I only have five books to share this month, as four are epic length. The great thing is most of them were very good with one being an outstanding highly recommended read. Links are provided if you’d like to read the story synopsis on Amazon.
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain – I was originally drawn to the North Carolina setting, looking for local writers and found an extraordinary book with a storyline of mystery and secrets within a family. The story is so compelling, it pulls the reader along to where it becomes impossible to put down. I finished its 343 pages in just two days, foregoing all other distractions. The story begins with a woman cleaning out her father’s home after his death. His home isn’t hoarded, but close, with stacks of papers, collections, and other things to go through. A small box reveals the first bombshell, which I won’t spoil for you, and that leads to the truth that her sister didn’t really commit suicide. As Riley learns that all she has known has not been all the truth, her world is turned upside down. I had to keep reading to see how it was going to turn out. Riveting and engrossing, put this one on your must read list. Highly Recommend.
Turn A Blind Eye by Jeffrey Archer – This book was the third in a series, and unfortunately I hadn’t read the first two. I realized this about a quarter of the way in, when references were made to previous investigations. I just went with it anyway. The book reads much like his Clifton Chronicles series with the story continuing over many books. I picked up this mystery as it dealt with corruption, not murder. It is a decent book, but probably would have enjoyed it more had I read the first two.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – This was a difficult book to read, the story follows four generations of a Korean family living in Japan beginning in 1910, and going through the 1980s. The people are subject to hardship, poverty and prejudice, scratching a living as best they can, doing what is necessary to survive. Bullying, discrimination and intolerance from the Japanese people toward Koreans was constant through the years as they were forced to live in slums, were not hired for jobs, and stereotyped as criminals and filthy. The book was one of the top 10 fiction books of 2017 on the New York Times list and a finalist for the National Book Award. It was praised as an accurate historical account of the lives of a downtrodden people, forced from their homeland and exiled as Korea and Japan were torn apart by war. There is much heartbreak in the story, but also a determination to make it one more day, and then another day. There were some time jumps in the book, where years would go by between chapters, but this was made clear as the book progressed. It is very long, 485 pages, and at times felt too long. Overall a bit depressing as there was more misery than gaiety. But, it is historically accurate and a thoughtful read.
A Taste for Nightshade by Martine Bailey – The synopsis for this story bills itself as historical thriller, but my overriding impression was of gothic suspense / horror in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock. The story begins slowly, and certain details that are glossed over in the beginning take a sinister turn later in the book. I was reminded of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier as our heroine is married to a man she barely knows and is taken to live in a run down mansion on a crumbling estate. There are plots and schemes taking place, with revenge as a motivator, and a manipulative woman who maneuvers herself into the household. Although the story bogs down a bit about 2/3 of the way through, it picks up again with startling revelations that will leave the hairs on the back of your neck standing up. The book is long, 453 pages with an old timey recipe at the beginning of the chapters. Most are nice little receipts of how everyday cooking put meals on a table in the late 1700s, but some are far more sinister. The reader knows who is behind the deceptions, but even then things are not quite as they seem. Recommended for those who enjoy dark novels, with a few scenes of gore as is usual with horror, but mainly slow building suspense and a thrilling denouement. Perfect read for October.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – There aren’t enough superlatives to describe this imaginative and original story, five stars!! Set in space, with an unlikely hero, it begins with the protagonist awakening to a confusing situation and memory loss. As he pieces things together, one startling revelation at a time, the reader is taken through twists and turns, with the story becoming more compelling as it goes on. It is a long book, 476 pages, and I couldn’t put it down. There is a lot of science in the story. Even though physics and math are not my strong suits, the concepts are explained in such a way that it is interesting, and doesn’t bog down the flow. The science is essential to the story and the main character’s choices. It will grip your emotions as it goes, taking you on the journey with the hero, and his agonizing decision after a surprise revelation near the end. The writing is easy reading, and suitable for most audiences. The guys will love this one, would be a great gift for a reader husband, father, brother, son, or other guy in your life. I loved this one, and highly recommend to anyone looking for something different to read.
A friend has the Elin Hinderbrand book, Golden Girl, and she is going to loan to me when she finishes it. Several readers have recommended it, so I am looking forward to reading that one. What is on your reading list?