Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Orphaned while aboard ship from Ireland to America, seven-year-old Lavinia works as an indentured servant alongside the slaves in the kitchen of a tobacco plantation. Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, takes Lavinia under her wing, and the young Irish girl eventually becomes bonded to her adopted family. Yet, as she grows, she is also accepted into the “big house” by the master’s wife who struggles with opium addiction. Lavinia must learn to straddle two worlds until the day comes when she is forced to make a choice.

The Kitchen House is a debut novel filled with suspense, heart ache, love and humor.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Remember Running: The Year I Got Everything I Wanted – And ALS by Darcy Wakefield

Darcy Wakefield was a healthy, athletic 33-year old English professor until she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2003. Darcy was a runner. She mourned not being able to run, but didn't gave up on life. She embarked on her “fast-forward” life, a life in which she left her job, applied for disability, met and moved in with her true love, bought a house, had a child and planned her own funeral. Wow.  How can you not admire her strength, courage and determination to enjoy what life she had left? This memoir is beautifully written and will surely inspire others to live life to the fullest. I read this book in 2006, and Darcy's love of life continues to inspire me.

Darcy Gammon
Wakefield, 35
CAPE ELIZABETH - Darcy Gammon Wakefield, 35, died from ALS on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005 at her home in Cape Elizabeth.
A native of Livermore, she attended local public schools until 1986; she graduated from the Waynflete School in Portland, in 1988. She then attended Bates College and Smith College, where she graduated in 1992. She earned her MA from SUNY/Buffalo in 1996, and her MFA from Emerson in 2003. From August 1999 until January 2004, she taught English at Southern Maine Community College, where she thoroughly enjoyed her students, colleagues, subject matter, and work setting.
Before getting ALS, she was extremely active, and loved walking, running, hiking, and swimming. Throughout her life, she was a feminist, and firmly supported women's right to choice. She also enjoyed hanging out with friends and family. Her interests included reading and writing, and her stories and essays appeared on Maine Public Radio and National Public Radio, and in numerous publications. She also wrote two books, I remember Running: The Year I Got Everything I Ever Wanted - and ALS and No Flies on Bill.
After getting ALS, she was extremely committed to raising ALS awareness. She hoped that awareness would lead to a cure so that no one else would have to die from this awful disease.
She is survived by her fabulous friends; her extended family; her maternal grandmother, Billie Gammon; her parents, John and Nancy Lee Wakefield; a sister, Betsy Wakefield and brother Jonathan Wakefield; a beloved son, Sam; and her true love and partner, Dr. Steve Stout.

Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on December 12, 2005


Monday, September 24, 2012

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

I loved this memoir from Anna Quindlen. I related with many of her thoughts, feelings, and experiences. She writes about her childhood memories, work experiences, marriage, children, friendships, and faith.
Quindlen states that growing older has its perks, such as wisdom and a new perspective on life that makes it more joyful. I agree.
This is a book about her life and the lives of women today.

"It's odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult. First I was who I was. Then I didn't know who I was. Then I invented someone, and became her. Then I began to like what I'd invented. And finally I was what I was again."

From Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

I've always loved the classics, and Rebecca is now one of my favorites. I can't think of anything I didn't like about Rebecca. It's a Gothic romance with suspense and quite a bit of madness.
The narrator meets Maxim de Winter while working as a companion for a wealthy American woman vacationing in Monte Carlo. After a brief courtship, the narrator agrees to marry Mr. de Winter, and the couple travel back to his estate, Manderley. Once there, the new Mrs. de Winter learns that she is Maxim's second wife, and the housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, who loved and adored Rebecca (the first wife) makes it very clear in sinister ways that the second Mrs. de Winter just won't do.

You can also check out Rebecca on DVD. The film is directed by Alfred Hitchcock and stars Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. The film won best picture at the 1940 Academy Awards.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Book Clubs

The Adult Book Club will discuss Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende. The group meets on the second Wednesday of the month in the boardroom on the first floor.

The Mystery Book Club will discuss The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard on August 21st. The group meets on the third Tuesday of the month in Meeting Room B.

New members are always welcome.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Woman Who Wasn't There by Robin Gaby Fisher and Angelo J. Gugliemo, Jr.

On some level all Americans suffered on September 11, 2001.  You may have witnessed the tragic events via the internet or television.  You may have lost a loved one or knew of someone who died that day.  Someone you know may have lived in New York City at that time.  Regardless, it was a devastating event on so many levels for all of us.
Guilt.   Can you imagine carrying around so much guilt that you SURVIVED such a tragic event?  This is the story of World Trade Center Survivors.  Survivors who suffer from insomnia, depression, divorce, alcoholism, drug addictions, much more and Guilt.  Guilt because they lived through it.
Tania Head was one such survivor.  Her husband died in the north tower and minutes later another plane hit the south tower.  The south tower, where she was at work as a Vice President of Merrill Lynch Company.  Tania was terribly hurt and wakes up in a hospital five days later.  Two years later she still can't sleep at night, she can't work, she is no longer the woman who she was on September 11, 2001.
She goes to the internet and creates an online support system for the people who survived the tragic events of 9/11.  Her group slowly grows and finally connects with yet another group. Survivors come together to talk, share some or all of their stories with others who know exactly what they are going through themselves.  They fight for closure and all try to find a way to move forward. 
But, really who are the REAL survivors of this story?


