To not forget some of the books I read last month, I’m listing them with short reminders. What have you been reading? Send me your comments.
The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve
I eagerly anticipate each new Anita Shreve novel and The Stars Are Fire did not disappoint. Although the fire in Maine begins the story with horror, Shreve wisely introduces two romantic leads to replace the uptight authoritarian husband who conveniently disappears fighting the fire. The relief brings romance and a career to the heroine, but her reprieve is not longlasting. The husband returns, scarred and needy, and more demanding – dangerously vindictive. Her solution requires courage to save herself – perhaps the small children motivate her to act. Happily, all ends well, incluidng the opportune reappearance of a lover, but I’m not sure many women would take the path she did in the nineteen forties. I cheered her on, thinking how lucky she was to have the haven of a good friend.
The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes
Horses and girls – always a good formula.. News of the Kentucky Derby and a documentary on the Maryland Hunt Cup with Senior Senator, the winning horse given a second chance, inspired me to read The Horse Dancer. (The horse named Boo in the book reminded me of Senior Senator. )
Like all Moyes’ stories, this one has problems and romance, connecting unlikely lives for a happy ending. When Sarah’s grandfather, a master horseman, has a stroke, the teenager tries to continue caring for herself and her horse Boo, but she is caught one night stealing fishsticks for her dinner. Natasha, a lawyer recently separated from Mac, a photographer, saves her from jail and eventually offers her the safety of her house. Although the story has a slow start, when the main characters finally intersect, the drama improves. Thrown back together by their mutual concern for Sarah, Natasha and Mac work through a series of obscure and unlikely issues but after a dramatic chase across the English Channel to a French riding school, all ends well, with everyone living happily ever after – even the horse.
Always by Sarah Jio
A quirky romance with a shaky love triangle – I admit I did skip through and bypass most of the hand wringing episodes. But Jio’s love story kept me reading to find out who the heroine would pick – her first love who reappears as a homeless man twenty years after abandoning a successful career or the old monied handsome swain with a penchant for real estate. Although most of the incidents seemed unrealistic, Always was a nice distraction.
Follow Your Heart by Susanna Tamaro
Olga is a dying Italian grandmother’s giving advice to her granddaughter through twelve letters, talking about her childhood, her marriage, her secrets, her lovers, her mistakes. As she relives her experiences, Olga makes peace with herself and leaves her granddaughter with a story explaining who she is and why she acted as she did. You need to be in the frame of mind for philosophy and a little angst, but this short epistolary gave me some interesting quotes. Here is one from the last page:
Every time you feel lost, confused, think about trees, remember how they grow. Remember that a tree with lots of branches and few roots will get toppled by the first strong wind, while the sap hardy moves in a tree with many roots and few branches. Roots and branches must grow in equal measure, you have to stand both inside of things and above them, because only then will you be able to offer shade and shelter, only then will you be able to cover yourself with leaves and fruit at the proper season.