Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman #travelingfriendsread #BookReview #BookBloggers @joannagoodman @HarperCollinsCa

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The Home for Unwanted Girls
by Joanna Goodman

Web_L117-3_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review

When I saw that beautiful, intriguing and haunting cover I knew I had to read this one.  Just looking at the cover brought on some emotion.  Not really knowing what the story was about it did take me a while to finally read it, but I have to say that it worked out well because when I did read this one the timing was perfect.  We read this one in our Traveling Friends Goodreads Reading group.  This one made for a really great and interesting discussion amongst us.  So much to talk about with this story and we really appreciated being able to discuss this one together.

The Home for Unwanted Girls is a compelling and heartbreaking family saga that focuses on historical events and a scandal in a Canadian province of Quebec.  It’s not something that I think is well known and Joanna Goodman who was inspired by her Mother digs into some history here with some hostilities between French and English speaking Canadians.

Along with the hostilities that divided French and English speaking Canadians,  Joanna Goodman brings to light a dark time in Quebec’s past and one of the darkest scandals involving money and religion.  Through one of our main characters here with Elodie, we are shown the cruelty, abuse and conditions orphans lived in while under the care of nuns.  Goodman gives a voice to the victims of this scandal through Elodie, allowing us to feel so many emotions for them while reading this story.  It also allowed us to learn something we haven’t heard of before.

We were immediately drawn into the complex and intriguing side of the family saga with Maggie and her family’s story and decisions that were forced on her by her family, leaving us with so much to discuss.  We question their decisions and reasons and tried to understand the different sides we were shown.  At the final discussion, we used the questions provided by the publisher and that really gave us so much to think about and discuss really enhancing our discussion.

We highly recommend this story to everyone who loves historical fiction based on real events.  We also highly recommend to reading groups as there is just so much to discuss with this one.   We do want to offer a caution here because of the abuse and there are some upsetting conditions to this story.

Web_L141-2_brunette_brown-eyesNorma’s Review

THE HOME FOR UNWANTED GIRLS by JOANNA GOODMAN was such a moving, heart-wrenching, and riveting historical fiction novel that had quite the emotionally gripping story. This book literally crushed me and made me feel so many different emotions while reading it.

Some of the subject matter and historical facts that were focused on here in this novel was absolutely unconscionable and had me so angry. Being from Canada there were some events that I was aware of but some that I wasn’t and it was definitely an eye-opening experience for me reading this novel. I really enjoyed reading and learning a part of our history that I wasn’t aware of.

JOANNA GOODMAN delivers an intriguing, beautifully written and suspenseful read here with complex and well-developed characters. The story is told from alternating points of view between that of Maggie who was forced to give up her child at the age of 15 and Elodie her daughter who grew up in an orphanage. I was thoroughly taken by both of these emotional perspectives equally and was so hoping that mother and daughter would once again be reunited.

Learning that this book was based on the author’s mother just made this story even more thought-provoking, touching and heartbreaking. This was definitely an emotionally tough book for me to read but regardless an excellent one.

Web_L149-2_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s  review

This story ripped my heart out. It made me angry, hopeful, frustrated. It had me rooting for these characters, holding my breath and crossing my fingers for a positive outcome. It exhausted me emotionally (in the best way possible). Simply stated – I adored this book!

This novel revolves around Maggie Hughes who, at fifteen, becomes pregnant and is forced by her parents to give her baby daughter, Elodie, up. We follow Maggie through years of separation from and longing for Elodie, where each and every day is haunted by thoughts as to where Elodie is and what kind of life she could be living.

I loved Maggie! Her character touched my heart in so many ways. The author, Joanna Goodman, does an impeccable job creating such vivid, real and relatable characters. I was drawn into their lives and situations, questioning my own thoughts and feelings several times along the journey. The book unravels through two perspectives, Maggie and Elodie, each adding a beautiful layer of emotion and intrigue. I loved them both and thought the novel flowed seamlessly and at the perfect pace.

To find out that this story was based on the author’s mother made it even more powerful for me. I look forward to reading more from this author!

