BOOK REVIEWS for Booklovers from The Booklover
Book Reviews for Booklovers from The Booklover this February!
This Months Must Read!
Anna Hope $37
This emotionally charged, humane novel unfolds over the course of five days in November 1920, as three women must deal with the aftershocks of World War I and its impact on the men in their lives. London prepares to observe the two-year anniversary of Armistice Day with the burial of the Unknown Soldier.
Many are still haunted by the war and dealing with loss in their own way: Hettie, a dance instructress, lives at home with her mother and her brother, who is mute after his return from combat. One night Hettie meets a wealthy, educated man and finds herself smitten with him. But there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach. Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange, through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress. Embittered by her own loss, she looks for solace in her adored brother, who has not been the same since he returned from the front. Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive. Helpless, her loving husband has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at her door, seemingly with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out-of-work veterans. But when he utters the name of her son, Ada is jolted to the core. These three women become braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and the body of the Unknown Soldier moves closer and closer to its final resting place. A compelling portrait of three intertwining lives caught at the faultline between empire and modernity, Wake captures the beginnings of a new era, and the day the mood of the nation changed forever.
Under the Wide and Starry Sky
- Nancy Horan $38
From the bestselling author of Loving Frank, the passionate and turbulent story of Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny. At the age of 35, Fanny van de Grift Osbourne leaves her philandering husband in San Francisco to study art in Belgium, with her three children and nanny in tow. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her brood move to a quiet artists’ colony in France where she can recuperate. There she meets Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who is instantly smitten with the earthy, independent, and opinionated belle Americaine. A woman ahead of her time, Fanny does not immediately take to the young lawyer who longs to devote his life to literature rather than the law – and who would eventually write such classics as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In time, though, she succumbs to Stevenson’s charms, and the two begin a fierce love affair marked by intense joy and harrowing darkness that spans decades as they travel the world for the sake of his health, following their art and dreams, eventually settling in Samoa where Robert Louis Stevenson died and is buried.
The Aviator's Wife
- Melanie Benjamin $33
In the spirit of the recent bestsellers Loving Frank, The Paris Wife and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples, Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. When Anne Morrow, a shy college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family, she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the aviator has scarcely noticed her. But Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. In the years that follow, Anne becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States. But despite this and other major achievements, she is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin has created an emotional story of both triumph and pain that will take your breath away.
The Triple Package:
What Really Determines Success
- Amy Chua & Jed Rubenfeld $37
Exploding the conventional wisdom of success, The Triple Package is an eye-opening examination of how three cultural traits enable some groups to outperform others. Why do Jews win so many Nobel Prizes and Pulitzer Prizes? Why are Mormons running the business and finance sectors? Why do the children of even impoverished and poorly educated Chinese immigrants excel so remarkably at school? It may be taboo to say it, but some cultural groups starkly outperform others. Bestselling authors Amy Chua (Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) and Jed Rubenfeld (The Interpretation of Murder) reveal the three essential components of success – its hidden spurs, inner dynamics and its potentially damaging costs – showing how, ultimately, when properly understood and harnessed, The Triple Package can put anyone on their chosen path to success.