BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BEFORE SHE DISAPPEARED”

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 new book from Lisa Gardner:  Before She Disappeared.

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Book Beginning:  The water feels like a cold caress against my face.  I kick deeper down into the gloom, my long hair trailing behind me like a dark eel.  I’m wearing clothes.  Jeans, tennis shoes, a T-shirt topped with an open windbreaker that wings out and slows my descent.  My clothing grows heavier and heavier till I can barely flutter my legs, work my arms.

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Friday 56:  I plop down in the seat beside her, handing over my now wrinkled printout.  She eyes it carefully, then hands it back.

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Synopsis:  Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.

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I am excited about each and every book by this author, and can’t wait to dive into this one.  What do you think?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “RACHEL TO THE RESCUE”

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 one of my new books:  Rachel to the Rescue, by Elinor Lipman.

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Book Beginning:  (The Bad News First)

Unless I amend it, my resume confirms that I truly did work for the forty-fifth president of the United States, if you can call my daily torture-task a job.  Even when I hide behind my formal title (Assistant, White House Office of Records Management aka WHORM) I eventually confess that I spent my days taping back together every piece of paper that passed through the hands of Donald J. Trump.

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Friday 56:  “How ya doin’?” the wine shop clerk asked.  And though I knew it was his standard, meaningless auto-greeting, I said, “Great!  I just got a new job!”

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Synopsis:  Rachel Klein is sacked from her job at the White House after she sends an email criticizing Donald Trump. As she is escorted off the premises she is hit by a speeding car, driven by what the press will discreetly cal “a personal friend of the President.” Does that explain the flowers, the get-well wishes at a press briefing, the hush money offered by a lawyer at her hospital bedside? Rachel’s recovery is soothed by comically doting parents, matchmaking room-mates, a new job as aide to a journalist whose books aim to defame the President, and unexpected love at the local wine store. But secrets leak, and Rachel’s new-found happiness has to make room for more than a little chaos. Will she bring down the President? Or will he manage to do that all by himself? Rachel to the Rescue is a mischievous political satire, with a delightful cast of characters, from one of America’s funniest novelists.

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Would you keep reading?  I am feeling myself smile just from the excerpts, so I will definitely keep reading.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE WIFE UPSTAIRS”

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 another new book:  The Wife Upstairs, by Rachel Hawkins.

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Book Beginning:  (Jane)

February:  It is the absolute shittiest day for a walk.

Rain has been pouring down all morning, making my drive from Center Point out here to Mountain Brook a nightmare, soaking the hem of my jeans as I get out of the car in the Reeds’ driveway, making my sneakers squelch on the marble floors of the foyer.

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Friday 56:  I still don’t understand what his plan is, or why he’s keeping me here, why I’m not at the bottom of the lake with Blanche.  But there has to be a reason, and I’m going to figure it out.

***

A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, Rachel Hawkins’s The Wife Upstairs pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense, perfect for fans of B.A. Paris and Megan Miranda.

Meet Jane. Newly arrived to Birmingham, Alabama, Jane is a broke dog-walker in Thornfield Estates––a gated community full of McMansions, shiny SUVs, and bored housewives. The kind of place where no one will notice if Jane lifts the discarded tchotchkes and jewelry off the side tables of her well-heeled clients. Where no one will think to ask if Jane is her real name.

But her luck changes when she meets Eddie Rochester. Recently widowed, Eddie is Thornfield Estates’ most mysterious resident. His wife, Bea, drowned in a boating accident with her best friend, their bodies lost to the deep. Jane can’t help but see an opportunity in Eddie––not only is he rich, brooding, and handsome, he could also offer her the kind of protection she’s always yearned for.

Yet as Jane and Eddie fall for each other, Jane is increasingly haunted by the legend of Bea, an ambitious beauty with a rags-to-riches origin story, who launched a wildly successful southern lifestyle brand. How can she, plain Jane, ever measure up? And can she win Eddie’s heart before her past––or his––catches up to her?

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What do you think?  I have been eagerly awaiting this book.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THIS IS HOW IT ALWAYS IS”

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 that has been hiding out on my Kindle since 2017:  This Is How It Always Is, by Laurie Frankel.

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Book Beginning:  (Once Upon a Time, Claude Was Born)

But first, Roo was born.  Roosevelt Walsh-Adams.  They had decided to hyphenate because—and in spite—of all the usual reasons but mostly so their firstborn could have his grandfather’s name without sounding too presidential, which seemed to his parents like a lot of pressure for a six-pound, two-ounce, brand-new tiny human.

