Monday, Monday: A NovelBy Elizabeth Crook Published by Sarah Crichton Books Hardcover: 352 pages April 29, 2014; $26.00 US/$30.00 CAN; 9781621451457
Description: In this gripping, emotionally charged novel, a tragedy in Texas changes the course of three lives
On an oppressively hot Monday in August of 1966, a student and former marine named Charles Whitman hauled a footlocker of guns to the top of the University of Texas tower and began firing on pedestrians below. Before it was over, sixteen people had been killed and thirty-two wounded. It was the first mass shooting of civilians on a campus in American history.
Monday, Monday follows three students caught up in the massacre: Shelly, who leaves her math class and walks directly into the path of the bullets, and two cousins, Wyatt and Jack, who heroically rush from their classrooms to help the victims. On this searing day, a relationship begins that will eventually entangle these three young people in a forbidden love affair, an illicit pregnancy, and a vow of secrecy that will span forty years. Reunited decades after the tragedy, they will be forced to confront the event that changed their lives and that has silently and persistently ruled the lives of their children.
With electrifying storytelling and the powerful sense of destiny found in Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, and with the epic sweep of Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, Elizabeth Crook’s Monday, Monday explores the ways in which we sustain ourselves and one another when the unthinkable happens. At its core, it is the story of a woman determined to make peace with herself, with the people she loves, and with a history that will not let her go. A humane treatment of a national tragedy, it marks a generous and thrilling new direction for a gifted American writer.
Author Bio Elizabeth Crook, author of Monday, Monday: A Novel, is the author of three novels, The Raven’s Bride, Promised Lands, and The Night Journal. She has written for anthologies and periodicals, including Texas Monthly and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly, and has served on the council of the Texas Institute of Letters. Currently she is a member of the board of directors of the Texas Book Festival. She lives in Austin with her husband and two children.
Reviews: “This rapturous novel starts with one of the most heinous shootings in history, yet every page shines with life. Crook follows three students who endured the tragedy as they grapple with the past, struggle to navigate their futures, and discover that who and what saves us is nothing like what you imagine. Brilliantly realized and so vivid the novel seems to virtually breathe, Monday, Monday is a stunning achievement.” — Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You
“Elizabeth Crook has written an extraordinary novel — an eloquent love story born from an act of random violence, a tale of destruction and redemption. It’s about making a whole life out of a damaged one, and about holding on and letting go. The characters are as real as people you know; their story is subtle, startling, and wise.” — Sarah Bird, author of The Yokota Officers Club and Above the East China Sea
“Monday, Monday begins by throwing us into the midst of one of the worst mass murders in American history, a scene painted with such harrowing exactitude that it leaves you wondering how the characters can possibly survive and how the author can possibly sustain such a high level of narrative momentum and emotional insight. And yet Elizabeth Crook pulls it off. This is a brilliant and beautiful book.” — Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo and Remember Ben Clayton
I have one copy for a lucky reader from the US
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- Title: Just Destiny
- Author: Theresa Rizzo
- Genre: Fiction
- Published: March 2014 – Smashwords
- Source: Author
Synopsis: What would you do if your whole world fell apart? Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she’d ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins. Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe’s family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets to stop her. Caught in a web of twisted motives and contentious legal issues, Jenny turns to best friend and attorney, Steve Grant. Steve wants to help Jenny but he has reservations of his own. When something so private and simple turns public and complicated, will Jenny relent? What is Steve willing to sacrifice to help Jenny?
My take: Theresa Rizzo’s novel is an emotional tale that made me ask myself “what would I do?” or “would I do that?”. For that reason I think Just Destiny would be a good book group choice. Discussion questions are provided at the end of the book.
Jenny is caught in an ethical and, some might say, moral dilemma. She faces tough choices throughout the months following her beloved husband’s death. It’s bad enough she has to learn to live without Gabe but then to have people in her life make things even harder is disheartening.
Just Destiny’s layers are revealed at a good pace. Filled with characters that are believable (and many are flawed) it certainly held my interest as I wondered what would happen next in Jenny’s tumultuous life. This book has romance, suspense, and courtroom drama so if those fit your preferred genres you’ll want to read Just Destiny. I’m glad I had the chance to read it.
About the author:
Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country. Theresa’s debut book, He Belongs to Me was a finalist in the General Fiction Category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards! Her second book, Just Destiny, was released March 31, 2014. Find Theresa on the web at www.theresarizzo.com, or connect with her on Facebook, twitter or Goodreads. Purchase Just Destiny at Amazon, Barnes, Noble, iBookstore & Smashwords.
Theresa Rizzo has generously provided a digital copy of Just Destiny for one lucky reader.
click here and fill out the form.
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Book arrivals: (linked to Mailbox Monday)
- Delectable by Adrianne Lee (for review)
- Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews (for review)
- Stargazey Point by Shelley Noble (purchased)
- Vintage by Susan Gloss (purchased)
Last week on Bookfan:
- Review: The Memory Child by Steena Holmes
- Review: When the Cypress Whispers by Yvette Manessis Corporon
- Review: When We Met by Susan Mallery
- The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson
- The Beekeeper’s Ball by Susan Wiggs
- Title: When We Met
- Series: Fool’s Gold; #13
- Author: Susan Mallery
- Genre: Contemporary Romance
- Published: April 29, 2014 – Harlequin HQN
- Source: Publisher
Synopsis: New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery invites you back to Fool’s Gold, where a newcomer to town might finally meet the man she never knew she needed…
Angel Whittaker earned his scars the hard way, but the scars that can’t be seen are the ones that haunt him the most. Since he moved to Fool’s Gold, California, he’s cobbled together a life for himself as a bodyguard trainer. If he’s not exactly happy, at least his heart is safe.
