Many Are Invited by Dennis Cuesta – #BookReview – #psychologicalliteraryfiction

Book  Blurb:

Many Are Invited by Dennis CuestaA housewarming party ends in tragedy. . . Steve Galanos, a native Midwesterner, reflects on his time in Northern California during the 1990s, a time when the two-digit year emerged as the Y2K problem, the burgeoning Internet fueled the expansion of the New Economy, the dot-com bubble created unseen prosperity and real estate frenzies. Yet it’s a housewarming party, held in late 1999, that affects him the most.

At the request of John Goertz, a group of technology managers and executives gather in a conference room. Listening to the presentation is Steve Galanos, who is suspicious of Goertz’s approach and the dramatic way he describes the problem. Goertz tries to convince his audience that a disaster awaits them unless they immediately address the two-digit year in the company’s distributed systems and compiled code. It’s 1994, well before anyone has heard of the term, Y2K.

A promotion to run the newly-created year 2000 compliance program earns John more skepticism and envy from Steve, yet the two have much in common and soon become good friends. A few years later, John leaves for a startup and their lives trend in different directions.

By the time John cashes out from a successful IPO, gets married, and buys a house in Los Gatos, his friendship with Steve has waned. It’s at John’s housewarming party where latent animosity and lingering distrust finally come to a head.

His Review:

In the late 1990’s the whole world was wrestling with “the Y2K” problem. Seems the computers automatically were setting dates but provision had not been made for the upcoming change from 19.. to 20..! Staff were thrown together in groups whose sole purpose was to wrestle with the change and the problem that computers were not set up or programmed for the change.

Many Are Invited by Dennis CuestaLauren and Mary are two very attractive ladies who work in the computer industry. Lauren is over six feet and seen as a goddess who is untouchable! All of the guys silently wish to possess her. Meanwhile, corporate powers that be are designating teams of programmers whose sole purpose is to design programs and prepare for the upcoming date changes.

John and the main support character have set up a system of ranking very attractive ladies as Swedes. Lauren is titled Swede 8 and is considered unapproachable. Of course, as men are known to do; they plot the means necessary to breach the barrier and become emotionally involved with Lauren. Her friend Mary is pretty but does not have a “Swede Rating” and appears on the outside of the attraction scramble.

The problem with these types of competitions is the fact that the women do not realize their position in the scheme of things. Our hero secretly would like to be attached to Lauren but decides to settle for Mary. Mary is the much smarter of the two and has plans of her own. John has decided that Mary is the one for him and throws the whole system into an uproar. The entire affair turns deadly.

CE WilliamsThis novel might be more appropriate for the late teen/early college years than adult. The struggle between the “rich and entitled” and the “poor and struggling” was a page directly out of my high school years! I identified with the struggling hero of the story while secretly thinking he was being such a putz! Only my opinion, however, and you might very well see it differently.  3.5 stars – CE Williams

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

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Literary Fiction
Publisher: Celestial Eyes Press
ASIN: B0BB9Q7PQQ
Print Length: 254 pages
Publication Date: October 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: Many Are Invited [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

Dennis Cuesta - author A native of California, Dennis Cuesta attended the University of Michigan and remained in the Upper Midwest during his early career. Stuck in Manistique is his first novel. Dennis and his wife did get stuck in Manistique once, long ago. The interrupted trip served as inspiration for the novel.

 

 

2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Have a great Sunday!

The Keepsake by Julie Brooks – #BookReview – #mysteryromance

“A thrilling dual-time novel of long-buried family secrets.”

Book Blurb:

Saturday: Pot-au-feu for luncheon. Father willed away inheritance. Betrayed by Edward.

The Keepsake by Julie Brooks1832. The morning after her father’s funeral, Prudence Merryfield wakes to the liberating thought that this is the first day of her new life. At thirty-five and unmarried, she is now mistress of her own fate. But a cruel revelation at the reading of her father’s will forces Prudence to realise that taking only the most drastic action will set her free.

Present day. Eliza is gifted a family heirloom by her aunt – a Georgian pocketbook, belonging to her ancestor, Prudence Merryfield, whose existence reverberates through the lives of generations of Eliza’s family, the Ambroses. Intrigued by what she reads inside, Eliza is drawn more and more into the infamous ‘Merryfield Mystery’. What happened to Prudence who so bravely dared to defy convention two hundred years ago – then disappeared?

