BOOKISH FRIDAY: “A WELL-BEHAVED WOMAN”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s 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 56D and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a book I have had since October 2018: 

A Well-Behaved Woman, by Therese Anne Fowler…

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Book Beginning:  When they asked her about the Vanderbilts and Belmonts, about their celebrations and depredations, the mansions and  balls, the lawsuits, the betrayals, the rifts—when they asked why she did the extreme things she’d done, Alva said it all began simply:  Once there was a desperate young woman whose mother was dead and whose father was dying almost as quickly as his money was running out.  It was 1874.

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Friday 56:  Alva stopped to let a fish cart pass in front of her.  She was so weary, and so hungry, and her troubles seemed to be multiplying by the minute.

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Synopsis:  Alva Smith, her southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America’s great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly wealthy but socially shunned Vanderbilts. Ignored by New York’s old-money circles and determined to win respect, she designed and built nine mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. But Alva also defied convention for women of her time, asserting power within her marriage and becoming a leader in the women’s suffrage movement.

With a nod to Jane Austen and Edith Wharton, in A Well-Behaved Woman Therese Anne Fowler paints a glittering world of enormous wealth contrasted against desperate poverty, of social ambition and social scorn, of friendship and betrayal, and an unforgettable story of a remarkable woman. Meet Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, living proof that history is made by those who know the rules—and how to break them.

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Would you keep reading? 

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE BOOK OF TWO WAYS”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s 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 56D and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a relatively new book:  The Book of Two Ways, by Jodi Picoult.

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Book Beginnings:  (Prologue)

My calendar is full of dead people.

When my phone alarm chimes, I fish it out from the pocket of my cargo pants.  I’ve forgotten, with the time change, to turn off the reminder.  I’m still groggy with sleep, but I open the date and read the names:  Iris Vale. Eun Ae Kim. Alan Rosenfledt. Marlon Jensen.

***

Friday 56:  Something vibrates deep inside me, a note I recognize as pain.  This is marriage, I realize.  A tuning fork of emotion.

***

Synopsis:  Everything changes in a single moment for Dawn Edelstein. She’s on a plane when the flight attendant makes an announcement: Prepare for a crash landing. She braces herself as thoughts flash through her mind. The shocking thing is, the thoughts are not of her husband but of a man she last saw fifteen years ago: Wyatt Armstrong.

Dawn, miraculously, survives the crash, but so do all the doubts that have suddenly been raised. She has led a good life. Back in Boston, there is her husband, Brian, their beloved daughter, and her work as a death doula, in which she helps ease the transition between life and death for her clients.

But somewhere in Egypt is Wyatt Armstrong, who works as an archaeologist unearthing ancient burial sites, a career Dawn once studied for but was forced to abandon when life suddenly intervened. And now, when it seems that fate is offering her second chances, she is not as sure of the choice she once made.

After the crash landing, the airline ensures that the survivors are seen by a doctor, then offers transportation to wherever they want to go. The obvious destination is to fly home, but she could take another path: return to the archaeological site she left years before, reconnect with Wyatt and their unresolved history, and maybe even complete her research on The Book of Two Ways—the first known map of the afterlife.

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What do you think?  Keep reading?

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REVIEW: FINDING MRS. FORD, BY DEBORAH GOODRICH ROYCE

Mrs. Ford leads a privileged life. From her Blenheim spaniels to her cottage on the coast of Watch Hill, Rhode Island, she carefully curates her world. Hair in place, house in place, life in place, Susan Ford keeps it under control.

Early one morning in the summer of 2014, the past pays a call to collect. The FBI arrives to question her about a man from Iraq—a Chaldean Christian from Mosul—where ISIS has just seized control. Sammy Fakhouri, they say, is his name and they have taken him into custody, picked up on his way to her house.

Back in the summer of 1979, on the outskirts of a declining Detroit, college coed Susan meets charismatic and reckless Annie. They are an unlikely pair of friends but they each see something in the other—something they’d like to possess. Studious Susan is a moth to the flame that is Annie. Yet, it is dazzling Annie who senses that Susan will be the one who makes it out of Detroit.

Together, the girls navigate the minefields of a down-market disco where they work their summer jobs. It’s a world filled with pretty girls and powerful men, some of whom—like Sammy Fakhouri—happen to be Iraqi Chaldeans.

What happened in that summer of 1979 when Susan and Annie met? Why is Sammy looking for Susan all these years later? And why is Mrs. Ford lying?

 
 
 
 

Flipping back and forth in time, and narrated by two separate characters, Finding Mrs. Ford kept my interest…for the most part. But the pace was slow and the characters were often glib and even unlikable.

I had to keep reading, however, because I wanted to know what would happen. I began to suspect the eventual twist, but why it took the turn it did puzzled me. Also, the connection between the young women and the Iraqi characters could have been more understandable if their motives had been clear. Instead the men seemed to be criminals and drug addicts typical of their circumstances and the times in which they lived. I kept waiting for something that would make me care about any of them. But that did not happen.

The book was interesting enough, but I wasn’t invested in what happened to any of them. Therefore, this book earned 3.5 stars from me.

