REVIEW: THE IDENTICALS, BY ELIN HILDERBRAND

Harper Frost is laid-back, easygoing. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She likes a beer and a shot and wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything fashionable. She’s inherited her father’s rundown house on Martha’s Vineyard, but she can’t hold down a job, and her latest romantic disaster has the entire island talking.

Two beautiful islands only eleven miles apart.

Tabitha Frost is dignified, refined. She prefers a fine wine and has inherited the impeccable taste of her mother, the iconic fashion designer Eleanor Roxie-Frost. She’s also inherited her mother’s questionable parenting skills–Tabitha’s teenage daughter, Ainsley, is in full rebellion mode–and a flailing fashion boutique on Nantucket in desperate need of a cash infusion.

One unforgettable summer that will change their lives forever.

After more than a decade apart, Harper and Tabitha switch islands–and lives–to save what’s left of their splintered family. But the twins quickly discover that the secrets, lies, and gossip they thought they’d outrun can travel between islands just as easily as they can. Will Harper and Tabitha be able to bury the hatchet and end their sibling rivalry once and for all? Before the last beach picnic of the season, there will be enough old resentments, new loves, and cases of mistaken identity to make this the most talked-about summer that Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have experienced in ages.

My Thoughts: I loved the alternating narrators in The Identicals. Harper Frost, living on Martha’s Vineyard with her father Billy has been estranged from her twin Tabitha for fourteen years.

Something happened all those years ago that kept them apart. On Nantucket, Tabitha is struggling with raising Ainsley, her rebellious teen, and she would love nothing more than to escape.

When Billy dies, there is a reunion of sorts…but it does not go well. Someone mistakes Tabitha for Harper and throws a drink in her face.

Harper has definitely stirred up some animosity from the folks on the Vineyard, so when she and Tabitha change places, what could happen next?

I loved how they each stepped into the other’s life, sort of, and something about this exchange stirs up in me a bit of empathy for the other.

Finding love on the “wrong” island could be just what the two need in order to forge a reconciliation. I found myself rooting for each of them, as I stepped into the perspective of who happened to be narrating. A five star read for me.

 ***
Advertisements

REVIEW: A SEPARATION, BY KATIE KITAMURA

This is her story. About the end of her marriage. About what happened when Christopher went missing and she went to find him. These are her secrets, this is what happened…

A young woman has agreed with her faithless husband: it’s time for them to separate. For the moment it’s a private matter, a secret between the two of them. As she begins her new life, she gets word that Christopher has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged south of Greece; she reluctantly agrees to go look for him, still keeping their split to herself. In her heart, she’s not even sure if she wants to find him. As her search comes to a shocking breaking point, she discovers she understands less than she thought she did about her relationship and the man she used to love.

MY THOUGHTS:  In the mind of the unnamed woman who goes to Greece to search for her husband are the conflicting thoughts about their lives together and about what broke them apart.

She is propelled forward by the insistent voice of her mother-in-law, Isabella, but once she arrives in Greece, she is puzzled by the state of her husband’s hotel room. While he was not a neatnik, he was also not the sort of man who would leave this kind of disarray. After she has the staff box up his things, she stays on at the hotel for a while longer. She asks some questions, she ponders what she does know, and she considers the possibilities.

Then Christopher’s body is found. He had died due to blunt force trauma.

Now she is not quite sure how to feel, since they were unofficially separated, and there were issues of infidelity.

Why does she not tell anyone that the two were separated? What does Isabella say and do that will somehow make her decision for her?

My thoughts had me wondering why the story is told from the perspective of the unnamed wife. Does the fact of her namelessness reflect how unimportant she was to him? Could there be more to the story? By the end, we never find suitable answers to these questions, nor do we see a satisfactory resolution. We see characters adrift in a state of limbo.

The writing style, with the passive voice and the absence of quotation marks, kept me detached and uninterested in what might unfold as the days and weeks went by. A Separation could have been a compelling story, but for me, it was only okay. 3 stars.

***

BOOKISH FRIDAY: “A SEPARATION”

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 relatively new download for me:  A Separation, by Katie Kitamura, who, with exquisitely cool precision, propels us into the experience of a woman on edge, with a fiercely mesmerizing story to tell.

 

 

Beginning:  It began with a telephone call from Isabella.  She wanted to know where Christopher was, and I was put in the awkward position of having to tell her that I didn’t know.  To her this must have sounded incredible.  I didn’t tell her that Christopher and I had separated six months earlier, and that I hadn’t spoken to her son in nearly a month.

***

56:  Later that afternoon, I hired a taxi and drove to one of the small villages inland.  I imagined Christopher must have done the same at some point—there was only so much time you could spend on the terrace, by the pool, or otherwise within the confines of the hotel before tedium set in.

***

Synopsis:  A young woman has agreed with her faithless husband: it’s time for them to separate. For the moment it’s a private matter, a secret between the two of them. As she begins her new life, she gets word that Christopher has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged south of Greece; she reluctantly agrees to go look for him, still keeping their split to herself. In her heart, she’s not even sure if she wants to find him. As her search comes to a shocking breaking point, she discovers she understands less than she thought she did about her relationship and the man she used to love. 

A searing, suspenseful story of intimacy and infidelity, A Separation lays bare what divides us from the inner lives of others.

***

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

***