His Review:

In the early part of the 1830s, Prudence Merryfield was blessed with a wealthy childhood but alas her mother died when she was young. She stayed with her father into her early thirties to provide comfort and family to him in his twilight years. When he died, Prudence expected to be the pilot of her own ship and able to do as she pleased.

Society in the 1800s, however, did not provide for much self-determination for young women. Her father entrusted a group of trustees to administer her substantial estate. The primary trustee is Edward Ambrose who decided that she should receive a substantial allowance each year from the trust. He guarded the trust and the property with an iron fist. Wherever Prudence went, Edward was sure to magically appear to monitor her travels.

The Keepsake by Julie BrooksA young orphaned waif named Bessie is found hiding in one of the hedgerows of the property’s lanes and is taken in by Prudence. She becomes the handmaid and personal servant for Prudence and is never far from Prudence’s side. Prudence decides she is too constricted by the ever-present Edward and decides to escape aboard a ship to the south Pacific for adventure and freedom. This is a mistake as the ship she and Bessie are on meets with an accident and sinks near a small South Pacific island. The marooned ladies are on separate islands and must integrate with the islanders or perish.

CE WilliamsThe author developed a very imaginative and engrossing narrative using the discovery of an heirloom to envelope the MC into a dual-time novel. The characters are believable and sympathetic. Edward Ambrose is an opportunist who places himself in control of Prudence’s fortune and properties and does his best to corral this young lady. The book enlightens the reader about the plight of the women of the 1800s and early 1900s. Treachery was rampant as men thirsted for the riches they could not obtain lawfully. Enjoy the adventure! 4.5 stars – CE Williams

Many thanks to the author and NetGalley 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: 1714-1837 History of UK, Marriage & Divorce Fiction, Mystery Romance
ASIN: B09MQB7W7Y
Print Length: 386 pages
Publication Date: September 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Keepsake [Amazon]
Kobo

 

Julie Brooks - author
Julie Brooks – author

The Author: I’m so excited to be launching The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay with Headline Review. I love reading historical fiction and I love a mystery so I’m doubly pleased to bring you both in this new story. The Secrets of Bridgewater Bay is inspired by my love of the stunning coastline of south-west Victoria, Australia, and the similarly wild coastline of North Devon, UK. Set largely in these two regions in the early twentieth century and one hundred years later, it’s a story of betrayal, redemption and family secrets. I hope you like it.

I was born in Brisbane, Australia, but have lived most of my life in Melbourne. I taught English and Drama in secondary schools before working as an editor of children’s magazines. Like many writers, I have been scribbling stories from an early age and feel confident to call myself an author.

I am represented by the Judith Murdoch Literary Agency in London, UK. To find out more, visit juliebrooksauthor.com and follow her on Instagram @juliebrooks_books.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout – #BookReview – #contemporaryliteraryfiction @RandomHouse

#1 Best Seller in Contemporary Literature Fiction

Book Blurb:

With her trademark spare, crystalline prose—a voice infused with “intimate, fragile, desperate humanness” (The Washington Post)—Elizabeth Strout turns her exquisitely tuned eye to the inner workings of the human heart, following the indomitable heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton through the early days of the pandemic.

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth StroutAs a panicked world goes into lockdown, Lucy Barton is uprooted from her life in Manhattan and bundled away to a small town in Maine by her ex-husband and on-again, off-again friend, William. For the next several months, it’s just Lucy, William, and their complex past together in a little house nestled against the moody, swirling sea.

Rich with empathy and emotion, Lucy by the Sea vividly captures the fear and struggles that come with isolation, as well as the hope, peace, and possibilities that those long, quiet days can inspire. At the heart of this story are the deep human connections that unite us even when we’re apart—the pain of a beloved daughter’s suffering, the emptiness that comes from the death of a loved one, the promise of a new friendship, and the comfort of an old, enduring love.

