Showing posts from October, 2023

Book Review: The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters (Audiobook)

Rating:  4.5⭐ In the early 1960s, four-year-old Ruthie, the youngest daughter of a Mi’kmaq family from Nova Scotia, disappeared from a blueberry field in Maine where her family was employed for the summer. With almost no help from the authorities on account of their “transient” status, Ruthie’s family and their coworkers desperately search for her but to no avail. Ruthie’s brother Joe, six years old at the time, was the last to see her and her disappearance would haunt him for years to come. Devastated and heartbroken, Ruthie’s family struggles to hold on to hope that she is alive and will return to them someday. “It’s funny what you remember when something goes wrong. Something that would never stick in your memory on an ordinary day gets stuck there permanent.” Norma has vague memories of her life before she was five years old. Growing up in Maine, the only child of a judge who is a tad distant and an overprotective mother, she is an inquisitive and perceptive child. Her vivid dreams

Book Review: The Christmas Guest by Peter Swanson

Rating :⭐⭐⭐⭐ It has been thirty years since Ashley Smith, an American Art History student in London, spent her Christmas holidays at her classmate Emma Chapman’s family home in Clevemoor. Ashley, far from home and with no close family, was excited to have company during the festive season. Ashley is in awe of the Chapmans’ manor home and initially enjoys the company, trips to the local pub and the idyllic village, not to mention the attention she gets from Adam, Emma’s handsome twin brother whose company she particularly enjoys. However, Adam is suspected of having brutally murdered a local girl with whom he is said to have been romantically involved. Ashley also notices some strange occurrences around the house and is a tad confused with her host’s strange behavior. Needless to say, Ashley’s holiday might not be quite as idyllic as it seems. The first half of the narrative is presented through Ashley's journal entries dating back to 1989 after which we switch to the present day wh

Book Review: The Wren, the Wren by Anne Enright

Rating: 3.75⭐ “The connection between us is more than a strand of DNA, it is a rope thrown from the past, a fat twisted rope, full of blood.” As the novel begins, we meet twenty-two-year-old Nell, who seeks to carve out a life for herself as a writer. Her need to be independent prompts her to move out of her mother’s home despite the financial struggles and loneliness it might entail. Nell’s relationship with her mother is complicated. Carmel, the daughter of Irish poet Phil McDaragh, carries the scars of a troubled childhood. Her father abandoned his family – Carmel, her sister and their terminally ill mother for greener pastures but left them with a legacy of debt and emotional trauma. Nell never met her grandfather but has been exposed to his work and is curious to know more about him. As the narrative progresses, we follow Nell as embarks on a deeply personal journey of self-awareness and healing, dealing with her frustration with her work and her relationship with Felim, who is co

Book Review: A House for Alice by Diana Evans

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ The story begins with two tragedies- nonagenarian Cornelius Winston Pitt eager to live to see his one-hundredth birthday breathes his last after a fire engulfs his home. A fire in a high-rise residential apartment in West London on the same night left several residents homeless and many dead. In the aftermath of Cornelius’ death, his estranged wife Alice and her three daughters Adel, Carol, and Melissa are left to grapple with their loss. Alice hopes to leave London and return to her native country Nigeria where she is building a home. As the story progresses, we meet Alice’s children and their families and how they cope with the death in their family and Alice’s impending plans to leave – old wounds, resentments, and disappointments rise to the surface and what is left to be seen is whether the family is brought closer or does tragedy and loss tear them further apart. A House for Alice   by  Diana Evans  is a well-written story that revolves around themes of family, traged

Book Review: North Woods by Daniel Mason

Rating:  4.5⭐️ North Woods  by  Daniel Mason  is a beautifully written novel. Spanning centuries, the narrative tells us the stories of those who inhabit a home deep in the woods of Western Massachusetts. Through these stories, we explore not only the history of the land, the people and animals but also how the concept of home and shelter evolve over time and the precious bond human beings have with nature. Forbidden love, enslavement, belongingness and insecurity, rivalry, mental health, climate change and survival are only a few of the themes that are deftly woven into the fluid narrative. The strength of this novel is the writing and the vivid imagery that transports you to the "north woods”. The landscape changes over time, stories begin and end and generations of people come and go, leaving an imprint on the land – a legacy of joy, sorrow, loneliness, tragedy and renewal. Told through letters, journal entries, historical records, an article from a true crime magazine and poet