Monday, July 23, 2012

Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

book jacketGrace Winter is a newlywed and probably a widow.  Grace thought she was going to live a life of privilege; that was her plan and instead she is fighting for a place in a lifeboat.   She was on an ocean liner in 1914 when an explosion blows her world to hell.  Survivors in the boat have to make alliances,  they are crucial and might determine who lives and dies.  Hardie, the only crew member on the lifeboat is at first seen as a savior and the one capable of saving them.  He is able to grab fish from the sea and he puts himself in charge of water rations. The boat is overloaded and people must be sacrificed for the greater good.    As days go on and people are more desperate Hardie is seen as evil and the decision is made to let him go overboard---hard choices must be made.  This is a story that makes one wonder what one would do to survive.  The story is all told from Grace’s perspective and any action takes place in the boat as people fight for their right to live. 

This is an engrossing debut.

Request Lifeboat from the Bangor Public Library

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal

book jacketJudith Blunt is from a broken home.  She decided as a teen to live with her father, a college professor and she moves from Vermont to Nebraska where she meets Willy Blunt.  He is a carpenter in his mid twenties.  When her father thinks maybe she is maybe going to settle with Willy rather than pursue an education he pulls strings and gets her admitted to Stanford. After some violence connected with Willy’s work she decides maybe getting out of town is wise.  She goes off to California abandoning her great love and does not look back until she is a middle aged woman.

She seems to have a good life and a happy marriage but when her daughter rejects the bedroom set that Judith had as a child she decides to rent a storage unit to keep it.    At any rate,  she goes off the rails and decorates the storage unit like her teenage bedroom bringing back teen memories of her lost love Willy.  She also has suspicions that her husband might be having an affair.  Judith hires a detective to find her old beau and buys a throw away cell phone to receive private messages and spends time in her storage unit/bedroom.  Once Willy is found, Judith decides what she needs is to reconnect with Willy.  She makes some arrangements for someone to cover her work and makes excuses to her husband and off she goes to Nebraska to see Willy Blunt and find what he is up to---  obviously not a good idea. She reconnects with Willy and they revert to their teenage selves.   I  will say no more as I am getting into spoiler territory.  The story is told in alternating chapters Judith as a teenager and Judith as an adult.  The characters are well developed and while I enjoyed the read I did not like the people at all.

Request To Be Sung Underwater from the Bangor Public Library

Monday, July 16, 2012

An Unexpected Guest by Anne Korkeakivi

book jacketThis is a graceful novel about an elegant American wife of a British diplomat that is posted to Paris.  It all takes place in a single day when Clare Morehouse, a capable hostess, is having the most important dinner in her husband’s career----her gracious entertaining will determine if her husband gets the coveted assignment to be the ambassador to Dublin.  Her husband thinks this is exactly what  Clare wants since she is Irish American.   Clare is ambivalent about the assignment  because of a youthful passion that had her involved with an IRA member.  She had unwittingly transported both guns and money for the IRA cause.  Clare keeps her cool in her preparations for the perfect dinner---dealing with a cantankerous cook, an ineffective housekeeper, a call from her son’s prep school headmaster telling her he was being suspended and encountering her IRA guy that she thought dead.  Enough already, but as she is waiting for her dinner guests she sees a terrorist on the television that is suspected of an assassination that day.   Clare knows that he is not the assassin since she was giving him directions to a doctor’s office when the assassination took place. Does she contact the police and risk her husband losing his new assignment? 

This sounds melodramatic but it is not.  It is a well written and a delicious read and Clare is a well developed and likeable character.

Request An Unexpected Guest from the Bangor Public Library

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick

book jacketIf you read Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick you know that he writes very sinister fiction---Reliable was a debut novel and a tough act to follow.  However, Heading Out to Wonderful is just as compelling and equally dark. 


Charlie Beale arrives in Brownsburg with two suitcases---one full of knives ,the other full of cash.  We do not get any back story to why or how he accumulated the cash.  But he soon gets a job and he is the best butcher ever---so we know why he has the knives.  He soon falls in love with the wife of the richest man in town, Boaty’s wife Sylvan Glass---Sylvan was not her birth name but we are never told that as it would be according to her, unbelievable.  Many questions are never answered:  Where did Charlie come from?  What is his background?  What about family and why did he take a five year old for his meetings with Sylvan?  Charlie also has a problem being contained in a house and prefers sleeping on the ground by his river land. 

In spite of unanswered questions and unreasonable behaviors this is a great read---unputdownable.

Request Heading Out to Wonderful from the Bangor Public Library

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

book jacketGone Girl is a page turner with well developed characters.  The story is told from alternating his/her points of view.   Nick and Amy Dunn are a couple downsized from big New York City jobs and they return to Nick’s down at the heels hometown for a new lease on life. Nick and Amy are about to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary when Amy goes missing.  Amy has left behind an extensive diary and clues to her disappearance.  Also, Amy is the child of famous authors, and as the star of  their books, the national media is interested in her disappearance.  As the diary is read and the clues followed, Nick realizes it is all an elaborate hoax and that Amy is setting him up for her murder while everyone else including Amy’s parents are thinking he killed her.  We soon find out that Nick was not the ideal husband and Amy far from a good wife.  Amy is not only a bad wife but a diabolical person.  I hope I have not given away too much.  I do not want to ruin an excellent read for you.  There are no draggy parts and one changes sides from Nick to Amy---as to who was the wronged party. 

This is a great read and a suspense novel a bit different from usual fare-----loved it.

Request Gone Girl from the Bangor Public Library