Droves of Dysfunction

wpid-walking-on-trampolines.jpgWalking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting is a new novel filled with colorful characters. The name of the main character, Tallulah de Longland, is magical! There are many other people in this book who comprise the universe she lives in, many of whom are the epitome of dysfunction, but that is what makes the story all the more interesting.

The book starts out with a bang; literally, the banging of a hotel room door. From this point forward, Tallulah’s life does resemble jumping on a trampoline. After experiencing a heartbreaking disappointment in love, Tallulah finds herself juggling a number of balls in the air while she tries to reconstruct her life.

Her immediate family, her former high school classmates, and new boss at the radio station all seem to have their own circus acts going on. It is difficult to determine which of them needs the most help!

I found this novel extremely enjoyable. I got a kick out of the made-up words used by of two of the main characters.The plot does a good deal of bouncing back and forth in time, but overall, I like the way the story played out. This is definitely a woman’s story which many of us can relate to on some level. I thought it was touching, heartwarming, and well written. I will be recommending it to my gal pals!

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Sheer Poetry

wpid-41exnzk5sol._uy600_.jpgI Regret Everything: A Love Story by Seth Greenland took my breath away.

The fictional story about a young male attorney practicing in New York, who is also a gifted poet writing under a pseudonym, and his relationship with the managing partners confused, young daughter took hold of me and wouldn’t let go.

Unable to complete my reading in one evening, I lay in bed ruminating over what I had read and wishing I had been able to stay awake longer to finish the story. It was just that good.

The plot contained surprises which repeatedly brought tears to my eyes. It is beautifully written and I laughed as often as I cried. There are many aspects of this book which lead the reader to think about the meaning of life and love.

I think this novel is a work of art. It moved me on many different levels. I believe it will do the same for you.


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wpid-57266290.jpgClaude and Camille: a novel of Monet, is a love story by Stephanie Cowell. This is a beautifully written novel about Monet and his passion not only for his art, but for his wife and muse, Camille.

I have many books on Impressionist art, which I love, but little on the private lives of the artists. This book whet my appetite for more. Oh, to have lived those days in Paris, to have been a part of this new art form, to have rubbed elbows with Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro!  I would have loved it!

My son visited Giverny last year. Ironically, a light rain fell that day, but his photos of the garden are just as described in this novel.


Through this book, I learned so much about Monet; interesting facts about his life, his struggles, and his poverty. Perhaps many artists of all mediums can relate to what it takes to give themselves over to their art because it is their destiny. How fortunate we are that Monet had Camille, a woman who believed in and encouraged him through thick and thin. I loved this story nearly as much as I love Monet’s paintings.


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Holmes Resurrected

Sherlock Holmes the Missing Years: Japan by Vasudev Murthy is a refreshing wpid-20150327_102649-1.jpgnew Holmes mystery. Narrated by the ever faithful sidekick, Dr. Watson, the mystery begins with an ominous letter written in Sherlock Holmes handwriting instructing Watson to make haste from London to Yokohama.  Watson is shocked, but overjoyed because for the past few years, he believed Holmes was dead.

The remainder of the novel is a mad dash across continents and seas in order to reach Japan, foil the evil Professor Moriarty’s sinister plan, and escape several attempts upon their lives along the way.

Because this is a mystery, I have chosen not to give too much away.  One of the many things I enjoyed about this novel was the vivid travel log provided by the author in addition to a story I believe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have approved of himself. I found it engaging, clever, and delightful.

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Blackwpid-20150319_121353-1.jpg Diamonds by Catherine Bailey is a well-researched novel based on the Fitzwilliam family in England. the Fitzwilliams were wealthy land owners who made their fortune on the backs of others who mined coal deep beneath the land owned by the gentry.

Much like Bailey’s previous novel, this story involves the destruction of historic documents; leaving the reader to believe there were secrets the Fitzwilliams wanted hidden forever. The big mystery is whether or not one of the heirs to the title is in fact a child switched at birth in order that a male heir be produced to inherit the title and estate.

For anyone interested in knowing pretty much everything you could want to about life in England when coal was king, this is an interesting history. It is more about economics in England during the late 19th and 20th century than it is about the family Fitzwilliam. It is about the class system during that time as well.

There are many notable historic figures in this story. I however, found the stories related to the poor, struggling common men and women so much more interesting.

This is a long book with a great deal to digest. If you have the time and inclination, I think there’s much to be learned from it.

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Ogres & Dragons & Knights! Oh My!


The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro is a magical novel which took me by surprise. I loved every minute of reading it.

The story transports us to a time soon after the reign of the legendary King Arthur. It is a time when an uneasy peace reigns in England between the Saxons and the Britons. As an elderly man and his wife set off on a quest to reunite with their long-lost son, they encounter other medieval people on quests of their own; all of whom are struggling to recover lost memories and people from their past. As the story unfolds, we discover the surprising cause behind “the mist”.

I think this is an amazing book by an incredible author. It is not a fairy tale, but rather a thought-provoking novel about life, love and human emotions.  I truly hope you will read it.

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With a Whimper

fscotWest of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan recounts the final years of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s personal and professional life in Hollywood. This novel reminded me of a movie entitled Beloved Infidel I dimly recollect from years ago starring Gregory Peck. I did however, find the story very interesting.

As we all know, Fitzgerald was one of the great writers of our time. Countless movies have been made based on the books he wrote. During the Jazz Age, he and his wife Zelda lived the high life; rubbing elbows with many other famous artists and writers. Theirs is a tragic story. Fitzgerald was an alcoholic and Zelda suffered from mental illness.

I thought this was a very sad story and found it even more sorrowful knowing it was true. Although much of the book is conjectured, it is based on truths which are widely known. The novel is populated with many famous Hollywood people who lived during that era. It also tells of Fitzgerald’s affair with a young female columnist, Sheila Graham, and his relationships with Zelda and their daughter, Scottie.

It took me some time to really engage in this book, but once I did, I felt I learned a great deal more than I had previously known about Fitzgerald and the times in which he lived. I am uncertain if the italicized quotes were fictional or not, but either way, I appreciated the story as it increased my knowledge of a great writer.

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