Web_LF05-2_brunette_brown-eyesFrom Jonetta’s review

The story also exposed the ethnic divide between the English speaking citizens and the French. It was particularly awful to witness Maggie’s father’s hypocrisy against the French given his own wife’s and children’s heritage. Also, it was a political decision that forced the orphanages to become psychiatric hospitals without any real consideration of the fates of those children who were then declared mentally ill. These are true events in Canadian history that I found educational.

I really enjoyed this story for the fictional aspects as well as the historical context, beginning in the 1950s. Maggie’s quest to find her daughter was frustrating and heartbreaking and Elodie’s never-ending hope that she would find her family was what almost brought me to tears. Both women’s triumph in the midst of adversity was so admirable. Saskia Maarleveld was extraordinary in her narration, handling accents with perfection (as least to my ear) and making the characters come to life. I highly recommend the audio version and this story. It wasn’t always light but it was always honest. 4.5 stars For Jonetta’s full review

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: Eye-catching, appealing, and immediately had me intrigued. An extremely fitting representation to the storyline.
Title: Intriguing, sad, fits the story so well and love how it plays so meaningfully into the story.
Writing/Prose: beautiful, engaging, and empathically written.
Plot: Provocative, captivating, steady-paced, held my attention and extremely enjoyable.
Ending: Hopeful, touching, and satisfying.
Overall: A fantastic, emotional, important, memorable, and heartfelt read! Would highly recommend!

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Have you read this one?  Want to read it?  Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles #travelingsistersread #BookReview #BookBloggers

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The Air You Breathe
by Frances de Pontes Peebles

Web_L117-1_brunette_green-eyesBrenda’s review

Lindsay and I read The Air You Breathe with four of our Traveling Sisters and we all really loved this glorious, rich and soulful story of friendship.

We all loved the vivid and colorful feel we got for the setting and lively time.  Frances de Pontes Peebles takes us through an intense and emotional, journey of a complex bond between friends and their love and ambition for Samba music.  We follow them through their path to fame.  We are taken to boozy Brazilian bars to the glamour of Hollywood.

Frances de Pontes Peebles does a great job here creating well developed unlikely and different characters with Dores and Graca.  The rich characters climbed into our hearts and we could feel their ambition, treachery, loss, excitement and could the price they paid for their ambition and fame.

We highly recommended this story to lovers of Historical fiction that enjoy a strong bond between friends and their passion for their love of music.

Web_L149-2_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s review

This book will have you humming to the beat of samba music!
This is the story of Graca and Dores – two girls from two different parts of society. They have an intense friendship filled with fierce love and ruthless rivalry. They need and depend on each other in different ways, both feeling incomplete without the other.

The story begins on a sugar plantation in Brazil that Graca’s family owns. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of this part of the story. Dores is an orphan who has been ‘adopted’ by the head of the kitchen help. Outspoken, outgoing, spoiled Graca develops an immediate connection and bond with Dores and the two girls forge an unlikely friendship.

The girls’ journey takes them through their artistic careers and dreams of becoming samba stars – Graca the singer and Dores the songwriter. Many characters are introduced along the way, all the while, the samba music a sort of character in itself.

While I enjoyed this novel, I did find the story to be somewhat drawn out and riddled with too much detail. There were parts I found dragged and felt somewhat repetitive. However, I did enjoy learning about this time in history and felt the samba music was such a great background theme.

Web_L151-2_blonde_blue-eyesFrom Christina’s review

Peebles wove two incredibly complex and layered characters. Their relationship is full of juxtapositions – pain and heartbreak, beauty and rebirth.

While the story is told solely from Dores’ point of view, Peebles did an excellent job of highlighting the multi-dimensional character that is Graca/ Sofia Salvador. At times she seems vain, vapid and one note, at others she seems to have a depth unreachable by Dores, a pain only a true artist can understand and a soul that truly needs to be loved.

There is a heavy focus on music in general – most notably the Samba and it’s evident not only in the words written but in the way they were written as well. To me, the sign of an excellently written character-driven novel is that you notice that characters come in every form. Peebles created secondary characters out of music, out of the Samba, the setting, the time period and it’s impossible not to get swept up in it.
LC15-9From Diane’s review

The music, incredible lyrics, the descriptions, the emotions, want and need almost viscerally felt by this reader. The descriptions of the places, their costumes, a book where I felt as if I was part of their journey, rather than just witnessing their struggles and successes. The melancholy tone, felt throughout, the way the story is told by a now elderly Dores, recounting past days, the secrets exposed, the things that were done on the way to Gracas stardom, all drew in this reader. Beautifully told, beautifully written. An absolutely amazing book.

