THE AVIATOR'S WIFE by Melanie Benjamin







The Aviator's Wife
Melanie Benjamin


Delacorte Press
416 pages

$26., 
hard back, e-books and audio






For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong. Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness. Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.

My thoughts:

Where to start is always the tough part for when I'm writing about books! I don't want to gush too much over the ones I love and I don't want to trash the one's I don't love quite so much.  So this should be an easy book to write about, as I really enjoyed it!  The Aviator's Wife is written so well that you forget, at times, that you are reading fiction. Now, it is fiction based on history, but the conversations and situations are  crafted so brilliantly that you are swept up in Melanie Benjamin's story telling.  Benjamin has become one of my new favorite historical fiction authors, right up there with Susan Elis Macneal, in her attention to detail, and obviously well researched back ground on the Lindbergh's and their world.

A lot of the time when I read historical fiction, I do a little searching around on the "inter webs" so I can see what the world was like then, what people wore, what the houses were like, what movies, songs and books were popular.  While I did do some poking around on the net, I didn't have to. Benjamin paints a good picture of what was going on and I had no problem at all reading about a world that existed when my parents were little.  One of the things that I  had forgotten about Anne Morrow Lindbergh was that she had been the daughter of the American Ambassador to Mexico and what a different world that was !

Melanie Benjamin realistically seems to write from Lindbergh's heart, or at least the character's heart, as she smartly captures the aging process and the different ways of thinking and reacting to life. What makes the character of Anne Morrow Lindbergh so dang believable is that Benjamin balances the woman, and also the "co-pilot" of Charles Lindbergh. She deftly gets us, the readers, through the horrible kidnapping of their baby, that also keeps Anne, the mother, struggling.

Bottom line, a well written and engaging book.  I worried that the back and forth of the time periods wouldn't flow easily and I was dead wrong.

I give The Aviator's Wife 4 out of 5 stars.  I hope you'll enjoy it for the fictionalized story that Melanie Benjamin tells. Then do so some digging about the real Anne Morrow Lindbergh, I don't think you'll be disappointed by any of it




And, I hesitate adding this, but Benjamin does add some info at the end of the book that separates the fact from the fiction. Don't skip to the end.




*This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher, though NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.







HAPPY EASTER!!





A very Happy Easter to all 
who celebrate!










Photo source

And BOO on google for not even mentioning Easter, but posting Cesar Chavez' bday.  Hello BING!  You're my  new best friend!

It's Black Friday for GoodReads fans



These words struck fear and terror in my bookish heart....

"Amazon is acquiring Goodreads, a book-focused social network with 16 million members. The acquisition is likely to decrease Goodreads’ reputation as a neutral hub for authors and publishers."
:::facepalm::  screaming ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh nooooooooooooooooo  great gnashing of teeth


goodreads

My safe, cozy, informative, non-biased little corner of the book world went spinning out of control today when I learned that my lovely place to learn about books was taken over by the big, bad conglomerate.  I loved me some GoodReads. I trusted it. No paid reviews, no sock puppet posters, nothing too over the top. Just good old, honest thoughts and feelings about books. You could be as "social" as you wanted to be. OR didn't want to be. Picking and choosing as you went along, joining in when the mood struck, or reading and lurking when all you wanted to do was "eavesdrop" on what people were saying about books.

With the spector of death hovering over indy bookstores like "death eaters" in "Harry Potter" books, I fear we've lost the good parts of GoodReads with the takeover by big old cranky and all consuming amazon. Yes I did a "little a" on purpose.  amazon fills a need, and so be it. BUT must they control the whole book world?

Color me wearing black on this "Good Friday".

I am officially in mourning for the potential loss of the things that make GoodReads special, as it's been bought up by the other place, which is utilitarian...at best.  Yes I use it, we all need to use the occasional utilitarian things in life every now and then.  But the joy of books comes from places like GoodReads. They'll destroy it, remove all things that made it special. And in the end?  The readers of this world won't have any choices anymore about where to find books. We'll be stuck with what THEY think we should be interested in, based on what they want us to buy.

bah

I remember what they did to Shelfari...nothing. They euthanized it.


quote source


EASTER BOOKS FOR KIDS


Spotlight on: Easter books for kids

  Looking for something else to tuck into their Easter Baskets besides all candy??

