Publisher: Random House

#BookReview
Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg
@randomhouse

#BookReview Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg @randomhouseTitle: Night of Miracles

Author: Elizabeth Berg

Series: Arthur Truluv #2

Published by Random House on November 13, 2018

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

A delightful novel about surprising friendships, community, and the way small acts of kindness can change a life, from the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv

Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off a big decision she sorely regrets.

When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community–just when they need it the most.


Review:

Honest, pensive, and affecting!

Night of miracles takes us back to the small town of Mason, Missouri and into the lives of many, including Lucille Howard who’s still teaching people to bake, befriending those who are lonely, and selflessly helping those in need; Iris, a middle-aged woman, struggling to move on after a recent divorce; Tiny, a large man with no confidence and courage; and Abby, a young mother battling for her life against a relentless disease.

The prose is vivid and sincere. The characters are complex, genuine, and engaging. And the absorbing, astute plot takes us on a heart-wrenching rollercoaster ride of love, loss, friendship, family, community, thoughtfulness, loyalty, and companionship.

Overall, Night of miracles is another beautifully written tale by Berg that made my heart fill with joy and burst with heartbreak. It’s a perceptive, sentimental, poetic tale that reminds us that life is not only about the highs and lows but also all those quieter moments in between.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy. She lives outside Chicago.

Photo by Joyce Ravid

#BookReview
The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
@PenguinRandomCA

#BookReview The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg @PenguinRandomCATitle: The Story of Arthur Truluv

Author: Elizabeth Berg

Published by Random House on November 21, 2017

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 240

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A beautiful, life-affirming novel about a remarkably loving man who creates for himself and others second chances at happiness.

A moving novel about three people who find their way back from loss and loneliness to a different kind of happiness. Arthur, a widow, meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who is avoiding school by hiding out at the cemetery, where Arthur goes every day for lunch to have imaginary conversations with his late wife, and think about the lives of others. The two strike up a friendship that draws them out of isolation. Maddy gives Arthur the name Truluv, for his loving and positive responses to every outrageous thing she says or does. With Arthur’s nosy neighbor Lucille, they create a loving and unconventional family, proving that life’s most precious moments are sweeter when shared.


Review:

Powerful, poignant, and charming!

The Story of Arthur Truluv is a touching novel that reminds us that life should be lived to the fullest and that family can be any unit created by love and not limited to those related by blood.

The story is told from three different points of view; Arthur, a kind-hearted widow whose loneliness is palpable and who spends the better part of his days at the graveside of his late wife; Maddie, a troubled teenager, struggling with bullies at school and an apathetic father at home; and Lucille, a retired school teacher who has spent most of her life pining for a lost love.

The prose is eloquent and reflective. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are strong, multi-layered, and endearing. And the plot is a compelling tale of friendship, happiness, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, honesty, humour, unconditional love, growing old, and the true meaning of family.

The Story of Arthur Truluv is a moving, delightful story that will make you laugh, make you cry and is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elizabeth Berg

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been translated into twenty-seven languages, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy. She lives outside Chicago.

Photo by Joyce Ravid

#BookReview
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout
@LizStrout @randomhouse

#BookReview Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout @LizStrout @randomhouseTitle: Anything Is Possible

Author: Elizabeth Strout

Published by Random House on April 25, 2017

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 254

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout comes a brilliant latticework of fiction that recalls Olive Kitteridge in its richness, structure, and complexity. Written in tandem with My Name Is Lucy Barton and drawing on the small-town characters evoked there, these pages reverberate with the themes of love, loss, and hope that have drawn millions of readers to Strout’s work.

“As I was writing My Name Is Lucy Barton,” Strout says, “it came to me that all the characters Lucy and her mother talked about had their own stories—of course!—and so the unfolding of their lives became tremendously important to me.”

Here, among others, are the “Pretty Nicely Girls,” now adults: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband, the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. Tommy, the janitor at the local high school, has his faith tested in an encounter with an emotionally isolated man he has come to help; a Vietnam veteran suffering from PTSD discovers unexpected solace in the company of a lonely innkeeper; and Lucy Barton’s sister, Vicky, struggling with feelings of abandonment and jealousy, nonetheless comes to Lucy’s aid, ratifying the deepest bonds of family.

With the stylistic brilliance and subtle power that distinguish the work of this great writer, Elizabeth Strout has created another transcendent work of fiction, with characters who will live in readers’ imaginations long after the final page is turned.


