Sunday Post

Book arrivals  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

Looks like Christmas in July! These are from the publisher via NetGalley – I’ll wait a while to read them ūüôā

Maybe This Christmas (Oct28) The Lodge on Holly Road (Oct28) The Heart of Christmas (Oct28) Snow Angel Cove (Oct28)

The House We Grew Up In (Aug12)  when we fall (Sept2)  the orphans of race point

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review: ¬†THE PROMISE by Robyn Carr
  • Spotlight/Giveaway (US): I‚ÄôVE STILL GOT IT‚ĶI JUST CAN‚ÄôT REMEMBER WHERE I PUT IT:¬†Awkwardly True Tales From the Far Side of Forty¬†By Jenna McCarthy
  • Review: ¬†Up At Butternut Lake by Mary McNear
  • Blog Post: ¬†World’s Best Story

The Promise (June24)   9780425272534_large_I've_Still_Got_It...I_Just_Can't_Remember_Where_I_Put_It   up at butternut lake

Currently reading:

butternut summer (Aug12)   the homecoming (August26)

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I had the pleasure of seeing Rebecca Rasmussen, author of Evergreen and The Bird Sisters, at a local book store event last Wednesday. In addition to being an amazing author, she’s a wonderful person. If Rebecca comes to your area, go see her! Check out her tour schedule.

R.Rasmussen event

 Happy reading!

Evergreen by Rebecca Rasmussen

evergreen (July8)

  • Title: ¬†Evergreen
  • Author: ¬†Rebecca Rasmussen
  • Genre: ¬†Fiction
  • Published: ¬†July 15, 2014 – Knopf
  • Source: ¬†Publisher

Synopsis:  It is 1938 when Eveline, a young bride, follows her husband into the wilderness of Minnesota. Though their cabin is rundown, they have a river full of fish, a garden out back, and a new baby boy named Hux. But when Emil leaves to take care of his sick father, the unthinkable happens: a stranger arrives, and Eveline becomes pregnant. She gives the child away, and while Hux grows up hunting and fishing in the woods with his parents, his sister, Naamah, is raised an orphan. Years later, haunted by the knowledge of this forsaken girl, Hux decides to find his sister and bring her home to the cabin. But Naamah, even wilder than the wilderness that surrounds them, may make it impossible for Hux to ever tame her, to ever make up for all that she, and they, have lost. Set before a backdrop of vanishing forest, this is a luminous novel of love, regret, and hope.  (publisher)

My brief take: ¬†Oh, Rebecca Rasmussen, you did it again. You reached in and wrapped your hand around my heart with your lovely but heart-breaking story. I loved most of the characters – and the ones I didn’t you made me understand why. These characters leapt off the pages as did the settings (which played as big a part as the main characters). I should have been tipped off by the quote before the story begins: “Tell me the landscape in which you live, and I will tell you who you are”.

It’s a story about the need for love and acceptance, and what happens when those are missing in one’s life. The question of ‘nature versus nurture’ ran through my mind with each generation. I loved what a minor character says at one point in the story: ¬†“Every time you think you need to hold on, let go“.¬†Without spoiling the story I’ll just say I think book clubs would find a lot to discuss with Evergreen.

Earlier I mentioned the story is lovely but heart-breaking. I turned the final page feeling uplifted and hopeful and so glad to have read Evergreen.

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen

Title: The Bird Sisters

Author: Rebecca Rasmussen

Genre: Literary Fiction

About: (Back of the book)¬†Whenever a bird flies into a window in Spring Green, Wisconsin, sisters Milly and Twiss get a visit. Twiss listens to the birds’ heartbeats, assessing what she can fix and what she can’t, while Milly listens to the heartaches of the people who’ve brought them. These spinster sisters have spent their lives nursing people and birds back to health.

But back in the summer of 1947, Milly and Twiss knew nothing about trying to mend what had been accidentally broken. Milly was known as a great beauty with emerald eyes and Twiss was a brazen wild child who never wore a dress or did what she was told. That was the summer their golf pro father got into an accident that cost him both his swing and his charm, and their mother, the daughter of a wealthy jeweler, finally admitted their hardscrabble lives wouldn’t change. . .

My take: Rebecca Rasmussen’s debut novel is a delicate portrait of a family who find that life doesn’t always deliver what had been promised. The family consists of a mother who married beneath her parents’ expectations, a father who aspired to be accepted by people who never would, and ¬†the daughters who simply want their family to be the way they used to be. When cousin Bett arrives for the summer she seems intent on throwing everyone off balance – and she does.

The story is told in the present and the past. I was completely drawn into the novel and felt an ache for the sisters as they tried to fix their broken family, each other, and then the injured birds.

Rasmussen’s portrayal of the sisters in their later years is bittersweet and lovely:

Now that she was old, Twiss understood why people her age stopped speaking and started sitting on porches. Language failed to describe the simplest of phenomena; a fine sunset, for example, was more than fine. There were no words, or Twiss couldn’t find them anymore, for the way the colors made her feel. She’d say to Milly, “It’s an especially pretty one tonight,” when she meant that it reminded her of other sunsets, and years, and people who had nothing to do with sunsets: pinks and reds and blues.

“It is,” Milly would say. Or she might add a word like “lovely” or “otherworldly” and then Twiss would know that Milly, too, was thinking about something else entirely as they passed a glass of iced tea back and forth and gazed at the changing colors of the sky.¬†(p.105)

Reading this novel was like looking at a painting and with each glance discovering something new in the deceptive simplicity of it all.  The Bird Sisters is the story of hopes, dreams, sacrifice, and the love of two sisters.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Source: Crown