March 2021–Part Three

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Length: 86 pages).   I am a Taylor Jenkins Reid fan, so when this free Prime book popped up on my Kindle, I was excited to check it out. I didn’t realize it was a short story, but it’s absolutely still worth the read. This is an epistolary novel (in the form of letters) written between a man and a woman who discover their spouses are having an affair with each other. This is set in 1977-78, so the letters are all via snail mail (with some Xerox copies of letters sent as evidence). I do enjoy Reid’s writing and her writing style, so I enjoyed this quite a bit. I loved the reference to Daisy Jones’ music (a made-up musician featured in Reid’s novel Daisy Jones and the Six). The plot (what there is of it) is predictably thin, but I was impressed by the character development Reid was able to achieve in a short 86 page span. Worth a library or (free) Kindle read.

Book #2:

The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman (Length: 305 pages). The blurb on the back of this book (which I picked up at our library’s used book sale) states this novel showcases “smooth writing and unabashed sentimentality” which I agree with. This is a cheesy story about three generations of women who live/are visiting a lakeside cabin in Michigan. The writing is decent, and the character development is sufficient to make the reader care about the characters enough to keep reading. The charm bracelet artifice is a bit clunky (with each chapter centered around the significance of each charm given by the grandmother) but overall, this works. I will say that this book (and author) are surprisingly (to me) quite beloved, given the reviews of this novel on Amazon. I also didn’t realize this is the first novel in a trilogy (the Heirloom Novels), so if you’re in the mood for a cheesy, sweet novel (and aren’t we all, once in a while?) this may be a good one for you to check out.

Book #3

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Length: 416 pages).  I ADORE this book! So much that I pressed it into a very good friend’s hand with the proviso that if she doesn’t love it as much as I do, that I will question our friendship. This is a book about books, first and foremost, so how can that be a bad thing? This is a contemporary Gothic novel set in England, and is very much BOTH character and plot driven (my favorite) and centers around generations of a single family (also my favorite). The protagonist/narrator is a young woman who grew up in a bookstore, and is requested to write the biography of England’s most famous (and most prolific) author, Vida Winters. Margaret subsequently learns about Vida’s family, including her twin sister, and the deadly fire that destroyed their familial home. The central mystery here is very well-constructed, with lots of twists and turns. I LOVE this book! (There apparently was a movie made in 2013 and broadcast by the BBC).

Book #4:

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight (Length: 398 pages).  Again, I’m very particular about thrillers, particularly legal thrillers, given my professional background. This one is a very good (and accurate) thriller set in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Most of the drama revolves around families of students at a ritzy Country Day School, with all of their attendant dramas. The plot is excellent, with lots of twists and turns. A reader who is reading carefully and closely should figure out the central mystery pretty easily, but I’d suggest just going along for the ride and enjoy being surprised. I would absolutely recommend this book! Now that vacations and travel are starting to happen again, this would be an excellent beach/travel book.

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