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Reading Wednesday

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Island of the Sea Women by Lisa See

    I loved this book. It was a page turner for me. Without planning to, I have read several books recently based in Korea or Japan. See my review of Fifty Words for Rain, and one of my favorite books this year Pachinko. The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See is also one of my favorite reads this year. Here is my book review of The Island of Sea Women.

    Lisa See is also the author of Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (as well as others) a book I really enjoyed last year. In the Island of Sea Women, See takes us to Korea, and the tiny island of Jeju just off the south tip of the Korean Peninsula.

    Here we meet two young girls from very different backgrounds whose destinies will be entwined for all of their days; from Japanese colonialism, through WWII, the Korean War and into the modern era. These young girls, their ancestors and neighbors are the Sea Women, a remarkable group of women who dive the icy cold waters for food to sustain them, their families and thier futures.

    In a changing world, this ancient culture will face so many challenges in the modern era, many challenges that will break friendships and families and hearts. I hope you enjoyed my book review The Island of Sea Women. It’s one of my favorite reads in the past several months.

    Learn more about the women of Jeju here.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five stars for The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See

    Read last week’s review of The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo

    My current read Daisy Jones and the Six

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo

    Reading Wednesday

    Five generations of women bring this story to life in the olive orchards of northern California. But secrets and genetics come together in this beautifully told story of family ties and a life well lived. Here is my book review of The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo.

    Santo introduces us to the matriarch of the family, 112 year old great-grandmother who is a spry as anyone half her age. Four generations of women below her struggle with life in each her own way, as the story unfolds and we learn about love, longevity and the tricks our minds can play on us with memories.

    In an effort to be in the Guiness Book of World Records, the incredible genetic story of our matriarch opens a dark secret of the past, bringing to light what does it really mean to be family, and how does our genetic makeup define our health and happiness throughout our lives?

    I really enjoyed this story and hope to read more by Courtney Miller Santo.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four Stars for The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo.

    Read last week’s review of The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

    My current read The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis.

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    The link below is an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a comission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

    Reading Wednesday

    There have only been a few trilogies or book series that I have found intriguing. I enjoyed the Harry Potter series of course, as well as The Hunger Games. And I really loved Ken Follett’s brilliant Kingbridge trilogy. In fact The Pillars of the Earth is one of my top favorite books of all time. And so I was really excited for Follett’s latest book, the prequel to Pillars of the Earth. Here is my Book Review of The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett.

    The Evening and the Morning takes us to England in 997 CE, 150 years before the time of Pillars of the Earth. A brutal time of power wielding nobles and church leaders, who reign over the peasants, often in conflict with the King.

    It’s a chaotic time in English history, with Vikings attacking and war with with the Welsh. This uncertain time is the setting for the story of the village of Drains Ferry and the Shiring Abbey. We are introduced to Ragnor, a noblewoman from Normandy who comes to England to marry the Alderman. She is in love with him, but finds a family and a world of deceit, greed, lies and murder. Including her nemesis, Bishop Winston who is her husbands brother.

    A young boat builder named Edgar, and an honest monk named Aldred will join with Ragnor in the decades long battle of wits and conflict against the evil Bishop Winston, who will do anything for power and wealth, including murder.

    It’s the dawn of the middle ages, life is hard for everyone, unless you are a noble or Church appointed leader. Most of the nobility and church leaders are hungry for power and wealth, and will risk everything. But our heroines and heroes will spend their lives fighting this evil ambition and pursuing a life of honesty and love.

    Drains Ferry will become the village of Kingsbridge, and at the end of the book the stage is set for the amazing story in Pillars of the Earth and the trilogy of Kingsbridge.

    As usual Follett is brilliant in his research and storytelling. I loved this book and feel so close to all the amazing characters Follett shares with us. Even after thirty years since Pillars of the Earth were published, this book and all it’s sequels and prequels is some of the best literature of the century. I am a huge fan of Follett.

    *****Five stars for The Evening & The Morning by Ken Follett.

    Read last week’s review of The Book of Lost Friends

    My current read Anxious People by Fredrick Bachman

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

    I looked forward to this book by Lisa Wingate, because I really enjoyed her earlier work Before We Were Yours. Once again Wingate takes a significant event in history and creates a fictional tale that brings the reader back in time. The Book of Lost Friends provides a wonderful history lesson. Here is my Book Review of The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate.