His Review:

Can a loveless abusive childhood lay the cobblestones of life’s road in such a way that nothing changes for the individual? Elizabeth Strout’s character Lucy seems to have developed her character with this pattern in mind. Lucy’s mother was negative and abusive and she grew up defending herself by developing a mother in her own mind that she called her “good mother.”  Her good mother was always caring and lent supportive encouragement to everything she did.

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth StroutLucy’s first husband William is a supportive man, a scientist, with a compassionate heart and protective attitude. With the advent of the Covid Pandemic, he encourages Lucy and him to escape to the clean air and trade winds upon a rocky point in Maine. The weather is always colder, the wind always blowing and the days less predictable. They have escaped New York City to become isolated in a desolate prison of their own making. How could she be happy in this desolation?

William and Lucy do not live together. His affairs early in their marriage had driven a wedge between them that could not easily be withdrawn. They shared a house but with separate bedrooms and an uneasy truce. All conversations are delicately planned which avoids the obvious elephant in the room. His marriage betrayal and additional indiscretions had led her to spread her own affair wings.

Elizabeth Strout is a very gifted writer who did not leave the central theme of her story throughout the read. She develops a character who is hell-bent on being unhappy throughout her life. This centralized dogma thoroughly confounded me as a reader. I have never read such a singularly minded character before. Lucy cannot accept any real progress or happiness in her life although she did have a happy second marriage with a man named David. But he died which added to her misery.

CE WilliamsCould anyone ever complete her as David had seemed to do? Her daughters grew up leading fairly accomplished lives but tended to avoid their mother. The reason was the negative aura surrounding her. Life becomes extremely tedious when every day seems to add more misery to an already dark existence. I kept having the beginning of that old Buck Owens song ring in my mind! “Gloom, despair, and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery…” I believe Elizabeth Strout has developed a very dark and sensitive heroine confronting a noir-esque setting. 3.5 stars – CE Williams

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

 

Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

 

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Book Details:

Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction, Literary Sagas, Saga Fiction
Publisher: Random House
ASIN: B09VWWN5BJ
Print Length: 291 pages
Publication Date: September 20, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: Lucy by the Sea [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Elizabeth Strout - authorThe Author: Elizabeth Strout is the author of the New York Times bestseller Olive Kitteridge, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize; the national bestseller Abide with Me; and Amy and Isabelle, winner of the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in London. She lives in Maine and New York City.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy your day

Dog Friendly by Victoria Schade – #Audiobook Review – #feelgoodfiction

Dog Friendly by Victoria Shade

Book Blurb:

A burned-out veterinarian takes a much-needed beach vacation, where a charming surfer makes waves in her love life, and a unique foster pup renews her passion for her work.

Exhausted veterinarian Morgan Pearce is feeling overworked and under-thanked, so when two favorite clients ask her to watch their special needs senior dog in their Nantucket home, she jumps at the chance for a summer break. She hopes her time on the island will be a reset from the stress of her everyday life, but her chill vacation vibe takes a hit when she gets roped into fostering a challenging, anxious dog and helping plan the local rescue group’s glittery annual fundraiser.

Her trip starts to feel more like a vacation when Morgan begins falling for Nathan Keating, an irresistible entrepreneur who thinks every problem can be solved on a surfboard. Just as the summer is shaping up to be the magical refresh she needs, thanks to a fling that feels like the beginning of something real and Hudson, the foster dog who reminds her how much she loves her job, a visit from her estranged brother and the discovery of who Nathan really is changes everything. Morgan finds herself at a crossroads, trying to determine if mistakes from the past must define the future, or if she should forgive, forget, and grab hold of a chance to finally rescue herself.

My Review:

How can you NOT love that cover? And really, the implied promise is delivered.

Not the first time this year you’ve caught me reading/listening to a romance. I know, I know, but in my defense, I just saw the dogs and read enough to know the storyline included dogs and I’ve been needing a feel-good doggy story.

I’ll bet you didn’t know “Feel-Good Fiction” was a real genre—I certainly didn’t. It’s summer and this is termed a “beach read.” Most definitely as it is located on Nantucket, descriptions of which almost had me packing for a beach read destination of my own.

This novel drips with sweetness–don’t get me wrong—it’s something we all need right now.  

