As I always say, so many books, so little time.
I went to an author talk last week and as I was perusing the shelves, a woman behind me commented that if she stopped sleeping, she would finally have time to read all the books on her list. Last night, I lived that, waking up at 2am and not being able to fall asleep. Instead of tossing and turning endlessly, I finished the book I was reading. Turning a negative into a positive right there!
Intrusion by Mary McCluskey - When Kat and Scott's only child dies, they grieve in different ways. Scott throws himself into work and distraction, while Kat flounders, floating around their empty house day after day. A woman from Kat's childhood comes back into her life, and into Scott's, and changes everything. Long story short, I hated this. I found it trite and boring. It wasn't a good representation of grief, or of healing. Blah.
Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone - Evelyn is living in suburban stay-at-home hell. That is, until her husband calls her in the middle of the night to come get him - he's been in an accident. In her sleeping pill-induced stupor, Evelyn drives to go get him and sees that he isn't alone. He's with a woman he claims is a patient of his, but Evelyn isn't so sure. After that event, Evelyn begins rediscovering herself. She finds out who the woman was and starts researching her, even going so far as to show up at her husband's art gallery. When the two of them strike up a relationship, Evelyn comes alive for the first time in years. This was...fine. Very middle-age awakening. I wouldn't recommend it, but if you needed a quick beach read, this would fit the bill.
The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson - This is my type of read. Well-written, but super dark and fucked up. What does that say about me? Inside a mansion lies a garden, a butterfly garden. The butterflies are young women with stunning wings tattooed onto their backs. And like butterflies, they have been captured and are kept for their beauty. When the garden is discovered, the detectives are trying to piece together exactly what it is they've found. One butterfly, Maya, tells them her story, slowly, piece by piece. And yet, she hides details, she is dismissive of certain questions, she's lying about something. The book jumps back and forth between Maya's life before the garden, her life inside the garden's walls, and the police interview after her escape. I loved this, but be warned that there are many scenes of rape and abuse.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - READ THIS RIGHT NOW. Is that enough of a recommendation? Ok, what are you getting yourself into? Four teenagers, three of them cousins, spend their summers on their family's private island, just off Martha's Vineyard. Their grandparents are the heads of the family, and they have built themselves a house, in addition to building each of their three daughters a house of their own on the island. The Liars, as they are called, are the next generation of this wealthy family. While they keep to themselves throughout the school year, every summer the family descends onto the island and they live in paradise. However, after one of the cousins suffers an accident of some sort, everything changes. I really can't say more without spoiling the story, which is fantastic and amazing and with a perfect twist that I did not see coming (the best kind of twist). This may be marketed as YA, but people of all ages should be picking this one up.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout - This is a short and wonderful read. Lucy Barton is recovering from surgery and her estranged mother comes to sit with her in the hospital. They have conversations about Lucy's rural childhood, her father, her husband and her young daughters, motherhood, womanhood, and other "big" ideas. Strout writes in a seemingly simple style, while weaving in gorgeous imagery and true to life themes. I'll be picking up more of her work.
Interference by Amelie Antoine - I cannot begin to describe the anger I felt when I got to the "twist" of this novel. I practically slammed my Kindle into the ground. We have a beautiful French couple, Gabriel and Chloe. They're young, in love, newly married. And then Chloe drowns. Gabriel is bereft, struggling to right himself. He joins a bereavement group to cope and it is there that he meets Emma, a young photographer. They strike up a friendship, which begins to turn romantic. And then the stupidest, most insipid, insulting, idiotic "twist" happens and it's truly the angriest that a book has made me in years. Hard pass.