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review 2019-12-06 22:26
Big Plot Hole Left Unanswered, Solid Romantic Suspense
Hold Me Close (Paradise, Idaho) - Rosalind James

Well another reviewer pointed out the huge plot point that was left unaddressed, so I don't feel bad for thinking the big was a bit off without resolving that. I was happy well enough with the characters of Kayla and Luke as well as Kayla's young son. This book has a tough subject matter though, domestic abuse. I think that James handles the subject matter delicately, and I liked that there are discussions about it with her son Eli about the fact that he knew that his mother was being hit and why she stayed until she finally ran. I liked that Luke wasn't being pushy. He is interested in Kayla, but realizes he can't and won't rush things with not just her, but also with Eli. 

 

"Hold Me Close" is part of James romantic suspense books. I didn't much care for the first book, and this second one ran to good to meh to me as well. Still deciding about reading the next two books in the series or just passing on that. Back to this book. We have Kayla Chambers who after being hit again by her boyfriend, goes on the run with her son when he drops them off at the laundromat. We find out that Kayla has reached out to a domestic violence organization, and she's going to leave her life behind and start over again in the town of Paradise, Idaho that she has fond memories of as a child.


Luke Jackson has a FWB situation finally ending and realizes that his new neighbor may be the answer. He quickly realizes that Kayla and her son Eli don't need a pass through the night man, they need a solid person to be there. He quickly pushes (slightly) into helping them when he can and hanging back and not trying to do more than that with either of them.


We get reappearances by former characters and of course set up for the focus of the next book in this one. 


The writing was good. We get POVs from Eli, Luke, Kayla, and even Kayla's abusive ex. I think that James did a good juggling all of those voices and showing Kayla's ex obsession with her and punishing her for daring to go against him. The guy gave me chills.

 

The flow though was a bit off jumping around like that. I didn't think at times that Eli's voice was authentic. 

 

The setting of Paradise is hard to picture. It seems like a teeny tiny town, but at other times it sounds quite large. There are discussions about the hard times the farmers are going through so it touches upon real world events at times here and there.


The ending though was very well done. Except for the whole murder plot line. I wish that had been resolved. It was such a weird thread to leave hanging. 

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review 2019-04-21 14:28
EDUCATED: A MEMOIR by Tara Westover
Educated - Tara Westover

Tara was raised on an isolated farm in Idaho. There she was homeschooled on occasion by her mother. Her dad has issues and was working on living off the grid. He supported the family by scrapping and building contracting. Her mother was a midwife and essential oil/homeopathy healer. When Tara was 16 she decided she wanted to go to school. She was able to go to BYU but there were many gaps in her education that needed to be filled. She was fortunate that in her second-year roommates she found that help. She then went on to Cambridge and Harvard.

This book was a fascinating read, like watching a train wreak--you know you should not look but it is impossible to look away. How Tara and her siblings were raised was horrific. That none died is a miracle. I am glad that Tara and some of her siblings got out and found lives in the outside world. Their dad had mental illness and their mother had a traumatic brain injury. They should not have been raising these kids. I loved when her brother Tyler spoke up in support of Tara when she would not come back into the fold and her parents spread lies about her. I am glad that Tara, Tyler, Richard, and Tony supported each other. They were the ones who got out. The others who stayed had issues and I am afraid some of the problems will continue to go down to the next generations.

I am glad I read this but it is tough as she talks about what they went through physically and mentally. I applaud them. I congratulate them on making it.

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review 2018-03-18 14:19
Verworrene Geschichte mit literarischem Anspruch
Idaho: Roman - Emily Ruskovich,Stefanie Jacobs

An einem heißen Sommertag im Wald gehen die Mitchells der Holzarbeit nach. Vater und Mutter schlichten das Holz auf den Pick-up, während die beiden Mädchen ausgelassen im Wald spielen. Doch dann hat die Mutter ein Beil in der Hand und von einem Moment auf den anderen ist der idyllische Tag und die Familie zerstört.

"Idaho" ist ein literarisch anmutender Roman, der in der eindrucksvollen Umgebung des amerikanisches Bundesstaates Idaho spielt. 