Dog Friendly by VIctoria SchadeThe main character is a burned-out vet and although I’d had no clue being a veterinarian could be so stressful as to actually cause stress-related suicide, I could almost understand the problem of being a corporate vet as a major stress-inducer. Sounds like the same constraints placed on most corporate doctors these days—profit over practice.

But here is Morgan Pearce. She loves the animals. She loves most of the humans who bring their animals in for the expectation of care for their pets. She has seen it all; reactive dogs, lack of training, decent food, inappropriate discipline. It’s no wonder she jumps at the chance to get away and take care of one of her regulars with special needs for the summer. His humans are going on an extended trip and he’ll need the one-on-one care while they’re gone. They have a beautiful place on Nantucket Island, who wouldn’t go? Nope, she won’t go as a vet—she’ll go as a dog sitter/walker.

Okay, here comes the tension: she meets a gorgeous guy selling a proprietary homemade health juice from a push cart. Oh, and he’s a surfer. Did I mention Nathan is gorgeous? And dang—he has a dog! They’ll do dog walks!

And Tension #2: she can’t find a way to say no to a pooch who has been badly misunderstood by his human. He seriously needs to be retrained into being a real proper dog. (She’s now suspected of being one extremely savvy dog walker.) The fun here is the interaction with the dogs, dog personalities, introducing dogs to each other, insights into behavior, and body language.

Morgan’s family background is tenuous and ergo Tension #3 may be the catalyst for the Morgan and Nathan breakup. I’m not one for violins and roses, but this romance is handled pretty well. As a realist, however, I’d have some serious questions about the viability of the relationship.

The conclusion is handled sensitively and probably, for most readers, as expected, but still—it’s nice and I must say a sweet, fast, and engaging read.

I downloaded a copy of this audiobook from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts and I honestly think I’ll look for other titles by this author.

Book Details:

Genre: Feel-Good Fiction, Animal Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley

  • ISBN-10: ‎ 059343739X
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0593437391

ASIN: B09HH3B81R
Listening Length: 8 hrs 29 mins
Narrator: Patti Murin
Publication Date: June 28, 2022
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Dog Friendly [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
 

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

 

Victoria Schade - authorThe Author: Victoria Schade has been a dog trainer and writer for over twenty years. During that time her dog duties have included working behind the scenes on Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl as the lead animal wrangler, appearing on two seasons of the Animal Planet show Faithful Friends, and creating dog training content and appearing in educational videos for a variety of pet-centric web sites. Victoria’s favorite way to share her dog knowledge is though her books, whether in a how-to manual like “Bonding With Your Dog” or woven into her novels like “Who Rescued Who” and “Lost Found & Forever.”

Victoria shares her 1850’s always-in- need-of- renovations home with Millie the Smooth Brussels Griffon (who wants you to know that she is not a skinny pug), Olive the mixed breed dog, the occasional foster pup, and her incredibly tolerant husband, Tom.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

happy thursday!

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris – #BookReview – #historicalfiction – @SourcebooksLandmark

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sold On A Monday—over a million copies sold!—comes a sweeping World War II tale of an illusionist whose recruitment by British intelligence sets her on a perilous, heartrending path.

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorrisAs a little girl raised amid the hardships of Michigan’s Copper Country, Fenna Vos learned to focus on her own survival. That ability sustains her even now as the Second World War rages in faraway countries. Though she performs onstage as the assistant to an unruly escape artist, behind the curtain she’s the mastermind of their act. Ultimately, controlling her surroundings and eluding traps of every kind helps her keep a lingering trauma at bay.

Yet for all her planning, Fenna doesn’t foresee being called upon by British military intelligence. Tasked with designing escape aids to thwart the Germans, MI9 seeks those with specialized skills for a war nearing its breaking point. Fenna reluctantly joins the unconventional team as an inventor. But when a test of her loyalty draws her deep into the fray, she discovers no mission is more treacherous than escaping one’s past. 

Inspired by stunning true accounts, The Ways We Hide is a gripping story of love and loss, the wars we fight—on the battlefields and within ourselves—and the courage found in unexpected places.

