Amity & Sorrow
By: Peggy Riley
Format/Source: galley courtesy of the publishers via NetGalley
A mother and her daughters drive for days without sleep until they crash their car in rural Oklahoma. The mother, Amaranth, is desperate to get away from someone she’s convinced will follow them wherever they go–her husband. The girls, Amity and Sorrow, can’t imagine what the world holds outside their father’s polygamous compound. Rescue comes in the unlikely form of Bradley, a farmer grieving the loss of his wife. At first unwelcoming to these strange, prayerful women, Bradley’s abiding tolerance gets the best of him, and they become a new kind of family. An unforgettable story of belief and redemption, Amity & Sorrow is about the influence of community and learning to stand on your own.
This novel caught my attention just last week. The cover was intriguing (why were their wrists bound together like that? The colours are also easy on the eyes and the font type is simplistic but pretty) and the premise was just as intriguing. I was pre-approved for a galley copy of this book through NetGalley so I decided to check it out. May contain some minor spoilers ahead!
By: Janet Fitch
Format: Paperback; my copy
White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes-each its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned-becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery.
My first encounter with White Oleander was actually the movie adaptation from 2002; it was on the television but I always caught the latter half of the movie. Despite not seeing the first half of the movie (both times–only got around to seeing the whole movie a few years ago), I was always drawn in by Astrid’s narrative and Michelle Pfeiffer’s haunting and chilling portrayal of Ingrid Magnussen (I am baffled she was never nominated for this performance). I got around to the book a few years ago but re-read it again recently as I finally got a copy of my own of the book. I think this book is officially a favourite of mine now, it’s as evocative and haunting re-reading it now as it was when I first read it. May contain some minor spoilers ahead!
The Smart One
By: Jennifer Close
Source: e-galley, courtesy of the publisher from NetGalley
Weezy and Will Coffey raised their children, Martha, Claire, and Max, to be kind, smart and independent. They helped with their homework, bought them a dog, and baked them homemade birthday cakes. It’s true that Martha’s a little too sensitive–she calls Claire several times a week to discuss natural disasters and local crime. And Claire has a short fuse with her sister–she becomes irate when Martha suggests that the two of them attend couples therapy. And Max, the baby and a senior in college, is a little too happy-go-lucky, though not as lucky as everyone would hope. Still, their parents did their best preparing them for the world. So why, Weezy wonders, is Martha living in her childhood bedroom after a career flameout? And why has Claire canceled her wedding and locked herself in her New York apartment? And how has Max managed to get himself into a girlfriend fiasco?
I found out about this book a few weeks ago on GoodReads; Random House of Canada gave it a stellar review and I’ve always enjoyed novels focusing on family and those family bonds so I was curious about this book. I was fortunate to have been approved for a review copy of this novel from NetGalley.
By: Harriet Lane
Format: Paperback; courtesy of the publisher & GoodReads First Reads programme
On a bitter winter’s night, Frances Thorpe comes upon the aftermath of a car crash and, while comforting the dying driver, Alys Kyte, hears her final words. The wife of a celebrated novelist, Alys moved in rarefied circles, and when Frances agrees to meet the bereaved family, she glimpses a world entirely foreign to her: cultured, wealthy, and privileged. While slowly forging a friendship with Alys’s carelessly charismatic daughter, Frances finds her own life takes a dramatic turn, propelling her from an anonymous existence as an assistant editor for the books section of a newspaper to the dizzying heights of literary society.
I received a copy of this book through GoodReads; the premise sounded fascinating–I always enjoy a good, contemporary novel and a story involving family dynamics and the protagonist entering a totally different section of society. Contains spoilers ahead! (I will note it in my review because it’s just too hard not to avoid it =P)
The Weird Sisters
By: Eleanor Brown
There is no problem that a library card can’t solve.
The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there.
See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.
But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.
This is another one of those books that I had been eyeing on for so long but took forever getting around to, lol. It has all of the elements that screamed “Read me!” to me: family drama, a father who speaks in Shakespearean verse, characters who read a lot. So I finally got around to read this book. May contain some spoilers ahead!