Saturday, October 15, 2016

Books Read in September

The Lake House by Kate Morton.
The story: Flashing between the past and the present, Morton presents the mystery of a little boy lost and the subsequent disintegration of his family. Baby Theo, beloved only son of the Edevane family, disappeared one night without a trace. 75 years later, his older sisters are the only ones left in the family. They moved away from the beloved lake house soon after his disappearance. Enter Detective Sadie Sparrow, who's on forced leave from the department because of a case gone bad. While visiting her grandfather, she discovers an abandoned estate and an unsolved mystery from 75 years ago.
Me: Kate Morton is one of my favorite contemporary writers. She is kinda magical. Her stories are mesmerizing and her language simply beautiful. I've read and reviewed The Forgotten GardenThe House at Riverton, and The Distant Hours. I also read The Secret Keeper but apparently didn't review it. I love all of them! Out of all, this one was probably the least riveting to me, but it was still absolutely fantastic. I highly recommend anything and everything by Kate Morton.

Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas.
Long-time favorite that I teach in my high school World Lit class. Reviewed here.

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens.
The story: Joe worked hard to get to college. His childhood was tough with an alcoholic mother and an autistic younger brother. An English class assignment requires that he interview an older person and write that person's biography. He heads to the nursing home and is given the only person there without Alzheimer's: a dying convict. Throughout the book, Joe discovers that there is a lot more to Carl than his murder conviction. He is determined to find the truth about Carl's story before Carl dies of cancer—but the real story turns out to be a dangerous one still. While searching for resolution, Joe's mother abandons his brother, and Joe has to deal with childhood demons of his own.
Me: First, I loved the main character, Joe, and his brother Jeremy. Joe's just a good guy who takes incredibly good care of his brother. I loved the story of Carl, too. The book got a little far-fetched when Joe meets up with the murder victim's family, but that's OK. The writing was great and the story really compelling. A great read.

Descent by Tim Johnston.
The story: A family heads from Wisconsin to Colorado for one last family vacation before Caitlin heads off to college. Caitlin is a runner, and she and her younger brother, Sean, head up to the mountains first thing in the morning for a run/bike. And then the impossible happens: Sean is hit by a car, and Caitlin hitches a ride down the mountain, she thinks for help. Big mistake. The rest of the novel follows each character:  Grant and Angela (the parents) and Sean as the navigate the search for Caitlin and the aftermath—the years without her.
Me: This book was seriously hard-pounding. I could not stop reading it, practically ignoring everything and everyone else in my life for a couple of days. And this is not just a gripping plot read: Johnston is a terrific writer. He's refined. Sharp. Introspective. I cannot even believe that he doesn't have 5 other novels for me to read. He needs to get busy on his next novel.