Monday, October 21, 2013

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

Bridget has been a widow for five years now and is dating a much younger man, Roxster.  She is also raising her two children (Billy and Mabel) and trying to get her script, a remake of Hedda Gabler, made into a movie.  The novel follows Bridget with humorous daily diary entries on the ups and downs of her life.  The reader also gets an update on what happened to all the secondary characters since the first two books.  A light, enjoyable diversion...  I wasn't bothered by Darcy's death, since I had known about it beforehand-- and I found Bridget's dating Roxster not really surprising, considering her madcap worldview.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

In 1916, in the occupied French town of St. Peronne, Sophie runs a cafe with her sister, Helene, and longs to once again see her husband, Edouard--now at war.  He painted a portrait of Sophie when they married and, despite the risk of losing the painting to the Germans, she hangs it on the wall.  As the story progresses, the reader wonders if the artwork might enable Sophie to see Edouard again. Jump to contemporary London, where Liv resides in a glass house that her architect husband, David, designed. She cannot put his death several years ago behind her.  Her strongest connection to him is the painting that he bought for her, entitled The Girl You Left Behind, hanging on her bedroom wall. When Liv learns that the painting might have been stolen and may not be rightfully hers, she cannot help but fight to keep it.  She also finds herself delving into Sophie's life and is compelled to protect Sophie's memory. The situation is complicated by the fact that the lead investigator in the effort to return the painting to the artist's family is Paul, the man she's recently fallen in love with. Will Liv and Paul be able to find happiness amid all the unpleasantness of the painting's history and Sophie's emerging story?  The Girl You Left Behind combines an intriguing backstory with Sophie's World War I tale and a contemporary romance with Liv and Paul.  For readers who enjoy Maeve Binchy and Katie Fforde.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Waiting for Wednesday by Nicci French

Mother of three Ruth Lennox is found murdered in her home in what looks like a burglary gone wrong.  DCI Karlsson and his team wonder if the case is that simple.  Meanwhile, psychotherapist Frieda Klein is taking a hiatus from work after the trauma that she suffered in the last book in the series, Tuesday's Gone. Frieda finds her path intersecting with Karlsson's again when she becomes convinced that a memory related by a pseudo-client is actually a sign that a psychopath is on the loose. In Waiting for Wednesday, Nicci French delivers another smacking good read in the Frieda Klein series. The husband and wife author duo further develop the emotionally rich main character and keep the reader racing to the end through the myriad of plot twists.  It will be published in April.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd

Jeanie is stuck in an unhappy marriage.  Almost sixty, her husband George moved himself to a separate bedroom ten years ago.  He also ignores any opinions she has about whether they should retire and move to the country. Jeanie wants to stay in London running her health food store, while George wants to buy a home in Dorset. While watching her granddaughter Ellie one Thursday, Jeanie meets Ray and his grandson Dylan at a local park. After several meetings, Jeanie realizes that she has feelings for Ray, and he for her. Will Jeanie give up her life with George and risk turmoil within her family to be with Ray?  In Thursdays in the Park, Hilary Boyd has written an enjoyable novel similar to Virginia Ironside's No, I Don't Want to Join a Book Club, The Ex-Wife Survival Guide by Debby Holt, and Joanna Trollope.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

In 1976, criminal Felix Brewer disappears in order to avoid a prison term. He abandons his wife, Bambi, and three daughters--Linda, Rachel, and Michelle. He leaves them no money and they're clueless as to whether he's still alive. His mistress, Julie Saxony, helps him escape. In return, he buys her a coffee shop to run. Then, ten years later, Julie vanishes. Has she joined Felix or did something more sinister happen? When her body is found in 2001, there are no good leads and it becomes a cold case. Now in 2012, Sandy Sanchez, who works for the city of Baltimore, decides to look into Julie's death again. In doing so, the reader sees, through the characters' eyes, how the absence of Felix has affected them and how they've grown from girls to women. We also are privy to the speculation about what happened to Felix and Julie and the family's financial struggles. In the end, Sandy's reopening of Julie's case will finally reveal what occurred all those years ago. After I'm Gone will be published in February.