Hello friends. How are we in December already? It’s crazy to me that our little book club has been humming along for five months and today is the day that I’m getting us caught up with recaps of our last two books, Ghosted by Rosie Walsh and This Tender Land by Kent Krueger. I’m also announcing the book I’m reading to close out 2019.
But before I dive in, a number of people have stopped to say that they feel badly they haven’t kept up with all of the books, or that they’re just now reading what I suggested a book or two ago. There is no judgment in this space, people! Clearly, I AM behind in getting these discussions up, but like you, it’s hard to fit everything in. I’m just happy that for 2019, I’ve quadrupled the number of books I read last year and have had so much fun in the process. Yay us!
October Pick: Ghosted by Rosie Walsh
This book was just asking to be read in October with its Halloween-y title and its suggestion of a mysterious romance between Sarah and Eddie (I have a son named Eddie and I love the name!)
When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.
Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened. As time passes, Sarah becomes increasingly worried. And then she discovers she’s right.
The promise of this plot sucked me right in, but I had a hard time hanging with author Rosie Walsh as she told the story. I won’t give any spoilers away for those still reading or wanting to pick up this book, but I’m thinking I must be a more linear reader. I struggled with how Rosie time-traveled in Ghosted and introduced secondary characters who didn’t do much to enhance the plot. Although I found the ending satisfying, it took me a while to get there. I am very curious to hear what you have to say.
November Pick: This Tender Land by William “Kent” Krueger
I knew I would enjoy this book the moment I was lucky enough to sit at Kent Krueger’s table when Lake Forest Book Store hosted a lunch in his honor in October. A humble and charming man, he told our table that he was born a storyteller, and it’s clear that This Tender Land came from somewhere deep inside him.
The story is set during the Great Depression in Minnesota. We’re introduced to the Lincoln School, a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O’Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the Mississippi and a place to call their own.
Over the course of a summer, these four orphans journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and other lost souls.
This, by far, is the most literary of the book selections we’ve covered on my blog to date. I tend to shy away from such beautifully crafted novels because I’ve sometimes found that the plot line gets lost in all of the verbal imagery. This wasn’t at all the case with This Tender Land. I fell in love with Kent’s style of storytelling and he made me care deeply about his characters. At his author luncheon, Kent shared that when he first started writing books more than 20 novels ago, he did it longhand with pencil and paper. I’m certain that this process made him a more thoughtful writer. This Tender Land is definitely a front contender for being one of my favorite books from 2019.
December Pick: Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
And just like that, we’re back to a little bit lighter fiction for December with my pick, Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory. All I needed to hear was that this book was a little bit royalty and a little bit Christmas and this author had me hooked! I’m also intrigued that the protagonist is in her 50s and finding love. I can’t wait to dig in.
Please check back the last week in December for a full review of Royal Holiday. I can’t wait to hear what you think!