    There are two parallel stories in The Book of Lost Friends. The first follows Hannie, a former slave girl in 1875 as she becomes entangled in a sinister crime ring. During this adventure she discovers a newspaper that provides former slaves an opportunity to place ads looking for lost family members separated during slavery. The ads become what drives Hannie to survive the adventure she is snared in along side her mistress Lavinia and Juneau Jane, Lavinia’s mulatto half sister. The women begin to collect stories as they travel and The Book of Lost Friends begins to emerge.

    First year teacher Benny, finds herself in a back water Louisiana school in 1987 with little funds, direction or motivation for the poor and forgotten children of the town…many descendants of slaves. The town is suspicious of Benny and her unconventional teaching ideas and throw roadblocks in her way at every turn. Until she befriends the local heir to the former glorious town plantation with centuries of history connecting nearly everyone in town

    The stories of these two women will merge in a history lesson for both the town and the reader of The Book of Lost Friends. Once again I have really enjoyed Wingate’s ability to to take the reader on a historical journey with interesting and engaging characters and a happy ending .

    *****Five stars for The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

    Read last week’s review of Pachinko

    My current read The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

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    The link below is an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a comission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

    Reading Wednesday

    My first book by this author and I really loved her writing. Here is my book review of Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

    An epic story of the life of Sunja a young Korean teenager living on a tiny island off the coast of Busan, Korea. Pachinko chronicles her extraordinary life of survival.

    In the early 1900’s Sujan is a beloved only child of two hard working parents. When her father dies Sujan and her mother run the local boarding house alone. But when a rich and smooth talking stranger gets Sujan pregnant life will never be the same. Shamed when her lover confesses to already being married, Sujan accepts a marraige proposal from a sickly minister who wants to save her from the shame. And thus begins the saga of her life as Isak’s wife, her love for her sun Noa from the other man, and the lifetime of regrets, hardships and coincidences.

    Isak and Sunjan move to Osaka Japan, where Isak takes a position in a church. Here they will raise their family until Isak is arrested during a time where Korean’s were treated horribly and often thrown in jail or worse. Isak spends several years in jail and eventually will die.

    Sunjan learns her former married lover has been watching out for her and her family and he helps them in ways she doesn’t even know to keep their heads above water during the terrible years of World War II. Eventually learning of his generosity Sujan wants nothing to do with him and to keep him away from both of her sons.

    But secrets are hard to keep and eventually all the secrets tumble down to mix with the incredible racism towards Koreans by the Japanese, the economic situation during and following the war, and a general hard scrabble life Koreans endured in Japan.

    This story will have you sobbing with sorrow, cheering for justice and holding out hope for this family, it’s numerous members and their love and faith and perseverance. Heartfelt and personal, Pachinko is a brilliant look into life in Japan for the thousands of Koreans who immigrated there and their descendants. And Sujan is a heroine to respect.

    *****Five stars for Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

    Read last week’s review of The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

    My current read Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

    This will be a short review. I didn’t like this book. Yawn… here is my book review of The Choice by Nicholas Sparks.

    Usually I would put down a book like this, or more likely never start it. But I needed a read and this was all I had at the moment. I know Nicholas Sparks is beloved by many readers, but for me, this is not my kind of book.

    Predictable to peril, sappy and silly, the story of two neighbors who fall in love, marry, have kids, endure a tragedy but live happily ever after was boring. I knew at every page what was going to happen next.

    My apologies to all those Sparks lovers…I know he has millions of fans. But I need a more challenging read and don’t plan to read anymore by this author.

    **Two stars for The Choice by Nicholas Sparks.

    See last week’s review of Thehttps://myfabfiftieslife.com/book-review-the-family-upstairs-by-lisa-jewell/ Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

    My current read The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

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    The links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

    Chilling and a page turning, Lisa Jewell had me riveted to this book. Creepy yet not horror, and mostly quite believable. Here is my book review of The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell.

    A few times in reading this book I was reminded of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. It’s not exactly the same, but there were a few similarities. Mostly the fact that a stranger comes and literally takes over the house and family, eventually to peril.

    Libby Jones, adopted as a baby, finally learns at 25 years old that she has inherited a house. The sole heir of a mysterious house that has witnessed murder, disappearance and intrigue.

    Libby befriends a local journalist and together they begin to unravel the incredible tale of Cheyne Walk, a long abandoned mansion in the fashionable Chelsie neighborhood of London.

    But Libby will be astonished to learn who her birth parents were, how they were manipulated by an unusual family who moved in upstairs and that she has a brother and sister she has never known. Her parents were murdered, no one was ever convicted and the siblings were never found. Are they dead? Where are they?

    The Family Upstairs brings together three families, their lives and loves, their insanity and dark secrets.

    ****Four stars for The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

    Read last week’s review of The Great Influenza by John M. Barry

    My current read Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

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