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text 2017-06-24 04:00
Reading progress update: I've read 204 out of 365 pages.
Sewing the Shadows Together - Alison Baillie

a shocking development, caught me by surprise (then again, that's what shocking developments do, so I guess I'm not surprised that I'm surprised...); the only thing is: if the accident wasn't really an accident, it's hard to see how one particular character couldn't be guilty of something terrible. or things terrible. so, with something seeming sort of obvious, but with scads of pages yet to go, it now remains to be seen if there will be any big twists that stick a pin in the obvious.

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text 2017-06-24 00:44
Reading progress update: I've read 158 out of 365 pages.
Sewing the Shadows Together - Alison Baillie

I'm kinda loving this book now. I mentioned some early concerns about style, but I think maybe the author was guilty of a slightly stiff start-up--setting things up, introducing a lot of characters early (school reunion) while also hinting at a complex, tragic back-story, not having a beginning that allowed for emotional content, having to instead lead into scenes like that. now there's been a funeral and a scattering of ashes, people showing some cruelty in how they treat each other (whether they know it or not), a forbidden but completely understandable romance blooming, bitter characters trying to keep secrets...this author works best with scenes that force her to deal in emotions--emotions in characters, and emotions as they must be generated in the reader at this stage of the game. the overall whodunit aspect, and everything attached to it, is compulsive reading. and I love all the Scottish locales--Portobello, Edinburgh, Lewis, an island of the Outer Hebrides (I think I've got that right, the Outer Hebrides) called Eriskay, bairn/cannae/wee and other cool words floating through the dialogue. all this, and a dark nasty feeling to what lurks just under the surface...

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text 2017-06-23 14:56
Reading progress update: I've read 74 out of 365 pages.
Sewing the Shadows Together - Alison Baillie

her style of writing in this book lacks flair--the sentences, at times, just kind of hand stuff to you without seeming to come alive and shine--but I've kind of gotten used to that, and occasionally she snaps out of it. there's a sort of YA-style bluntness to it all. anyway, enough about that--what really works is the plot. there's nothing wrong with the story, the Mystery that is building up, as a guy who was convicted of the central "cold case"murder has been announced as released from prison because revisiting the evidence proves he didn't do it (sounds like a loathsome guy, though)! this, and other twists and hints, plus characterization, have got me hooked. addendum: Rory is a complete sod...but did he kill, all those years ago?

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text 2017-06-23 03:27
Reading progress update: I've read 28 out of 365 pages.
Sewing the Shadows Together - Alison Baillie

I sampled just a bit of this tonight, even though I'm a bit tired and already read a lot earlier, because it was just too tempting to leave alone. really wanted to go at least 50 pages, but my attention span is juuust starting to flag, so I'll do the book a fair turn before things stop registering. I can say that, even this early on in the page count, I must know what happened to Shona all those years ago, I must see what happens between Tom and Sarah, and I must keep an eye on all these other supposedly nice people who came to the weird class-reunion (who were all mostly around way back when something terrible happened; time for the truth to come out at last, methinks).

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review 2017-06-22 13:01
"Camino Island" by John Grisham
Camino Island: A Novel - John Grisham

“Camino Island” starts as a fast moving, (very) stripped down, matter of fact, look how ingenious we are, heist. The plot moves along rapidly, if somewhat mechanically, executing what should have been the perfect robbery. The thieves are straight from central casting. The items being stolen, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s manuscripts, are the only original things in the opening chapters. If this had been a movie, the robbery would have taken place as a background to the credits rolling by and no one would have missed anything.

Then the flow of the book suddenly slows and we’re gently meandering through the life of our heroine, a woman with one successful novel behind her, weighed down by her student loan debt, about to lose her teaching job, involuntarily single and three years behind on writing her next novel.


It turns out she is the last best hope for retrieving the missing manuscripts. She accepts payment to go back the island she grew up on and spend the summer infiltrating the life of a bookseller, suspected of holding the manuscripts.


Much of the book is spent describing the books seller’s life, the lives of the other writers on the island (they are legion) the changing nature of the publishing world, the delights of good food, fine wine and antique Provençal furniture and the freedoms of an open marriage.


The dialogue is well done and the characters are clearly drawn but I felt that I had walked into a different novel (possibly written by a different author) than the one I’d started. I was less engaged that I could have been as I found the bookseller unattractive and our heroine passive and voyeuristic.

I kept reading partly because I wanted to see how this dive into Floridian book culture would connect back to the heist and partly because the writing made up for the plot.
In the end, the clever twist emerges and is well executed but it had all the emotional impact of a magician pulling a rabbit from a top hat.

The epilogue that brings the main characters together for a final resolution simply confirmed that I didn’t like or care about either of them.

This is not a bad book but it left me feeling a little cheated because the heist never got passed the cardboard cut-out stage and most of the book was as thrilling as watching strangers drink too much and talk too much at a cocktail party

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