BOOKISH FRIDAY: “SWEET WILLIAM”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 an e-book that has been relaxing on Pippa, my Kindle, since December 2016.  Sweet William, by Beryl Bainbridge, is an ironic investigation into the art of self-deception and the repercussions of sexual freedom, a blend of black comedy and social satire that showcases the wit of award-winning author Beryl Bainbridge, and affirms her status as a mainstay in twentieth-century British literature.
 

 

Beginning:  In the main entrance of the air terminal a young man stood beside a cigarette machine, searching in the breast pocket of his blue suit for his passport.  A girl, slouching in a grey coat, as if she thought she was too tall, passively watched him.

***

56%:  ‘Where do you think he’s gone?  Where’s he gone?’

‘Perhaps he’s looking at graveyards,’ said Pamela.  ‘He likes graveyards, doesn’t he?’

***

Synopsis:  When dull professor Gerald leaves London for the United States, his fiancée, Ann, is a bit afraid and sad to see him go—never has he looked so handsome and masculine as when he’s about to board the plane. But a few days later at a religious service, Ann is beckoned to sit next to a stranger with yellow curls and a nose like a prizefighter’s. Her heart inexplicably begins to race; she feels like she has the flu. This stranger, William McClusky, tells Ann in his Scottish accent that he is a playwright who will be interviewed on TV the very next day. Furthermore, he promises to have a television dropped by her house so she can watch him! From this first bizarre seduction, Ann is infatuated, and in the days following, William begins to take over her life.
 
In the throes of the affair, Ann gives up her BBC job, helps a friend get an abortion, encourages adultery, and writes a break-up letter to her fiancé. Her engagement to Gerald had been rushed, after all, and was designed to serve her mother’s desires more than her own. With William, on the other hand, everything feels different. But is this new man really who he says he is? Is he a genius or a fraud, a compassionate soul or a cheater? Perhaps William is simply a means by which Ann can play out her dangerous fantasies and finally take part in the swinging sixties. Only one thing is certain: Now that she’s with him, there’s no turning back.

***

I’m eager to read this book, and wondering why I’ve waited so long.  What do you think?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “WOMAN NO. 17”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 an ARC from Amazon VineWoman No. 17, by Edan Lepucki, a sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California…

 

Beginning:  (Lady)

It was the end of summer.  The heat had arrived harsh and bright, bleaching the sidewalks and choking the flowers before they had a chance to wilt.  The freeways shimmered, any hotter and they might crack, might explode, and the poor cars would confetti into the air.

***

56:  (Esther)

Karl’s sunglasses were tortoiseshell and he actually took them off when he waved to me.  I wondered if he was the kind of dude who said, “Eyes are the windows to the soul.”

***

Synopsis:  High in the Hollywood Hills, writer Lady Daniels has decided to take a break from her husband. Left alone with her children, she’s going to need a hand taking care of her young son if she’s ever going to finish her memoir. In response to a Craigslist ad, S arrives, a magnetic young artist who will live in the secluded guest house out back, care for Lady’s toddler, Devin, and keep a watchful eye on her older, teenage son, Seth. S performs her day job beautifully, quickly drawing the entire family into her orbit, and becoming a confidante for Lady.
 
But in the heat of the summer, S’s connection to Lady’s older son takes a disturbing, and possibly destructive, turn. And as Lady and S move closer to one another, the glossy veneer of Lady’s privileged life begins to crack, threatening to expose old secrets that she has been keeping from her family. Meanwhile, S is protecting secrets of her own, about her real motivation for taking the job. S and Lady are both playing a careful game, and every move they make endangers the things they hold most dear.
 
Darkly comic, twisty and tense, this mesmerizing new novel defies expectation and proves Edan Lepucki to be one of the most talented and exciting voices of her generation.

***

Do the excerpts grab you?  I am enjoying the alternating narrators, and learning more and more about each character as I read.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE WIDOWER’S WIFE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 I just finished reading.  The Widower’s Wife, by Cate Holahan (click for my review), is a story about a marriage, a cruise, and deadly secrets.

