The Identicals

The Identicals, by Elin Hildebrand, is the perfect summer read. I do enjoy her books as they transport me to the New England islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, where even the poor people are able to buy super local produce and seafood and have adventures around the islands. Of course, there’s also those with much more money traveling around as well.

In this novel, 2 identical twin sisters, who grew up as close as twins can, are forced to live with different parents after their separation. Its a little ridiculous, since the girls were in college at the time and could have remained closer, but this novel has them growing apart. There was a time when they once again relied on each other, but tragedy struck forcing them further apart. Upon the death of their father, the girls who think the other twin has an easier life, end up switching lives for the summer. Not secretly, they each retain their own identity but they trade responsibilities. Of course, there’s lots of family drama with their mother and one of their daughters forcing complications, but the story of the sisters finding themselves and each other again is sweet and goes down easily with a chilled glass of Sauvignon blanc.

Easy, fun read about family and beaches.

Read August 2017

The Shadow Land

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova follows a young American woman, Alexandra Boyd,  who lands in Hungary and accidentally steals an elder woman’s bag as she’s getting into a taxi. Trying to return the bag, she turns to the police and another taxi driver. Alexandra and her new taxi friend travel around Sofia and the surrounding countryside desperately trying to find the older couple and their son who lost their bag.

Along the way, the duo gets caught up in the story about the man who’s belongings are in the lost bag, a young violinist who was detained in politically oppressed Bulgaria. Alexandra’s story is interspersed with the tales of Bulgaria from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, spilling secrets that somebody wanted hidden.

There is an old world gothic feel to this story, as if ghosts might pop out of the corner. But the horrors in the real world are more terrifying than any ghost story.

Great novel!!! Read May 2017

A Twist of the Knife

In Becky Masterman’s A Twist of the Knife, Brigid Quinn returns to southern Florida to visit her ailing father and her caretaker mother. While there, Quinn reunites with Laura Coleman, a former colleague working to free a man from death row for a possible wrong conviction.

There’s so much to like in this novel. Brigid Quinn is a carefully written character with flaws and depth to her. She unpacks her childhood baggage while dealing with her family and explores her own trauma while dealing with Laura who almost lost her life a year ago. All this while investigating an old crime for a man on death row whom she cannot determine if he’s sincere or just really charming.

And Florida itself plays a part. The weather, the heat, the stickiness of life in southern Florida invades Quinn’s life just as much as the people.

And randomly, I feel like this is the first novel in awhile that I’ve read that doesn’t jump from time period to time period, or character to character. The simplicity of the storytelling was soothing after reading books where every chapter is a different voice or purpose. It really allowed for detailed characterization that gets lost when there’s too many character’s perspectives to relate to. It was refreshing to have such a straight forward read.

Great read. Recommended.

Read April 2017