 
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SERENDIPITOUS FRIDAY: MOVING ON…

Today I am anxious and hopeful…and waiting for final results.  As I think about what lies ahead, I am reminded of four years ago and what happened then.  Here is an excerpt from a post I wrote back then, on November 17, 2016:

 

  • This past week has been very emotional.  Ups and downs, fear and anger.  Disbelief.  It has been like a nightmare, only I can’t wake up!
  • The good thing that came out of it:  I read and reviewed FIVE books!  In my Weekly Updates, I talk about my hope of finding serenity, and I link to my reviews.
  • After that burst of reading energy, I’ve been stumbling along this week.  I finished reading and reviewing only ONE book…and I started a couple of others.  Send in the Clowns, excerpted above, is moving along nicely.
  • My daughter and her fiance impulsively decided to have a civil ceremony here in town, but she planned to keep quiet about it…since there is still an April 1 wedding at the beach on the schedule…but then she announced their nuptials on Facebook a couple of days ago…that secret didn’t last long.  (Note the “hokey” backdrop provided by the County).

 

h-d-nov-1

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  • The beach wedding will be a fun getaway for all of us, I guess.   Since this is her second marriage, I thought they night cancel the beach.  We’ll see.
  • Next week is Thanksgiving, and it’s my favorite holiday!  I’m having dinner at the home of my daughter’s new in-laws.
  • The Saturday after Thanksgiving, a few of us are gathering for a lunch at Yard House; my son Brett and his daughter Aubrey, as well as local family, will be meeting there.  I always enjoy these events.

 

 

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  • Today I plan to just hang out here and read…it’s cooling off quite a bit, and it seems appropriate to curl up in this cozy spot.  Especially since my mood is still all over the place.

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My life has changed dramatically since then, but the feelings are similar. I am more hopeful now, however.

After that election, I read the book Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance, one that resonated. Serendipitously, there will soon be an Amazon Prime movie based on the book.

I read the book to understand what happened in 2016…but now I want to move on. I am so done with the last four years!

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What are you pondering today as we face still more crazy election results?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “FINDING MRS. FORD”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s 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 56D and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a relatively new book:  Finding Mrs. Ford, by Deborah Goodrich Royce.

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Book Beginnings:  (Susan – Thursday, August 7, 2014)

Watch Hill, Rhode Island

A single gunshot cracks the air.

Seagulls flutter and levitate above the sand as Mrs. Ford’s dogs rise, barking.  She, too, jumps just a little in her Adirondack chair and her feet lose their perch on the seawall.  The echo reverberates across the sea and back to her at its edge.  Mrs. Ford reaches down to pat the dogs.

***

Friday 56:  Inside, the place was dark and sticky.  The lights were on but even at their maximum capacity, the interior couldn’t be called bright.

***

Synopsis:  Mrs. Ford leads a privileged life. From her Blenheim spaniels to her cottage on the coast of Watch Hill, Rhode Island, she carefully curates her world. Hair in place, house in place, life in place, Susan Ford keeps it under control.

Early one morning in the summer of 2014, the past pays a call to collect. The FBI arrives to question her about a man from Iraq—a Chaldean Christian from Mosul—where ISIS has just seized control. Sammy Fakhouri, they say, is his name and they have taken him into custody, picked up on his way to her house.

Back in the summer of 1979, on the outskirts of a declining Detroit, college coed Susan meets charismatic and reckless Annie. They are an unlikely pair of friends but they each see something in the other—something they’d like to possess. Studious Susan is a moth to the flame that is Annie. Yet, it is dazzling Annie who senses that Susan will be the one who makes it out of Detroit.

Together, the girls navigate the minefields of a down-market disco where they work their summer jobs. It’s a world filled with pretty girls and powerful men, some of whom—like Sammy Fakhouri—happen to be Iraqi Chaldeans.

What happened in that summer of 1979 when Susan and Annie met? Why is Sammy looking for Susan all these years later? And why is Mrs. Ford lying?

***

Would you keep reading?  I am eager to dive into this one.

***

REVIEW: THE SILENT WIFE, BY KARIN SLAUGHTER

 

 

Investigating the killing of a prisoner during a riot inside a state penitentiary, GBI investigator Will Trent is confronted with disturbing information. One of the inmates claims that he is innocent of a brutal attack for which he has always been the prime suspect. The man insists that he was framed by a corrupt law enforcement team led by Jeffrey Tolliver and that the real culprit is still out there—a serial killer who has systematically been preying on women across the state for years. If Will reopens the investigation and implicates the dead police officer with a hero’s reputation of wrongdoing, the opportunistic convict is willing to provide the information GBI needs about the riot murder.

Only days ago, another young woman was viciously murdered in a state park in northern Georgia. Is it a fluke, or could there be a serial killer on the loose?

As Will Trent digs into both crimes it becomes clear that he must solve the cold case in order to find the answer. Yet nearly a decade has passed—time for memories to fade, witnesses to vanish, evidence to disappear, and lies to become truth. But Will can’t crack either mystery without the help of the one person he doesn’t want involved: his girlfriend and Jeffrey Tolliver’s widow, medical examiner Sara Linton.