His Review:

Fenna Vos bore a striking resemblance to Hedy Lamarr. Both women were in entertainment. Fenna is an associate of a stage magician. She works to develop escape acts and other performance mysteries. Misdirection is the standard fare for these well-trained escape artists, people able to get out of impossible situations. Fenna is one of the best.

The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorrisWorld War II finds Fenna working in a clandestine group called MI9. Their objective is to provide ways to help allied prisoners escape Nazi prisoner of war camps. Small hacksaw blades and cutting chains are inserted into such everyday games as Monopoly. The trick is to make the games transparent. The enemy allows such games to come into prison camps to help the detainees pass the time.

Fenna has a second asset to offer. In addition to her escape artist’s abilities; she can speak Dutch, as this was her mother’s native tongue.  She is working on a number of top-secret projects to enable prisoners of war to escape captivity. One very vital tool is the maps to help downed airmen find their way back to friendly territory.

She is inserted into Nazi-controlled Holland to assist the underground. She meets an old flame and finds the family of a very good friend. The friend has a child and the underground works to find a way to get mother and daughter back to allied territory. Regretfully the mother is killed in a Gestapo raid and her child is adopted by a childless German family. This situation is untenable to Fenna and the group in Holland. They work to help extract the young girl and spirit her to England.

This book is based upon some facts recently made public after World War II. Ms. McMorris has pulled together information regarding the female operatives during World War II in a most engaging novel. The success of this lady in a male-dominated world is nothing less than spectacular. The resultant book is a great tribute to the millions of women who worked unheralded and unrecognized during the second world war. 5 stars – CE Williams

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

 

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Book Details:

Genre: British & Irish Literary Fiction, Historical World War II Fiction, World War II Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ASIN: B09NCNP1KG
Print Length: 573 pages
Publication Date: September 6, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Ways We Hide [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

Kristina McMorris - authorThe Author: KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of two novellas and six historical novels, including the million-copy bestseller SOLD ON A MONDAY. The recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, she previously hosted weekly TV shows for Warner Bros. and an ABC affiliate, beginning at age nine with an Emmy Award-winning program, and owned a wedding-and-event-planning company until she had far surpassed her limit of “Y.M.C.A.” and chicken dances. Kristina lives near Portland, Oregon, where she somehow manages to be fully deficient of a green thumb and not own a single umbrella. For more, visit KristinaMcMorris.com.

©2022 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Enjoy Your Sunday

The Dutch House: A Novel by Ann Patchett – #Audiobook Review – narrated by Tom Hanks – #ThrowbackThursday

The Dutch House by Ann Patachett

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Literature & Fiction

Book Blurb:

Ann Patchett, the number-one New York Times best-selling author of Commonwealth, delivers her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love, and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves, and of who we really are.

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. 

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

My Review:

Okay, yes you got me! I enjoyed this book in no small part because the audiobook is narrated by Tom Hanks. Hanks literally becomes Danny, the main character but still never veers too far from that Academy-winning rad-da-tat animated delivery. I had to check the speed as there was more than once I thought I might have set it to 125% of normal. Gees, he’s good, and thank heaven or this could have become a rather slow burn at times.

The Dutch House by Ann PatchettAs revealed by the blurb, Danny and his sister Maeve (7 years older) are kicked out of their very wealthy and lavish estate by their wicked step-mom after his father passes suddenly intestate. I may have been washing dishes at that point and missed how old the kids were at that point, but it was literally a case of rags to riches back to rags. They’d enjoyed the good life and then it ended.

So, Danny, always looked after by his big sister, may be the typical clueless male. I thought there were times he swerved into narcissism, while his stoic sister Maeve never takes her eyes off the ball. There were also times I wanted to slap him upside his head! Maeve has settled into a comfortable living but will not settle unless Danny does the same and using the one loophole their step-mother failed to see, she pushes him to higher learning. GO! Be a doctor! Dutifully, he does, all the while declaring he will never practice. (Thank heavens as his bedside manner would suck.)

What he does practice, wisely, is real estate. Hey, he had gleaned some knowledge from his father. Yes, and then because that was expected, a wife. But Danny, perhaps again mirroring his dad with his step-mother, marries a woman he really does not love. I doubt there would ever have been a woman who could take Maeve’s place. That is a sibling bond born of desperation and survival.

