April 30, 2022

The Shell Seekers

1987 Thomas Dunne Books
Finished on April 27, 2022 (first read in 1988)
Rating: 5/5 (Excellent!)

Publisher's Blurb:

An instant bestseller when it was first published, The Shell Seekers is an enduring classic that has touched the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. A novel of connection, it is the story of one family--mothers and daughters, husbands and lovers--and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. This magical novel--the kind of reading experience that comes along only once in a long while--is the perfect read, whether you are returning to it again or opening the cover for the first time.

At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling's prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn that their grandfather's work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer... and it lies in her heart.

I was not yet thirty when I first discovered Rosamunde Pilcher's beloved classic, The Shell Seekers. Not my typical genre (my nightstand stack usually included John Grisham, Stephen King and Sidney Sheldon), I wonder what prompted me to read a novel centered around the life of a divorced woman, sixty-four years old, an elderly woman in my twenty-six-year-old's mind. (And now I'm a mere four years shy of Penelope's age...). But I found such a wonderful story that spoke to me more deeply than anything I'd ever read. Recently remarried and raising my young daughter, I found happiness in the simple pleasures of creating a comfortable home, appreciating the beauty and peace found in nature, all of which was inspired by Pilcher's lyrical prose; the sort of which I had yet to discover in my usual reading. The simple act of preparing a cup of tea, enjoying it as I read the daily mail, or tending to my rose garden in the quiet hours of a Saturday morning, brought me joy. 

The Shell Seekers made its way to my list of lifetime favorites and for over thirty years, I longed to read it again, but I was concerned it wouldn't live up to my first impressions. Last year, I decided to reread Winter Solstice (another wonderful novel by Pilcher) and enjoyed it immensely. I convinced myself that I would have a similar reaction with a reread of The Shell Seekers and I was right. It was a marvelous read and such a joy to revisit Penelope's story after all these years. 

One of the joys of rereading an old favorite, particularly after the passage of more than thirty years, is that the book feels both familiar and new at the same time. I was surprised that while I remembered Penelope Keeling, her cozy cottage called Podmore's Thatch (in Gloucestershire, a county in South West England) and the young gardener she hired after her heart attack, I had long forgotten most of the details of the book, giving it the feeling of a new book of which I'd only read a synopsis.  Another reason that I kept putting off a reread is due to the heft of the novel, which is over 600 pages (in paperback). It took me a little over two weeks to read, but it was time well spent. I enjoyed every page, never feeling impatient to finish, and eager to curl up with it each evening, anxious to learn more about Penelope's life in Cornwall and the Cotswolds.

The Shell Seekers has twice been adapted to film. A Hallmark Hall of Fame television production, starring Angela Lansbury, was nominated for an Emmy in 1989, and in 2006, a mini-series was developed starring Vanesa Redgrave. I have not watched either and don't think I will since books-to-movies are typically disappointments.

Readers of family sagas and historical fiction are sure to love this popular novel. I've returned it to a bookcase devoted to my favorites, and I look forward to revisiting it again when I'm in need of a comfort read. I love escaping into a big, fat book and I'm already looking forward to reading Coming Home, the only novel by Rosamunde Pilcher I've yet to read.

I have the trade paperback of The Shell Seekers, but I love the cover art for the original hardcover, which I used to own. I wonder whatever happened to that edition...

April 29, 2022

Looking Back - The Saving Graces

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney
1999 HarperTorch
Finished in August 1999
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Meet The Saving Graces, Four Of The Best Friends A Woman Can Ever Have.

For ten years, Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel have shared a deep affection that has helped them deal with the ebb and flow of expectations and disappointments common to us all. Calling themselves the Saving Graces, the quartet is united by understanding, honesty, and acceptance -- a connection that has grown stronger as the years go by...

Though these sisters of the heart and soul have seen it all, talked through it all, Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel will not be prepared for a crisis of astounding proportions that will put their love and courage to the ultimate test.

