Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell

Carl Martin has inherited a house from his father in a very desirable area of London. As a novelist, he needs a bit of extra income, so decides to rent out part of the home. At first, things go well with tenant Dermot McKinnon--but when Dermot starts to blackmail him, Carl finds himself in a terrible bind that affects both his work and his relationship with his girlfriend, Nicola. Carl's life then starts to unravel in ways he could not possibly imagine... Dark Corners will be published in October.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Rachel and Andy are just eight when they first meet, but feel an instant connection, even though their backgrounds are very different.  Rachel has a bad heart and lives with her upper-middle class family in Florida, while Andy is bi-racial and calls a struggling neighborhood in Philadelphia home. Over the years, as they grow up, their emotional bond sometimes wavers--living in different cities and seeing each other occasionally. Still, Rachel and Andy haven't completely forgotten about each other, either. Will they eventually reunite and find happiness together?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters

Roberta works at a bookshop and, while sorting through some of her grandmother's books, she comes across a letter that throws her family's history into doubt. It seems to imply that Roberta's grandparents were never married and that her grandfather, Jan Pietrykowski, died later than she was told. Roberta is shaken by the news, but feels that she cannot ask her father about it because he's in ill health, and her grandmother Dorothea, at 110, slips in and out of lucidity. Interspersed with Roberta's contemporary story is that of Dorothea's and Jan's during World War II. What happened all those years ago between them? Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase was an enjoyable read that is similar to Lauren Willig's stand-alone novels.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

David Harwood has moved back to his hometown of Promise Falls with his son, Ethan, and finds himself embroiled in his extended family's problems. While dropping off some meals for his cousin, Marla (who delivered a stillborn baby about a year ago), he discovers that she's taking care of a baby boy, whom, she says, an angel dropped off at her door. Knowing Marla's fragile mental state, he attempts to learn more from her about the situation and is able to trace a baby stroller that was dropped off with the baby to a local family. When Marla and David go to the family's home, they discover a woman has been murdered there. Because she has the child, Marla becomes the chief suspect. David promises his aunt Agnes, Marla's mother, that he will look into the case. Despite believing in Marla's innocence, David has no idea that he's putting himself in danger. With this novel, Barclay returns to the town of Promise Falls, which was featured in some of his earlier novels. Broken Promise is slated to be the first book of a trilogy set there, which might explain why several plot points were left unresolved at the end. Unfortunately, I didn't find the novel as satisfying as Barclay's best work, like Trust Your Eyes.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal

In Kitchens of the Great Midwest, the reader is first introduced to Eva Thorvald as a baby. Throughout the novel we see Eva grow to adulthood to become one of the most sought after chefs in the world. Each chapter is named for a particular food that is important to someone associated with Eva. The chapters themselves read like intertwined short stories that sometimes are only tangentially related to Eva. Please don't let what I've described dissuade you from reading this first novel. It's a love letter to food, the Midwest, and family--with many characters so vividly-drawn you cannot help but fall in love with it. A book to savor and think about long after you finish...

Friday, July 31, 2015

The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig

After her mother passes away, governess Rachel Woodley discovers the father that she thought died when she was little is still alive. He is actually the Earl of Ardmore, and he has an estate called Carrisford. Feeling angry and deceived, Rachel joins forces with Simon Montfort, a reporter who agrees to introduce her into high society disguised as his cousin in return for an article about Rachel and her family later on. Navigating the world of late night parties proves to be not too hard, but coming face to face with her half-sister and eventually her father is far trickier. The Other Daughter, set in 1920's London, is full of secrets and romance. Perfect for readers who enjoy Daisy Goodwin.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Mill River Recluse by Darcie Chan

In Mill River, Vermont, everyone knows about the large house on the hill, but not about Mary McAllister, who has lived there for over seventy years. Mary has kept to herself, with her lifelong friendship with Father O'Brien to sustain her. Now dying of cancer, she has plans to make.... The reader also gets to meet more residents of Mill River: widower policeman Kyle Hansen and Rowen (his nine-year-old daughter), schoolteacher Claudia Simon, potion maker Daisy Delaine, and misguided cop Leroy Underwood. The Mill River Recluse recounts the daily lives of the residents and is a gentle read for those who like stories about small towns.