Here are a few Easter books for kids, give them a look, see if they're something your kids might like!


















*All book cover images copyright their respective owners





SALVAGE AND DEMOLITION by Tim Powers


Spotlight on:  SALVAGE AND DEMOLITION





Lookee what I just got!  

 It's the new Tim Powers novella!!





It's gorgeous! 

I admit it, I'm a huge Powers fan and have been waiting for this one!  I can't wait to start reading it, and wanted to let y'all know that, it's out there, go find it and buy it, in one form or another!!  Just DO it!







And of course, a blurb from the publisher, which in this case is Subterranean:



Salvage and Demolition, the astonishing new 21,000 word novella by Tim Powers, begins when Richard Blanzac, a San Francisco-based rare book dealer, opens a box of consignment items and encounters the unexpected. There, among an assortment of literary rarities, he discovers a manuscript in verse, an Ace Double Novel, and a scattering of very old cigarette butts. These commonplace objects serve as catalysts for an extraordinary--and unpredictable--adventure.

Without warning, Blanzac finds himself traversing a 'circle of discontinuity' that leads from the present day to the San Francisco of 1957. Caught up in that circle are an ancient Sumerian deity, a forgotten Beat-era poet named Sophie Greenwald, and an apocalyptic cult in search of the key to absolute non-existence. With unobtrusive artistry, Powers weaves these elements into something strange and utterly compelling. The resulting story is at once a romance, a thriller, and the kind of intricately constructed time travel story that only the author of The Anubis Gates--that quintessential time travel classic--could have written. Ingenious, affecting, and endlessly inventive, Salvage and Demoliton is a compact gem from the pen of a modern master, a man whose singular creations never fail to dazzle and delight.

The Aviator's Wife









The Aviator's Wife
by Melanie Benjamin


Delacorte Press, $26.00
Also  available for e-readers


Blurb from the publisher:

For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.
 
Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.
 
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.








HEART LIKE MINE by Amy Hatvany



Book review: Heart Like Mine



Heart Like Mine
by Amy Hatvany

Washington Square Press, $15.00                                      
Available on various e-readers



Blurb from the publisher:

Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be? 
At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been the one taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again.
But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.
Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant and hopeful portrait about womanhood, love, and the challenges of family life.


My thoughts :  

Heart Like Mine, such a simple title, yet...who's heart is like mine?  Ava's, the grieving and angry teen?  Grace's, the instant "mom", almost wife and struggling career driven woman? Or Kelli's, relating to her daughter's, her hard nosed mother, or her daughter's soon to be step-mom? I started this book thinking I'd have a clear answer when I finished. You know what? It really doesn't matter who the title references. I'm one of those readers who likes to find the truth behind the title. And while my truth may be different from the truth you find? They're both truthful, and both right.

Hatvany has created such real people!  I know we often hear and read things like that, but I really mean "real".  No matter what character is speaking, you know them! They are in your world. I think one of the hardest things for an author, is to accurately speak for different ages and to have it be honest, and most importantly, believable.  One of the most honest scenes for me was between Grace and Victor, (her fiance and Ava's dad). They are discussing the incredibility of Kelli's parents not wanting to have anything to do with their daughter and grandchildren. OK, that's a pretty strange thing on its own, but the scene quickly turns to Grace being hurt because her fiance was remembering what traits he liked in his ex-wife, Kelli. Smartly, Hatvany quickly gave Grace the humility and love to realize that Victor, at one time, loved his ex, just as he loves HER now. That Victor is human.

Hatvany's Heart Like Mine is scattered FULL of these quiet moments, where the characters are clearly defined,  where she wants you to feel for each of them, and when you do? You struggle with the events of this story even more. You're pulled in the direction of the three women, and also pulled by the two main guys, Victor, and his son the adorable, Max.  

Hatvany has made the women the focus and also the characters who hold and also solve the mysteries.   We don't get too much from the males, Victor, Max or Kelli's father. While Victor and Max figure in the stories, we hear little from them, but what little we hear is powerful. Kelli's distant father is around, but her mother's is the voice that we, as readers, have the most interaction with. 