Through the decades this narrative covers, each, together and separately, go back to The Dutch House to see how it is faring. Amazingly well, as it turns out, although the same cannot be said of Andrea, the step-mom. It’s a great, hulking enormous estate, still oozing the original (Dutch) owners’ vibrations—a reason their mother fled after they moved in to go serve the poor where she felt she really belonged.

Heavy family dynamics, feelings of abandonment, sibling loyalty, loss, the characters well developed and, typically, 180 degrees in dreams and thought processes. Times I ached for Maeve, angry with Danny. The step-mom painted with all the warts of the stereotypical step-parent.

As always with an extremely successful novel, there are detractors, but this is a Pulitzer Prize finalist. And performed by Tom Hanks, I’d also bestow an honorary Audie. He is awesome.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy from my local well-stocked library. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Recommended-5 Stars

Book Details:

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction, Family Life Fiction, Literary Fiction
Publisher: HarperAudio
ASIN: B07NSJZWY5
Listening Length: 9 hrs 53 mins
Narrator: Tom Hanks
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Dutch House [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
Kobo
Add to Goodreads

The Author:

Ann Patchett - author Ann Patchett is the author of six novels, including Bel Canto, which won the Orange Prize for Fiction. She writes for the New York Times Magazine, Elle, GQ, the Financial Times, the Paris Review and Vogue. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

New York Times best seller | A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick | A New York Times Book Review Notable Book | Time Magazine’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2019 | 2020 Audie finalist – audiobook of the year and best male narrator

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, The Washington Post; O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Refinery29, and Buzzfeed

The Narrator:

Tom Hanks - actor-narratorTom HanksNarrating this heartbreaking and compelling story is not the first connection between Patchett and Hanks. Patchett, the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, told the Associated Press that she and Hanks have become friends in recent years. Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, have spent time with Patchett at Parnassus Books, the renowned bookstore she owns in Nashville, Tennessee. And in 2017, Patchett joined Hanks at a sold-out event sponsored by the Washington, D.C., bookstore Politics and Prose to interview him in conjunction with his promotion of Uncommon Typehis own collection of short stories.

[Info and photo attribute: BookBub]

©2022 V Williams V Williams

#ThrowbackThursday

Where the Crawdads Sing (the movie) vs #Audiobook #WheretheCrawdadsSing by Delia Owen – #literaryfiction

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 

Intro

Back in May of 2020 when I downloaded and listened to Where the Crawdads Sing audiobook, I had no idea it would be a movie. The audiobook blew me away. I loved it, although it has not been received with the same genuine appreciation by all who read the book.

When the movie opened in July, I was able to see the result on the big screen, and I should mention, the big screen is the only way to view this atmospheric movie—the cinematography is breathtaking.

I promised a critique of the movie comparing it to the book that took the author ten years to write. Did the movie do justice to the book that has now been read by millions around the globe?

The Movie (Blurb)

“A woman who raised herself in the marshes of the deep South becomes a suspect in the murder of a man she was once involved with.”

My Thoughts

Daisy Edgar-Jones - actor
Photo Attribution: Daisy Edgar-Jones

The movie does a credible job following the major plot points of the book. The actors are wonderful, including London star Daisy Edgar-Jones who has to dig into her non-existent Southern roots to get the drawl right. No one likes the guy who ends up the murder victim, everyone loves Kya (both the girl and the woman do convincing, emotional jobs) and the support characters are great. So far, so good.

Taylor John Smith - actor
Photo Attribution: Taylor John Smith

But the photography and cinematography are exceptional. Atmospheric and beautiful, the location draws you in and almost overpowers the storyline, although the storyline as you must know by now is gripping.

It’s a passion-packed plot with themes of abandonment, loneliness, ingenuity, independence, love, loss, and triumph. It’s enough to wring tears from Scrooge.

Reece Witherspoon promoted the film from the get-go, loving the marsh story which was enough in itself, and then the added mystery of the murder—was it murder or an accident? Must be a murderer as Kya goes to trial—she was seen with him. And though I’m not a fan of Taylor Swift, she contributes a lovely, haunting melody.

