I forgot to post here yesterday, but if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll never miss a recommendation. Still, here goes …

Day 11

I’ve rediscovered Lisa Jewell in recent years. She used to write very different kinds of books, mostly chick lit and romance and now she writes darker-side-of-human-nature novels with intricate plotting and very thorough character-building. This one I loved because she had so many characters to keep up with and did a great job keeping them distinct. I recommend ‘The Girls in the Garden’.

Here’s my review on Goodreads:

The Girls in the GardenThe Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this one! Domestic suspense at its best — family secrets, lies, murky pasts colliding with a messy present. This one had it all. The arrival of a new family into a closed community upends the delicate balance of relationships among adults and children alike, and exposes the dysfunctional underpinnings of what looks like an idyllic situation.

I loved the voice of Pip, the astute but still appropriately childlike narrator of some of the action. At times, more perceptive than the adults, and at times limited by her inexperience and lack of information, Pip still came across as one of the more reliable narrators in the story. Adele, the stay-at-home earth mother of a tribe of home-schooled girls was another highly sympathetic character, who acted as the moral and ethical center of the community and for the reader. And then there was Clare, the woman who is still reeling from the upending of her old life when she moves into Virginia Park with her daughters Pip and Grace.

This author did a remarkable job of making each one of a large cast of characters unique and distinguishable from the others, so that no one felt like a prop. For those of you who like things ‘resolved’ at the end of a book, be prepared for the mystery to be solved, but not REsolved. But I enjoy moral ambiguity in fiction, because I think it absolutely mirrors the moral ambiguity of real life, so this was a perfect read for me. Recommended.

View all my reviews

Day 12

Oh, how I love this book. ‘Out of my Mind’ by Sharon M. Draper was required reading for my then 9-year-old and we read it together. I loved it soooo much, I also got it as an audiobook and it was wonderfully narrated. It’s about a highly-intelligent 11-year-old named Melody who has cerebral palsy and so can’t speak her thoughts, and can barely move on her own but has a rich inner life. And through her loving mother’s tenacity, she finds a way to make her voice heard and her presence felt among her peers. It had a discernible impact on how my kid views and relates to the disabled. I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend it for your kids, tweens and teens, and for adults. If you have a little one (like under 10), I think they would LOVE listening to it.

Happy Reading!

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Woman-Centered Fiction Writer, commenting on books, culture and the human condition.

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