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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell

    I’m a big fan of Maggie O’Farrell, a prolific writer from the United Kingdom. Although most of her work is contemporary fiction, my favorite books of her are her historical fiction including Hamnet and The Marriage Portrait. But this contemporary novel, published in 2000 is a page-turner. Here is my book review After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell.

    The Plot

    Alice has suffered an unimaginable loss. Her heart is broken and so is her will to live. She takes a train to Scotland to visit her sisters, but while in the restroom she witnesses something horrible. But what is it? Whatever it is it’s enough to send her running back to London. But by the next day, Alice lays in a hospital in a coma. Hit by a car, or was it a suicide attempt?

    Interwoven Stories

    Throughout the book O’Farrell jumps around from before Alice was born to present day, focusing separately on characters in Alice’s life. Alice’s mother, father and grandmother each have their own story. Alice’s true love John and John’s father play a crucial role. And then there are others…a mysterious man, a high school boyfriend, her sisters who are nothing like Alice.

    As Alice lays in a coma, her memories of things she knows float in and out, while people in her room also float in and out. Some of these people are talking and Alice can hear them, although she cannot speak. But missing pieces of her life are falling into place as she listens. Alice’s will to live is diminishing.

    A Special Visitor

    It will take a special visitor to reach deep into the coma cocoon Alice is trapped in and pull her out. Will that person come to the hospital?

    After You’d Gone

    O’Farrell has such a way with words that all her books, contemporary or historic, are unforgettable. I hope you enjoyed my book review After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell

    *****Five Stars for After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell. See last week’s book review Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven

    I wanted to love this book. I really did. It has stellar reviews and is a NY Times best seller. But. I just struggled. Here is my book review Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven.

    The Story

    It’s not the story I didn’t love, it is interesting and a bit like a fairy tale to befriend a wild animal in the way Catherine Raven did. After she finished her PhD in Biology, Raven builds a tiny cottage on a remote piece of land in Montana. She convinces herself it’s a way station while she decides what she want to do with her life. But really, she is isolating from society, her future, and her past which includes a messed up childhood.

    The Fox

    Fox arrives one day, and Catherine realizes the wild animal is coming to see her everyday at the exact same time. And slowly she befriends the fox…but really? Can she befriend a wild animal? Should she? She struggles with what is happening, particularly as a biologist. She avoids telling anyone; friends or her online students. But over a period of time the fox and Catherine become friends.

    The Writing

    Raven’s writing is very analytical, and since I am not a biologist, much of it when over my head. It rambled. Long passages I found tedious and difficult to hold my attention.

    In the end, of course a fox doesn’t live as long a a human, but clearly the fox helped Raven deal with her own emotional trauma, her introvert tendencies and her unclear future. Her future was to write a best seller about a Fox. Well played.

    You may like this book more than I did, but I can only hand it three stars.

    ***Three stars for Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship by Catherine Raven.

    See last week’s book review March by Geraldine Brooks here.

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review March by Geraldine Brooks

    I have really become a fan of Geraldine Brooks. This is the third book I have read by her ( see Horse and Year of Wonders reviews) and she has many more. This lovely book is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize way back in 2006. Here is my book review March by Geraldine Brooks.

    Little Women

    Unless you live under a rock, you know the story of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, published first in 1868. The Civil War story is about four sisters and their mother, surviving in New England while their father is away during the Civil War. Alcott’s book focuses on the girls primarily, with the father figure just a mention in the book.


    Brooks brings to life Robert March, the absent father in Little Women. His story is worth an entire book, and in true Brooks fashion she takes fact and fiction and creates a beautiful novel of love, loss, dedication, and regret.

    The once wealthy March finds himself living nearly in poverty after supporting a friend whose business fails. March, a preacher and strong abolitionist feels he is called to serve as a Chaplain in the Civil War.

    Leaving his “little women” behind, March finds himself on the front lines of the war where his faith is tested to the core. His faith in God, his faith in man and his faith in himself.

    It is a story of the horror of war, the sanctity of marriage and the man who put his ideals and courage to the greatest of challenges.

    *****Five stars for March by Geraldine Brooks

    Thank you for reading my book review March by Geraldine Brooks. See last week’s book review No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister

    Original. That’s the word I saw over and over on other reviews about this book by New York Times best selling author Erica Bauermeister. It was that and more. A unique story, or ten stories if you will. Here is my Book Review No Two Persons by Eric Bauermeister.

    Dysfunctional Family

    Using dysfunctional family in a novel is nothing new. But Bauermeister takes that thread and runs with it with ten seemingly unrelated characters and ten seemingly unrelated stories. It’s all about a book, and how a book, a really good book, can connect, heal, and save all that is broken.


    Alice has wanted to write since she can remember. But her tyrant father and her meek mother are never encouraging. Her only real family is her brother who she loves dearly and who believes in her. When tragedy strikes, Alice life is in shambles and she thinks she will never write anything. Through the process of grief and healing she is guided by a steadfast professor, dealing with his own family drama, and eventually Alice finds Theo. Theo opens her creative juices and a story is born. But developing the story of Theo is no easy task…finding a publisher also no easy task. Alice pulls one final thread on a wing and a prayer.

