Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Book List

Eleven books read this month (one not pictured); all very good. The first one is rated the lowest - 3.5. The Beekeeper's Daughter is the first book I've read by Santa Montefiore. I really liked the settings - 1933 England and 1973 Nantucket - but the premise was a little far-fetched. That the daughter would meet and fall in love with the son of the nobleman her mother had been in love with forty years earlier in England. But the writing and story telling are very good.

Ann Patchett's Run about the Mayor of Boston and his wife who adopt two little African American boys was an interesting read. The wife dies and the father raises the boys alone. Unbeknownst to him the boys' mother and younger sister keep track of them as they grow up and enter into their adult lives in an unusual way. The story line points out the differences in the lives of those raised in privilege and those raised without. Rated 4.0

Jane Hamilton is a very good writer. I loved The Excellent Lombards about a family trying to hold on to their Wisconsin farm and orchard and idyllic way of life while all around them farms are being replaced by housing developments. I rated this a 4.0 also, while a previous reader rated it 0! I wonder why?

I really regret not reading P.D. James while she was still alive and writing. The library disposed of her books just when I discovered her excellent mysteries. A Certain Justice is one of her Inspector Dalgliesh novels. It is hard to beat Baroness James' crime novels. Rated this one 4.0

Jojo Moyes is another new to me author. I read After You (not pictured) first but should have read Me Before You first as After You is the follow up to what happens in Me Before You which is where we meet Will, a quadriplegic, and Lou, the young woman hired to help care for him. Both these books were enlightening. What constitutes family? How do we heal after loss? What can going on look like? Both 4.0's

Oh Tess Gerritsen. What am I going to do now that I've read my way through all your published books?* The Silent Girl and Die Again are both Rizzoli & Isles books. All Gerritsen's books are so finely crafted. Rated both 4.0.

Playing With Fire is one of Gerritsen's stand alone novels. A violinist finds an old piece of music in an antique store in Italy. Strange things happen when she plays the piece. She decides she has to track down the family of the composer so returns to Venice where a long kept secret exposes her to danger. Rated this one 4.5.

Commonwealth is Ann Patchett's newest novel. It covers five decades, the divorces and remarriages of two families and how their six children are affected. Opening at a christening party in 1960, the scene is set for what comes after. We get to know all of the children, but the story is mostly about the little girl who was christened in the opening chapter. Rated 4.0

Jennifer Chiaverini writes some interesting historical fiction. Fates and Traitors is a novel of John Wilkes Booth told through the eyes of four women who loved him. The author does a lot of research and I've always said that historical fiction is the easiest way to learn about the past - as long as one remembers that it is fiction and as such the author has embellished the facts. I found this book most interesting and enjoyed learning about the famous Booth family of actors. Rated 4.0.

*It looks like Tess Gerritsen will have a new Rizzoli and Isles out next August. Maybe I can find some more P.D. James books until then.