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    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

    I have never been able to really enjoy Salman Rushdie.  And I was hesitant to start this book. But I plunged in and found a rich tale – not at all like anything else I know of that Rushdie has done.

    The Enchantress of Florence is different.  Here Rushdie is a true storyteller in every sense of the word.  He weaves a magical tale of both fantasy and historical fact into a rich, colorful, epic and lyrical fable that winds from the ancient mythical Court of Akbar to medieval and powerful Florence.

    Part whimsy, part myth -at times the story became too involved and I lost track of what was happening.  At other times I was enchanted and found similarities to my all time favorite novel The Count of Monte Cristo.

    It’s a rich book.  Definitely a surprise from Rushdie.  But don’t tackle this if you don’t have the time to read it with slow and luxurious attention.  You won’t enjoy it unless you can let yourself fall deeply into this book and lose yourself in this complicated, impeccably researched and poetically told story.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four Stars for The Enchantress of Florence by Salmon Rushdie

    Read last week’s review of Belize A Journey of Discovery

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    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Belize a Journey of Discovery by Ann MacLean

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Author Ann MacLean tells a funny and truthful tale of her own Fab Fifties journey to discovery, in her self published work, “Belize a Journey to Discovery and Some Snorkeling”.

    MacLean, like myself, is a travel diva in her Fab Fifties, but her journey has come from a very different place.  Taking the tragedies, heartaches and sorrows life throws at you, and turning them into a fabulous adventure life. This is what MacLean has done.

    Her first book, “Belize a Journey of Discovery”, chronicles her adventures, backpacking as a solo middle-aged woman in Belize.  It is a poignant diary of observations of the challenges any solo traveler faces, but from the perspective of one well beyond the age of most backpacker, hostel-staying, snorkel-enthused, Belize adventurer.

    Our own fabulous travels will take us to Belize in March where we will spend more than a month.  Reading this book made me excited for that destination, and opened my eyes to several places I want to go in Belize.  Though still fairly new as a tourist destination, Belize has a lot to offer a traveler, least of all English is the official language.

    Thank you Ann MacLean for your honesty and spirit and for being a trail blazer for women of a certain age.  We are still Fabulous in our Fifties.

    Four Stars for Belize a Kourney of Discovery ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Find Belize a Journey of Discovery here.

    Read last week’s review of Slaughterhouse Five.

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    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    I’ve never read Kurt Vonnegut.  How is that possible?  I’m not sure, but in my continuing effort to find classic novels I’ve missed along the way I decided to tackle Vonnegut’s most famous work, at the urging of my husband.

    First of all, I love his writing style.  It’s like reading a letter from a close friend. Lyrical and poetic despite the topic of war and death and dementia.  Beautiful and easy to read with a comforting syntax.  In fact I read the entire book (226 pages) in just a couple of hours.

    Slaughterhouse Five, is an American Anti-War Classic novel written in 1969.  Despite its age it holds up very well even today.  The topic – war and what it does to people.  The story follows Billy Pilgrim, a time traveling soldier, and his crazy and demented world that includes being in Dresden Germany during the infamous firebombing of that city at the end of WWII. Billy’s life past, present and future unfolds in the story, not in linear order, as Billy himself time travels back and forth through childhood, marriage, career, war and mental illness.

    Is Billy real? Or is he actually Vonnegut reliving his own horrifying experience in Dresden? Likely the story is semi-autobiographical. A beautifully written story of the ravages of war on the human psyche.

    Five Stars for Slaughterhouse Five.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Read last week’s review of Everything I Never Told You

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

    Reading Wednesday

    This is the second book I have read by Celeste Ng in the past few months.  I enjoy her work.  She writes about ethnically diverse families.  In Everything I Never Told You, she focuses on the Lee Family, a Chinese American family in small-town Ohio.

    There are two underlying themes to this book, both compelling.  The outward struggle of a mixed race family in rural Ohio, where such a thing is rare, and people still openly practice racism and shunning.  The effect this has on teenagers trying to fit into American high school is tragic.

    But the book is also about family, the ties that bind.  Within the story you find the struggles of an intelligent women who gave up a promising career to raise her children, a brilliant man who has settled for a job below his intelligence level and their three children.

    Without really seeing what is happening, mother Marilyn and father James put tremendous pressure on one child, constantly criticize another and completely ignore the third until life unravels in the Lee family and the unthinkable happens.

