A Cadre of Quirky Reads

A cadre of what I would call "quirky" reads have crossed my radar lately...

The Truth About Love and Lightning by Susan McBride

Gretchen Brink lives a quiet life far away from town, caring for her two blind sisters when several things happen at once: her (newly pregnant) daughter returns home, and a tornado sweeps across their property, leaving a mysterious man in its wake. This is a story with a touch of magic and romance, and jumps back and forth between a story from the past and the present tale. This is a really easy, comforting read for those looking for a cozy Saturday afternoon read, especially one with a bit of whimsy to it!

The Night Rainbow by Claire King 

I was intrigued not only by the cover, but by the comparisons to Me & Emma, a super read by Elizabeth Flock. The Night Rainbow instead takes place in France, where our narrator is nearly six-year-old Pea and her sister, Margot. We know Pea's mother is an Englishwomen living in a small French village, and has just lost a baby; Pea's father has died in an accident. This novel pieces together the circumstances around the tragedies, as well as following Pea's summer adventures and her encounters with neighbor Claude. I really wanted to like this novel more than I did - I found that it took me an exceedingly long time to read a novel that shouldn't have taken me much time at all (clocking in at only 272 pages). It was okay, but Me & Emma is a much, much better in terms of narration by a young voice, plot and twists.

The Sunshine When She's Gone by Thea Goodman 

 This was just weird. I liked the premise - harried married but uber-successful couple of a small baby in New York City take a day apart when hubby babysits, then impulsively decides to fly with baby to the Caribbean while wife has a day off. (Um, what? Sure. Just hop on Delta and take off there, dude.) But the writing, the plot....ugh. I had absolutely no sympathy, nor did I remotely care, about these doltish, utterly self-involved characters. I skimmed at least the entire second half of the book, and felt absolutely no resolution about the story or the people in it. I know it's been getting rave reviews elsewhere, but frankly, I thought it was a big waste of time!

The History of Us by Leah Stewart 

 I really adored Stewart's breakout novel, The Myth of You and Me, but this was a major disappointment. Other than taking place in Cincinnati (with a shout out to Jungle Jim's, no less!), I had little invested in this novel. Eloise dutifully took over the raising of her sister's three children when she and her husband were killed in an accident, thus sacrificing a promising career at Harvard to move home to Ohio. Now that the children are grown, Eloise wants to move out of their big rambling house and move on with her life - the children are petulant about that. Toss in family arguments, snits, and (lately, it seems to be obligatory) someone's sudden midlife lesbianism. (Seriously, I have no problem with lesbianism, but I think I have read at least 6 books in the last few months where that's the BIG plot turning point. Really? We're still going with that? Not that shocking anymore, folks. All in All, I simply lost interest in these characters I cared little about. Drag. :-(

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