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Showing posts from February, 2011

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

This is the second novel by Kim Edwards, whose debut novel was The Memory Keeper's Daughter.  I have not read The Memory Keeper's Daughter.  Something about the plot just didn't appeal to me.  However, I just recently finished her follow up, The Lake of Dreams, which was wonderful, and so I may have to revisit Keeper's Daughter.  Tension and suspense are palpable in The Lake of Dreams not just in the plot but also between characters.  I must say that the narrator, Lucy, makes some questionable decisions when it comes to her actions, and this is where some of the suspense and tension comes from for me: will she be caught out in her actions?

Edwards weaves a tri-part interconnected story made up of some fascinating strands.  I highly enjoyed the family history/genealogical hunt aspect of the novel as genealogy has long been a hobby/obsession of mine.  In addition I also liked the women's suffrage movement details that figured into the story as women's rights is a…

Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman

Arcadia Falls is the latest release from Carol Goodman.  I've read all of her books, sometimes for better or for worse.  This is one of her better ones.  In previous novels the resolution of the present day mystery sometimes came out of left field because more time was spent developing the historical mystery to the neglect of the present day mystery.  This was not the case with Arcadia Falls in which the sixty year old historical mystery is so intertwined with the present day mystery that solving the historical mystery is prerequisite to understanding the present day mystery.  Granted the twist at the end is highly improbable, but it still gives the reader a good feeling because ultimately everyone turns out to be where it is that they belong.

This book has similarities in superficial details of the narrator's life and setting with Goodman's first novel, The Lake of Dead Languages.  Meg, the narrator, flees the city to the rural New York campus of an eccentric, arts based …

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman

The Red Garden is Hoffman's latest release.  I've read several of her books--the first of which was The Ice Queen--however, I haven't read her two books released prior to Garden.  I just couldn't get into them.  The Red Garden is similar to The Blackbird House in that it is a series of vignettes connected by setting.

This series of vignettes follows the inhabitants of a tiny Massachusetts village starting with its founding in the mid-eighteenth century through the present day.  Charactered by the intermarried generations of descendants of its original settlers, the vignettes follow the fortunes, loves, and tragedies of these families and the town in which many are born, live and die through harsh winters, wars and epidemics.

Beautifully, lyrically written, this absorbing book is hard to put down as the reader greedily turns the pages to follow the generations of these families through the years.  I recommend you pick up this book the next time you visit the library; i…

Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt

Pictures of You is the first book by Caroline Leavitt that I've read.  It's a story that sucks you in and makes the book hard to put down until the very last page because you're just hoping really hard that things will end up the way you want them for the two main adult characters.  I must admit that in the end, that is in the book's end, I felt a huge let down.  While the author says the book ends the way it does so that readers will think about the characters afterwards and what might come next for them after the end of the book, that is not what I thought about when the book ended.  I thought why?  Why is this book?  What is the point of the entire book if that is how it is going to end?  WHY?  I'm really writing this into more of a big deal than it is to me--I was disappointed in the ending.  It gives me pause about trying out Leavitt's other books--will their endings disappoint me too?  I figure I'll try out one and see how it goes, but if the disappoi…

The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow

The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow was recently featured on BookPage's homepage and then reviewed in its February issue.  I enjoy the reviews in BookPage, but month to month it's really hit or miss as far as finding books in the reviews that I'm actually interested in reading.  Before I read this one I looked up Morrow's other books to see if he might have other titles I'd be interested in reading in case I liked The Diviner's Tale.  Unfortunately his other titles' subjects/plots don't really interest me so I may have to wait to see his next one to read another of his books.

Beautifully and lyrically written the tale this novel tells is an unusual one of a modern day diviner.  A diviner or a dowser is a person who uses a rod to guide them in locating water on people's land.  It is a supernatural, mysterious, and dying art that until recently admitted only men to its fraternity.

Cassandra is the fifth generation and first female dowser in her …