Friday, September 24, 2010

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room is all that Jack knows. He was born there five years ago to his Ma (who, two years previously, had been kidnapped by Old Nick and kept prisoner since). Ma has created a world and routine for Jack inside Room that has kept him happy. But now as he grows older, she knows that things are probably going to change. Told through the eyes and language of Jack, Room is an interesting twist on the moving story of the love and connection between a mother and her child.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An Impartial Witness by Charles Todd

Nurse Bess Crawford is home on leave during World War I when she spots the wife of a severely burned soldier in a London train station with another man. The woman, Marjorie Evanson, is distraught and seems unconsoled by him. When Bess learns that Marjorie been murdered, she goes to the police telling them about the scene at the station. Soon, Marjorie's husband commits suicide. Bess feels that she owes it to the couple to find Marjorie's killer. Could it be the mystery man? In An Impartial Witness, Charles Todd has written a mystery with an intriguing puzzle, compelling heroine, and vivid descriptions of the time. This is the second book in the series. The novel definitely would appeal to those readers that enjoy the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear, which I always eagerly await--but I'm delighted to say that I loved this book even more.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane

Twelve years ago, private detective Patrick Kenzie returned four-year-old Amanda McCready to her neglectful mother despite his better judgement. Years later he's still haunted by that decision--especially since his former partner (and now wife) Angela Gennaro didn't agree. When a call comes to Patrick from Amanda's aunt saying she's gone missing again, he feels this might be a way to right his past wrong. With Angela's blessing and help, Patrick pursues Amanda. But now with a young daughter themselves, Patrick and Angela have much more at stake than when they were younger, single, and ready to undertake many risks. Will Patrick be able to find Amanda? Moonlight Mile is the latest Kenzie/Gennaro novel after a long absence. It was great to revisit the characters and immerse oneself in Lehane's storytelling. Alas, it feels like this is probably the last book in one of my favorite mystery series... It will be published in November.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Nesting Dolls by Gail Bowen

Joanne Kilbourn's Christmas holidays are disrupted when a woman hands a baby to her daughter's best friend, Isobel, telling her that the baby belongs with Isobel's mother, Delia. Delia is a lifelong friend and law partner of Joanne's husband, Zack Shreve. The disappearing mother is discovered to be Delia's daughter, Abby, whom she gave up for adoption at birth. When Abby is then found murdered, Joanne and Zack are embroiled even deeper in the mystery of who Abby was, who would want her dead, and the fight for who should have custody of her son, Jacob. In The Nesting Dolls, Bowen has again crafted a novel revolving around her family and life in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bad Boy by Peter Robinson

DCI Alan Banks is on vacation when a former neighbor, Juliet Doyle, comes to see him at work. Her twentysomething daughter, Erin, has hidden a gun in her childhood bedroom, Juliet explains to Banks' colleagues (DI Annie Cabbot and DS Catherine Gervaise). Possessing a firearm in England is a great offense, so the police send a team to retrieve the gun. The operation goes awry, resulting in tragedy. It also sends Bank's daughter Tracy, who is Erin's roommate, running to Erin's dodgy boyfriend, Jaff, to warn him that Erin took his gun. Jaff is involved in some pretty bad things that now ensnare Tracy. Will Banks, now returned, and his colleagues be able to bring Tracy home safely? Bad Boy is the latest book in this usually solid series. Unfortunately, the plot of this mystery is slight. My hope is that maybe Robinson had wanted instead to push the lives of his major characters forward.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard

In 1950, Ruth Plank and Dana Dickerson are born in the same hospital on the same day. Never really interested in becoming friends, their lives are intertwined throughout the years by Ruth's mother, Connie, who oddly makes it a point to visit the Dickerson's once a year, even though the families aren't close. The Planks live on a New Hampshire farm that's been in Edwin Plank's family for generations. Meanwhile, George and Val Dickerson are wanderers, moving from one place to the next, not much interested in their children (Dana and her older brother, Ray). Neither girl grows up feeling that she fits in with her family--Ruth wants to be an artist and Dana longs to work with animals and farm. The novel alternates between Ruth's and Dana's points of view from childhood to middle age, touching on their coming of age during the 1960's and how America's history affects the choices they are given and make. For readers of Elizabeth Berg.