Here’s to Us

Elin Hilderbrand uses her characters and sense of place to help her story transform from an ordinary tale of family members mourning their father, husband, ex-husband. Deacon Thorpe died at his beloved Nantucket home leaving behind 2 ex-wives, 3 children, and a current wife. All are thrown together for a weekend to throw his ashes and learn that Deacon left all 3 women a part of the house and a debt that only one of them can afford.

Each woman hates another and there is a lot of blame for the end of each of their marriages. Laurel, his high school sweetheart. Belinda, a movie star who stole Deacon from Laurel. And Scarlett, Belinda’s former nanny and Deacons current wife. Each had one child with Deacon. All 6, along with Buck, Deacon’s best friend, are sharing the home and history with each other. There stories spread across decades and showcase a man larger than life who left a big hole in each of their hearts.

Great, moving story.

Read December 2016

Marriage, Monsters, and Murder

Marriage, Monsters, and Murder is a mystery with a chick lit flair. While I enjoy both genres, the combination in Sara Rosett’s book is too much for me. Almost everything about the wedding, the activities, the wedding planner’s involvement in the investigation, how people treat each other felt contrived and silly.

While an easy read and the setting was well written, I didn’t much enjoy this book.

December 2016

First Comes Love

Emily Griffin’s First Comes Love looks at what happens within a family and each individual when some they love dies too young. The Garland family falls apart after the young son/brother dies while driving to get a burger. Griffin picks up the story 15 years later with the remaining sisters fulfilling the roles they had when they were still young. One is uber responsible until the weight of having a perfect life almost knocks her down. The other is carefree and cannot maintain a relationship.

Through events in their lives today, they’re able to face how their brother’s death, and the responsibility they’ve felt. This is a heart breaking story of how a tragedy can affect everyone’s lives.

Read December 2016

Truly Madly Guilty

Liane Moriarty’s Truly Madly Guilty is a page turner story about childhood friends Clementine and Erika. They’ve grown up and grown apart, but neither are able to disentangle themselves from their childhood relationship. Written in the same style as Big Little LiesMoriarty gives small glimpses into a secret that a group of adults share. Slowly revealing what happens at a spontaneous neighborhood BBQ, the characters’ secrets threaten to tear apart the couples involved.

The “big reveal” wasn’t as dramatic as Big Little Lies and I was a little disappointed that the event was never discussed afterwards. Was it a scary and dramatic event? Yes, absolutely. But enough to tear apart friends, couples, and neighbors? Maybe, but a bit unconvincing. However, the story about the relationship between Erika and Clementine was interesting and held the book together. Forced to play as children, Clementine’s parents took in Erika to give her a sense of normalcy missing from life at her own home. The strangeness between the girls that this caused and how their friendship evolved was well written and thought out.

A good read, but the climax and big secret could have been more interesting. The characterization makes up for it to a certain degree, but the mystery part of this mystery needed a bit more work.

Read August 2016.

Shopaholic and Baby

Shopaholic and Baby is another Shopaholic novel where I’m horrified by Becky’s purchases and her need to have absolutely everything for her soon-to-be baby. So much so that she buys 5 prams…short note, I really get a kick out of the British term pram. Its so quaint compared to our stroller or even carriage.

Of course, Becky is surrounded by her loving friends and family, but its her need for a celebrity level OBGYN, that brings Venetia Carter into her life. Or more importantly, her husband Luke’s life. The need to hide her extravagant purchases and Luke’s sudden secretiveness, fuel Becky’s paranoia about Venetia.

All of these problems could be solved by open communication, but of course thats not he world this novel’s set in. This is a cute novel with great friendships and an easy read.

Read March 2016

French Coast

French Coast is another Anita Hughes novel that I read during finals week. Very similar plot, except we now moved to France and there aren’t any princesses. Just Vogue writers, editors, models… At least in Hughes’s novels the women are also successful in their own right, but they come from money and privilege, and of course have such a hard time at the beginning. But being young, rich, beautiful, and talented, the problems never seem to become permanent.