Heading Out to Wonderful

Liked A Reliable Wife? So did I. But I liked this better. Author Robert Goolrick’s sophomore effort, Heading Out to Wonderful, is worth your time on a long, rainy weekend. Or a road trip. Or the doctor’s office. It doesn’t take very many pages before you are completely engrossed in the tale of Charlie Beale, and his journey to Brownsburg, where his life intersects with that of Will and Alma Haislett, their son Sam, and the residents of this tiny town in Virgina in the late 1940s. Here’s what you need to know—it’s historical fiction, it’s a love story, and … Continue reading Heading Out to Wonderful

The Midwife of Hope River

What a lovely book. That probably sounds contrite—and I certainly don’t mean it that way. But it is—”The Midwife of Hope River” is really, a lovely book. Engaging, romantic, quiet, introspective, sad … it’s not as gripping a novel as say, “Gone Girl.” But the story of Patience Murphy latches on to you emotionally, making it difficult to put the book down. Murphy is, as she almost always has been, on the run. An orphan on the run, an almost-widow on the run, and now a possible felon, having played a role in the death of her activist husband, Patience … Continue reading The Midwife of Hope River

The Sandcastle Girls

You know the term “investment piece?” We hear it a lot in fashion and furniture. Sure, it’s not exactly trendy, and it costs more, but it lasts longer. You’ll use it forever. It’s well-worth the larger financial and/or emotional investment. That’s “The Sandcastle Girls.” This book isn’t going to blow up the summer reading charts in the same fashion as the “50 Shades” trilogy or Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl.” But it certainly isn’t any less worthy of accolades. It’s simply a really tough read. It is about a love affair, but it’s not traditionally romantic. Set in the early 1900s … Continue reading The Sandcastle Girls

Unholy Night

Full disclosure: I am not the most religious person in the world. Not even close. I’m not sure if that made “Unholy Night” more enjoyable or not. Even the most religiously-challenged have a vague idea of what went down on the night of Jesus’ birth. Three wise men appear thanks to a star in the sky and bestow the world’s first Christmas gifts on the wee Baby Jesus (insert Ricky Bobby prayer here). But, as author Seth Grahame-Smith notes, how much do we really know about these guys? For me, not knowing all the intricate details of King Herod, Judea … Continue reading Unholy Night

11/22/63

I forgot how much I really like Stephen King. Upon hearing about his latest novel, “11/22/63” earlier this fall, I was intrigued at the plot line—and surprised at my interest, since it had been at least 10 years, if not longer, since I read anything by King. He was one of my favorites as a teen (LOVED “The Stand” — still one of my all-time favorites), but for reasons unknown (I hear the Dark Tower series is fantastic), I just hadn’t picked anything up. My jaw dropped at the book’s heft — all 849 pages of it. But on the … Continue reading 11/22/63

The Paris Wife

I’m beginning to wonder if you have to be an asshole in order to be great. I hope not. OK, I know that can’t be the case. But it definitely seems to be a recurring theme when reading books whose main character has found greatness (Steve Jobs, Frank Lloyd Wright, Vincent Van Gogh, and now, Ernest Hemingway) but can’t seem to keep it together on a personal level. The Paris Wife is, by definition, historical fiction. But it can’t be too far off the mark, given what we know publicly about Hemingway, a truly tormented soul. Told from the perspective … Continue reading The Paris Wife