Premise: 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.
1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.
Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth…no matter where it leads.
My Review: I loved this book. Its a long read, but I couldn’t put it down. Some of the Charlie chapters feel a little whiny, but I think they are important in the telling of the whole story. The ending is wildly implausible and not exactly what I wanted to happen, but its overall a satisfying and fun read. Highly recommend. FYI for anyone with triggers: the book has references to abortion, unwanted pregnancy and rape.
Best for: Anyone who loves a thriller, history buffs.
Premise: It’s a crazy idea: trying to name the phrases that make love and connection possible. But that’s just what Kelly Corrigan has set out to do here. In her New York Times bestselling memoirs, Corrigan distilled our core relationships to their essences, showcasing a warm, easy storytelling style. Now, in Tell Me More, she’s back with a deeply personal, unfailingly honest, and often hilarious examination of the essential phrases that turn the wheel of life.
In “I Don’t Know,” Corrigan wrestles to make peace with uncertainty, whether it’s over invitations that never came or a friend’s agonizing infertility. In “No,” she admires her mother’s ability to set boundaries and her liberating willingness to be unpopular. In “Tell Me More,” a facialist named Tish teaches her something important about listening. And in “I Was Wrong,” she comes clean about her disastrous role in a family fight—and explains why saying sorry may not be enough. With refreshing candor, a deep well of empathy, and her signature desire to understand “the thing behind the thing,” Corrigan swings between meditations on life with a preoccupied husband and two mercurial teenage daughters to profound observations on love and loss.
My Review: This book is an absolute pleasure to read. I found myself wishing I wrote the stories and saw things they way that she does. I also wished that Kelly Corrigan was my friend. Its a quick read and it will take you through all sorts of emotions – happy, sad and laughing out loud. It focuses heavily on parenting, cancer and loss, but in a light and very caring way.
Best For: Anyone. Everyone.
Premise: In THE POWER, the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power–they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.
My Review: Uncomfortable. That’s the one word I would use to describe this book. While I struggled to like this book, I understood that the author meant to make a statement about the world we live in and our view on gender norms. The book would be egregiously offensive if those with the “power” were men – and that’s kind of the point. I found the authors altruistic future completely unbelievable, but did find her warning to be valid. If you like “1985” combined with Starwars combined with Virginia Wolf’s “A Room of One’s Own,” this book might be for you.
Best For: Feminists, those looking for a challenge read, great for book club discussions
Premise: How Not To Hate Your Husband After Kids tackles the last taboo subject of parenthood: the startling, white-hot fury that new (and not-so-new) mothers often have for their mates. After Jancee Dunn had her baby, she found that she was doing virtually all the household chores, even though she and her husband worked equal hours. She asked herself: How did I become the ‘expert’ at changing a diaper?
On the brink of marital Armageddon, Dunn plunges into the latest relationship research, solicits the counsel of the country’s most renowned couples’ and sex therapists, canvasses fellow parents, and even consults an FBI hostage negotiator on how to effectively contain an “explosive situation.” Instead of having the same fights over and over, Dunn and her husband must figure out a way to resolve their larger issues and fix their family while there is still time. As they discover, adding a demanding new person to your relationship means you have to reevaluate–and rebuild–your marriage. In an exhilarating twist, they work together to save the day, happily returning to the kind of peaceful life they previously thought was the sole province of couples without children.
Part memoir, part self-help book with actionable and achievable advice, How Not To Hate Your Husband After Kids is an eye-opening look at how the man who got you into this position in this first place is the ally you didn’t know you had.
My Review: Disclaimer: while I do have a kid, I do not hate my husband. My moms group and I decided to read this book because it has great reviews and we would all like our husbands to do a bit more outside of work. I don’t think this book is actually a good read for anyone who truly hates their spouse. I found the premise of this book weirdly offensive: Why should I need to trick my husband into being an equal partner? That being said, when I read this book with my group of mom friends, many of us applied the tactics and had success. So don’t knock it until you try it? I did like that the author found accountability problems in both herself and her husband and was very frank about her own struggles to be a good partner. I think the book presents some realistic strategies for navigating parenting in an otherwise happy marriage.
Best For: New moms. Anyone struggling slightly in their marriage after kids. I’d love to hear a dad’s perspective on this one, but doubt I can find too many willing to read it.
Premise: Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband, Andrew, was sent to jail and Lindsey started over with a new life.
Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with her own business and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When Andrew is finally released from prison, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties and left the past behind her. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her, tracking her every move. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But has he really changed? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?
My Review: I’d categorize this one as a beach read. Definitely not something that you’ll be discussing with your intellectual friends. That being said, its a good cheap thrill read and kept me interested. There are many twists, one in particular made me gasp outloud. The book has themes of domestic violence and controlling relationships, but could have been a lot smarter in the ways it depicts these issues.
Best For: Anyone who is looking for a way to kill time or any easy read.
Photo Cred: Taty: 10LensPhoto