My Original Thoughts (1999):

Wonderful! I love it. I tried to read it earlier this summer but couldn't get interested. I gave it another try and I'm so glad I did. I loved all four women. Each had strengths and weaknesses, but they were so good to each other. I love books about women's friendships. I could see myself in each of them. I'd like to read more by Gaffney.

Second Reading (2001):

Just as wonderful as the first time I read it! Wonderful story about four friends. Reminiscent of Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg.

My Current Thoughts (2020):

I still have a copy of this book, so maybe I'll give it another read. I wonder if I'll find it too fluffy at this point in my life. I sure was reading a lot of books about women's friendships back in the late 90s. 

Updated Thoughts (2022):

I tried to read this again (didn't realize it would be for the 3rd time), but I was bored after just a few pages and called it quits. It must have spoken to my younger self in 1999 & 2001.

"This ode to the friendships between women could easily become the northern version of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." ~ Booklist

April 26, 2022

The Pull of the Stars

2020 Hachette Audio
Narrated by Emma Lowe
Finished on April 23, 2022
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:
In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse Julia Power works at an understaffed hospital in the city center, where expectant mothers who have come down with the terrible new flu are quarantined together. Into Julia's regimented world step two outsiders—Doctor Kathleen Lynn, a rumoured Rebel on the run from the police, and a young volunteer helper, Bridie Sweeney.

In the darkness and intensity of this tiny ward, over three days, these women change each other's lives in unexpected ways. They lose patients to this baffling pandemic, but they also shepherd new life into a fearful world. With tireless tenderness and humanity, carers and mothers alike somehow do their impossible work.

In The Pull of the Stars, Emma Donoghue once again finds the light in the darkness in this new classic of hope and survival against all odds.

I spent the good part of a month listening to the audio edition of Emma Donoghue's The Pull of the Stars. I might have finished it more quickly, but we were traveling for almost two weeks, and I didn't listen the entire time we were away. When we got home, it rained. A lot. So, no walks, which means no audiobook. And yet, I was able to jump right back into the narrative when I started listening again. This is partly because there aren't a lot of characters to keep track of, and partly because there isn't a lot going on. Yes, there is the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, but the main action takes place in a hospital in a maternity ward with less than a handful of patients and staff. The expectant mothers are infected with the flu, which causes some to go into early labor. Nurse Julia, and her naive helper Bridie, work well together as a team to save each mother and newborn.

As I began listening to the audiobook, I felt this story would make a good play. Most of the action takes place in a single room (Ah! So did Donoghue's earlier novel, Room.), insulated from the world much like the unborn in their mother's wombs. The details of the pandemic, and the reaction to those afflicted, and the government's response and public notices for prevention, hit a little too close to home, and I'm glad I waited until now to start listening to the book. Had I begun when it was first published (coincidentally, just as we were going into lockdown with Omicron), I might not have wanted to continue. 

I've only read one other book by Emma Donoghue (Room) and The Pull of the Stars is quite different from that modern day ripped-from the-headlines captivity horror. The medical details of the births are at times cringeworthy, reminding me of my daughter's difficult delivery almost 39 years ago. It took me about 50% listening time before I started to care about Julia and Bridie, and despite the predictable conclusion, I felt a gentle tug at my heartstrings. Overall, I thought the book was informative and entertaining, but the birthing details became tedious, and it wasn't until the final chapters that I came to care about any of the characters.
Thank you to Hachette Audio and Libro.fm for my complimentary access to this audiobook. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

April 24, 2022

World War II Favorites

It's interesting how our reading tastes evolve as we become adults and grow older. If you had told me when I was in high school that I'd fall in love with historical fiction, particularly World War II novels, I would have scoffed. I had no interest in reading about history, which I equated to dull and dry "serious" books. I'm not sure which book swayed me to change my opinion, but this genre is now one of my favorites and one that has taught me so much about that era. 