When the past and present begin to collide, Will realizes that everything he values is at stake . . .
 
 
 
 
 


In The Silent Wife, Will Trent returns to the series, and is reeled into the case of a possible serial killer, along with the possibility of a corrupt law enforcement official.

Sara Linton, Will’s girlfriend, is the widow of the police chief that was involved in the case from eight years ago.

Our story flips between the past and the present, spotlighting the officers involved in each case, as well as the new victims in the present.

Similarities between the cold cases and the present seem to be connected by some very intriguing items lost or stolen from the victims.

I liked the character of Will, and the connection between him and Sara felt real, as they had their issues. As the story takes us between the time periods, we see how the two of them struggle to connect when they are having disagreements.

One of the characters, another police detective, was very unlikable. Lena is someone who cuts corners and seems quite unethical in her approach. I was hoping she would be disciplined, but that didn’t happen in this book.

An enjoyable read that kept me guessing until the end…and I was surprised by the reveal.. 4.5 stars
 

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SISTERS”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s 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! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a new book:  Sisters, by Daisy Johnson

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Beginning:  (September and July)

A house.  Slices of it through the hedge, across the fields.  Dirty white, windows sunk into the brick.  Hand in hand in the backseat, the arrow of light from the sunroof.  Two of us, shoulder-to-shoulder, sharing air.  A long way to come.

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Friday 56:  At home, she brought down blankets and made us a fort on the sofa, sent September off to make cheese on toast.  She perched on the side of the sofa and looked at me.  There was charcoal on her face.

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Synopsis:  Born just ten months apart, July and September are thick as thieves, never needing anyone but each other. Now, following a case of school bullying, the teens have moved away with their single mother to a long-abandoned family home near the shore. In their new, isolated life, July finds that the deep bond she has always shared with September is shifting in ways she cannot entirely understand. A creeping sense of dread and unease descends inside the house. Meanwhile, outside, the sisters push boundaries of behavior—until a series of shocking encounters tests the limits of their shared experience, and forces shocking revelations about the girls’ past and future.

Written with radically inventive language and imagery by an author whose work has been described as “entrancing” (The New Yorker), “a force of nature” (The New York Times Book Review), and “weird and wild and wonderfully unsettling” (Celeste Ng), Sisters is a one-two punch of wild fury and heartache—a taut, powerful, and deeply moving account of sibling love and what happens when two sisters must face each other’s darkest impulses.

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Would you keep reading?  I am intrigued.

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REVIEW: THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP, BY STEPHANIE BUTLAND

 

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place – the bookstore where she works – come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?

 
 
 
 

The Lost for Words Bookshop opens to reveal a young, socially awkward woman trying to hide from her past and her pain, burying herself in books. Working in a second-hand bookshop sounds like the perfect place for her.

Her boss, Archie, is so much more, having found her and nurtured her by hiring her and mentoring her. Like a guardian angel, he has surrounded her with support and comfort. He has also kept some secrets from her, most of which she will discover just when she needs to know them.

Other characters surround her, some good and some not so good. Having survived a family broken by violence, she is careful with her heart. But somehow bad characters find a way to pierce her armor. And then they do their worst.

The story started slowly, gradually filling us in on her daily routines and activities. Then, as more and more secrets are revealed to us, we see the danger that is approaching…and I held my breath until the final denouement. In the end, I had some hope for her. 4.5 stars.

 
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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “INVISIBLE GIRL”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s 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! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a new book from a favorite author:  Invisible Girl, by Lisa Jewell.

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Book Beginning:  (Valentine’s Night)

11:59 p.m.

I duck down and pull my hoodie close around my face.  Ahead of me the girl with red hair is picking up speed; she knows she’s being followed.  I pick up my speed to match hers.  I only want to talk to her, but I can tell from the way she’s moving that she’s terrified.  I slow down at the sound of muffled footsteps behind me.  I turn and see a figure coming after us.

***

Friday 56:  “I’m sure justice will be served,” she says reassuringly.  “I’m sure the right person will be punished.”

***

Synopsis:  Owen Pick’s life is falling apart. In his thirties and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct—accusations he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel forums, where he meets a charismatic and mysterious figure.

Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.

Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.

***

Would you keep reading?  I am really excited about this book.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “ALL THE BEST LIES”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s 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! What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a book that has been patiently waiting on my Kindle: All the Best Lies, by Joanna Schaffhausen.

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Book Beginnings: (Las Vegas, 1974)

Camilla Flores had always been in the wrong place at the wrong time, starting with the day she was born, six weeks early, in Puerto Rico, before her mother could cross the ocean and land on continental American shores.  If Cammie had just stayed in the womb a few more days, people would understand she’s an ordinary citizen with as much right to this country as anyone else.

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Friday 56:  “Well, it’s not like she had much of a choice, I s’pose.”  Amy pushed the fruit around in her bowl. “She had a baby to care for, and waitressing doesn’t pay all that much.”

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Synopsis:  FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now.

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What do you think?  I can’t believe that I have kept this book tucked away on my Kindle! 

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