    The Book

    Once Theo finds it’s publisher Bauermeister begins to introduce the reader to a list of seemingly unrelated characters; a free fall diver, a book store clerk, a homeless high school student, a Hollywood actor, a literary agent, a struggling artist, a care taker, an intimacy coach. How can one book, about a boy named Theo touch so many lives in infinite ways? Bauermeister makes it happen in No Two Persons.


    Don’t expect a big happy party at the end where everyone becomes connected…I really liked that about this book. Though there are threads of connections through out, some threads stronger than others, most of these individual stories are individual…how life’s trials can mend through time, tenacity and stories…a connection we can make to others who we may never even meet.

    *****Five stars for No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister. Thank you for reading my Book Review No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister.

    See last week’s book review Possession by A.S. Byatt.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Possession by A.S. Byatt

    It was a bit strange to learn of the passing of A.S. Byatt while I had Possession in by to be read stack. I was sorry to learn of her passing, having never read anything by her. But this book Possession had shown up on a list of Booker Prize winners that I have been making my way through. Byatt won the Booker in 1990 for this remarkable story. Better late than never…I absolutely loved this story. Here is my Book Review Possession by A.S. Byatt.


    We were on a road trip around Australia and this book, which is quit long, seemed like a good one to listen to as an audio book. My husband read this book more than thirty years ago, but he couldn’t remember the details so he was happy to hear the story again.


    To be honest, this book is a bit difficult to describe…but here goes. The plot is about two scholars who are researching the lives of two poets of the Victorian era. The scholars, Roland and Maude, don’t know each other in the beginning of the book but will become intricately involved in all the imaginable ways as the story unfolds.

    Roland is a scholar of R.H. Ash while Maude is a scholar of Cristabel LaMont. Roland suspects the two poets may have some kind of connection so he reaches out to Maude to further his research. Then old letters, journals, and poems begin to be uncovered and an entire new light is shone on the poets. It is a story of intrigue, love, sadness, secrecy and the difficulties of the Victorian era for women.

    Maude and Roland want to protect their findings and protect and honor Ash and LaMont, but money talks and collectors, heirs and museums are at the ready to get their hands on what has been found.

    Writing Style

    The way Byatt tells this story is the best part of this novel. It is so much more than a straight-forward piece. Byatt’s talent is astonishing as she writes not only in novel format but in poetry, journals, correspondence, and mythical story telling – all both in past and present tense. Oh dear I just don’t think I am able to really describe how wonderfully written it is. Byatt was remarkable. This story will pull you in. I loved it.

    The book is long but filled with lovely language, intrigue, love and a satisfying ending. It holds up even after 35 years. I hope you will give it a read. Thanks for reading my Book Review Possession by A.S. Byatt.

    Read last week’s book review Do Tell by Lindsay Lynch.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Do Tell by Lindsay Lynch

    Edie O’Dare’s less than perfect childhood has her scrambling to be anywhere but home as soon as she can get out. But little does she know how her life will unfold in the star studded and glamorous days of Hollywood in the 1930’s. Here is my book review Do Tell by Lindsay Lynch.

    Lindsay Lynch’s debut novel was a surprise hit for me. An easy read with a page-turner plot, I breezed through it. Great characters and an eye-opening story about the behind the scenes world of actors and the studios in early Hollywood.


    Edie O’Dare is a not so successful character actress in Hollywood. She manages a few films with her contract with FWM Studios. But on the side she also is a writer, working for the local reigning gossip columnist. But as Edie’s contract is coming to an end and she knows it won’t be renewed, she launches her own column – Do Tell. She rocks Hollywood with a story about Hollywood’s number one heart throb who is accused by a young starlet of rape.

    As Edie’s column becomes more successful, her need to get the scoop on the inside of Hollywood will lose her friends and colleagues, while gaining her money and fame. Although she has always known about the secrets of Hollywood; arranged marriages by the studio, hidden affairs of the rich and famous, and deeply hidden sexuality – now Edie is on the other side of the business where she can capitalize on these trysts. But should she? Does she?

    I enjoyed this book very much and can see why it is on all the must read lists for 2023. I’m glad I did. I hope you enjoyed my book review Do Tell by Lindsay Lynch for this week’s Reading Wednesday. See last week’s book review Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman

    The title of this book never made sence to me. But other than that, I did enjoy this book, “ripped from the headlines” if you will. Fictional but loosely based on the “Me Too” movement. It was a difficult but also interesting story. Here is my book review Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman.

    Me Too

    Unless you are living under a rock, you will know what the Me Too movement is. Though this novel is not about the actual real life actress whose experience started the movement, it’s quite similar. It includes a beautiful actress, a horrible and unattractive but powerful male Hollywood misoginsit, and a undercover beauty.

    Fiction but Real Life

    Taking real life events and using them as a base for a novel is not new. Schulman does a good job changing the characters just enough to keep them fictional. But the underlying story is the same; women abused, misused and victimized by men. And yet, the most disturbing part of this book for me was how WOMEN surrounding the alleged victim did not stand by her. Their own fear of losing their Hollywood status kept their mouth shut. And even more disturbing was the false friendships, clever and deep, and the lengths the “hired” friends went to in an effort to discredit and once again victimize the actress.

    It’s a tangled web of espionage-esque, fear based emotional trauma and intrigue.

    ****Four stars for Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman

    Thanks for reading my book review Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman. See last week’s book review Absolution by Alice McDermott.

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