I was taking part in the summer conversational series this week and had the pleasure of meeting Jeannine Atkins, author of the upcoming LITTLE WOMAN IN BLUE – A Novel of May Alcott. I am SO excited to read this, and Jeannine kindly gave me an ARC. I will be reading it and then posting my thoughts closer to its Pub Day in September.
Review: CITY OF DARKNESS AND LIGHT by Rhys Bowen
Rhys Bowen recently came out with a new Molly Murphy mystery. If you read me, you know I’ve read them all. I really enjoy historical cozies and Molly is one of my favorite female sleuths (though I have to admit to an even greater fondness for Georgie of Bowen’s Royal Spyness mysteries!).
In this installment, Molly is headed to Paris to stay with friends Sid and Gus after a horrible bombing of her home in New York by an Italian gang. She and Daniel and the baby weren’t hurt, but sadly their young maid was killed. Molly has barely gotten her feet on solid ground when she’s landed in to the middle of a murder mystery. Where are Gus and Sid and why did they leave so suddenly? Who murdered the painter Reynold Bryce? And will Molly ever find her friends or have to go back to NYC?
Once again, Ms. Bowen has written a lively and well-crafted mystery, this time in a unique location. Paris at the turn of the century was a vibrant and beautiful place (it still is, but you know what I mean!). The art culture is explored here, and I was delighted to see many well-known real characters brought to life: Picasso, Degas, Monet, Mary Cassatt, Gertrude Stein. Molly interacts with all parts of the city, but especially the Montmartre district in her quest to find and then help her friends. I did not guess the murderer (kudos to Ms. Bowen!) and enjoyed reading this right up to the last page. This might be my favorite Molly mystery yet.
Another home run for the Molly Murphy series!
I got mine on Amazon.
Quick Review: PARIS by Edward Rutherfurd
I really enjoy Rutherfurd’s books and have read most of them. I think my personal favorite is NEW YORK (see my review here: https://drbethnolan.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/review-new-york-by-edward-rutherfurd/ ). I bought PARIS for my birthday with a gift card I received. This tome weighs in at over 800 pages and it did not disappoint!
Similar to Rutherfurd’s other historical novels, PARIS follows the lineage of several families from medieval times to the 1900’s. Unlike some of his other novels, though, the timeline is not chronological, but jumps around, maintaining story lines throughout. Some readers may find this confusing, though I always find the family tree provided in the front of the book very helpful (I read a paper copy, not on my kindle).
Since Paris is one of my favorite places, it’s not surprising that I really liked reading this novel. The personal stories (fictitious) and the historical facts are interplayed so nicely, that you are learning while reading.
Review: “Cascade” by Maryanne O’Hara
I heard great things about this novel, so I knew I needed to read it. Then I saw that the author will be speaking at the Concord Bookstore next week, so I knew I had to buy it since the wait list at the library was soooo long. I read it last week and just loved this compelling and thought-provoking novel!
“Cascade” is the story of Desdemona Hart Spaulding, an artist in the 1930’s, who has married for comfort, not love, and who feels too confined in her hometown of Cascade, Massachusetts. Dez’ father has owned and ran the town’s Shakespearean theater, but he passes away at the start of the novel, leaving the theater to Dez’ husband, Asa, the town’s well-respected pharmacist. As the story starts, Dez has befriended a local travelling salesman, the Jewish artist Jacob Solomon. Dez dreams of leaving Massachusetts with Jacob and going to New York to draw and be free. Her husband, of course, has other ideas. Behind this storyline is the back story of the town itself: Cascade is being considered for demolition so that the state can create a water reservoir for the people of Boston. The townspeople, led in part by Asa, are trying to save their town, and Dez uses her art as a way to help the cause. Will the town be spared? Will Dez’s feelings for Jacob lead to actions she may regret? Will she stay forever at home with Asa or become the artist she feels she is capable of being?
I just loved reading this book. It is beautifully written with a well-paced, well-plotted story. The symbolism of the river and the damming of the river tying in to emotions and the release of emotions and feelings really spoke to me. While I loved this story, I didn’t love Dez. I thought she was extremely self-centered and self-serving. However, Dez’s actions, as well as Jacob’s, seemed fairly true to life to me. Sometimes the people you hold most dear disappoint you.
I loved, loved, loved it —
I also loved the cover!!
And this is a great You Tube book trailer: