Archive for February, 2015

the way life should be

I’ve been on a Christina Baker Kline kick since reading Orphan Train. I like the atmosphere she created in that book, and when I discovered the way life should be is also set in Maine I quickly snatched it up to read while trying to keep warm during this bitterly cold, relentless winter. When Italian-Irish-American Angela Russo’s high powered job as an event planner in NYC bites the dust she high tails it back to her family home in New Jersey to recalculate and try to bring her life back on track. Being half Italian, food figures prominently in Angela’s life with her nona being at the centre of all things yummy. Nona’s a smart woman. She says mediocre restaurant food is soul destroying. Amen to that! Luckily for Angela, she inherits nona’s cooking gene. And luckily for us, the author even includes the recipes that waft poetically from the pages – how wonderful is that! Angela eventually packs it all in and moves to Maine to search out a handsome sailor who loves Italian food and dogs whom she met online. Risky yes!  But hey, the way life should be isn’t always the way you though it should be. Do they hit it off? Well… read the book and see. That’s all I’ll tell you.  Baker Kline is a great writer. Her books are full of atmosphere, well thought out, and definitely great reads for this long, frigid winter, or possibly – should we ever get warm weather again! – the beach. They make you feel better. What can be better than that!

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Orphan Train

What amazing luck that I picked this up! I was desparate, I’d read everything I had on hand (being laid up for almost a week with a bug meant I had ample time to read) and I took the advice of the girl in the book store who said to give it a try, she thought I might like it. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline gets a 5* rating right off the bat from me. I love historical fiction, and this book is based on the orphan trains that transported orphaned, abandoned, homeless children from New York City to the west in the late 1800s early 1900s for “adoption” by families in the midwest. There are 2 parrallel lines in this story… young Niamh Power, originally from Ireland, recently orphaned and abandoned to the Children’s Aid Society in New York sets off to a life of she does not know what on one of those trains heading west. Fast forward to 2011 and we’re dealing with wealthy Vivian Daly living out her senior life on the coast of Maine. She agrees to allow young Molly Ayer do her community service work (either that or juvie) helping Vivian clear out her attic where box upon box of stuff hasn’t seen the light of day for decades. The stories alternate back and forth, the plot is easy to follow, and the entire book is fascinating, and SO well written. I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this book. It’s just $10 in bookstores now, it’s a steal as far as I’m concerned. Fork over the dollars and then pass it on to a friend. Guaranteed you won’t be disappointed. It’s the best 10 bucks I’ve spent in ages.

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The Soul of Discretion

The Soul of Discretion is Susan Hill’s 8th book in her very popular Simon Serrailler series. She’s a fantastic writer and as a review I recently read said “She is a perfect substitute for the late P.D. James. Her books are intelligent and well written.” I second this opinion. All our favourites are back – Simon, new girlfriend Rachel, his sister Cat and even Dad Richard and his second wife Judith. All said, I didn’t find the actual mystery that compelling and as interesting as some of the others that Simon has been involved with. BUT the sub plots involving the rest of the gang were so compelling and well written that it’s worth reading this book just for the background story. You’re definitely left with wanting to know more, what happens next, and for this reason I give this book a 2 thumbs up. Who knows maybe I didn’t find the actual police crime all that interesting because the other stuff was way over the top interesting and so unexpected. Could be. Anyway, if you’re a Susan Hill Fan and love her Simon Serrailler series, you must read this book.

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