Dores is based on the singer/songwriter Chevela Vargas and Graca is a made up character loosely modeled on Carmen Miranda, and her path to fame. To these people music was everything, song lyrics are parsed throughout the novel, and music would be what is left.

Web_L285-6From Angela’s review

I felt as if this story was like a samba as it too was characterized by dips and upward springs in the lives of two complex characters as they stepped through their lives, their journey from a sugar cane plantation in Brazil to the streets and clubs of Rio, to Hollywood. It’s so well written, we are taken there to these places where a complicated friendship grows and flourishes as these two women step together at times and away at others. Dores, an orphan with no real identity other than as a kitchen girl becomes the unlikely friend of Graca, born to a family of means who now own the sugar plantation. As young girls, they discover music when Graca’s mother takes them to a concert. This is the beginning for them, leading them to their destinies as artists, each in their own right – Graca, the singer and Dores, the songwriter. For me, one of the most poignant moments of the book was this discovery. As the narrator of this story, Dores tell us : “ How miraculous than to hear something and know, without any doubt, that it is beautiful…..How incredible than that, despite the precariousness of my existence, despite the coarseness and violence that always threatened to suffocate me, there was this beauty, this grace, that had found me through music and that no one could take from me. This was the gift that music gave to Graca and me that night, and every night afterward: we had something of our own to truly love, and we had each other to share it with.”

LC15-7From Marialyce’s review

Meet Dores, a poor young child, an orphan living on a sugar plantation forced to be the one who cares for herself, with some help from an old cook. Meet Graca, the daughter of the plantation owner. Together these two form a most unlikely friendship, a friendship that will carry them through a lifetime of sorrow, joy, and a wish for things that oftentimes are not to be. These girls are polar opposites and yet they find meaning within their lives, that meaning coming to them through the gift that music often brings. The girls grow, they run away to Rio de Janeiro, where they struggle and yet the music is that ultimate bond which joins them together. It is the way they survive, the way their future seems to move, the way they will share the joys and the many sorrows that life will force onto their paths. Their journey leads them eventually to Hollywood, the world of movies, of the samba, of the success of Graca who sings and dances her way through movie after movie, while Dores the composer of the songs, remains in the background, longing for recognition. Their lives seem to be what they desired, being recognized, being shown that their music their songs are heard and seen and yet it is not ultimately what they thought it would be. Their home, their country beckons, calls to them, and soon they realize that perhaps they can never go home again, never find that recognition they always sought, never to have a place to call their own.

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Have you read this one?  Want to read this one? Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine #travelingfriendsread #BookReview #BookBloggers

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The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Print_L435-2_brunette_brown eyesNorma’s Review

THE LAST MRS. PARRISH by LIV CONSTANTINE  is an entertaining, fun, suspenseful, and a twisty psychological thriller that was quite the tale of manipulation, deceit and revenge. I wasn’t immediately drawn into this story though as I found parts of the first section a little bit slow and repetitive but once I reached the next section I was flipping those pages as fast as I could.  

LIV CONSTANTINE delivers an intriguing, clever, and gripping story here with quite the twisted, wicked and vindictive characters.  The story is told from the points of view of our two main characters, Amber and Daphne and divided up into three parts. I really enjoyed how this story was divided up and once I reached the second part of this book it totally took a compulsive and unputdownable turn.     

I wasn’t too much of a fan of Amber and her character though.  I found her character to be quite off-putting and that really affected my overall enjoyment for this novel.  Usually a characters behaviour and actions don’t really bother me but there were definitely some scenes that rubbed me the wrong way and made me a little unforgiving.  I would say though that Amber’s delusional ways definitely made for good reading.

As for Daphne’s character, I enjoyed her perspective best and I was thoroughly intrigued.

FC-10-CarlyKris’s Review

Hide ya wife. Hide ya kids. And hide ya husband…

‘Cause Amber Patterson is on the prowl and liable to steal your entire life right out from under your nose.