Ausgangspunkt der Handlung ist die Tragödie im Wald. Jenny hat ihre kleine Tochter May mit dem Beil umgebracht, woraufhin die andere Tochter June davon gelaufen ist. Vater Wade weiß sich nicht zu helfen und Jenny gesteht vor Gericht sofort ihre Schuld ein.

Anders als gedacht ist es schon fast schwierig hier Protagonisten zu definieren. Eine Hauptfigur ist Ann, die erst nach den schrecklichen Ereignissen im Wald in Wades Leben tritt. Sie ist Musiklehrerin und heiratet Wade wenige Monate danach, weil sie Wade in seiner schweren Zeit beistehen will.

Denn Wade hat neben dem blutigen Grauen seiner Familie ein weiteres tragendes Problem. Er ist an einer perfiden Form der Demenz erkrankt, sodass er schon in relativ jungen Jahren mit gröberen Aussetzern zu kämpfen hat.

Jenny ist im Gefängnis und setzt alles daran in ihrer Schuld aufzugehen. Sie begrüßt die Einzelhaft und lehnt sogar den täglichen Spaziergang im Hof ab.

Es fällt mir schwer aus dem Roman tragende Themen herauszukitzeln. Natürlich dreht sich alles um den blutigen Tag im Wald und die Versuche, die verschwundene June zu finden.

"Wie unvermittelt dieses Leben beendet worden war, wie erschreckend endgültig sämtliche Gedankenspiele hinfällig wurden. May bekam im Moment ihres Todes eine Eigenschaft, die ihre Schwester nie besaß und auch nie besitzen wird - sie wurde absolut." (S. 200)

Dennoch steht auch Wades Demenz im Vordergrund, seine unvorhergesehenen Aussetzer, in denen er sogar Ann bedroht und der Versuch, dem Vergessen entgegenzuwirken.

Weder aus dem Roman noch aus den Figuren bin ich schlau geworden. Richtig schwer habe ich mir mit Ann getan, weil ich nicht verstehe, warum sie Wade von einem Moment auf den anderen geheiratet hat. Es ist nicht so, dass sie sich liebend in die Arme gefallen sind, sondern sie hat ganz nüchtern - ohne deutliche Beweggründe - diese Entscheidung getroffen.

Erzählt wird aus unterschiedlichsten Perspektiven, was Figuren und die zeitliche Abfolge betrifft. Man begleitet nicht nur die genannten Personen, sondern hat zwischendrin auch mit ganz anderen Figuren zutun. Wades Vater kommt genauso vor, wie ein ehemaliger Schüler von Ann, deren Bezug zur Handlung für mich sehr vage und undurchsichtig ist. Zudem werden unterschiedliche Jahre - einmal ist man in den 1970er-Jahren, dann im Jahr 2025 - aufgegriffen, was mir genauso unlogisch erschienen ist.

Wahrscheinlich mangelt es mir an literarischem Feingefühl, um die Tiefe des Romans zu verstehen. Mir wäre eine weniger wortgewandte, dafür handfeste Geschichte lieber gewesen. Nichtsdestotrotz war ich gebannt und bin an den Seiten geklebt. Denn der Tag im Wald wird immer wieder durchlebt ohne dass der Mord selbst ein Thema ist.

Im Endeffekt bleibt eine verworrene Geschichte, bei der ich mir mit ihrem literarischen Anspruch schwer getan habe. Ohne Höhen und Tiefen plätschern die Ereignisse vor sich hin, fesseln nur durch ihre Undurchsichtigkeit und haben mich zu guter Letzt nicht völlig überzeugen können.

Ich kann „Idaho“ nur bedingt weiterempfehlen. Vor allem Leser, die eine eindringliche Atmosphäre mögen, einen Blick auf den Bundesstaat Idaho werfen wollen und mit nicht greifbarer Logik umgehen können, sollten es zumindest versuchen.

Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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review 2017-08-01 17:09
“Idaho” by Emily Ruskovich
Idaho: A Novel - Emily Ruskovich

The title says, "Idaho - A Novel". I think the last bit is an assertion of intent meant to guide people like me who reach the end of the book knowing that I'd read something wonderful but not really being able to label it.