 

Beginning:  (November 16)

Ryan Monahan liked liars.  Not the three-times-a-conversation fibbers, who prettied up the truth to appear less pedestrian at parties and would swear to God they’d had just one, Officer.  Those average assholes weren’t even trying.  No, Ryan liked the real deal, the kind of folks who weaved falsehoods into the very fabric of their lives until they wore their fictions like fine-knit sweaters, feeling safe and warm, wrapped in their bullshit.  They were the challenge.

***

56:  She shook her head like a petulant teenager.  “No way.  He’ll just deny it and I’ll be out the best paycheck of my life.”   She again lowered her voice to a whisper.  “But I do think that he should be held accountable if he did anything to drive some woman to…Well, you know.”

***

Synopsis:  “In this chilling cat-and-mouse tale… Holahan keeps the action going.”
Publishers Weekly

Ana Bacon, a beautiful young wife and mother, tumbled off a cruise ship into dark and deadly waters. Ana is gone–leaving behind her wealthy husband and adorable daughter–but not everything about her disappearance adds up. What secrets did she leave behind?

Investigator Ryan Monahan is a numbers man. So when his company sends him the Bacon case, which could net a ten-million-dollar payout, Monahan doubts that her death is just a tragic accident. But the husband has a substantial alibi and a number of witnesses claim to have seen Ana fall, and the official ruling seems to hold up.

Still, the more Monahan uncovers about Ana’s life, the more he realizes how many people would kill to keep her secrets hidden. And the closer he gets to the truth, the greater the odds grow that he, too, will take a fatal fall.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts grab you?  Would you keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BEACH BREEZE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 I am featuring an author review book from a favorite series:  Beach Breeze, by Joanne DeMaio, a novel of summers you never forget and friendships that never fade.

 

Beginning:  Only a year ago, Jason Barlow considered his life fortunate.  Home was his family’s weathered cottage by the sea—a gabled house sitting on a stone bluff, the waves breaking down below.  He’d promised to be there for his new wife, always.  Standing at a church altar last summer and watching Maris, his beautiful bride, walk down the aisle, every star finally aligned for him.

***

56:  Jason’s had those days, too, years ago.  After the motorcycle accident that claimed his brother’s life—and Jason’s own leg—how many times did he pray, beg, plead with the powers above to just wake up and have it all be a fucking nightmare.

***

Synopsis:  After a heartbreaking summer on the Connecticut shore, a group of beach friends is as adrift as an unmoored rowboat. When a dismayed Jason Barlow drives as far away from the sea as he can, leaving behind his wife, Maris, as well as their stately cottage on the bluff, that news hits like a sudden wave. Gathering over an intimate meal in a coastal diner, the friends make a solemn pact to lean on each other and not make any more rash decisions.

Which is all well and good, until each friend wavers–testing relationships, commitments, and especially love in the little beach community of Stony Point. But can the magic of the weathered boardwalk, whispering lagoon grasses, and sweet salt air cure what ails them?

Like a swaying seashell wind chime, Beach Breeze is a book that leaves echoes of summer’s sweetness and sadness, long after the last page is turned.

***

I love this series.  What do you think, based on these excerpts?  Do you want to keep reading?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “PERSONS UNKNOWN”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 I am featuring an ARC from Amazon Vine, from a newly discovered author.  A book that is second in a series:  Persons Unknown, by Susie Steiner, is a  brilliant crime novel from the author of Missing, Presumed.  A complicated detective investigates her most personal case yet: a high-profile murder in which those she loves most become suspects.

 

Beginning:  (Day 1, December 14, Jon-Oliver)

Down.  Dizzy.  Pitching left.  He is draining away like dirty water, round and round.  Stumbling not walking, the ground threatening to come up and meet him.  And yet he presses on.  Something’s not right.

***

56:  (Manon)

“Oh, God, you need wine,” Manon says, pouring Sauvignon Blanc into a glass and handing it to Ellie, who’s sitting at the kitchen table pushing a balled tissue into a nostril.  Her eyes are red, her lips cracked.  She takes the glass gratefully.  “Hang on,” says Manon, making for the doorway, “—right back.”