Working with pro-football superstars taught tough-talking PR woman Taryn Crawford one thing—she can go toe-to-toe with any man. But then dark, dangerous former Special Ops Angel targets her for seduction…and challenges her to resist his tempting kisses. Even in four-inch heels, Taryn never backs down. Unless, somehow, Angel can convince her that surrender might feel even better than victory.
My take: This is the story of two people who vow never to give themselves over to a relationship. Taryn because of the devastating rejection she felt as a young girl and Angel because of the unimaginable loss he suffered in the not so distant past.
Taryn and Angel are very likable characters. They are confident yet also vulnerable. Determined to just enjoy dating, will they be able to keep it at that level? I enjoyed Susan Mallery’s latest addition to the Fool’s Gold series. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for both Angel and Taryn. Their reluctance to give themselves over to a chance for love was understandable yet I hoped for more. Mallery didn’t disappoint. She also added comedy in the form of Angel leading a group in a local organization. At the time he volunteered he had no idea his group would be made up of 7 year old girls. It was a fun storyline. There’s exciting drama near the end of the book that kept me turning the pages. All in all, if you’re a fan of the series I think you’ll like When We Met.
- Title: When the Cypress Whispers
- Author: Yvette Manessis Corporon
- Genre: Women’s Fiction
- Published: April 2014 – Harper
- Source: Publisher
Synopsis: The daughter of Greek immigrants, Daphne aspires to the American Dream, yet feels as if she’s been sleepwalking through life. Caught between her family’s old-world traditions and the demands of a modern career, she cannot seem to find her place.
Only her beloved grandmother on Erikousa, a magical island off the coast of Greece, knows her heart. Daphne’s fondest memories are of times spent in the kitchen with Yia-yia, cooking and learning about the ancient myths. It was the thought of Yia-yia that consoled Daphne in the wake of her husband’s unexpected death.
After years of struggling to raise her child and pay the bills, Daphne now has a successful restaurant, a growing reputation as a chef, and a wealthy fiancé—everything she’s ever wanted. But across the ocean, Yia-yia can see through the storybook perfection of Daphne’s new life— and now she is calling her back to Erikousa. She has secrets about the past to share with her granddaughter— stories from the war, of loyalty and bravery in the face of death. She also has one last lesson to teach her: that security is not love, and that her life can be filled with meaning again. (publisher)
My take: This is a lovely novel that mixes mythology and old world tradition with modern success. But what is success for one person is not for another. What makes for a happy life is not necessarily what Daphne thought as she grew up trying to leave the old-fashion ways of her parents and older relatives back in Greece. She decides to be married in Greece so her grandmother can be there. After a few days back Daphne remembers the simple pleasures of summers spent on Erikousa when she was younger. She also sees her young daughter come to life again as she learns the old stories and experiences the wonders the island has to offer.
I loved reading Yvette Manessis Corporon’s book. The characters, setting and story completely engaged me. I’d love to see a film version. There’s no doubt tourism in Greece would increase exponentially! I say if you can’t travel to Greece the next best thing would be to read When the Cypress Whispers.
Synopsis: The story of a married couple, Diane and Brian, that learn they are pregnant with their first child has come at an unfortunate time. Brian is thrilled with the news since he has patiently waited for twelve years to become a father, however Diane is unsure of her excitement. With her family’s dark past, her recent promotion, and Brian being called away to London for work parenthood has arrived unexpectedly. When a year has passed and Diane is completely head over heels in love with her precious baby girl, Grace, Brian has still not returned from London. Diane’s dark past collides with her mysterious new life and the surreal family drama is unveiled.
- Title: The Memory Child
- Author: Steena Holmes
- Genre: Women’s Fiction
- Published: March 2014 – Lake Union Publishing
- Source: Publisher/Book Sparks PR
My take: The Memory Child is the first book by Steena Holmes I’ve read. Holmes kept me guessing and turning the pages to find out what was going on in this story. That’s saying a lot because character driven novels aren’t always my cup of tea. Not so with this one. It quietly got inside my brain and didn’t let go until I turned the final page.
My opinion of the characters changed more than once as the story progressed. I liked that the novel wasn’t predictable and played with my brain a bit.
It’s an eerie and emotional story. If the publisher’s synopsis and my take make it seem like a novel you’d like to read then go get a copy! I’m glad I had the chance to read The Memory Child.
Steena Holmes grew up in a small town in Canada and holds a bachelor’s degree in theology. She is the author of eleven novels and novellas, including Finding Emma, for which she was awarded a National Indie Excellence Book Award in 2012. She currently lives in Calgary with her husband and three daughters, and loves to wake up to the Rocky Mountains each morning.
Book arrivals: (linked to Mailbox Monday)
- Cloud Nine by Luanne Rice (purchased)
- The Love Wars by L. Alison Heller (purchased)
- The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (purchased)
- All the Difference by Kaira Rouda (purchased)
Last week on Bookfan:
- When We Met by Susan Mallery
- Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum