Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Bit of History and a Bit of Fun

Time for another blog book club update. I've had friends asking me what they should read next, so here are the latest books I've read. I've gone a bit historical lately but I've also read some easy going lighter fare.

Sally Gunning's The Widow's War:

This was a book loaned to me by my friend Amy, by local author Sally Gunning. It's historical fiction set in the 1700's about a Cape Cod woman who loses her fisherman husband at sea. The home they had lived in for years suddenly is not hers any longer as it is given to the oldest male heir which turns out to be her son-in-law (not a nice man). Shocking to believe that if those laws were still in effect today that women would lose their homes when their husbands pass away and they would be subjected to living off distant relatives until they could remarry. Very well written and engaging. I hope to read more of her books in the future.

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick:
This is a book that I have wanted to read for a long time. I have always been interested in the Pilgrim's crossing and after visiting Plimouth Plantation and the Mayflower II on a few occasions and explaining the Pilgrim's plight to Melanie, I have been interested in reading a true account of the happenings. Nathaniel Philbrick does not write as a novel, it's an actual historical account of events. I was entranced the first half of the book as he explained the crossing, looking for a good place to settle, setting up the village and the meetings with the natives. Where I started to grow bored was the last half of the book during the wars with the natives and I had a hard time following all the intricacies. But it was well worth the beginning - I loved seeing the familiar names of the pilgrims and learning about the people behind all the historical places around here (Myles Standish State Forest, Billington Sea, Carver Inn, etc, etc, etc).

The Circle of Three by Patricia Gaffney

I now think I've read all of Patricia Gaffney's books. I read this one awhile back, just after my last blog book club entry and now I'm having a hard time remembering it! It's about a woman whose husband dies in a car accident and she has horrible guilty feelings for it because they had been fighting and prior to his death she was realizing that she wasn't in love with him anymore. She goes through a horrible depression and has a teenage daughter who is struggling both with her father's death and her mother's despair. The mom then starts to have feelings for an old high school flame who her parents never approved of. He helps her to start pulling out of the depression. Now that I'm remembering it, I did like it and would recommend it, but it's still not as great as The Saving Graces.

The Light of the Moon by Luanne Rice:
I read everything by Luanne Rice. She just writes beautifully. It has a similar feel to most of her books. This novel takes place in France and is about a man and his daughter who are struggling to forget the woman who left them to join the gypsy circus in Las Vegas (now I have to admit that IS a different concept!). A woman from Connecticut comes to their ranch in France to meet the famous white horses they raise, but she is also visiting thier small village for another reason - to meet the statue of the saint that was responsible for her conception (her mother prayed to the saint for a baby when they were visiting the town). After her mother's dying wish of her daughter to visit Sarah (the saint), she had to go right away. She meets the rancher and daughter and falls in love with both of them immediately, but their relationship is doomed because of an ancient gypsy curse set upon their family. It is deep and spiritual with a strong underlying religious theme which Luanne Rice puts into most of her books.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory:

This book was recommended to me by my nanny and friend, Amy Young. It's another historical fiction novel. This one is about King Henry VIII. I refrained from researching him before I read the novel as I wanted to be surprised by the events. The Other Boleyn Girl refers to the sister of Anne Boleyn (one of Henry's wives) and her possible relationship with the King before Anne married him. It was made into a movie starring Natalie Portman, Scarlet Johanson and Eric Bana. The DVD comes out in June and I'm looking forward to seeing it. About 3/4 of the way through the novel I couldn't take the suspense any longer and I ended up looking up all the main characters in wikipedia to find out the true story. Very intriguing and interesting. Makes me want to read more books that take place in this era.

The Sweet Potato Queens 1st Big-A** Novel by Jill Conner Browne:
This book was recommended by my friend Karen who is an English teacher and avid reader in Kansas. She said it was laugh out loud funny reading and she was right. It's a fun, easy read about a group of women who were outcasts in middle school and high school, but fought back against the system by forming their own elite group (to offset the snobby Key Club) called the Sweet Potato Queens. It takes place in the South and has a LOT of southern humor. It's the story of their lives through adulthood and the trouble and scrapes they get themselves in - always coming out on top with the help of their friends. I read a couple of the funny quotes to Tom who couldn't stop laughing (too off color to reprint here!).

On that note of great friendships I would like to say today is the day of a true outing with my friends. We are going to see Sex and the City (in our heels of course) followed by a cocktail at a trendy establishment and dinner at another fun place. We may not be the Sweet Potato Queens, but we can have just as much fun. I'll take a camera!

By the way, if you've read this far, make sure you send me an email or leave a comment to tell me what you've read lately. Last time I gathered all my email responses together, visiting the library website and reserved all the books you suggested, so keep 'em coming!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey there, I haven't read anything lately but when I do it will be the new Sweet Potato Queens Book, I love them! Kristi