A recent surgery on my hand provided me ample reading time. Review writing however, has been sidelined while I’ve been recovering. Here is a brief summary of novels and books which I found to be good company over past weeks.
The Razor’s Edge by W Somerset Maugham is a tale about a young man named Larry Darrell and his fiancé Isabel. Larry is reluctant to marry Isabel prior to gaining life experiences on his own and love struck Isabel agrees to wait. Little does she know that her wait may become a lifetime. The story takes place after World War One and one aspect I found interesting was the acknowledgement of PTSD. It wasn’t called that then, but the mention of it bears weight on the character’s actions in this novel. The story is about love, loss, and the search for the meaning of life. I liked it; recommend it.
The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen is a fictional story about a woman in England named Joanna who comes across a letter written by her recently deceased father to a woman in Italy which was never sent. Knowing her father was shot down over Italy during World War Two, her curiosity is peaked by the letter’s shocking content. A quest for truth ensues and an engrossing journey follows for Joanna. The plot held my interest and it is a book I recommend.
Dinner in Camelot by Joseph A. Esposito is a non-fiction account of a dinner party hosted by President and Mrs. Kennedy in April, 1962. Their dinner guests included the creme du la creme of top science, art, and literary personages of the era. Approximately one-third of the attendees were Nobel Prize recipients. The book is well-written and the anecdotes fascinating. The author chose to tell much of the story “by table”. I thought that was clever. I enjoyed this book a great deal from a historical perspective. I recommend it!
Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters by Jon Ellenberg (editor) is a book I enjoyed so much that I purchased a copy for my home library. This is a collection of letters written by Doyle over the course of many years. Most were written to his mother. These are one-sided conversations as Doyle destroyed the letters he received, but his responses are clear enough to allow us to fill-in the blanks. I learned a great deal about the man who penned Sherlock Holmes mysteries. He was quite extraordinary as were his interests and accomplishments. His loyalty to his family was admirable. This book, I highly recommend.
Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer confused me for a good portion of the novel. The story is about a young man and his mother who escape from the USSR. Archer wrote two stories; one in which they escape to England, and another where they escape to the U. S. Unfortunately, it took me a while to catch on! Either way, I enjoy Archer’s stories and style so I recommend this one.
Lie Down In Darkness by William Styron is a fictional tale which begins with a terrific hook – a father waiting for a train to arrive with the coffin carrying the body of his dead daughter. The emotional story only gets better as we peer inside the lives of a dysfunctional family living in the South. There’s a great amount of suffering and finger pointing in this novel, but a large dose of wisdom to go along with it. Excellent novel. Highly recommended.
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis is a retelling of the mythical story of Cupid and Psyche. Oruro, Psyche’s unattractive older sister tells the tale from the misguided perspective of a loving sister. Lewis is a master storyteller and I found this tale engrossing up until the very end. In ways, it reminded me of Cinderella. If you appreciate Lewis’ wisdom and work, you will most likely enjoy this.