What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
(Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2011, 432 pages)
This is the third book I’ve read by this author and she has mom culture down to a “T”! It is not as strong as Big Little Lies but it’s still full of the plots twists that make her books hard to put down. It will make you think about what you would miss out on if you forgot the last 10 years of your life and like Alice there are probably some things you would rather forget!
You can also check out reviews of this title from Julia and Sadie.
“Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over…” – Amazon.com
Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt
(Ecco, 2015, 317 pages)
I loved this quirky little novel! It was a great way to end SCC’s Between the Covers book club for the semester!
For a more in-depth review, please check out Julia’s post.
“A love story, an adventure story, a fable without a moral, and an ink-black comedy of manners, Undermajordomo Minor is Patrick deWitt’s long-awaited follow-up to the internationally bestselling and critically acclaimed novel The Sisters Brothers. Lucien (Lucy) Minor is the resident odd duck in the bucolic hamlet of Bury. Friendless and loveless, young and aimless, Lucy is a compulsive liar, a sickly weakling in a town famous for producing brutish giants. Then Lucy accepts employment assisting the Majordomo of the remote, foreboding Castle Von Aux.” – Amazon.com
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
(Balzer + Bray, 2015, 345 pages)
I loved this quirky little novel! I’m glad it was picked as one of SCC’s Between the Covers book club titles! You can check out Julia’s review for more information about the book.
“Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. But Finn knows what really happened to Roza. He knows she was kidnapped by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap, acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a tale of the ways in which the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.” – Amazon.com
The Good German by Joseph Kanon
(Picador, 2006, 482 pages)
I was reading a review of Kanon’s new novel Leaving Berlin which referred to The Good German and made me want to read it. I had seen the movie but there really isn’t much similarity between the two. It was a great thriller with good historical detail about Berlin immediately following the end of World War II.
“The bestselling author of Los Alamos returns to 1945. Hitler has been defeated, and Berlin is divided into zones of occupation. Jake Geismar, an American correspondent who spent time in the city before the war, has returned to write about the Allied triumph while pursuing a more personal quest: his search for Lena, the married woman he left behind. When an American soldier’s body is found in the Russian zone during the Potsdam Conference, Jake stumbles on the lead to a murder mystery. The Good German is a story of espionage and love, an extraordinary recreation of a city devastated by war, and a thriller that asks the most profound ethical questions in its exploration of the nature of justice, and what we mean by good and evil in times of peace and of war.” – Amazon.com
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante; translated by Ann Goldstein
(Europa Editions, 2012, 331 pages)
This is the first in the four part Neapolitan Novels series and covers the childhood and early adolescence of the two main characters Elena and Lila. I liked it quite a bit and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series but I’m not rushing out to get it which I feel says something about my attitude towards it. The relationship between the two girls is very authentic and that was the most interesting part to read. Even when they were apart they were affected by each other which should seem familiar to anyone who has experienced an intense childhood friendship.
“A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship.
The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.” – Amazon.com
Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold
(Crown, 2009, 414 pages)
I felt like this book was a lost opportunity to shed light on the problematic marriage of Charles and Catherine Dickens. The actual story is very interesting but this fictionalized version was very uneven.
“At the end of her life, Catherine, the cast-off wife of Charles Dickens, gave the letters she had received from her husband to their daughter Kate, asking her to donate them to the British Museum, “so the world may know that he loved me once.” The incredible vulnerability and heartache evident beneath the surface of this remark inspired Gaynor Arnold to write Girl in a Blue Dress, a dazzling debut novel inspired by the life of this tragic yet devoted woman. Arnold brings the spirit of Catherine Dickens to life in the form of Dorothea “Dodo” Gibson–a woman who is doomed to live in the shadow of her husband, Alfred, the most celebrated author in the Victorian world. A sweeping tale of love and loss that was long-listed for both the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize, Girl in a Blue Dress is both an intimate peek at the woman who was behind one of literature’s most esteemed men and a fascinating rumination on marriage that will resonate across centuries.” –Amazon.com
In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
(Vintage, 2015, 352 pages)
This is the debut novel by Ruth Ware and in my opinion you can tell it’s a first. It started pretty strong but then the story had major problems, mostly because the whole second half of the book is anticlimactic. The main character Nora was not very clever or appealing so it was hard to stay interested in her attempts to figure out what happened. I wouldn’t recommend it but they are making it into a movie and it might work there.
“What should be a cozy and fun-filled weekend deep in the English countryside takes a sinister turn in Ruth Ware’s suspenseful, compulsive, and darkly twisted psychological thriller. In the tradition of Paula Hawkins’s instant New York Times bestseller The Girl On the Train and S. J. Watson’s riveting national sensation Before I Go To Sleep, this gripping literary debut from UK novelist Ruth Ware will leave you on the edge of your seat through the very last page.” –Amazon.com
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
(Mulholland Books, 2015, 489 pages)
Career of Evil is the third book for Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) and it was just as good as the first two. Part of the Coromon Strike series, it follows the detective’s investigation into a severed leg that is delivered to his assistant Robin. It also explores the complicated relationship between Robin and Strike and ends on a cliffhanger. Part of the appeal of this series to me is the reader of the audio version, Robert Glenister, who was perfect as usual!
“When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg. Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality. With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.” – Amazon.com
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
(William Morrow, 2015, 416 pages)
Karin Slaughter has a two popular series (Will Trent and Grant County) but this is one of her stand-alone novels. If you enjoy thrillers, it really delivered with lots of suspense and a great plot. My only criticism was the ending, it felt like it was tacked on and tied up a little too easily.
“More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.”
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
(Riverhead Books, 2015, 400 pages)
Fates and Furies was so much better than I expected! It has received such critical acclaim, I wanted to read it but was not thrilled about what I thought was the subject matter, the story of a marriage told from both points of view. While this is technically correct the marriage is not a typical one (one reviewer calls it “fable-like”) and the people involved in that marriage have extraordinary stories to tell. This was one of the best books I read last year.
“Fates and Furies is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation.
Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.” – Amazon.com