The Gods of Sanibel by Brian Cook – #BookReview – #women’sliteraryfiction

Book Blurb:

The Gods of Sanibel by Brian Cook

 

 

When a woman enters the five stages of grief at the wrong end and traps herself in acceptance she must use any means, and everyone around her, to force herself backward through depression, bargaining and anger to reach denial in time to save her own life.

His Review:

Kak was running blindly toward the ocean water in front of her. Suicide was going to be the end of her depression and fruitless life. When making life-changing decisions her first impulse was to careen blindly into the great unknown. Keeping her eyes closed, she ran into a man standing near the beach. They both collapsed head over heels into the soft sand of the shore.

The Gods of Sanibel by Brian CookRyan is wrestling with a monumental company puzzle. They had promised their employees faithfully that the company would protect them with health and life insurance for the rest of their lives. A man that had worked for the company over 43 years had asked Ryan not to discontinue the health insurance for the retirees. The move would save over a billion dollars and destroy the budgets and lives of over 67,000 former employees. They would be deprived of $2,000 dollars plus of their retirement dollars.

Kak has been betrothed to a man she could not see herself living with for the rest of her life. Yes, he was rich, well-heeled, and able to provide for her in the style most women would give their eye teeth for. What would possibly be wrong with having a loving husband who would protect and cherish her the rest of her life?

CE WilliamsThe author has developed a story that left me with more questions than answers. How could an attractive educated woman be determined to end a fairy tale life in favor of suicide? The doctors gave her anti-depressants to combat her dreary outlook, but she saw them as a way to quietly give up life. Mixed into this tale are entreaties to Greek gods and the contradictions they represented in mythology. This adds a real color commentary to the view of a tragic life! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.

Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Women’s Literary Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, Contemporary Women’s Fiction
ASIN: B09LH7YCTT
Print Length: 349 pages
Publication Date: November 9, 2021
Source: Author request
Title Link: The Gods of Sanibel [Amazon]

 

Brian Cook - author
Brian Cook – author

The Author: The son of a government weapons tester and a pediatric nurse, Cook grew up thinking about the interweaving narrative of destruction and compassion that exists within us all. He lives with his two sons in Indiana. The Gods of Sanibel is his first novel.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Autumn at Rosepoint Pub

These Silent Woods: A Novel by Kimi Cunningham Grant –#BookReview – #TuesdayBookBlog

“The thing about grace is that you don’t deserve it. You can’t earn it. You can only accept it. Or not.”

Book Blurb:

A father and daughter living in the remote Appalachian mountains must reckon with the ghosts of their past in Kimi Cunningham Grant’s These Silent Woods, a mesmerizing novel of suspense.

No electricity, no family, no connection to the outside world.

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham GrantFor eight years, Cooper and his young daughter, Finch, have lived in isolation in a remote cabin in the northern Appalachian woods. And that’s exactly the way Cooper wants it, because he’s got a lot to hide. Finch has been raised on the books filling the cabin’s shelves and the beautiful but brutal code of life in the wilderness. But she’s starting to push back against the sheltered life Cooper has created for her—and he’s still haunted by the painful truth of what it took to get them there.

The only people who know they exist are a mysterious local hermit named Scotland, and Cooper’s old friend, Jake, who visits each winter to bring them food and supplies. But this year, Jake doesn’t show up, setting off an irreversible chain of events that reveals just how precarious their situation really is. Suddenly, the boundaries of their safe haven have blurred—and when a stranger wanders into their woods, Finch’s growing obsession with her could put them all in danger. After a shocking disappearance threatens to upend the only life Finch has ever known, Cooper is forced to decide whether to keep hiding—or finally face the sins of his past.

Vividly atmospheric and masterfully tense, These Silent Woods is a poignant story of survival, sacrifice, and how far a father will go when faced with losing it all.

My Review:

Not sure how I bumbled into this one. It’s not lost on me—Finch—(in this case) the young daughter and relationship of father-daughter of classic Harper Lee fame. (And I must admit difficulty in separating the name from this narrative.) This gripping literary novel, of course, only borrows the unusual name. There is the strongly bonded connection but is otherwise quite the opposite in character and plot.

These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham GrantCooper and Finch have lived in severe isolation in the Appalachian woods. Off the grid, off the track, off almost any public connection. But there are two: Jake, Cooper’s former army buddy and the owner of the cabin, and Scotland. And then two events happen almost simultaneously that will have a strong, irreversible impact on their sheltered lives. First, this is the first year in eight that Jake has not shown up with a laundry list of household essentials; groceries, supplies they cannot grow or sustain themselves. And in his stead is Jake’s sister, Marie.

And then there is the discovery of a beautiful young woman on their land next to national forestry land wielding a camera.

Scotland has always been a problem. From the beginning. Popping up at odd times, a nuisance, a pseudo-neighbor who watches, sees, and knows all about Cooper and Finch. His secret, their history. Cooper finds the man detestable while Finch loves him and is always delighted to see him. The two have a special connection.

Finch is precocious. A natural in the woods, schooled at home by her dad, she has never set foot in a store or a school. Knows only what she has gleaned from nature and the books in the cabin.

But their sanctuary is careening to an exposé and soon decisions must be made. Cooper is torn. For eight years he has protected, nurtured, and cherished his daughter and this moral choice is tearing him apart. The very essence of his teachings tested. Can he abandon all that now to continue a life that can’t be reconciled to the decision or bow to it and change possibly lose her?

Cooper made some bad decisions. He can’t afford for them to be discovered or all is lost. It’s a rather slow suspenseful building of the conundrum, a calamity of timing. Raw, emotional, tension-filled, with no apparent solution.

The author is a master storyteller, weaving her well-developed characters through Cooper’s POV, his wartime experience and trauma, the loss of Jake, his wife, the sacrifices he has made. He will NOT lose his daughter as well. Heartbreaking turmoil and beauty in the prose. The decision is made.

And then taken out of his hands.

The conclusion whips the mind around, at a loss to understand what just happened. And while I understand what did happen, I’m not totally understanding the why. Nor was it more fully explained to my satisfaction in the epilogue, which settled most loose strings (though perhaps it was enough for many readers). My mind is still reeling. Currently on pre-order. Queue up for yours!

A novel worthy of many a book club debate and one that will stick with you for some time. Most heartily recommended.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through NetGalley (thank you!) that in no way influenced this review, nor could they warn of the impact. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Contemporary Literary Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction
Publisher: Minotaur Books
ISBN: ‎ 1250793394
ASIN: B08R2JNYLX
Print Length: 279 pages
Publication Date: November 16 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

Kimi cunningham Grant - authorThe Author: Kimi Cunningham Grant is the author of two books. Silver Like Dust is a memoir chronicling her Japanese-American grandparents and their internment during World War II. Her second book, Fallen Mountains, is a literary mystery set in a small town in Pennsylvania, where fracking has just begun. Kimi is a two-time winner of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Prize in Poetry and a recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowship in creative nonfiction. Her poems and essays have appeared in Fathom, Literary Mama, RATTLE, Poet Lore, and Whitefish Review. She studied English at Bucknell University and Messiah College. She lives, writes, and teaches in Pennsylvania. You can find her at https://www.kimicunninghamgrant.com.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

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