BOOKISH THURSDAY #32: SERENDIPITOUS MOMENTS

bookish thursdays

Welcome to Thursday, a day that once seemed lost, with nothing exciting happening anywhere.  But then that changed, and today I am celebrating a couple of the bookish events around the blogosphere, like Lexxie’s Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts; and Christine’s Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts.

 

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Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts:

Today’s featured book is an e-ARC I just finished reading.  Cruel & Beautiful World, by Caroline Leavitt (click for my review), is set in 1969, near Boston, and takes us into the lives of several characters, including a sixteen-year-old girl named Lucy, her eighteen-year-old sister Charlotte, and their caretaker, Iris.  Lucy has run away with her high school teacher, living off the grid, while her family tries to manage despite her absence.

 

 

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Iris sells her house and moves into a senior residential center.  She rediscovers companionship, and in this excerpt, she is preparing dinner for a gentleman caller.

 

The following night, Iris stood at her stove, panicking.  She had chicken breasts roasting in the oven and string beans frying in olive oil.  She had made a salad with dark lettuce instead of iceberg and had thrown in some walnuts to make it different.  Her little table was set with her good china and silverware, and she was wearing a rose-colored dress that Charlotte had bought her.  She’d fixed her hair with a rhinestone barrette, which she hoped didn’t look ridiculous.  She kept looking at her watch, and then at the door, and once or twice she even opened it to peer down the hall, which was silent as a bottle…She was about to peel off her apron and take his plate from the table when there was a knock on the door, and when she opened it, there he was, in a suit jacket, his hair combed back so she could see the rake marks from his comb.

***

It had been years since Iris had “entertained” a gentleman caller, so she was understandably nervous.  Her planning and attention to detail was rather sweet.

***

 

 

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My Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts:

  • This week has been especially busy with outside appointments and activities.
  • Last Friday and this Monday, I had appointments to see new homes, since I have been contemplating a move.  They were lovely, but the more I think of the hassle of moving, I am probably stepping back from that idea.  For now.
  • On Tuesday, I went in for my flu shot…and an eye exam.  I’ll be getting new eyeglasses, which I’m excited about, as I’ve had my current frames for a few years.  I kept them whenever the lenses needed to change because I really liked them.  But now I am ready for something new.
  • Today I had lunch with a friend at The Olive Garden.  Delicious things!

 

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  • I finished watching Offspring on Netflix, and I’m halfway done with Season 5 of Longmire.
  • So far this week, I finished Sunshine Beach, by Wendy Wax (click title for my review) (in addition to Cruel Beautiful World).

 

 

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  • Tomorrow, I want to stay home all day!  I have a stack of books to choose from, and hope to do some serious reading.

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That’s it for my week.  What did yours look like?

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REVIEW: PARIS RUNAWAY, BY PAULITA KINCER

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In St. Petersburg, Florida, it is summer break for Sadie Ford, a divorced mom and teacher, but before she can even plan her days ahead, her 17-year-old daughter Scarlett has turned her world upside down.

Thinking that Scarlett is at her dad’s house, Sadie is stunned to discover, from one of her daughter’s friends, that Scarlett has taken off for Paris to “lose her virginity” to Luc Rollande, the exchange student she’d had eyes for the previous year.

Sadie isn’t really the impulsive type, but suddenly she finds herself packing a large purse with essentials and a couple of changes of clothes, booking a plane ticket, and heading across the ocean herself.

Meanwhile, her older daughter, Evangeline, is safely ensconced at Tulane University.

As we follow Sadie in her pursuit of her daughter, we learn more about her before the divorce, what life looked like for her when her children were small and controllable, and how this new beginning she is stuck with is suddenly very frightening. In the early hours following her landing in Paris, we see Sadie struggle to navigate the arrondissements, and find her way into the apartment building where Luc lives.

Eventually she connects with Luc’s father Auguste, whose own apartment is down the street from his ex-wife Corinne’s, and despite the slight language barrier, they manage to talk about how to find their missing children. By now, both Sadie and Auguste realize that something more is going on with the teenagers, and between the two of them, they might just be able to bring them home safely.

I liked how, from Sadie’s first person narrative, we see her impressions of Paris, when she isn’t worrying endlessly. How she describes her reactions to the people she meets, like Corinne and her new husband Georges, and how their constant speaking in French around her, even though they knew English, made her feel excluded.

Paris Runaway, an intensely engaging novel, kept me rapidly turning pages, losing sleep, and eagerly trying to figure out what would happen in the end. Would Sadie and Auguste find the kids and extricate them from disaster? What would happen with the developing connection between them afterwards? I definitely wanted to know, so I very happily kept reading…and now I’m awarding 5 stars to this novel.