For me, the author wrote a fast paced and engaging book, you wanted to read faster to keep the pages turning.  Her dialogue for all of the characters is spot on and the voices clear in your head as you read. You quickly get to know these people and have no problem at all keeping up with the story, as Hatvany's superb story telling propels you forward.

I won't give you too much more, as I don't want to spoil the ride that the author gives you. 

I give this 4 out of 5 stars,  I really enjoyed Heart Like Mine, and recommend it highly. My only little quibble, so to speak, is that it all wrapped up pretty quickly. The ending is believable and satisfying, but it happened oh-so-fast!  Now, if that's the only complaint I have?  This is one fine book!!

Heart Like Mine is in stores and for sale online today!




**This e-galley was provided to me, in exchange for an honest review, by the publisher through NetGalley.  

Visit Amy Hatvany's official site here.  




SUMMERSET ABBEY by T.J. Brown







Summerset Abbey

By T.J. Brown

Gallery Books, $15.00
E-books at the usual providers







Synopsis from the publisher:

1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society in this stunning series starter that fans of Downton Abbey will love.
 Rowena Buxton Sir Philip Buxton raised three girls into beautiful and capable young women in a bohemian household that defied Edwardian tradition. Eldest sister Rowena was taught to value people, not wealth or status. But everything she believes will be tested when Sir Philip dies, and the girls must live under their uncle’s guardianship at the vast family estate, Summerset Abbey. Standing up for a beloved family member sequestered to the “underclass” in this privileged new world, and drawn into the Cunning Coterie, an exclusive social circle of aristocratic “rebels,” Rowena must decide where her true passions—and loyalties—lie.
Victoria Buxton
Frail in body but filled with an audacious spirit, Victoria secretly dreams of attending university to become a botanist like her father. But this most unladylike wish is not her only secret—Victoria has stumbled upon a family scandal that, if revealed, has the potential to change lives forever...
Prudence Tate
Prudence was lovingly brought up alongside Victoria and Rowena, and their bond is as strong as blood. But by birth she is a governess’s daughter, and to the lord of Summerset Abbey, that makes her a commoner who must take her true place in society—as lady’s maid to her beloved “sisters.” But Pru doesn’t belong in the downstairs world of the household staff any more than she belongs upstairs with the Buxton girls. And when a young lord catches her eye, she begins to wonder if she’ll ever truly carve out a place for herself at Summerset Abbey.

My thoughts:    

I'm a rabid Downton Abbey fan!  I can't ever get enough of the Crawleys and their help, so when I read the synopsis of Summerset Abbey, I knew I had to read this galley!  

This is the first in a trilogy by T.J. (Teri) Brown. Sommerset Abbey was released in January of this year, and I thought this would be a perfect time to post my review, as the second book in the trilogy, A Bloom in Winter, has just been released. I'm a firm believer in reading the books in order.  So before you jump into A Bloom in Winter, please start with Summerset Abbey.  

Summerset Abbey  had me on the first page! It's 1913, the year after the Titanic sank, and the modern world doesn't know that a great and terrible war is on the horizon. Their cozy existence is soon to be torn apart with a death.  In the first paragraph, when Prudence and Victoria enter the church, the description of the sanctuary as being filled with ladies' black feathered funeral hats that resembled a "flock of ravens" was perfect!  You knew exactly what that sanctuary looked like and I had the picture in my mind!   I love this kind of writing, when the author can use a few simple, well thought out words to give you the big  picture of what was happening!

T.J. Brown wastes no time in throwing her characters into a spin, sisters Rowena and Victoria (both under twenty) and their late governess' daughter, Prudence, have been raised together thanks to the sisters' forward thinking father. No "upstairs-downstairs" distinction in his home. Well, that is, until he dies, leaving his two daughters in a royal mess. But then, if there wasn't any drama, we wouldn't have this wonderful book!  

As the girl's uncle takes over their lives and things get turned around and upside down, Brown skillfully twists and turns the readers, as we all fight with the horrid class distinctions that cause issues for the three girls and those around them. Again, author Brown, while telling the story from different character's perspective, manages that difficult balance, keeping true to the character and also true to the over all story arc.

I don't like giving too much of the plot away, and this book came with a big fat bit from the publishers.  Let me suffice it to say that I can't wait to get my grubby little fingers on Brown's next installment, A Bloom in Winter.