You can find my reviews for the above novels* (plus one nonfiction favorite that I couldn't omit) by clicking on the links below. While I have several remaining unread WWII books on my shelf, I'd love to hear about some of your favorites.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (5/5)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (5/5)

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (4.75/5)

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (4.5/5)

A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell (pre-blogging)

City of Thieves by David Benioff (5/5)

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave (4/5)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (4.75/5)

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean (4/5)

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (3/5)

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (4/5)

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian (3.5/5)

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (4.75/5)

The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons (4.5/5)

Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas (3.5/5)

Maus I by Art Spiegelman (3.5/5)

Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole (3.5/5)

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Gutterson (4.5/5)

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson (nonfiction) (5/5)

*How could I forget to include Atonement by Ian McEwan??

April 22, 2022

Looking Back - Never Change

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

2001 Pocket Books
Finished on March 2, 2001
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Elizabeth Berg has penned an unforgettable tale about second chances that tugs hard at the heart strings even as it soothes the soul. Never Change tells the bittersweet story of Myra Lipinsky, a 51-year-old home care nurse and self-acclaimed spinster who finds herself assigned to care for the golden boy she secretly worshipped back in high school. Only Chip Reardon isn't quite so golden these days -- he's dying from a highly virulent type of brain tumor.

For Myra, the chance to care for Chip fills her with both pleasure and anxiety, particularly when she realizes that she still has strong feelings for him. At first their reunion is marked by fun, joy, and memories. But then reality kicks in when Chip's old girlfriend, Diann, shows up, and Myra once again finds herself feeling like the fifth wheel she was back in high school. Yet despite slipping into their old roles, the three quickly discover that they have all changed. For Myra, this leads to a bittersweet irony as she finds herself in a loving relationship for the first time in her life -- only to have it be with a man whose days are drastically numbered.

My Original Thoughts (2001):

Sucked right in from the very first page. I love this author! Another wonderful book. Sweet. Romantic. Memorable characters.

My Current Thoughts:

I still have a copy of this book and think I'll make time to read it again.

April 17, 2022

The Absolutist

2021 Other Press (first published in 2011)
Finished on April 8, 2022
Rating: 5/5 (Excellent)

Publisher's Blurb:
It is September 1919: twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a package of letters to the sister of Will Bancroft, the man he fought alongside during the Great War.

But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan's visit. He can no longer keep a secret and has finally found the courage to unburden himself of it. As Tristan recounts the horrific details of what to him became a senseless war, he also speaks of his friendship with Will - from their first meeting on the training grounds at Aldershot to their farewell in the trenches of northern France. The intensity of their bond brought Tristan happiness and self-discovery as well as confusion and unbearable pain.

The Absolutist is a masterful tale of passion, jealousy, heroism, and betrayal set in one of the most gruesome trenches of France during World War I. This novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats until its most extraordinary and unexpected conclusion, and will stay with them long after they've turned the last page.

What a marvelous novel! I read it over the course of four days and was truly bereft when I turned the final page. It was a great read for my four-hour flight to Nashville. I would have loved to have read all day; the time passed far too quickly!

Boyne's novel opens in 1919 with Tristan's visit to Norwich. The details of his story are deliberately vague, but as the narrative unfolds, we learn more about Tristan and Will's experience in the Great War. Alternating between their training and combat in the war (1916) and Tristan's visit with Will's sister, Marian Bancroft (in 1919), the reader experiences the horrors that these two soldiers suffered during their brief year in battle. As I read, I had to remind myself that Tristan (who lied about his age when he joined up) is just twenty-one when he visits Marian. While not a young boy, he comes across as a much more mature man. Sadly, war steals the innocence and care-free life of the young.

The Absolutist is the fourth novel by John Boyne that I have read, and he is decidedly one of my favorite authors. I wasn't enthralled with The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but I loved The Absolutist equally as well as The Heart's Invisible Furies and A Ladder to the Sky. These literary works are worthy of multiple readings and discussion, and I'm eager to discover more by Boyne, who has written 13 novels (and 6 YA books). 