And this time her envious glare is set upon the beautiful and unsuspectingDaphne and her filthy rich, disgustingly successful husband, Jackson.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love a good cast of whack job characters, but there’s certain criteria I feel necessary for their levels of insanity to work:

– The characters must feel fleshed-out and human.
– They should have layers and appear altered when viewed from different angles. (No one is all “one” thing.)
– They have to be convincing enough to make even the “unbelievable” seembelievable . (No matter how absurd a theory may seem, good writing willmake me a believer.)

While the characters here certainly nailed psychopathy, I felt they lacked the depth and dimension needed for me to buy what they were selling, although I’m not saying the ride wasn’t fun. It just felt a bit “put-on” and inauthentic at times.

This plot is divided into three parts with alternating focus, which I thought worked well. The first section felt slightly repetitive and was my least enjoyable, but the rest of the book had me flipping eagerly through its pages, anxiously awaiting reveals.

As for the twists—they seemed more edgy than surprising, which isn’t a bad thing. The ending left me a little divided for reasons that are too spoilery to mention, but since this is fiction, I can stand to give a high-five to good ol’ book-karma for doing her job with efficiency and vigor and a sweet twist of irony as a cherry-topper.

Overall, a stellar concept that, with a tighter execution, I could have easily 5-starred. I can definitely see this becoming a movie; it certainly reads like one. I do think many readers will enjoy the compulsive nature of this one and easily soar through this story. Enjoy!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Book Stats:
▪  Genre/Category: Psychological Thriller/Mystery/Suspense
▪  Characters: Deliciously Unhinged but largely one-dimensional
▪  Plot: An envious woman greedily sets out to steal the life and husband of a new “friend”.
▪ Writing: Straightforward. Fluid.
▪ POV: 1st & 3rd Person Perspectives: Alternating Heroines
▪  Cliffhanger: None. Standalone

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Norma’s Stats:
Cover: I wouldn’t say I was drawn into this cover but I do think it a fitting representation to the storyline though.
Title: Piqued my interest and was curious to learn how it tied into plot.
Writing/Prose: straightforward, readable
Plot: Fascinating, great concept, and entertaining
Ending: I wasn’t totally satisfied and might have thought up my own alternate ending. LOL
Overall: Even though I had some reservations and felt it was lacking in some areas it was still a highly-entertaining, irresistible, and unputdownable read! Would recommend to anyone that enjoys a fast-paced, unputdownable, and an entertaining mystery/thriller novel.

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Have you read this one? Want to read this one! Drop us a comment!  We love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

Lindsay in a Coulee with our Traveling Friends reading The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware #travelingfriendsreads #BookBloggers

 

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Norma and I read The Death of Mrs. Westaway awhile back with our Traveling Sisters and it lead to a very interesting discussion.  We were split into two different coulees with our thoughts on this one.  Lindsay was buried in a coulee with other books and initially passed on this one when we read it with our TS’s.  So Lindsay recommended this one and read it with our Traveling Friends.  For the most part, they really enjoyed it and had similar thoughts with only a couple joining Norma and me in our – this one just didn’t work for us coulee.

 

Web_L149-2_blonde_blue-eyesLindsay’s review

The chilling and eerie atmosphere in this novel was like a character of its own!

It didn’t take long for me to feel completely immersed in this haunting tale. The damp and dark weather. The old, crumbling mansion. The family full of lies and long-hidden secrets. This is my kind of book! I have read every one of Ruth Ware’s novels and this is by far, my favourite!

This book revolves around twenty-one-year-old Harriet Westaway “Hal”, who took over her mother’s tarot card reading business after she passed away three years ago. Years of being alone and struggling to pay the bills have left Hal frustrated and desperate. One day, she receives a mysterious letter advising that she has been left a substantial inheritance from Mrs. Westaway, a grandmother she has never heard of. Hal travels to the Trepassen House estate where she meets the family of Mrs. Westaway.

The writing was perfection! I was glued to the pages from start to finish! Ruth Ware kept the tension, mystery and suspense building as each page turned, all the while keeping the dark and unnerving atmosphere brooding. Each character brought forth a new aura of intrigue and secrecy.

