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review 2014-08-27 00:24
The Book Borrower
The Book Borrower - Alice Mattison

The story is set in Boston and begins in the 1970's. Toby and Elizabeth meet at the park while there with their children and form a lifetime friendship.  Toby who is an avid reader is given a book by Elizabeth called "Trolley Girl" and hence begins the "bookception" if you will, a book-within-a-book.


"Trolley Girl" is made to believe it's based on a true account of a union activist in the 1920's in Boston.  It tells her story of tragic events that changes the lives her she and her family.


I felt the character development in this story was superb.  Toby and Elizabeth's friendship spans the decades from when their children are infants until they are grown.  Definitely one of the best books I've read about a friendship.  It was believable and palpable.


As I began this book I found it difficult to follow due to the unusual dialogue construction. Fighting it at first it was beyond frustrating but once I grew accustomed to this style it became easier to follow. I would recommend this a book to a true reader.  Someone who loves reading simply for the sake of reading.


How I acquired this book:  Half-price books

Shelf life:  Guessing more than 4 years

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review 2014-07-29 22:55
The Last Letter from your Lover
The Last Letter from Your Lover - Jojo Moyes

This is the second novel I've read by JoJo Moyes.  While it was a good read it didn't compare with Me Before You.


In 1964 Jennifer wakes up in a hospital bed to find out she's married to Lawrence Stirling, a wealthy powerful businessman and is told she lives life in the circles of the social elite and wants for nothing.  At first she has no memory but she comes across a love letter she hid previously and remembers she was deeply in love but not with her husband.  As she finds more letters and clues she slowly puts together pieces of her past and longs for the man she once loved.


Fast forward forty years to Ellie, a journalist at The Nation finds a love letter in the library archives.  Intrigued she may have a fantastic story she does further research and tries to locate the owner of the letter. Dealing with her own unfulfilling love triangle she pursues this story hoping for a happy ending.


I thought Jennifer was a bit shallow and found it difficult to like and connect with her and so as a result it felt like the beginning of the book dragged a bit. The twists and turns in the story kept my attention. I always enjoy past/present timelines and any mention of a library. I'd recommend this as a good beach read.


How I acquired this book:  I think I bought this book at Barnes & Noble. I'll admit it was because I like the cover.

Shelf life: 2+ years

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review 2014-06-24 01:00
The Remains of the Day
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

Equal to a typical definition of true Englishman this book is of similar fashion: calm, reserved and dignified. A story of a refined butler Stevens and the house he served in for most of his life named Darlington Hall.


Stevens is all about decorum, orderliness and standards. So much so that personal feelings, opinions and his own life are disconnected if present at all. Told in the first person himself, Stevens reflects on his life and analyzes his past behavior as he reacted to specific situations and how if done differently his life may have played out.


Some may say this was a slow moving book but I think the unhurried pace was necessary and accurate in authentic English style as each layer of the character was unravelled for us to see. Brilliantly written and absorbing.


This is book #3 in my Classics Club Book Challenge. Classics Club Page


How this book was acquired: Purchased from half.com

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review 2014-03-18 03:37
Astor Place Vintage
Astor Place Vintage - Stephanie Lehmann

Astor Place Vintage by Stephanie Lehmann is the perfect light read.  Amanda is the owner of a vintage clothing store who meets Mrs. Kelly after she calls on her to sell her clothing on consignment. While Amanda goes through an antique trunk at Mrs. Kelly's she discovers a journal written by Olive and so begins the story of Amanda and Olive, two women as the central characters in a back and forth present/past exchange of their lives. 


Set in New York we get a view of what life would be like as a woman at the turn of the century and are reminded of all the challenges one would face in that era. A Sex and the City gone retro if you will. Meanwhile, as Amanda reads Olive's journal she is dealing with her own obstacles as she persists towards a life with love and independence.


Faced with similar issues in different time periods this book was both interesting and engrossing. The author weaves in some factual notes within the story along with vintage photos of Manhattan that adds to the historical flavor of this book.

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