I feel as though my brief review does not do justice to Boyne's talent as a writer. Perhaps the following will help to persuade you to give this and any of his other books a chance:
A novel of immeasurable sadness, in a league with Graham Greene's The End of the Affair... Boyne is very, very good at portraying the destructive power of a painfully kept secret... this is a forbidden love story, a gay love story, but one with a terrible twist. ~John Irving, author of A Prayer for Owen Meany

A wonderful, sad, tender book [that] is going to have an enormous impact on everyone who reads it. ~Colm Toibin, author of Brooklyn
What begins as a slow-building World War I period piece…grows deeper, more curious, and uneasy as it progresses—and midway through this sad and beautiful story, you realize you’re in the hands of a quiet master…a taut and tragic tale of love and war, with a kick-in-the-gut ending. ~Amazon (Best Books of the Month)

My initial rating for The Absolutist was 4.5/5, but upon reflection while composing this review, I'm bumping that rating up to 5-stars. Highly recommend, particularly to those who loved All the Light We Cannot See and City of Thieves.

April 15, 2022

Looking Back - Lily of the Valley

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

1999 Atria Books
Read in February 2001
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Lily Wilk always knew she was destined to be an artist -- ever since she pulled a drawing kit from a grab bag on her tenth birthday. Now Lily's work is always in demand around her small Massachusetts town, where she makes her living painting fire hydrants, lettering diplomas, and applying "Gulls" and "Buoys" to restaurant bathroom doors. But when supermarket heiress Mary Ziemba commissions her to paint a family portrait, Lily senses her lifelong dream of creating a memorable masterpiece is finally within her grasp. What she discovers, however, is that dreams often take their own unexpected twists...and with each small and gentle brush stroke she applies to Mary Ziemba's painting, Lily learns more than she ever imagined about the meaning of friendship, family, and love. With a gift for creating fiction that is "rich with an unusual sweetness" (USA Today) and filled with wry humor, bestselling author Suzanne Strempek Shea delivers a poignant and unforgettable work of art in Lily of the Valley.

My Original Thoughts (2001):

It took me a while to get caught up in the story, but I eventually did. I don't think the author writes very well, though. I stumbled over many sentences that were jerky and seemed poorly written. However, the story intrigued me and I'm happy I kept at it. Reminiscent of Lorna Landvik's novels.

My Current Thoughts:

I doubt I'd have the patience for this book now. Pretty sure it would have wound up on my recent reject pile

April 8, 2022

Looking Back - The Testament

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

The Testament by John Grisham
1999 Island Books
Read in February 2001
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

In a plush Virginia office, a rich, angry old man is furiously rewriting his will. With his death just hours away, Troy Phelan wants to send a message to his children, his ex-wives, and his minions, a message that will touch off a vicious legal battle and transform dozens of lives.

Because Troy Phelan's new will names a sole surprise heir to his eleven-billion-dollar fortune: a mysterious woman named Rachel Lane, a missionary living deep in the jungles of Brazil.

Enter the lawyers. Nate O'Riley is fresh out of rehab, a disgraced corporate attorney handpicked for his last job: to find Rachel Lane at any cost. As Phelan's family circles like vultures in D.C., Nate is crashing through the Brazilian jungle, entering a world where money means nothing, where death is just one misstep away, and where a woman - pursued by enemies and friends alike - holds a stunning surprise of her own.

My Original Thoughts (2001):

It's been a very long time since I've read anything by John Grisham. I enjoyed this novel, although it wasn't quite the page-turner that I expected. I didn't really get engrossed until over halfway through. I was pleased it didn't have a perfect ending. I enjoyed the story of Nate's journey to Brazil in search of Rachel, the missionary and soon-to-be billionaire. Of course, as with most of Grisham's books, it would make an entertaining movie.

My Current Thoughts: 

I have no memory of this book at all!

April 5, 2022


2020 Harper
Finished on April 1, 2022
Rating: 4.5/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

A brilliantly insightful novel, engrossing and haunting, about marriage, love, family, happiness and sorrow, from New York Times bestselling author Sue Miller.

Graham and Annie have been married for nearly thirty years. A golden couple, their seemingly effortless devotion has long been the envy of their circle of friends and acquaintances. 

