Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters

Book Description:

Published: August 4, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child’s mother, it is wrong…

Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother’s belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew – dated after he supposedly died in the war.

Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Yan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later…

Review –

Roberta treasures books so much that she pines away in her beloved job at Old and New Bookshop, watching Philip, her boss and the man she can’t yet admit to herself that she loves, take the beautiful Jenna as his lover. But secrets begin to spill out of the books—secrets that will change her understanding of the past and hopes for the future.

One fateful day, Roberta’s father, John, brings in an old suitcase labeled “Mrs. D. Sinclair,” filled with her grandmother Dorothea Pietrykowski’s old books. Between the pages, Roberta discovers a letter dated Feb. 8, 1941, signed by her grandfather Yan Pietrykowski, warning Dorothea that what she is about to do will dishonor her, imperil her very soul, and wrong some unnamed mother and child. If only Roberta could ask her grandmother or her father about the letter, but at 109, Dorothea has entered hospice care, and John’s health is failing, as well.

Meanwhile, Jenna confesses to a bewildered Roberta that she’s pregnant with a child fathered by her ex-boyfriend and not her current boyfriend, Philip, the owner of the bookstore.

The authors’ debut novel nimbly weaves together Roberta’s and Dorothea’s stories—the reader almost expects to pull a shadowy missive from its spine. Roberta’s life is a mess; she stifles her feelings for Philip, twisting her desires into a sad affair with a married man. But Dorothea’s story is the stuff of films: disowned, disappointed in marriage, crushed by multiple miscarriages—Dorothea rises above it all to manage her own farmhouse, to take into her home two young women, part of the Women’s Land Army, and to find new love with Yan, the dashing Polish Squadron Leader.

I felt so sorry for Yan, because even though he broke Dorothy’s heart saying that he couldn’t offer marriage to her if she was going through with her plan with he baby (you’ll have to read the book so find out which baby) but later, after the war, has a change of heart and tries to find her, but doesn’t succeed. We never find out what happens to him.

A breathtaking, beautifully crafted tale of loves that survive secrets.

Fantastic read!

 

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The Dry (Aaron Falk #1) by Jane Harper



Book Description:

Published: May 31, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well…

When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret… A secret Falk thought long-buried… A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface…

Review –

Fantastic book! Once I started it-didn’t want to stop.

Twenty years ago a young teenaged girl is found dead in the river with her pockets full of stones so the story of suicide isn’t hard to believe, but when Aaron Falk’s name in found written on a piece of paper in her bedroom the people of the town think he had something to do with death. He didn’t and neither did his best friend, Luke, and they  agreed to alibi each other, but it still didn’t  stop the hateful people of the small remote Australian town to think Aaron guilty. Aaron knew they he and Luke both lied about their alibis  but Luke had told him to go along so he did. The harassment got so bad he and his Dad were forced to pack up and move away and he hadn’t been back since. Not until he heard about the death of Luke, his wife and son. He came back for the funerals and Luke’s parents asks him to look into the deaths because they don’t believe it to be a murder suicide.

Aaron is a Federal Police investigator but deals with crimes involving money but he agrees to look into the matter with a local police detective, Raco,  in a sort of rogue investigation.  The author creates a character out of the parched farming community  within a day’s drive from Melbourne. It is suffering from a severe  drought going on two years and everyone’s tempers are near the breaking point.

I won’t give away the ending but  several secrets from the past are uncovered and leads to the truth behind the deaths of the Luke Hadler family and it’s not what anyone expects. The death of the young girl is also solved, but only we as readers know the true identity of the killer. 

I hated for this book to end but learned that a second in the series will come out next February so I have already listed it on my TBR list.

Fantastic read.

Five stars!!!!!

 

 

 

 

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Book Description:

Published: December 31, 2012

Ten years ago, Izzy Stone’s mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother’s apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at a local museum, have enlisted Izzy’s help in cataloging items at a long-shuttered state asylum. There, amid piles of abandoned belongings, Izzy discovers a stack of unopened letters, a decades old journal, and a window into her own past.

Clara Cartwright, eighteen years old in 1929, is caught between her overbearing parents and her love for an Italian immigrant. Furious when she rejects an arranged marriage, Clara’s father sends her to a genteel home for nervous invalids. But when his fortune is lost in the stock market crash, he can no longer afford her care—and Clara is committed to the public asylum.

Even as Izzy deals with the challenges of yet another new beginning, Clara’s story keeps drawing her into the past. If Clara was never really mentally ill, could something else explain her own mother’s violent act? Piecing together Clara’s fate compels Izzy to re-examine her own choices—with shocking and unexpected results.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

This story reminded me of the movie THE SNAKE PIT, based on Mary Jane offers-headphones-jpgmaxheight138maxwidth207Ward’s 1946 semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, it tells the story of a woman who finds herself in an insane asylum and cannot remember how she got there.This story was riveting, chilling, and in parts very disturbing. It’s hard to believe that something like this could happen and probably did. Not only was she held against her will, but when her boyfriend found her and tried to rescue her, he was admitted as a crazy person by the administrator, and is later killed. She was pregnant at the time she was first committed and had the baby and it was taken away from her after a few weeks.

Clara, at first was sent to a “nice” home for “nervous invalids” but after the crash of 1929 her father couldn’t afford the payments so she was transferred to a pubic asylum.  The things she suffered there were hard to listen to and brought tears of anger and sadness to my eyes.. Not only was she held against her will, but when her boyfriend found her and tried to rescue her, he was admitted as a crazy person by the administrator, and is later killed. She was pregnant at the time she was first committed and had the baby and it was taken away from her after a few weeks. She was put in at the age of 19 and was imprisoned (because that’s what it was) for 60 years.

Only because of Izzy’s involvement in a museum project did Clara’s fate come to light and an ending that I won’t share here because you need to read this book for yourself. I will tell you that there is a HEA.

Amazing book!!!!!

Five stars *****

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If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Book Description

March 24, 2009
In the blink of an eye everything changes. Seventeen ­year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces- to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heartwrenchingly beautiful, this will change the way you look at life, love, and family.
From GoodReads:
Just listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

Review –
I read this book because the movie came out and I wanted to compare the two, even though the books are always better. Anyway, I was very disappointed and let down. It was, at least to me, a run of the mill sad story of a girl in a coma and her boyfriends asking her not to die. I cry at the drop of a hat and I didn’t shed one tear-what does that tell you?  I decided not to see the movie and wait til it comes out on Net Flix or Amazon Instant Video.
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I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

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Book Description

Publication Date: 1954
Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that has happened and learn to protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. He must, because perhaps there is nothing else human left.
I Am Legend was a major influence in horror and brought a whole new thematic concept to apocalyptic literature. Several humanistic and emotional themes in this book blend the horror genre with traditional fiction: we see Neville as an emotional person, and observe as he suffers bouts of depression, dips into alcoholism and picks up his strength again to fight the vampiric bacteria that has infected (and killed off) most of humankind. Neville soon meets a woman, Ruth, (after three years alone), who seems to be uninfected and a lone survivor. The two become close and he learns from Ruth that the infected have learned to fight the disease and can spend short amounts of time in the daylight, slowly rebuilding strength and society as it was.
The novel was adapted to film in 1964 as The Last Man on Earth, as Omega Man in 1971 and finally as I am Legend in 2007, starring Will Smith.
Review –
The movie, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH,starring Vincent Price, has always been a favorite of mine and so I thought I’d read the book to see if the movie stayed true to the written words.  It did, for about 95% of the movie and you can’t say that about the other movies that were made from the same book, especially the OMEGA MAN.  I was very pleased.
Review –