Movie Details

Director: Olivia Newman
Stars: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, Jojo Regina
Released July 15, 2022 (Filmed in New Orleans, Louisiana)
Among the eight producers, Reese Witherspoon is listed as executive producer and promoted heavily.
Although Mychael Danna is listed under Music, Taylor Swift also contributed a song she named Carolina.

4.5 stars

Audiobook (Blurb)

Amazon Charts #1 this week

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING PHENOMENON—NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!
More than 15 million copies sold worldwide
A Reese’s Book Club Pick

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

My Thoughts

Well, if you read my original review of the audiobook, you know I loved it. Unique, beautiful in the telling, and so well drawn and gripping, it’s one of those you truly can’t put down.

Taken from my 2020 review:

The story of six-year-old Kya Clark, abandoned by her mother and shortly thereafter by her (much) older siblings is now living in a marsh shack with her despotic father. Kya has to pretty quickly learn to survive on her own near Barkley Cove, North Carolina.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensThe novel is divided by her story that begins with her mother leaving in the early morning hours of 1952 and the discovery of a body in 1969 near the old tower.

The storytelling is so emotionally poignant, the prose flows through beautiful descriptions of the natural setting in the marsh that it’s easy to smell the decaying vegetation, algae inhabited waterways, spy the marsh inhabitants, amphibians, birds, and insects…

The characters are brought vividly to life with the narration, alternately spoken by child or adult, literate or illiterate, as well as the Carolina drawl… Once having learned to motor into town on their old marsh fishing boat, she begins to draw the attention of the cashier at the Piggly Wiggly, the African American family, Jumpin’ and Mabel, where she bought the gas, and soon the lady from school, where she was promised a meal–real food–once a day…

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensSelf-educated, no one knows more about the natural world of the marshlands than Kya. She’s come to be known as the “Marsh Girl.” She’s smart, has gone on to publish books on the wildlife of the marsh. But could it possibly have been she to cause the death of Chase?

The conclusion resolves carefully allowing you long enough for your heart to settle back down when you are knocked off your feet by a shocking revelation you didn’t see coming. It’s a brilliant twist, the well-plotted and written narrative so engrossing, so achingly atmospheric, every sense poised that you are hanging on every word. It’s a serious exploration of not a male coming of age this time, but a female left on her own reconciling abandonment, loneliness, hunger, disappointment, and triumph. Completely immersive, so engaging it remains solidly planted long after the end resulting in a tremendous book hangover.

5 stars 

Book Details

Genre: Romance, Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
ASIN: B07FSXPMHY
Listening Length: 12 hrs 12 mins
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Audible Release: August 14, 2018
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Links: Where the Crawdads Sing [Amazon US]

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens - UK
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens-Amazon UK

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Delia Owens - authorThe Author: Delia Owens is the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in AfricaCry of the Kalahari, The Eye of the Elephant, and Secrets of the Savanna. She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in Nature, The African Journal of Ecology, and International Wildlife, among many others. She currently lives in Idaho, where she continues her support for the people and wildlife of Zambia. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.

You can also connect with Delia on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authordeliao

The Narrator: Cassandra Campbell is a prolific audiobook narrator with more than 700 titles to date. Winner of four Audie Awards and nominated for a dozen more, she was a 2018 inductee in Audible’s inaugural Narrator Hall of Fame.

Overall Impression

The Movie

While the actors do an amazing job of bringing to life the experience of the marsh, it was (for me) the atmospherics so well drawn in the book that commands attention. It was an engrossing recreation of the novel by Delia Owens, faithful to that jaw-dropping twist at the end. A fine representation of the book and well worth the time spent on the big screen.

The Book

You already know my assessment of the book—while it might approach cheesy a few times—it introduces innocent romance (on one side anyway) and manages to successfully weld a sub-plot realistically with a satisfying conclusion.

Conclusion

Loved the book, loved the movie, the latter being an excellent choice for a cinema visit. For me, however, I’ll still give the nod to the well-crafted narrative by Ms Owens. There’s a reason it’s gone around the world a few times and continues to garner major attention. You can’t go wrong with either the audiobook or the digital/paperback, however, I would recommend the audiobook as being expertly read by Cassandra Campbell.

©2022 V Williams V Williams

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