A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
This one was different but good. It was the somewhat fictional story of the lady in Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World (see below, I recognized it, but didn’t know it’s name). In the early part of the 20th century, Christina lives on a farm in Maine with her family. From a young age, she has a disease that leaves her incapacitated and at times unable to walk. In her later years, she lives alone with her brother and meets Andrew Wyeth, who marries a neighbor girl. He uses her as his subject numerous times, but this painting is the kicker. While Christina is real, the story itself is fictionalized. It’s such a different story, so that alone makes it good.
Always by Sarah Jio
I’ve enjoyed her books in the past and this was no different. Kailey lives in Seattle and has a great job and the perfect fiance. After dinner one night, she runs into a homeless man and realizes it’s her ex, who basically fell off the face of the earth. She struggles with wanting to help him and her current relationship. This jumps between the present and what happened with her and her ex in the past. One thing that really annoyed me though, the past scenes were in the early to mid 90’s. In Seattle. I swear the author name dropped every musician and band she could think of. It was a little overkill. We got the point.
Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt
I don’t recommend this one. I kinda picked it up cause the cover was pretty and it sounded interesting. Late 60’s, and 16 year old Lucy is having an affair with her teacher. They run off to rural Pennsylvania together, where she basically has to hide out until she is of legal age. She runs away from home, her sister and guardian don’t know what happened to her. In the middle of the book, we switch point of views and it just got really boring, really fast. It could have been so much better, but it wasn’t.
The Dry by Jane Harper
People either seem to love or hate this one. I didn’t hate it. I read it in a couple days. I wasn’t sure where it was going and I didn’t see the end coming. Falk goes back to his hometown after his childhood best friend and his family are killed. Every one thinks it’s a suicide, brought on by the drought and how hard it’s gotten for farmers. Falk and the local sheriff, who is new to town and the job, start digging around until they figure out what happened.
Into The Water by Paula Hawkins
I was on the fence about Girl on the Train and I’m there again. This was ok. Two women have recently died in the local river and many more have died before them. The sister of the recently dead woman is in town to take care of her niece, but starts trying to figure out what’s going on. We get lots of different view points in this. Spoiler alert. There is a lot of talk about witchcraft and similar things. That’s where I wanted this to go. Numerous women had died when they were thrown in centuries ago, with that whole they’ll only sink if they aren’t witches, then whoops! Guess we killed them for no reason crap. This was brought up over and over again. The death had NOTHING to do with that. It was a stupid accident.
The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
This one I really liked. Again, it was a completely different story and not the same old thing again. Simon receives a book in the mail that mentions his grandmother. As he starts reading it and talking to the man who sent it, he starts to realize that all the women in his family, including his mother and grandmother, and generations before them, have drowned on July 29. What’s even weirder is that they were all carnival performers who were billed as mermaids and could hold their breaths for 10 plus minutes at a time. Simon and his sister can both do it as well. He tries to figure out why his family is cursed to save his sister. This was really interesting and well written.
The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Leah just majorly screwed up and lost her job. She runs into an old roommate Emmy and decides to move to rural Pennsylvania with her. What’s with rural Pennsylvania this month? She gets a teaching job and all is good. Then a woman turns up dead and she tells the police something about a fellow teacher. Then she realizes she hasn’t seen Emmy in a few days. She reports her missing and kinda starts digging around to find out what happened to her, cause the police can’t find any trace of her, anywhere. As in, she doesn’t seem to exist. I liked this one. It was easier to read that Miranda’s other book.
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Sarah is Jewish living in Paris during WWII. The French come to get family and her brother hides in the a secret cupboard in their room. She promises to come back for him, locking him in, not knowing what is really going to happen. What happens is the French roundup of Jews, the Vel’ d’Hiv’. On it’s 60th anniversary in 2002, American Julia Jarmond lives in Paris and works for a magazine catering to Americans. She starts writing a story and finds out her husband’s family apartment, which she’ll soon be moving too, was owned by a Jewish family until the month of the Vel’ d’Hiv’. She starts piecing everything together. It’s a good book, but sad.
A Bridge Across the Oceans by Susan Meissner
I thought this was going to about WWII, but it wasn’t so much. 1946, English war brides are heading to America on the Queen Mary. Current day, Brette is dealing with ability to see ghosts. See? Not what I was thinking. It must have been too long since I read the back of the book. An old friend contacts her about a supposed ghost his daughter saw on the Queen Mary, which is docked in Long Beach if you are in the area. It was on my California list and we never made it. While on the ship, a ghost starts directing her to a death that seems to not be the suicide it’s claimed to be. She starts to research the woman and learns a lot about herself and her ability, as well as what really happened with the woman.
The Child by Fiona Barton
This was my July Book of the Month pick. A dead baby is found in a construction site. A reporter starts looking into it, another woman gets her hopes up that it might be her baby that was stolen from the hospital 40 years earlier, and yet another woman thinks it might be her baby. It’s told from the points of view of these women. The reporter starts talking to neighbors who still live in the neighborhood and they think they have it solved, but then there’s a twist and they don’t have it solved. This one was good too. It took me a good while to figure it out.