A big thank you to NetGalley, Simon & Schuster Canada and Ruth Ware for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

LC15-2From our Traveling Sister’s Goodreads reviews who joined Lindsay in her coulee after finishing this one.

LC15-7  From Jan’s review

I loved how the author dropped clues like bread crumbs throughout the novel, but it wasn’t until the end that the puzzle pieces clicked into place. I thought I had it figured out but turned out to be only partially right. I was pleasantly surprised – well done Ms. Ware!

This book hooked me from page one right through to the end. Highly recommended for fans of an old-fashioned mystery, reminiscent of Agatha Christie.

Web_L285-6From Carol’s review

Wow, this was an excellent novel mostly set in Trepassen, an English countryside mansion. The estate is almost a character in itself, an old, large, gothic house that holds many secrets.

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Norma and I were chilling out in our coulee alone really hoping that no one else would join us when along comes Christina joining us in our – this one just didn’t work for us coulee.

Web_L145-5From Christina’s review

The beginning draws the reader right in with intrigue and mystery but this quickly plateaus for what felt like a large portion of the book. Things don’t really pick back up until the last 50 or so pages and then I ran into some implausibility issues that suffered due to a lack of development into the character. That being said, the final few twists were a complete knock-out I did not see coming from a mile away!

img_6349From Brenda’s Traveling Sisters review

For some of us, our heads started spinning in confusion with trying to piece together who is who and who is connected to who. We were engaged enough in the story to hold our attention till the end, however, we just gave up trying to put the pieces together. For the rest of the sisters, they found it exciting and intriguing putting those pieces together and couldn’t put the book down till they were done.

Web_L147-3_brunette_brown-eyesFrom Norma’s review

When reading a thriller &/or suspense novel I like to be able to work out the why and how and be pleasantly surprised by the little pieces of puzzles that were left along the way that I either missed or didn’t think were important to the twists or reveals. I thought some pieces of that puzzle were left out here and in some instances didn’t match-up so, therefore, this novel just didn’t work for me.

For our full reviews

Have you read this one?  Want to read this one. Which TS do you agree with?  Drop us a comment!  We love to hear from you!

Graphics by Lovelytocu

 

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

The Light-Keeper’s Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol @JeanPendziwol #travelingfriendsread #BookBloggers

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This was a fabulous read and was quickly placed on my favourite reads shelf!

* Traveling Friends Group Read *

Norma’s review

THE LIGHTKEEPER’S DAUGHTERS by JEAN E. PENDZIWOL was an absolutely fantastic, charming, and touching novel that had me totally engaged and held dear right to the very last word.  I was mesmerized by how beautiful and heartfelt this story was.

I was immediately drawn into this story by the absolutely gorgeous storytelling here and totally intrigued by the storyline which had me feeling so much emotional warmth for this book.  This was one of those books for me that I had to have it close to me at all times even when I wasn’t reading it. I’d pick it up, smell it, and give it a hug. I was the proud owner of this book!  

JEAN E. PENDZIWOL delivers a complex, descriptive, and beautifully written story here that flowed absolutely perfect.  The characters, the setting, and the premise of this novel were all so captivating to me and had me totally fascinated in what I was reading.  I love books with dual storylines and the transitions between the two were done seamlessly and blended so well together.

Norma’s Stats:
Cover:  Love that beautiful and eye-catching cover!
Title:  Fits the story well and had me totally intrigued.
Writing/Prose: Beautifully written, eloquent and spellbinding.
Plot:  Interesting, held my attention, and loved everything about it.
Ending: Took me a little by surprise and loved how all the storylines came together. Moving, memorable and satisfying.
Overall: An outstanding read! Would highly recommend!

Rose’s review

I’m completely enamored of this book, partly because I didn’t read much about it beforehand. I left it sitting on my shelf for several weeks, totally unaware of the magic I was postponing. I went into this relatively blind, so the surprises never stopped. For that reason, I’ll give only a cursory summary.

“I knew enough of the Lake to comprehend their fate. Once someone was in her icy clutch, Superior was not inclined to let go. I could tell by the faces of the men perched on chairs in our humble dwelling, huddled beneath blankets, that they knew the same.”

