A Vintage Affair is good "fluff". Phoebe Swift leaves her job at a high class auction house to open her own vintage clothing store. She's personable, has great taste in clothing and the business does well. In the process of opening the store, she meets a cast of characters who provide her with a little love, a little drama and a little mystery. I liked the mystery part the best--the romance and drama were somewhat predictable. Overall a good story.
The part that made me giggle was the narration. It's read, quite well, by a British reader who seems to think that people in California have a mix of a Brooklyn and Bostonian accents. It's only a very small part of the book, but every time she tried it, I erupted into giggles. (Don't let my immaturity stop you, though--it's a good, if light, story.)
I love Anita Shreve's books. She writes characters so well you feel their pain, experience their joys and want to know what happens to them. This book is good--not her best, but it's a good read. The character we meet as Stella Bain is complex, self-reflecting and deeply engaged by life. It's a good mystery and an excellent character portrayal. My one problem is that the ending seems "tacked on" a bit. You almost felt like Shreve was tired of the story and just decided to stick an "and then it ended this way" on. It's definitely worth the time, though.
"Someone" by Alice McDermott is a terrific story about someone who could be any of us. Nothing extraordinary in her life except that the details are fascinating somehow. How was her life changed by the young woman who died in her apartment building when she was young? How did her brother's decisions change her life? Her husband's? All of our lives are made by choices and small decisions here and there. It adds up. I was intrigued.
The one thing I didn't care for--if you're listening to the Audible version--is the sing-song voice the reader uses. I found that it made the story less interesting and finally finished by reading the book. It's not bad, just...odd and distracting.
Falling Angels is the story of two young girls who meet in a London cemetery where their families' graves are next to each other. The story follows them as they change, their friendship changes, their families change and history is made. The women's suffrage movement takes one of the girls' mothers from an education-but-bored mother to a leader in the movement, and the girls are carried along by her discontent with her life, and the comparison to the other girl's mother. It's a story of contrasts, of growth and of the power of change. I enjoyed it very much, a pleasant surprise.
I'll admit--I found the beginning of "The Burgess Boys" a little slow, but I stuck with it because I haven't read anything from Elizabeth Strout that I didn't like. I'm glad I kept going. The story was interesting, especially in these times, and the characters were all people that you hoped would grow and see what their issues were.
Artfully written story about two brothers and a sister from Maine. The brothers left Maine for New York City after college, while the sister stays behind. When her son has some problems with the law and the civil rights community, the brothers step in to help, each in their own way with their own particular gifts. The wives of the brothers provide interesting contrast with the siblings, as well.
Well-told and with characters you care about. Another terrific book from Strout.
I'm usually a big fan of Marian Keyes. Her stories are entertaining, have interesting characters who have interesting relationships. I was really disappointed in "The Mystery of Mercy Close". I went through half of the book and still didn't care about any of the characters. More than that, I didn't like them at all. If a character wasn't a jerk, they were just flat. I'm not off Marian Keyes altogether, but I don't recommend this one at all.
I didn't read this book when it first came out because it sounded sort of chick-lit-ish. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing and for what outstanding characters Barry created. I wanted to know what had happened to them, was surprised by what did happen and was deeply drawn into the story. Excellent book.
I am a huge fan of Strout's book, Olive Kitterage and have enjoyed her other books, as well. This one was good--well written--but I couldn't get attached to the main characters. I wanted to care about them, but just couldn't.
Detective and psychologist Maisie Dobbs is a fascinating character herself, but the mysteries she solves are complex, but understandable. This is my third (and far from last) and I have yet to be able to guess what the resolution will be. They are absorbing, well-written and addicting. Better than candy.
Christine is a woman with a past--unfortunately one she can't remember. When she wakes up each morning she has to be told where she is, what's happened in the past twenty years, and who the people are in her life now. She starts remembering things and then the pattern changes. It's a mystery with a little suspense. Different than I thought it would be but I was hooked very quickly by the plot. Truly a page-turner and a fascinating story. I wish I didn't know what happened so I could read it again!
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