Graham is a bookseller, a big, gregarious man with large appetites—curious, eager to please, a lover of life, and the convivial host of frequent, lively parties at his and Annie’s comfortable house in Cambridge. Annie, more reserved and introspective, is a photographer. She is about to have her first gallery show after a six-year lull and is worried that the best years of her career may be behind her. They have two adult children; Lucas, Graham’s son with his first wife, Frieda, works in New York. Annie and Graham’s daughter, Sarah, lives in San Francisco. Though Frieda is an integral part of this far-flung, loving family, Annie feels confident in the knowledge that she is Graham’s last and greatest love.

When Graham suddenly dies—this man whose enormous presence has seemed to dominate their lives together—Annie is lost. What is the point of going on, she wonders, without him? 

Then, while she is still mourning him intensely, she discovers that Graham had been unfaithful to her; and she spirals into darkness, wondering if she ever truly knew the man who loved her.

I was initially concerned about reading another book with a central theme of infidelity, but Sue Miller's exquisite writing pulled me right in to Annie and Graham's lives and I had to force myself to turn off the light and go to sleep. Infidelity does play a significant role in the plot, but I was more interested in the aspects of Annie's grief, particularly in the early days after Graham's death. I found myself thinking about these richly drawn characters as I went about my day, eager to return to the book each night, but not wanting to read too quickly. Images of Graham's bookstore, as well as those of Annie and Graham's home and summer cottage (the lively dinner parties filled with close friends and authors, and solitary moments of a grieving wife, respectively) are vividly depicted with careful attention to detail that pulls the reader in closely with an intimate view of an imperfect, yet loving, marriage.

In the second half of the novel, Graham's adult children and ex-wife give voice to the narrative, offering a glimpse into their relationships with Graham and Annie, but it is Annie's voice (filled with sadness, anger, insecurity and love) that speaks most loudly throughout Monogamy. Her grief is palpable, and I was brought to tears as I read the passage of her phone call to her daughter the morning after Graham's death.

I've only read a few novels by Sue Miller (While I Was Gone, Lost in the Forest, and The Distinguished Guest), but I plan to read more. Much like Anna Quindlen's character-driven works, Miller's nuanced examination of marriage and family elevates what would otherwise be a melodramatic cliche of a spouse's transgression and untimely death. Highly recommend.

April 3, 2022

A Month in Summary - March 2022

Little Whale Cove
Depoe Bay, Oregon
March 2022

Happy Spring! Living in a forest, you wouldn't think that we'd see a lot of spring color, but some of the rhododendrons and red flowering currants are beginning to bloom and a few of our neighbors have daffodils, tulips and hyacinths that are blooming. I'm just glad the deciduous trees and shrubs (elderberry, scotch broom, etc.) are starting to leaf out again. Who knows, maybe the daytime temp will start climbing closer to 60 than 50.

I had a decent month of reading with two big winners (Setting Free the Kites and Water Like Stone) that I'm still thinking about. I love a good book that lingers long after I've finished reading it. 

Books Read (click on the title for my review):

Water Like a Stone by Deborah Crombie (4.5/5)

Setting Free the Kites by Alex George (4.5/5)

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller (3/5)

The Women of the Copper Country by Mary Doria Russell (3/5)

Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery (3/5)

Movies & TV Series:

Murder in Provence - Loved it! Both Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll are wonderful. Now I want to go to Provence.

CODA - I enjoyed this feel-good coming-of-age story despite the predictable ending. Emilia Jones is great, as is Eugenio Derbez.

The Chelsea Detective - Another fun new series!

Line of Duty (Season 2) - A little confusing in the beginning, but very good and suspenseful!

Spooks/MI-5 (Season 4) - I love this show. The entire cast is fabulous, but Nicola Walker is my favorite. 