A young girl named Morgan is doing community service at a retirement home after she left graffiti on its fence. She has angst. Elizabeth Livingstone, born in 1925 to a mother and father who manned a lighthouse on the nearby shores of Lake Superior, is one of the home’s elderly residents. She has spunk. Both have foggy pasts, but they find that they can help each other immensely. And that’s it. That’s the extent of what I feel comfortable giving away. The book does a better job speaking for itself than I ever could:

“I have learned that most of us…we are merely life’s spectators. Those who have allowed their demons to inhabit their lives – to sleep with them and wake with them and let them whisper in their ear – they are the architects of life, constructing the world as we know it.”

Every page of The Lightkeeper’s Daughers breathes as if very much alive. It wrapped me up so entirely that I’m having a hard time coping with the fact that it’s a work of fiction. For me, that’s one of the best things a novel can be: so damn visceral you can’t imagine the world without its characters. I NEED these people to have existed. They did. They do. Don’t tell me otherwise.

I also LOVE IT when an author does a lot with just a little. Pendziwol was brilliantly efficient, accomplishing in 300 pages what most authors would take over 500 to say. This was an epic story told on a very non-epic scale. It ebbed and flowed and flickered and crashed with so much force, I can’t believe it wasn’t longer.

“Who decides when they’ve crossed from tortured to talent, to be embraced and immortalized? When we like what our eyes see and our ears hear? Genius and insanity. Which brings the other?”

Seriously. The whole thing is like that. I could open up to any page right now and find a quote that would tug at your heartstrings or inspire introspection without ever coming across as pretentious. I read this with the Traveling Friends, and it’s safe to say it’s charmed us all.

I truly would recommend this to every reader. This book is for you if you are interested in any of the following: lighthouses, lakes, history, romance, family, foxes, flowers, violins, art, journals, coming-of-age, war, ships, mystery, and I could go on LITERALLY FOREVER JUST READ IT PLEASE.

Regardless of what you’re expecting The Lightkeeper’s Daughters to be, I promise it will become something greater. This is one of those novels that really gives verity to the phrase don’t judge a book by its cover.

From Debra’s review

I loved every single page of this book. From the setting, the characters, the descriptions, the art, the music, the mystery, the personalities, they all were quite perfect. I was instantly drawn in and captivated by this book. When I lived in Massachusetts, I visited several lighthouses and my family had one we visited every couple of months, it was quite easy to imagine the one in this book and I could see the family climbing the stairs to make sure everything was working and to protect the ships on Lake Superior. Being able to transport a reader to your setting, takes great skill and Pendziwol has it. Debra’s full review

Brenda and Lindsay read this a while back with our Traveling Sisters and this was also loved by all of the TS.

From Brenda’s Traveling Sisters review 

We were right away drawn into these strong and interesting characters and their relationship to each other as we are shown how a complex web of secrets are unraveled. The characters are so well-done and we came to really care about them and they brought out a few emotions that we shared with each other. We all love the strong sister bond between two of the characters and we could feel their love, commitment and unspoken understanding of each other that bonded them together.

We all really appreciated all the research Jean E. Pendziwol put into this story and so vividly gave us such a wonderful sense of place. We could visualize the lighthouse and the lake and it gave a good sense of how isolated it must have been.

From Lindsay’s review 

I’m blown away – loved every word of this beautiful story! This novel is moving right to the top of my 2017 Favourites list!

The characters, the atmosphere, the secrets – every part of this story was done to perfection! The author, Jean E. Pendziwol, created an unforgettable tale of family, love and hidden secrets all wrapped up in an intoxicating, mesmerizing and captivating atmosphere.  I highly, highly recommend this beautiful gem of a book!

Have you read this title?  Or want to read it?  Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

Posted in Reviews, Traveling Friends Reads Reviews

The Wife by Alafair Burke #travelingfriendsread #BookReview #bookbloggers

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The Wife by Alafair Burke

One Group  / Two Coulees

Norma read The Wife with nine of our Traveling Friends and they were split into two different coulees after finishing this one. Some of our friends were left excited including Norma with how this one ended and enjoyed the pace of this story.  The rest of our friends found it to be a little slow paced for them and didn’t really get too engaged in the story.

The very unlikable characters in this story, especially Jason brought a bit of discussion here for our friends.  This read made for a great group discussion and we highly recomennd to reading groups and thriller lovers.