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Friday 56 (56%):  Rosie watched her eyebrows rise in the miniature window in the corner of her screen.  “Oh, Mr. Tongo.  Poppy’s only nine.”  Had he lost count?  “We’re years away yet.  Years away.”

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Synopsis:  This is how a family keeps a secret…and how that secret ends up keeping them.

This is how a family lives happily ever after…until happily ever after becomes complicated.

This is how children change…and then change the world.

This is Claude. He’s five years old, the youngest of five brothers, and loves peanut butter sandwiches. He also loves wearing a dress, and dreams of being a princess.

When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.

Rosie and Penn want Claude to be whoever Claude wants to be. They’re just not sure they’re ready to share that with the world. Soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.

Laurie Frankel’s This Is How It Always Is is a novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.

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Would you keep reading?  Now that I have rediscovered this book on my backlog, I am eager to read more.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “DIRT”

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 recent acquisition: Dirt, by Mary Marantz

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Book Beginning:  His hands looked even dirtier than I’d remembered, resting against the crisp, white, sterile sheets of a bed tucked away in the far-flung outer reaches of the hospital corner.

I was standing in the same hospital I’d been born in some thirty-six years earlier in the spring of 1980, when Mom was already a wife of three years just two months shy of her twenty-first birthday, and he had yet to find his way to wanting to be a father.

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Friday 56:  Why is it that sometimes the things we need most can only get to us in the form of carrying heavy things?

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Synopsis:  Dirt is a story about the places where we start. From a single-wide trailer in the mountains of rural West Virginia to the halls of Yale Law School, Mary Marantz’s story is one of remembering our roots while turning our faces to the sky. From growing up in that trailer, where it rained just as hard inside as out and the smell of mildew hung thick in the air, Mary has known what it is to feel broken and disqualified because of the muddy scars leaving smudged fingerprints across our lives. Generations of her family lived and logged in those hauntingly treacherous woods, risking life and limb just to barely scrape by. And yet that very struggle became the redemption song God used to write a life she never dreamed of.

Mixed with warmth, wit, and the bittersweet, sometimes achingly heartbreaking places we go when we dig in instead of give up, Dirt is a story of healing. With gut-wrenching honesty and hard-won wisdom, Mary shares her story for anyone who has ever walked into the world and felt like their scars were still on display, showing that you are braver, better, and more empathetic for what you have survived. Because God does his best work in the muddy, messy, and broken–if we’ll only learn to dig in.

***

Would you keep reading?  I am already hooked.

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE COUSINS”

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 new book:  The Cousins, by Karen M. McManus.

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Book Beginning:  (Milly)

I’m late for dinner again, but this time it’s not my fault.  There’s a mansplainer in my way.

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Friday 56:  “Hello, Allison.”  Her mother’s lawyer, Donald Camden, put a hand out to steady her.  “Where are you running off to?”

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Synopsis:  Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

***

Would you keep reading?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “TAKE IT BACK”

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 NetGalley ARC:  Take It Back, by Kia Abdullah.

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Beginning:  She watched her reflection in the empty glass bottle as the truth crept in with the wine in her veins.  It curled around her stomach and squeezed tight, whispering words that paused before they stung, like a paper cut cutting deep:  colourless at first and then vibrant with blood.

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Friday 56:  Hushed excitement pulsed through the room as the doors drew open with a whine.  Jodie, shielded from the dock with a screen, entered the witness box, her lopsided shuffle rustling softly on the carpet.

***

Synopsis:  Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a brilliant legal career. But her decisions came at a high cost, and now, battling her own demons, she has exchanged her high profile career for a job at a sexual assault center, helping victims who need her the most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.

When Jodie, a sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, accuses four boys in her class of an unthinkable crime, the community is torn apart. After all, these four teenage defendants are from hard-working immigrant families and they all have proven alibis. Even Jodie’s best friend doesn’t believe her.

But Zara does—and she is determined to fight for Jodie—to find the truth in the face of public outcry. And as issues of sex, race and social justice collide, the most explosive criminal trial of the year builds to a shocking conclusion.

***

What do you think?  Do the excerpts draw you in?  Would you keep reading?

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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.

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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.

***

What do you think?  Keep reading?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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