"Olena Skytsiuk (Ukrainian, b. 1950) Paradise Birds, 2008 An imaginary forest of eclectically colored wildlife comes alive through the details of Olena Skytsiuk’s Paradise Birds. Petrykivka painting—a style taught to Olena from her parents, and one she passed on to her own daughter—is an ornamental folk art style particular to Ukraine. Paradise Birds, featured on this 1000-piece puzzle, makes use of the technique to build personality into every fantastical element, from the flourishing feathers to each individual blade of grass." (Pomegranate Puzzles)

Late to the Party:

I don't know when or how I stumbled upon Elyse_Myers on Instagram, but she is so funny, wise and inspiring. I might have binged on an entire year's worth of her IG posts. :) She's also on Tik-Tok, but I can only handle so many social media platforms, so I watch on Instagram.

Other News:

I used to be a runner. I started "jogging" when I was around 12 and really got into it in my 20s and 30s, running in numerous 10Ks and two half-marathons. Sometime around my 40th birthday, I began to have problems with one of my knees, so I gave up running and started biking. Every so often I would try to run again, but my knees always complained. Several weeks ago, I decided to give it another try, this time on a treadmill. I didn't have any problems, so I continued, running a couple of miles every other day. I am now up to three miles and hope to get to four without any problems.  

I've been using our air fryer quite a bit lately, trying out some of my favorite recipes to see how they do in the air fryer. We have an oven in the RV, but it's fueled with propane (which burns hotter than electric or gas) and is fairly small. The air fryer is a good alternative for cooking while on road trips. I'll also use it if it's raining or too windy to fire up the grill. So far, my favorite items to cook in the fryer are salmon, cheeseburgers, "fried" chicken sandwiches, chicken parmesan, Tator-tots, and flatbread/pizza. I've tried flat iron steaks and they turn out very moist and tender but lack the searing/grill marks. I especially love the easy clean-up of the fryer. Do you have one? What are your favorite things to cook in yours? 

We're kicking off the month with a trip to Nashville via Seattle. This will be the first time we've traveled by plane in over five years. We can't wait to finally see our daughter and son-in-law. Thanks to the pandemic, it's been 2 1/2 years since we've seen them! We're counting the hours!

April 2, 2022

Anne of Avonlea

(Anne of Green Gables #2)
Children's Fiction
1992 Bantam (first published in 1909)
Finished on March 29, 2022
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

At sixteen, Anne is grown up...almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else's romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behaviour of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone.

My godparents gave me a copy of Anne of Avonlea in the early 70s, but I no longer own the book and have no idea when or why I got rid of it. I can't imagine that I didn't enjoy reading this sequel to Anne of Green Gables (which I do still own), and even if I didn't plan to read it a second time, I'm sorry I didn't keep the book. Nonetheless, I borrowed a copy from the library and enjoyed revisiting Prince Edward Island and Anne's latest adventures and mishaps. I was surprised that after fifty years, I could still remember some of the events and new characters from this classic. As is my experience with some children's books, I grew a little bored with the simplistic storyline, but I still enjoyed it quite well and look forward to re-reading Anne of the Island.

April 1, 2022

Looking Back - The River King

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

2000 G.P. Putnam's Sons
Read in February 2001
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

From the best-selling author of The Dovekeepers, The River King confirms Alice Hoffman as "one of our quirkiest and most interesting novelists" (Jane Smiley, USA Today).

People tend to stay in their place in the town of Haddan. The students at the prestigious prep school don't mix with locals. Even within the school, hierarchy rules as freshman and faculty members find out where they fit in and what is expected of them. But when a body is found in the river behind the school, a local policeman will walk into this enclosed world and upset it entirely. A story of surface appearances and the truths submerged below.

My Original Thoughts (2001):

Took a while to get into, but glad I stuck with it. "A suspenseful, lyrical account of one man's search for the truth, by the master storyteller whom the Washington Post Book World has called 'a writer of great wisdom and compassion.'" Memorable characters. Mystical realism. Romance and mystery in one. Good, but the ending was a bit flat and anticlimactic. 

My Current Thoughts:

I have a vague memory of reading this book and not really enjoying it very well. I also didn't bother to watch the movie, which is based on the novel. It's been a long time since I've read anything by Hoffman, and I was surprised to see that she has written over two dozen novels. I keep meaning to try The Dovekeepers.