Norma’s Review

Whoa! What an ending!!

THE WIFE by ALAFAIR BURKE was an extremely fun, enjoyable, twisty, and surprising psychological domestic thriller that started out a little bit slow for me, but once I grasped the focus of this story, I was totally intrigued and immersed in this tale.

ALAFAIR BURKE delivers a multi-layered, well-written, and suspenseful story here that was cleverly written with some perfectly timed twists and turns along the way to make this quite the satisfying book to read.

This book pretty much had all the elements that I seek in my thrillers which made this an all around GREAT reading experience for me!

To sum it all up it was an entertaining, compulsive, appealing, quick and easy read with an ending that will definitely surprise you! Would highly recommend!

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Rose’s Review

A sleepy thriller with a tedious build-up but a shocking payoff!

“In a case of he-said, she-said, ‘she’ had just racked up one small point on her side of the board.”

Jason Powell is a famous economist who’s afforded his family a lavish Manhattan lifestyle through his books, lectures, and media appearances. Angela Powell is his faithful wife who sticks beside him as his fame grows and draws unwanted attention to their family unit, which includes 13-year-old Spencer. After two successful women accuse Jason of lurid behavior, Angela worries that her secret past will come to the surface. Things get even more tense when one of the accusers goes missing, and Angela must face the reality of Jason’s demons and her own.

This one is hard to dissect without spoiling, which is a plus, because it means that things end on an entirely different planet than where they start.The Wife had me doing mental gymnastics about which crimes are the most heinous, as well as whether I can personally justify the crimes someone commits based on the trauma they’ve experienced.

“…some part of Angela actually felt for the intern. She of all people knew what it was like for people to believe you can’t really be a victim if you’re ‘that kind of girl.'”

Burke was well-balanced in her treatment of feminism. There were strong female characters and weak ones. Some women felt pressure to support others out of solidarity, even when their gut was telling them not to. There was plenty of discourse about women’s rights and what constitutes assault without being heavy-handed or blaming the entire male race.

Mysteries fall flat to me when there’s either too much or too little about the justice procedure, so it’s a fine line. While The Wife had a nice blend of detective work and Angela’s narrative voice, it was still longer than necessary. A good portion of the book rotated between the cops driving somewhere, the lawyers waiting for updates, and Angela nervously skimming the web for news on her high-profile husband. The backstory is sprinkled throughout consistently, but there was too much in between.

However, when that backstory and the current timeline eventually collapsed on one another in the final chapters, things REALLY picked up. Some events were easier to predict than others, but it’s safe to say you won’t be able to see exactly where this thing is headed.

“She had proven over and over again…that she would run through fire to protect me. And that is probably why I had trusted her, as always, with the entire truth.”

While the prose itself isn’t very shiny or impressive, the characters are solidly crafted, and the climax was surprising enough to make the read well worth it. I read this with some wonderful ladies from the Traveling Friends group, which always makes reading a little more joyful!

From Kris’s Review

The writing style is straightforward and unembellished, but strong and clear and delivers this story well.

This isn’t a heart-pounding, race-to-the-finish experience, but a tame psychological voyage that entices you with its mystery and enchants you with its design.

Fans of the genre should certainly give this one a read when in the mood for a more humble thriller with mystery and mind play.

From Christina’s Review

The pacing of this novel was achingly slow for me. There was so much wasted time on police procedural drama that in the end didn’t particularly affect the outcome. I think this came from an effort to mislead the reader as the police were being misled but it fell short for me here. I think if Burke had cut down on that a bit this would’ve been a more well-rounded read.

A look inside our discussion

It was a real twister, done the right way. I loved the ironic ending, but I do hope Burke follows up on this one someday! Julie

I listened to this one and enjoyed the narrator’s performance. I loved this one, too, particularly that ending. Jonetta

This book was unexpected and had me at the edge of my seat. All those twists and turns added intrigue to the plot. And that ending? Shocking and oh so satisfying. Its one of my standout reads for 2018 so far. Stephanie 

Have you read this one?  What did you think?  Had you on the edge of your seat or aching slow for you?  If you haven’t read it, did we convince you to try and see which one he ended up feeling?  Drop us a comment!  We love to hear from you.