Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Life and Other Inconveniences by Kristan Higgins

Pub. date:  August 6, 2019 – Berkley Books

Courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  Emma London never thought she had anything in common with her grandmother Genevieve London. The regal old woman came from wealthy and bluest-blood New England stock, but that didn’t protect her from life’s cruelest blows: the disappearance of Genevieve’s young son, followed by the premature death of her husband. But Genevieve rose from those ashes of grief and built a fashion empire that was respected the world over, even when it meant neglecting her other son.

When Emma’s own mother died, her father abandoned her on his mother’s doorstep. Genevieve took Emma in and reluctantly raised her–until Emma got pregnant her senior year of high school. Genevieve kicked her out with nothing but the clothes on her back…but Emma took with her the most important London possession: the strength not just to survive but to thrive. And indeed, Emma has built a wonderful life for herself and her teenage daughter, Riley.

So what is Emma to do when Genevieve does the one thing Emma never expected of her and, after not speaking to her for nearly two decades, calls and asks for help? (publisher)

My take:  A single mysterious event changes the lives of Genevieve, a wealthy East coast woman, and her son Clark. Genevieve was raised to believe that if she followed the rules her mother taught her she would have a perfect life – and she was living that life until a tragedy changed things. Years later she finds herself caring for one granddaughter and then another. As the years go by Genevieve added more armor and turned into a formidable person who was admired by many but feared by her granddaughter, Emma. When Emma doesn’t follow Genevieves rules she is turned away and left to deal with her predicament at her maternal grandfather’s Chicago area home. Fast forward several years and Emma receives a phone call from Genevieve saying she needs her to come to her Connecticut home and help her as she is quite ill. Emma will have to decide if blood is thicker than water and if she should head back East.

This is a novel that addresses messy family dynamics and how people deal when life throws a curve ball. Just could be, life could take a turn in a good way. I loved learning about Genevieve from the perspectives of Emma and her daughter Riley and I was charmed by several supporting characters. Kristan Higgins had me laughing at times and also reaching for a tissue. All in all, another good story from one of my favorite authors.


 

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins

Pub. date:  July 30, 2019 – Gallery Books

Book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description: Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.

If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book. (publisher)

My take:  I love a good small-town setting. Add in warm, somewhat quirky characters and you’ve got enough for a series. According to Goodreads, The Book Charmer is book one in the Dove Pond series. We have Sarah, a lifelong resident and librarian. Books have spoken (really!) to Sarah for a long time. They tell her who needs to read a particular book and she does her best to put that book in the right hands.

New to Dove Pond is Grace. She describes her life this way “I haven’t had time [for a serious relationship]. I worked my way through college and then had a full-time, seventy-hour-a-week job after that. And then my sister died and I became a parent, and then Mama G [Grace’s foster mother] got sick – it’s been a whirlwind of relationship nonstarters. I’m the poster girl for the woman you don’t want to date.”  It’s clear that Grace has learned to rely on herself – only herself. What will happen if she learns to allow herself a friend or two?

The Book Charmer is about finding family, friendship, community and ultimately a home. I loved it all and look forward to reading more in the Dove Pond series.


 

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

   

Last week on Bookfan:

   

Reading plan for this week:

It was my plan to read this last week but life was busy and I read only a few pages.


 

Milady by Laura L. Sullivan

Milady by Laura L. Sullivan

Published: July 2, 2019 – Berkley Books

Book courtesy of the publisher

Description:  I have gone by many names, though you most likely know me as Milady de Winter: Villainess. Seductress. A secondary player in someone else’s tale.
 
It is finally time I tell my own story. The truth is not tidy or convenient, but it is certainly more interesting.
 
Before you cast judgment, let me start at the beginning, and you shall learn how an innocent girl from the countryside became the most feared woman in all of Europe.
 
Because we all know history was written by men, and they so often get things wrong. (publisher)

My take:  Milady is the lively adventure story of Milady de Winter (you’ll recognize the name if you’ve read The Three Musketeers). Told from her POV we learn how she became a legendary spy for Cardinal Richelieu. The Musketeers make appearances but this is Milady’s story. And what a tale it is.

Growing up in the English countryside Clarice, daughter of the mostly absent Lord Paget, is doted on by her mother. She also teaches Clarice about the potency of various herbs and flowers and how to avoid catastrophe when using them. As she grows Clarice learns the manners of a lady and eventually is presented at Court. That marks the end of her childhood. Clarice now learns of palace intrigue and the problems that result when placing one’s trust in the wrong person.

A dual timeline (ten years apart) served to develop the characters and made for some incredible situations that had me reading ‘just one more chapter’! There are some scenes of violence that had me skimming a bit – that’s a warning. That aside, I liked this novel and would love to see Laura Sullivan take other secondary characters and make them the star of their own novel. She succeeded with Milady.