I do recommend this book, it's well crafted, the characters are defined and complex, and the story has enough twists, turns and secrets guessed at, to make all of us lovers of Edwardian fiction happy!

I give it a big old 4 out of 5 stars!  Go get it, or download it now, THEN get T.J. Brown's second in the trilogy, A Bloom in Winter.







This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher, Gallery Books, through Edelweiss, above the treeline in exchange for an honest review.



HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!




Since it's St. Patrick's Day and everyone, everywhere finds a teeny bit of Irish blood in them, or at the very least some Irish whiskey, I thought I'd post a couple of books written by my favorite author of all things Irish, J.P. Donleavy!


Slainte!

Oh and please read what I consider to be one of my best interviews, and it's none other than with J.P. Donleavy himself right here.











WOOL by Hugh Howey



Already a HUGE hit on Amazon, and releasing next week in book form from the Simon & Schuster folks...


                            


This self-pub e-book has taken the reading world by storm, and now for those of you who don't like to read on an e-reader...FINALLY you get to tap into the silo bound world so many people have been talking about, with over 500,000 digital e-books already sold!


Read last week's WSJ article here.











THE ORCHARDIST now in paperback




Earlier this month, THE ORCHARDIST won the 2012 Barnes & Noble Discover Award for fiction, and now it's out in paperback!


THE ORCHARDIST
by Amanda Coplin




"At the turn of the twentieth century, in a rural stretch of the Pacific Northwest, a reclusive orchardist, William Talmadge, tends to apples and apricots as if they were loved ones. A gentle man, he's found solace in the sweetness of the fruit he grows and the quiet, beating heart of the land he cultivates. One day, two teenage girls appear and steal his fruit from the market; they later return to the outskirts of his orchard to see the man who gave them no chase. Feral, scared, and very pregnant, the girls take up on Talmadge's land and indulge in his deep reservoir of compassion. Just as the girls begin to trust him, men arrive in the orchard with guns, and the shattering tragedy that follows will set Talmadge on an irrevocable course not only to save and protect but also to reconcile the ghosts of his own troubled past.

Transcribing America as it once was before railways and roads connected its corners, Amanda Coplin weaves a tapestry of solitary souls who come together in the wake of unspeakable cruelty and misfortune. She writes with breathtaking precision and empathy, and in The Orchardist she crafts an astonishing debut novel about a man who disrupts the lonely harmony of an ordered life when he opens his heart and lets the world in."

Find Amanda Coplin on her FaceBook page.








The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan


THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY
By Denise Kiernan
Touchstone, $27.00
Available on various e-readers


From the publisher:  The incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in one of the most significant moments in U.S. history.
The Tennessee town of Oak Ridge was created from scratch in 1942. One of the Manhattan Project’s secret cities, it didn’t appear on any maps until 1949, and yet at the height of World War II it was using more electricity than New York City and was home to more than 75,000 people, many of them young women recruited from small towns across the South. Their jobs were shrouded in mystery, but they were buoyed by a sense of shared purpose, close friendships—and a surplus of handsome scientists and Army men!

But against this vibrant wartime backdrop, a darker story was unfolding. The penalty for talking about their work—even the most innocuous details—was job loss and eviction. One woman was recruited to spy on her coworkers. They all knew something big was happening at Oak Ridge, but few could piece together the true nature of their work until the bomb "Little Boy" was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, and the secret was out. The shocking revelation: the residents of Oak Ridge were enriching uranium for the atomic bomb. 
Though the young women originally believed they would leave Oak Ridge after the war, many met husbands there, made lifelong friends, and still call the seventy-year-old town home. The reverberations from their work there—work they didn’t fully understand at the time—are still being felt today. In The Girls of Atomic City, Denise Kiernan traces the astonishing story of these unsung WWII workers through interviews with dozens of surviving women and other Oak Ridge residents. Like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, this is history and science made fresh and vibrant—a beautifully told, deeply researched story that unfolds in a suspenseful and exciting way.





GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY website






New Stephen King cover art revealed for "Doctor Sleep"


Lookee what the nice people over at Scribner have released!





From the publisher, more info here. 

Doctor Sleep
Release Date: September 24th, 2013

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.











Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...