Friday, July 13, 2012

Victorine: A Novel by Catherine Texier

In 1899, in a lovely little town in France, Victorine realizes she is tired of being married to a boor, but she loves her children dearly, and it's because of them she has stayed in her marriage so long. On an ordinary day while at the beach with her son, she sees Antoine, a man she loved many years ago when they were teens. He must leave for work in Asia and asks Victorine to come with him to stay.  Despite having to leave her children behind, she feels compelled to follow this passionate man. She tells no one of her decision to leave France, not even her husband and children. This is a story of rebellion, passion, pain, and guilt.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

I have enjoyed reading all of Jodi Picoult's books and this one did not disappoint me.  The story revolves around Luke Warren, a man who has studied wolves his entire life.  In fact he lived with them in the deep forests of Canada, becoming part of the wolf pack, hunting, eating, and playing with the wolves.  He learned what their gestures to each other meant and the order of the pack.  When he finally returned to his wife,  son, and daughter two years later he really was a changed man.  His family suffered during his absence.   His son Edward now eighteen suddenly left home and shortly thereafter Luke and his wife divorced.  Cara, their eleven year old daughter initially lived with her mom, but after her mother remarried and had a set of twins, she left to live with Luke.    Cara takes after her father in her love of the wolves that he raises and protects.  She understands his love of each wolf and what each member means to the pack.   Late one night, Luke and Cara become involved in a terrible automobile accident.  Cara will recover in time but Luke's fate is not certain.  What happens when the prodigal son returns and decisions need to be made regarding their father's future?   Edward and Cara will have to learn to understand how important each of them is in regards to their family and work together to come to a decision.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier's book "Remarkable Creatures" reminds me of the many times I've spent on the shores of Lake Michigan searching for crinoids and colored glass.  "Remarkable Creatures" is the story of a young girl Mary Anning who, when just a baby is struck by lightening thus giving her what many people believe to be a special gift.  Mary has a special "gift" for locating fossils buried deep in the cliffs and on the beaches near her home in Lima, England.  She helps supports her family by finding and selling these fossils.  She meets a young woman named Elizabeth Phipot who shares her desire to roam the cliffs and beaches and search for fossils as well.  What Mary discovers however, is more than just fossils and leads these two women to a lifetime of friendship, scurtiny, and discovery. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

In 1875, Ann Eliza Young, wife of Brigham Young, leaves her husband and begins a crusade to end poligamy. Brigham Young, leader of the Morman Church, had 55 wives. The reader learns how the plural wives lived and worked and in some cases how they truly felt about their situation.
In present day Utah, Jordan Scott is thrown out of his fundamentalist sect at the age of 14 and is forced to learn how to care for himself. His mother, a devout follower of the sect, dropped him off on a highway and wished him good luck. Years later, Jordan discovers his mother is in prison for murdering his father. He reluctantly returns to his past to find the truth.
The 19th wife is a fascinating read. This is historical fiction at its best.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

There's No Place Like Home by Cecilia Ahern

Cecelia Ahern, author of P.S., I Love You, writes a whimsical story about an Irish girl named Sandy Shortt who becomes obsessed with finding lost things after a neighborhood girl goes missing. Sandy's parents send her to a psychologist to no avail. When Sandy grows up she moves to Dublin to track down missing persons for a living. A man asks her to find his missing brother so he can be at peace knowing what has become of him. Sandy gladly takes the case but soon after, she goes out jogging and finds herself in a parallel universe with all types of missing people and things. To her horror, it appears she can never return to her original life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hotel Vendome by Danielle Steel

After his beautiful, young wife leaves him and their four year old daughter, Hugues Martin spends the next fifteen years focusing on two things; the five
star hotel he owns and manages and his beautiful daughter Heloise. Hugues strives for hotel excellence in every capacity; from the d├ęcor of the suites to customer service. His efforts pay off as his hotel hosts celebrities, politicians, even presidents for clients. His daughter Heloise grows up in the hotel emulating her father’s love for Hotel Vendome and his work ethics. Their lives are encompassed on the hotel and each other.
Upon graduation from high school, Heloise attends the same hotel school in Switzerland that Hugues attended. Her dream is to one day work alongside her father running the hotel.
Lonely without his daughter, Hugues decides to renovate part of the hotel and falls in love with Natalie Peterson, the decorator. Will Heloise accept Natalie or want her father all to herself? This is another great Danielle Steel quick read…go for it and enjoy yourself!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

If you like a little magic in your novel, then you're sure to like The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen. According to the author, every book she's written has some element of fairytale to it.

The novel takes place in a quirky little town in North Carolina. Emily arrives to stay with her grandfather Vance after her mother dies. Emily had never met him because her mother refused to talk about her past. Emily is shocked to see that Vance is eight feet tall. She soons realizes that there are a lot of strange things happening in and around his house. The wallpaper in her room changes with her mood and tiny sparkling lights dance all around the house and fields.

The towns people shun her because of something horrible her mother did when she was a teen living in town. But she makes a friend who helps her to make sense of it all.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag

Bestselling author Tami Hoag has written another thriller that will keep you guessing.

A young woman is murdered and her four year old daughter is the only witness. She tells the authorities that "Bad Daddy" hurt her mommy.

I enjoyed the twists and turns and getting to know all of the interesting characters. Some of the characters are definitely the type of people you will love to hate.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Suspect By Michael Robotham

Joseph O'Loughlin seems to have it all - a lovely wife and daughter, and a rewarding career as a clinical psychologist. But things change drastically when the police find a young woman dead with multiple stab wounds, which seem to be self-inflicted.
The police call Joe to see if he could help them understand the crime. It turns out that Joe knows the victim. Her name is Catherine McBride, a nurse and former colleague.
Meanwhile, Joe has been working with a very troubled young patient named Bobby Moran, who has extremely violent dreams. Joe begins to wonder if Bobby's dreams may turn into reality.
This investigation takes Joe through the darkest parts of the human mind.

Suspect provides plenty of twists and turns.