a love story. It doesn’t matter who it belongs to.
When Hunter and Ella meet in Watersend, South Carolina it feels like the perfect match, something close to fate. In Ella, Hunter finds the perfect love story, full of longing and sacrifice. It’s the stuff of epic films. In Hunter, Ella finds possibility. It’s an opportunity to live out a fantasy – the life she wishes she had because hers is too painful. And more real. Besides. what’s a little white lie between strangers?

But one lie leads to another, and soon Hunter and Ella find themselves caught in a web of deceit. As they try to untangle their lies and reclaim their own lives, they feel something stronger is keeping them together. And so they wonder: can two people come together for all the wrong reasons and still make it right?

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I am eager to dive into this one.  This author is one of my new favorites, and I can’t wait.  I also love the cover.  What do you think?

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REVIEW: THE GUEST COTTAGE, BY NANCY THAYER

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Zach and Sophie Anderson have the perfect life in their gorgeous Boston home, with their two wonderful children, Jonah, 15, and Lacey, 10. Or at least it seems to be perfect on the surface.

So when Sophie finds a suspicious notation on Zach’s calendar, she has to confront him about it. And he is all too eager to share that he is in love with Lila, his associate, and wants a divorce.

Reeling from the news, Sophie decides to pull an “Aunt Fancy,” a term she uses to describe the wild and crazy ways that her now deceased aunt dealt with things: she took some money from her inheritance from Aunt Fancy and rented a guest cottage on Nantucket for the summer.

In nearby Cambridge, Trevor Black, who runs his own computer business from his rented apartment, and whose wife has tragically died, is raising his four-year-old son and facing some challenges with Leo’s behavior. He decides that a change will be a good thing. So off they go to Nantucket…to a cottage they have rented.

Imagine their surprise to discover that they have each rented the same cottage–from the Svenson cousins who are not big on checking what the other is doing–and will have to find some sort of compromise. After they each check the other’s references, they give it a try.

What follows is an intriguing adventure that leads the adults and the children on an unexpected summer of discovery and a big start toward healing and starting over.

But there will also be lots of visitors to the cottage for each of them, from Sophie’s friend, the aggressive Angie, who makes a play for Trevor…and then tries to reel in Hristo, the wealthy Bulgarian who has his own yacht.

Then comes the mother of one of Leo’s friends, Candace, who boldly announces to Sophie that she and Trevor “belong” to each other. But is that the truth, or wishful thinking on her part?

Right away, I was intrigued and found The Guest Cottage: A Novel a lovely mix of nostalgic moments, possibilities of new love, and a wide variety of adventures that were fun to read about. What happens by summer’s end is the stuff of romance and the unexpected treasures of life. I enjoyed this one a lot, despite its predictability; it felt like a true comfort read that left me smiling. 4.5 stars.