As you may remember, I rented a cabin for a couple of days during my "staycation", with the intention of doing nothing but laying about and reading books - which I did!
I read four books during my time there, and here's what I thought of each of them...
The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes was definitely my favorite "cabin" read. I actually met JoJo at ALA and had her autograph my copy of this novel, which is now so treasured to me. This novel takes place during World War I, and in present day London, when two women are inextricably linked by a painting. The World War I segment was so arresting and compelling - it told the story of a small French village that was occupied by the Germans, and what one woman did to protect her livelihood, her family and her neighbors. The present day story is about a young widow, a tender romance, and a painting that she thought belonged to her - but might not. I absolutely pored through this novel, savoring every minute and feeling echoes of other books I've loved (Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, for one). I was more invested in the World War I portion of the story, of course, but the modern day tale was captivating in its own way. I can't recommend this novel enough, nor JoJo's previous novel Me Before You, which is also one of my very, very favorite reads this year. Un-put-down-able!
The Playdate by Louise Millar drew me in slowly, until I absolutely couldn't put it down. Taking place in London, this novel is the story of three women who are neighbors, and whose lives slowly intertwine in increasing ways. Callie is a single mother of a daughter, Suzy is a brassy American with three children who is Callie's only friend, and Debs, a teacher at the nearby day care. The novel appears to be a work of "women's fic", until it starts closing in and closing in, turning into quite the suspense novel. Who is telling the truth? Who is the sinister force? What darkness is happening on this quiet London street? I don't want to give anything away, but I thought this was a thoroughly engaging, interesting novel that kept me turning pages well into the evening! Who do you trust your kids with? And should you?
Blowback by Valerie Plame was a really fast-paced suspense novel by former CIA ops officer Plame. This debut novel features Vanessa Pierson, a CIA operative who is trying to bring down The Ghost, using her contacts, her wits, and occasionally, her gun. I thought this was a really solid debut novel, and I was really interested in the tactics and country-hopping that took place, since it was written by someone who lived that life, so it felt very authentic. I'm interested to know more about Vanessa - so I would read the next novel for sure. Recommended for those suspense lovers out there!
To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones is a young adult novel, and is told entirely in verse (as are her other novels). This time, Colette - an inveterate liar - is being dragged into a small town where her mother is filming a movie, only to fall in love with a cute guy on a motorcycle. But throughout the novel, you have to ask yourself - what's really true? I love the writing style and quick pace of her novels, and I thought this one was interesting, quirky and sweet. This is a great one for reluctant readers because of the easy approach. Recommended!