    A tragic family saga of Chinese American life in midwest America.  Interesting and irresistable page-turner.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Four Stars for Everything I Never Told You.

    Read last week’s review of Sarah ’s Key.

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    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Reading Wednesday

    Another interesting novel about the atrocities of World War Two.  Not my favorite of all the WWII books I’ve read, but very good.  In particular because the story revolves around a little known event in Paris in July 1942 called the Vel’ d’Hiv – a round-up of Jews in Paris.

    Rosnay follows the lives of two different females, ten-year-old Sarah, a young Jewish girl who is arrested with her family in July 1942.  Not by the Nazi’s, but by the French Police in Paris. And Julia, an American journalist living in France in 2002.

    Sarah’s life is forever changed when she and her family arrive in Auschiwitz during the German occupation of France.  The Jewish Roundup of July 1942 in Paris is not well-known, and France is, rightfully, ashamed of the part they played in the event, which killed thousands.  Sarah survives but, as the story unfolds you learn the immense price she pays.  Shocking.

    Julia’s life, sixty years later, crosses path’s in a somewhat too convenient way in the story line for me. But nonetheless, it does and she begins a search for Sarah and her family and the truth about the Vel’ d’Hiv.  Julia’s research will affect her life, in fact change the direction of her life, in a remarkable way as she finds herself drawn to Sarah’s story.

    I enjoyed Sarah’s Key particularly for the historic information I learned, the story line about Sarah and the sad but beautiful ending.

    Four Stars for Sarah’s Key.

    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Varina by Charles Frazier

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Varina by Charles Frazier

    You may not know her name, but her story is incredible.  Varina Davis, the wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis endured a remarkable and tumultuous life not of her choosing.  I loved this book by Charles Frazier.

    Frazier, author of one of my all time favorite books Cold Mountain, has an incredible talent to bring the Civil War into a human story.  Like Cold Mountain, Varina tells the story of those who may not have been on the battlefields, but who were fighting the war in their own way.  The story of just trying to survive.

    Varina, a young women with little prospects, finds herself pushed into a marriage with the significantly older Jefferson Davis, who continues to mourn the loss of his first wife and true love.

    Despite their tumultuous marriage their family grows and Davis, as we know, eventually accepts the Presidency of the Confederacy states when the Civil War begins.

    Varina, is left mostly on her own, to raise the children during the horrible war of the states.  She is one of the most intelligent, courageous and amazing female survivors I have had the pleasure to read about.  The loss of people she loves, particularly her children, brings her to the brink and yet she endures.  Her courage during her flight with her small children from Richmond at the end of the war is remarkable. It however, does not end happily.

    Varina is an important American historical figure, who is little known and rarely written about.  I loved the story, particularly because it shines a light on an American women, whose story has been lost in the glut of Civil War stories about men and soldiers.  She deserves to be remembered in history for her courage, her life’s tragedy, and her life’s realization that complicity carries consequences.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five Stars for Varina.

    Read last weeks review of The Wife Between Us here.

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    Fabulous Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Wife Between Us

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekknen

    Well I liked this book, but I didn’t love it.  Here we have another book trying really hard to be the next Gone Girl.  Not. Even. Close.

    I’ve said this before, in the wake of the mega-hit Gone Girl there has been a lot of similar ‘cat and mouse” stories with twists and whodunnit plots around relationships.  None have lived up to the jaw dropping way Gillian Flynn wove the story of Gone Girl.

    Same goes with The Wife Between Us.  And it’s a bit unfair.  Because I like the book.  What I didn’t like was it was raved about as a suspense thriller in the vein of Gone Girl.  So my expectations were too high.

    Here we have again a story of relationships gone awry.  One mate or the other just isn’t exactly what they seem to be.  But who is it?  And what is really going on here? Hendricks and Pekknen take you on a ride through the relationship of Vanessa, Nellie, Emma and Richard.  A tangled web of lives intertwined in unimaginable ways and unraveling in even more unimaginable ways.

    Maybe I’m just too happily married to the man of my dreams to be able to fathom any reality in books such as these.  But perhaps there is truth here…perhaps there is psychopathic spouses, obsessive behaviors, and those who, in the name of love are blind to the truths right in front of them.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️Three stars for The Wife Between Us

    Read last week’s review of Wonder here

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