Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Set during the London Blitz of World War II, The Postmistress tells the intertwined stories of three women. Frankie Bard is an American reporter in London trying to make her listeners understand the severity of the situation in Europe. In the small Cape Cod town of Franklin, Iris James, the postmistress, and Emma Trask, the local doctor's wife, hear Frankie's broadcasts but remain removed from the war. Eventually, all three women are impacted by the war in different ways. This novel is well written and I enjoyed it very much.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Noah's Compass by Anne Tyler

In Tyler's latest book, Liam Pennywell, a "retired" 5th grade teacher, woke up one day lying in a hospital bed. He couldn't figure out why he was there. His daughter told him that he was attacked in a home invasion during his first night in his new apartment. Liam desperately wanted to know what happened in the attack and wondered if he could find a "rememberer" by befriending Eunice, an assistant to the owner of a major developer in Baltimore.
Slowly Liam learned that he had been living a very detached life, devoid of passion and purpose. He never really enjoyed teaching 5th grade and was uninvolved with his family. He realized that he had "never been entirely present in (his) own life" (p.263.)
The conversation between Liam and his grandson Jonah was quite touching. Did Liam notice that he was drawing parallels to Noah in the Bible, simply wishing to remain "afloat?" This is a low key novel showing a lonely man's fear to connect.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Roses by Leila Meacham

Billed as the next Gone With The Wind, Roses is an epic family saga set in East Texas. It centers around Mary Toliver, who inherits her family's cotton plantation at the age of 16. Passionate and hard-headed, Mary devotes her life and energies to the land, even forsaking the great love of her life to save the plantation. The first part of the book is told from Mary's point of view. In the second section, we hear the story from the point of view of Percy Warwick, the man who loved Mary but didn't marry her. The final section is about Rachel, Mary's great-niece, who expects to take over the family farms after Mary. I wouldn't put Roses up there with GWTW, but it's a mighty good read. If you like old fashioned family sagas, you'll enjoy this book.