***

Synopsis:  Detective Manon Bradshaw is five months pregnant and has officially given up on finding romantic love. Instead, she is in hot pursuit of work-life balance and parked in a cold case corridor—the price she’s had to pay for a transfer back to Cambridgeshire. This is fine, she tells herself. She can devote herself to bringing up her two children: her adopted twelve-year-old son, Fly Dent, and the new baby. Fly needed a fresh start—he was always being stopped and searched in London by officers who couldn’t see past the color of his skin. Manon feared that Fly, increasingly sullen and adolescent, was getting in with the wrong crowd at school, or that possibly he was the wrong crowd. Being home by five, for the sake of her children, is what Manon tells herself she needs.

Yet when a wealthy businessman is found stabbed close to police headquarters, Manon can’t help but sidle in on the briefing: The victim is a banker from London, worth millions. More dramatically, he was once in a relationship with Manon’s sister, Ellie, and is the father of Ellie’s toddler son.

The case begins to circle in on Manon’s home and her family. She finds herself pitted against the colleagues she once held dear: Davy Walker and Harriet Harper.

Can Manon separate what she knows about the people she loves from the suspicion hanging over them? Can she investigate the evidence, just as she would with any other case? With every fiber of her being, Manon must fight to find the truth.

***

Would you keep reading?  Do the excerpts grab you?

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “NEVER CHANGE”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 I am featuring an older book from an author I enjoy:  Never Change (e-book), by Elizabeth Berg, a wry and beautifully distilled portrait of one woman’s resilience in the face of loneliness, and of a union that transcends life’s most unexpected and challenging circumstances.

 

Beginning:  (Prologue)

The Tuesday before it happened was a perfect summer day.  Driving through town on my way home, I saw two young girls holding hands as they tried to cross a street against the light.  They would start to cross, then stop; start again, stop.  Finally, all the traffic sighed and halted; and the girls bolted to the other side of the street and began to laugh and push each other, exhilarated by their survival.

***

56:   “I’d like to stay as normal as I can for as long as I can,” Chip says.  “And when things start to go, I’m going to go, too.”

***

Synopsis:  You know people like me. I’m the one who sat in a folding chair out in the hall selling tickets to the prom but never going, the one everybody liked but no one wanted to be with.
A self-anointed spinster at fifty-one, Myra Lipinsky has endured the isolation of her middle life by doting on her dog, Frank, and immersing herself in her career as a visiting nurse. Myra considers herself reasonably content, telling herself, It’s enough, work and Frank. And it has been enough — until Chip Reardon, the too-good-to-be-true golden boy she adored from afar, is assigned to be her new patient. Choosing to forgo invasive treatment for an incurable illness, Chip has returned from Manhattan to the New England home of his childhood to spend what time he has left. Now, Myra and Chip find themselves engaged in a poignant redefinition of roles, and a complicated dance of memory, ambivalence, and longing.

***

What do you think?  Would you keep reading?  I always love an Elizabeth Berg novel, for how each story pinpoints those moments in life that seem ordinary, but turn out to be extraordinary.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “EENY MEENY”

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  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 recent acquisition:  Eeny Meeny (e-book), by M. J. Arlidge.   It is the “dark, twisted, thought-provoking” (#1 New York Times bestseller Tami Hoag) international bestseller—first in the new series featuring Detective Helen Grace.

 

Beginning:  Sam is asleep.  I could kill him now.  His face is turned from me—it wouldn’t be hard.  Would he stir if I moved?  Try to stop me?  Or would he just be glad that this nightmare was over?

***

56:  Mark hovered in the doorway, unable to step inside.  His head pounding, he was assailed by wave after wave of nausea—the sheer busyness of the room made his head spin.  He was tempted to turn and run, but he knew he had to face the music.

***

Synopsis:  Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense….

***

What do you think?  Do you want to keep reading?

***