Books

Weekend Reading

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I cannot tell you how much I love Lucinda Riley’s books. What an amazing author to keep writing really good novels! The Pearl Sister is the latest in her Seven Sisters series. Each one is related but you can read any book at any time.

These books are perfect when you want to spend a weekend immersed in a thick book with a blanket, on the couch! I want nothing more than to sit and read for days at a time!

Here’s what this is about:

CeCe D’Aplièse has never felt she fitted in anywhere. Following the death of her father, the elusive billionaire Pa Salt – so-called by the six daughters he adopted from around the globe and named after the Seven Sisters star cluster – she finds herself at breaking point. Dropping out of art college, CeCe watches as Star, her beloved sister, distances herself to follow her new love, leaving her completely alone.

In desperation, she decides to flee England and discover her past; the only clues she has are a black-and-white photograph and the name of a woman pioneer who lived in Australia over one hundred years ago. En-route to Sydney, CeCe heads to the one place she has ever felt close to being herself: the stunning beaches of Krabi, Thailand. There amongst the backpackers, she meets the mysterious Ace, a man as lonely as she is and whom she subsequently realises has a secret to hide . . .

A hundred years earlier, Kitty McBride, daughter of an Edinburgh clergyman, is given the opportunity to travel to Australia as the companion of the wealthy Mrs. McCrombie. In Adelaide, her fate becomes entwined with Mrs. McCrombie’s family, including the identical, yet very different, twin brothers: impetuous Drummond, and ambitious Andrew, the heir to a pearling fortune.

When CeCe finally reaches the searing heat and dusty plains of the Red Centre of Australia, she begins the search for her past. As something deep within her responds to the energy of the area and the ancient culture of the Aboriginal people, her creativity reawakens once more. With help from those she meets on her journey, CeCe begins to believe that this wild, vast continent could offer her something she never thought possible: a sense of belonging and a home.

 

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If You Knew Her by Emily Elgar is getting great reviews! Described as a thriller, this promises to be my favorite kind of book which is one that I cannot put down. You know when you are in the middle of a good book and can’t stop thinking about it? Last night I was reading and had to stay up an extra hour to finish the book I was reading, I had to see how it was going to end!

Here’s the synopsis:

A woman in a coma. The man who could save her life—if only he could speak.

When young, beautiful Cassie Jensen arrives unconscious to the intensive care ward at St. Catherine’s hospital after being struck in a hit-and-run while out walking her dog, chief nurse Alice Marlowe thinks she looks familiar. She starts digging deeper into Cassie’s relationships, only to discover something about her patient that she’d been keeping secret from everyone, including her devoted husband and family. Soon Alice finds herself obsessed with her patient’s past and future, even willing to put her own career on the line in her single-minded search for answers. 

Frank, a patient in the same ward who has locked-in syndrome, can hear and see everything around him but cannot speak. Soon he comes to understand that Cassie’s life is still in danger. While the police continue to look for clues, only Frank holds the truth, but he’s unable to communicate it.  As the novel flashes between points of view, the reader will get closer and closer to the truth of who Cassie Jensen was, and why she was out on the road that fateful night.

Wow!

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Malloy was the book that kept me up late! It’s a page-turner that keeps you guessing. Isn’t that the best kind? I had to find out how the author was going to wrap up the mystery and couldn’t sleep until I knew!

The premise reminded me very much of the ivillage group I joined when I was pregnant with my first child, how a bunch of mothers all shared what was going on in their lives and pregnancies. This mother’s group, however, meets not online, but in person in Brooklyn. Naturally, all of the moms and one dad, have their own secrets which lead down a dark path…

Here’s the scoop:

They call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives.

When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media.

Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.

Unfolding over the course of thirteen fraught days and culminating in an exquisite and unexpected twist, The Perfect Mother is the perfect book for our times—a complex, nuanced, and addictively readable story that exposes the truth of modern mothers’ lives as it explores the power of an ideal that is based on a lie.

You will read the book thinking any member of the group could possibly be the guilty party and then you won’t want to put it down until you find out what happened and who is to blame!

The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mother's Suicide by [Brandeis, Gayle]

I am so very excited to share this book with you! The Art Of Misdiagnosis by Gayle Brandeis is near and dear to my heart. Gayle and I have been friends for many years and I knew of her struggles during the time she writes about in this memoir. Aside from that, Gayle is one of the best writers out there and I was honored to get a sneak peek of this memoir then anxiously waited for it to hit the shelves.

Gorgeously written, brutally honest, and emotionally compelling, The Art of Misdiagnosis is a must read.

Check out the synopsis from Amazon:

Award-winning novelist and poet Gayle Brandeis’s wrenching memoir of her complicated family history and her mother’s suicide

Gayle Brandeis’s mother disappeared just after Gayle gave birth to her youngest child. Several days later, her body was found: she had hanged herself in the utility closet of a Pasadena parking garage. In this searing, formally inventive memoir, Gayle describes the dissonance between being a new mother, a sweet-smelling infant at her chest, and a grieving daughter trying to piece together what happened, who her mother was, and all she had and hadn’t understood about her.

Around the time of her suicide, Gayle’s mother had been working on a documentary about the rare illnesses she thought ravaged her family: porphyria and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. In The Art of Misdiagnosis, taking its title from her mother’s documentary, Gayle braids together her own narration of the charged weeks surrounding her mother’s suicide, transcripts of her mother’s documentary, research into delusional and factitious disorders, and Gayle’s own experience with misdiagnosis and illness (both fabricated and real). Slowly and expertly, The Art of Misdiagnosis peels back the complicated layers of deception and complicity, of physical and mental illness in Gayle’s family, to show how she and her mother had misdiagnosed one another.

Gayle’s memoir is both a compelling search into the mystery of one’s own family and a life-affirming story of the relief discovered through breaking familial and personal silences. Written by a gifted stylist, The Art of Misdiagnosis delves into the tangled mysteries of disease, mental illness, and suicide and comes out the other side with grace.

Once you start reading it, you won’t be able to put it down. That such a wonderful book can come out of a such a dark time is testament to the human spirit.  Gayle, this is one of my favorite books of the year!