On the heels of my read of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Book of Longings, this book once again transported me to biblical times. But Neville builds a story of international intrigue that spans the centuries. Unfortunately no where near as entertaining or beautifully written as The Book of Longings, but I still enjoyed it.
My biggest complaint about the book is that it actually had too much going on. The story bounces from biblical times to present day. Hitler makes an appearance and then so does Greek Gods. From Idaho to Russia, hidden caves to dark forests. It all was a bit to keep track of and seemed aimless at times.
I liked the main character of Airel Behn, despite some stupid mistakes she kept making as she tried to figure out how she got messed up in this international plot of espionage, solve a murder mystery, save the ancient scrolls that are the root of all this evil, have a love affair with the bad guy, all while learning her eccentric and very wealthy family is not exactly who she thought they were.
I can’t give it five stars but it wasn’t terrible either. Three and half stars for The Magic Circle by Katharine Neville.
My husband would call this a chickflic. And it is. But Jojo Moyes formula for best sellers cannot be denied and this book is very popular amongst the chickflic set. I enjoyed it too.
Moyes transports the reader to depression era Kentucky where a young English-bred lady named Alice Wright arrives after a spur of the moment marriage to handsome Bennett Van Cleve.
Alice is looking to escape the constraints of British life in the early 1900’s but isn’t exactly prepared for what greets her in Kentucky; hostile and prejudiced people, rough and rural country, overbearing and violent father-in-law. And to top it off, a husband who is unable or unwilling to perform and consummate their marriage.
Alice’s loneliness finds her suddenly thrust into a new Roosevelt WPA project known as the Packhorse Librarians, a book delivery system to provide the poorest of the poor in Kentucky an opportunity to learn.
It’s here that Alice finds herself and her purpose in life and also her true love. There is a lot of turmoil and tragedy before the book ends happily.
My favorite part of the book is the factual history of the Packhorse Librarians and the success the program had in rural Kentucky and other backwoods places of deep depression era America.
This book is exactly what the major motion picture industry loves. I have no doubt we will see it on the big screen soon.
****Four stars for The Giver of Stars by Jo Jo Moyes.
Well. I had high hopes for this book. Hmmmm. It got great reviews but for me it just fell short of spectacular and I was left going “meh”.
Touted as the next “Gone Girl” (big shoes) and “destined for the big screen” (maybe better as a movie?) I just couldn’t find the love for this book.
I figured out the plot twist pretty early on, and although there were some surprising turns, there were also some gaping holes.
We are introduced to a psychotherapist, a famous artist, and a famous photographer. Difficult family backgrounds and childhoods, insecurities and infidelity will play a big role in the development of these characters and how their lives and deaths come together.
Who loves who? Who is the real villain? Who is really the crazy one? And in the end will we be satisfied with the wrapping up of this “thriller”? Unfortunately, I wasn’t. Movie coming! “Meh”.
⭐️⭐️⭐️Three stars for The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
I keep track of all the books I read and try to read more books each year than the previous year. Unlike most poeple who track their books from January to January, I track from July to July. Not sure why but I think because that is when I began keeping track.
So, as of right now I’m way ahead of my goal of reaching 75 books for the year at 41 books. And The Testaments by Margaret Atwood is right at the top of my favorites so far this year. A fabulous story.
I’ve read a lot of Margaret Atwood and she really hits the mark on some stories, while other novels of hers leave me perplexed. My favorite Atwood book is the 35 year old The Handmaid’s Tale – truly one of the best and most unique books I’ve ever read.
And so it was with both excitement and trepidation that I set out to read the sequel to The Handmaids Tale, The Testaments. I waited months on the library list for this book, and without a doubt it was worth the wait.
If you enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale you will love The Testaments. But you don’t need to have read The Handmaid’s Tale to understand The Testaments. I can’t imagine how difficult it must of been to write a sequel to a best seller like Handmaids, and to do so 35 years later. But it’s a brilliant piece of literature.
Atwood develops the characters and the dystopian society of the Republic of Gilead (the former USA) that oppresses women in a chilling and male authoritarian society. Throughout the book, told in the voice of three women (one old and cunning, two young and naive) you are kept on the edge of your seat as Atwood weaves the elaborate and complex story. I couldn’t put it down.
The book, like all books, has its critiques but I found it astonishingly believable and frightening as well as artfully crafted by a gifted storyteller.
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