Shiny New Book Reviews

How about a quartet of new reviews - with some serious standouts! :-)

I'll be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan was absolutely the best book I'd read in weeks, and I just couldn't put it down! This is an epistolary novel (love those!) that begins in 1943 with letters between two "war wives" - one in Iowa, the other in New England, who have never met. Though Rita and Glory are in different places in their lives and marriages, they form an instant report, and the story is told through their letter exchanges. Nothing is left out - stories of the men they love, their struggles at home, their children, thoughts on World War II, and even things like recipes and nosy neighbors. Both of these women are so compelling and sympathetic, and I truly couldn't wait for the "next chapter", just as these women waited for another letter from their long distance friend. Filled with sorrow and joy, hard truths and hard times, I yearned for the story to keep going. I was so sad when it ended, and truly missed my two friends, but found the ending satisfying in its own right. I can't recommend this novel enough - much in the vein of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society or Letters from Skye, this is a wonderful, wonderful read.

The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain was an interesting twist of a story. Tara and Emerson are absolutely stunned when their best friend Noelle (the midwife) leaves a partially finished note upon her suicide. The rest of the novel switches between past and present to try and put together the complicated relationship these three women, the source of Noelle's pain and decision to commit suicide, the complications of mother/daughter relationships and how the men in their lives fit in to the story. I enjoyed this novel, but felt is got a bit "bogged down" in the last third or so, and needed some better pacing. I was interested in the resolution of the story, though, and didn't figure out "the story" until it was revealed. A good choice for those interested in women's lit...

Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark (yes, from the OJ Simpson trial) is actually the first in the Rachel Knight series, and since I'd read the others in the series, I wanted to back to the beginning to see how the series began. Rachel is a DA in Los Angeles, who, along with her besties (Bailey, a cop and Toni, a fellow prosecutor), brings down the bad guys. This time, though, the murdered is a fellow DA, and one of Rachel's friends, who is caught in a "compromising" death pose. This is a really interesting series - the characters are flawed by interesting, the plotting tight, and it feels authentic and real, due I'm sure to Clark's previous work in the law. Though I normally listen to the series, and enjoy the vocalization, reading the novel held up as well. A great legal series with a female protagonist!

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan is a brilliant, powerful, smartly written novel for ages 10 and up, but truly could appeal to anyone. Willow Chance is whip smart but quirky, and when her parents are killed in a car accident, her world spins off its axis. Left alone in the world, this novels shows how friendships and families form, how the world can transform by one person, and how anything can eventually become "normal". This was such a compelling read, and I want to give it to everyone I know to read. I loved Willow, the people in her orbit, and the hope this novel brings. This isn't a "dead parents" story, per se, this is a "look what we can do in the world and with each other" story. Amazing read. :-)

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