Review:

Powerful, compelling and extremely thought-provoking!

In this latest novel by Strout she delves into the enduring emotional and psychological effects that socioeconomic differences, gossip and war has on some of the people we were introduced to in her previous novel “My Name is Lucy Barton” from the small town of Amgash, and highlights that every family has its struggles and life is never easy.

The characters are raw, troubled and vulnerable. The prose is sophisticated and smooth. And the plot is written in the form of nine linking stories that are full of familial drama, introspection, anger, shame, remorse, disappointment, abandonment, forgiveness, survival, support and love.

This is certainly a deeply moving novel that emphasizes just how much our childhood experiences shape us and reminds us of the importance to always believe that anything is truly possible!

 

This novel is due to be published on April 25, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                                          

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Random House, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout is the author of several novels, including: Abide with Me, a national bestseller and BookSense pick, and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. In 2009 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her book Olive Kitteridge. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker. She teaches at the Master of Fine Arts program at Queens University of Charlotte.

#BookReview
Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner
@SusieSteiner1

#BookReview Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner @SusieSteiner1Title: Missing, Presumed

Author: Susie Steiner

Series: DS Manon #1

Published by Random House on June 28, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 350

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

For readers of Kate Atkinson and Tana French comes a page-turning literary mystery that brings to life the complex and wholly relatable Manon Bradshaw, a strong-willed detective assigned to a high-risk missing persons case.

At thirty-nine, Manon Bradshaw is a devoted and respected member of the Cambridgeshire police force, and though she loves her job, what she longs for is a personal life. Single and distant from her family, she wants a husband and children of her own. One night, after yet another disastrous Internet date, she turns on her police radio to help herself fall asleep—and receives an alert that sends her to a puzzling crime scene.

Edith Hind—a beautiful graduate student at Cambridge University and daughter of the surgeon to the Royal Family—has been reported missing for nearly twenty-four hours. Her home offers few clues: a smattering of blood in the kitchen, her keys and phone left behind, the front door ajar but showing no signs of forced entry. Manon instantly knows this case will be big—and that every second is crucial to finding Edith alive.

The investigation starts with Edith’s loved ones: her attentive boyfriend, her reserved best friend, and her patrician parents. As the search widens and press coverage reaches a frenzied pitch, secrets begin to emerge about Edith’s tangled love life and her erratic behavior leading up to her disappearance. With no clear leads, Manon summons every last bit of her skill and intuition to close the case, and what she discovers will have shocking consequences not just for Edith’s family, but for Manon herself.

Suspenseful and keenly observed, Missing, Presumed is a brilliantly twisting novel of how we seek connection, grant forgiveness, and reveal the truth about who we are.


Review:

This is an intriguing, highly suspenseful story with rich characterization.

The story is set in Cambridgeshire, England and is told from multiple perspectives, including the heroine Manon, a jaded, lonely detective who is relentless and tenacious, and Miriam, the missing girl’s mother who is strong and courageously optimistic.

This is, ultimately, a story about familial secrets, loneliness, deception, infidelity and murder.

The writing is precise and clear.  The characters are complex, varied, and fascinating. And the plot builds nicely, has drama, tension, and multiple twists and turns.

Overall, this novel is a well written, interesting whodunit that raises the question, “how well do you really know anyone?”

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

For more information on Susie Steiner, visit her website at: http://www.susiesteiner.co.uk

or follow her on Twitter at: @SusieSteiner1

 

#BookReview
Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen

#BookReview Miller’s Valley by Anna QuindlenTitle: Miller's Valley

Author: Anna Quindlen

Published by Random House on April 5, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 257

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Filled with insights that are hallmarks of Anna Quindlen’s bestsellers, this extraordinary novel is about a woman coming of age, as she unearths secrets about her family and her town, and surprising truths about herself.

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.” 

Miller’s Valley is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery, of finding true identity and a new vision of home. As Mimi says, “No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, even if they go.” Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever.


Review:

This is a very interesting and intriguing story.

It is a sobering novel that reminds us that life is short and precious, and that everyone and everything that enters our life shapes us in some way and makes us who we are today.

It touches on familial dynamics, secrets, friendship, unconditional love, and the true meaning of home.

This story is well written. The characters are complex and real. And the first-person narration, by Mimi, captures you from the beginning and sweeps you along through her life’s highs and lows effortlessly.

This is a quiet, subtle story with a powerful impact that I think would be a shame to miss.

 

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