 

Each chapter in "Idaho" is a work of art. Emily Ruskovich can write in a way that makes you fully aware of how a particular person is experiencing something that is vivid and immediate but also ladened with context and possibility.

 

At one point she even helped me see inside the head of a blood hound on a search, head down, ears and folds of skin dampening all other stimuli except the hundreds of scents that contain the one scent I am looking for.

 

It seemed to me, that for much of the novel, I had become that blood hound and that each chapter was a scrap of fabric, soaked in sorrow, confusion, regret, guilt, love and, occasionally hope, that I would bend over and sniff at until I had extracted every scent of emotion and traced the trails of circumstance, intent, memory and consequence that connect the chapters and the people in them.

 

It is an intense, absorbing experience that speaks to my senses and my emotions but, by itself, does not satisfy my need for a narrative leading to some form of release. The nonlinear nature of this narrative, the emphasis on moments of being and intense but bounded insights into a person, meant that reading "Idaho" felt more like experiencing other people's lives than it did reading a novel with a beginning, a middle and an end. I was given lots of hard, emotionally taxing questions but I was offered only the inference of answers, much as I am in real life.

 

There is a narrative. It is triggered by an act of violence that changes the lives of almost all of the characters in the book. Revealing this narrative in a non-linear way is not done to enhance the tension or to build to a great reveal, but to show that we are not the events that we live through. They can harm us or help us but the self we bring to each moment is what shapes the outcome of an event.

 

I'm sorry if that sounds obscure. Emily Ruskovich would never say anything so clumsily as that. It is merely me, trying to find meaning in what I was reading.

 

In "Idaho" I spent time seeing the world through the eyes of many people: May, a six year old girl living an isolated rural life in which her most intense relationship is with June, her older sister, whom she simultaneously loves and resents; Elizabeth, spending her life in prison for murder and trying to allow herself friendship and perhaps even love; Jenny, a woman who is trying to abnegate her right to anything she desires but who cannot stop herself from offering something of herself to others; Wade, a man who has survived tragedy and guilt and love but who is losing himself with each memory that slips out of reach; and Anne, who falls lives a life of sorrow-filled love that she does not feel entitled to cut herself free from.

 

I will remember these people for a long time. I will remember their joys and their pain and their ability to survive as long as they are remembered by someone, even if it is only themselves. I will remember the mountain they lived on and how its wildness and isolation and unforgiving winters shaped them like wind eroding sandstone.

 

Yet I still struggle with "Idaho" as "a novel". Probably this says more about my expectations than about Emily Ruskovich's writing but it changed my experience of the book. If "Idaho" had been a collection of short stories, I'd have gone, "How wonderful. This is like reading Alice Munro" but it was labelled a novel so I found myself expecting more connection.

 

The best example of what I mean is a character in this book, a young man who loses his leg through an accident in high school, who's experiences and thoughts are beautifully described but who seems to have only the most tangential connection to the other people in the book. I invested my imagination in him. I didn't like him but I began to understand him. Yet I couldn't make him fit and my inability to do so distracted and annoyed me.

 

I strongly recommend this book, novel or not. The writing is simply wonderful. The experiences are harrowing but in a way that made me more empathetic than horrified.

I am astonished that this is Emily Ruskovich's debut novel. I look forward to reading everything else that she writes.

 

I listened to the audiobook version of "Idaho" which is read with consummate skill by Justine Eyre. She helped my hound dog follow the scent trails in this book much more easily and with more passion than I had only read the text.

 

I've included below an extract of her performance and a short interview where she talks about her experience in narrating "Idaho"

 

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/307854062"

params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtXenrTg_MY&w=560&h=315]

 

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review 2017-07-21 00:00
Idaho Fairytale Bride
Idaho Fairytale Bride - Jacquie Rogers Idaho Fairytale Bride - Jacquie Rogers I enjoyed the story but I took away one star due to the author's extreme overuse of the word "for" as a coordinating conjunction. It got to the point that it was actually distracting from the story.

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