Monday, December 8, 2014

Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

    Yes, I know I am notorious for leaving a good book on the shelf a long time before reading it. Here is another one.  

    Gap Creek is the story of Julie Harmon and Hank Richards' first year of marriage. It is the late 19th century in the Appalachians and life is hard. Julie is the oldest of three girls and the one who works "like a man" with her Pa. She does it because there is no one else to do it and it does not occur to her that there is even a choice. Her little brother dies in her arms and when Pa dies too the load falls mostly on her.

    Then along comes Hank. He is eighteen, handsome, and confident. Seventeen year old Julie falls in love knowing little of Hank and even less of what the future holds for her. She leaves home headed for Gap Creek and the home of Mr. Pendergast where she and Hank will work for room and board while Hank is employed at the sawmill nearby.

    Julie and Hank are plagued with a series of disasters made harder by Hank's short comings and his mother. Julie carries on again, with few complaints and great strength. Even so, this is a kind of love story.  It is clear that women like Julie are who truly built this country.

    Robert Morgan is expert at making his story reality as you read. You love the people, good and bad. You see the country side and the time period, never wanting the book to end. I love American history and this author's ability to bring it alive.

    Great book.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

    This is the third time I have read Daphne Du Maurier's Jamaica Inn. The first time was in the middle of high school and I'm sure it contributed greatly to my love of Steve McQueen and eventually Bruce Willis. Oh, yes there were a string of real life 'bad boys' between the two. I still prefer McConaughey over Gosling. Sigh . . .

    I read her 'Rebecca' first on recommendation from my mother, so I knew Du Maurier would not be cut and dried either in characters or story. I was pretty much a gothic romance and romantic suspense reader at the time, leaning toward Holt, Whitney, Eden and Stewart as my favorite authors. The lack of the neat little happy ending in these two books threw me a little, then spoiled me forever. Du Maurier sent me into mysteries and detective stories by Christie and Chandler as well as the political thrillers of the cold war. My reading went from child to adult.

    The orphaned Mary Yellan being sent off to the moors to live with an Aunt she hardly knew fit my gothic mind. Her aunt was not as she remembered, her uncle frightening, the sense of something menacing and wrong all worked. But then things actually became evil as her uncle becomes drunk and tells her of the business he is really in. The Vicar is beyond creepy. And the young man, her uncles brother Jem, is an admitted horse thief. What? And Mary is present when he sells a stolen horse back to its rightful owner. So Mary fell for him head over heels.This was different. I liked it. 

    Du Maurier is probably not the best writer I have ever read, but she was an expert at bringing you the unexpected and Jamaica Inn was instrumental in making me a life long reader.




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Archetype by M.D. Waters

    This book is Sci Fi? Thriller? Love story? Or, maybe, all of these. It IS a no put down book.

    Emma gradually becomes aware, only to find she has no memory. She is in a hospital and the doctors tell her she has been in an accident. She has dreams, but they have nothing to do with her apparent life or the husband who protects her and will do anything for her. She finds herself returning that love, even as the voice in her head, and the dreams, become more insistent that there are things she does not know.

    The world seems to be short on females, but the details are hard to come by. No one wants to tell her anything about her past or answer her questions. Emma instinctively holds back the information from her dreams as she attempts to unravel the mystery of why she has no memory and what really happened to her.

    This world of the future has teleportation, computer screens that are the walls of rooms, terrorists, and secrets Emma must find the answers to so she will know who she really is and who she truly loves.

    I thought I had it figured out. I was wrong.

    First book of a two volume series. Yep. It left me hanging at the end. Cant wait to read book two, 'Prototype'!

Missing you by Harlan Coben

    Kat Donovan is a NYPD Detective. It's a family deal. Her father was a cop too. Feeling lonely and maybe just a little desperate, Kat signs on to a dating website. What she finds is a picture of the man who broke her heart 18 years before and then disappeared. Surprised that she still has feelings for Jeff, Kat responds to the ad. But the answers don't make sense to her and she becomes suspicious.

    What Kat begins to unravel, with the help of a missing woman's computer geek son, is frightening. People are murdered and dark secrets from the long ago begin to surface as her investigation deepens. She must find Jeff and get answers before more innocent victims die, no matter what she must face in the present or from the past.

    I enjoyed this book because Kat was not a perfect heroine. I liked her misguided tenacity, faults and blind spots. They made her real. I figured out most of the plot but there was enough that took me by surprise to make it tense and keep me reading intently until the end.

    A great read, as always, from Coben.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Book Of You by Claire Kendall

     The description of The Book Of You says this: "His name is Rafe, and he is everywhere Clarissa turns. At the university where she works. Her favorite sewing shop. The train station. Outside her apartment. His messages choke her voice mail; his gifts litter her mailbox. Since that one regrettable night, his obsession with her has grown, becom ing more terrifying with each passing day. And as Rafe has made clear, he will never let her go." 

    This book was recommended to me because I enjoyed "Before I go to Sleep" by  S. J. Watson. I loved that book and with the description above, paid full price for the kindle version. I am not sorry. 

     The reader sits through Clarissa's six weeks of jury duty, which she believes will help her have less contact with her obsessed University co-worker, Rafe. Here she sees herself in the rape victim being brutally cross examined and begins recording the evidence she believes she will need to convict Rafe as a stalker and, perhaps, serial killer. This notebook of information becomes the core of The Book of You.

     Outside the courtroom, gifts arrive at her apartment, as well as pictures from that one night she hardly remembers, spent with Rafe. But she fears she will not be believed. She continues to record in The Book of You as her terror, and ours, escalates. 

     Impossible to say more without ruining the suspense. 

     Loved this book.