Archive for July, 2015

A Desperate Fortune

A Desperate Fortune is my first Susanna Kearsley book. She’s written many books but I’ve never heard of her before, which I have to admit is a bit strange since I read everything I can find about new books or authors and I spend lots of time wandering the isles of my local bookstore. Anyway,  I loved it. It’s one of those books that combines 2 storylines, one present and one past. 300 years ago Jacobite exile Mary Dundas wrote a journal – in code – which is very intriguing to modern historian Alistair Scott. He’s intrigued enough to want to crack the code to see what Mary really had to say. Enter Sara Thomas, a reluctant modern day codebreaker who suffers from Aspergers. This syndrome allows Sara to hyper- focus to the point where she discovers Mary isn’t what she appeared to be.  Along the way Sara must confront her future, just like Mary did, and decide for herself which path to take. Combining historical fact with modern-day fiction Kearsley writes a really intriguing book full of twists and turns that really appeals. I loved it. My one tiny criticism was with the endings of both the past and present story. But I won’t say why. I’ll leave it to you to agree or disagree. Kearsley is Canadian! Shame on me for never having heard of her before.

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The Birthday Lunch

I read The Birthday Lunch by Joan Clark in 2 days. It’s not a very big book, but still, it had to be pretty captivating for me to finish it that fast. It’s a simple story. 58 year old Lily is killed by a truck on her birthday in the small town of Sussex New Brunswick. A place where everyone knows everyone, and things like this just didn’t happen. It could have been a very depressing story, but somehow it wasn’t. It takes a good writer to carry a story like this and not make it sad. Left to mourn her tragic, sudden passing are her husband Hal, children Matt and Claudia, and sister Laverne. As in most families there are tensions between family members, especially in this case where huge disagreements and bitter feelings often resonated between Hal and Laverne. And each member of the family mourns in a different way creating even more fisures in the family relationship. Clark explores these feelings and you get a real picture of family life at the worse of times. She is a fantastic writer. One of our own, and she somehow makes this an appealing read, not a depressing one.  I really liked this book. Try it, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

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