Sunday 17 December 2023

Last post for autumn...

It’s raining again tonight, as it's done these last few Sunday evenings while I’ve been writing my posts.  *sigh*  This has not been a very productive, inspired day… too much gloom.  But I did finish my second book for the week this morning, which is a good thing. 

I finished Ruth Ware’s Zero Days earlier in the week, and while it was not her best in my opinion (not suspenseful enough, less-than-believable main character, disappointing ending), it was certainly a page-turner.  Jacintha/Jack and her husband Gabe run a security testing company, and after finishing a job one night, while Jack inadvertently messes up and gets caught by security guards leaving the scene of the fake break-in, Gabe is being murdered in their home.  After discovering the body,  Jack stays with her sister Helena and her family while the police begin their investigation.  It soon becomes clear that she is being set up and that the police view her as their main suspect, so she goes on the run to save herself and find the real killer.  It was an easy, quick read, and I can’t seem to put my finger on exactly what was lacking from this story that made it less-than-great.  Maybe I just expected more - although I don’t always love Ware’s books, this one was better than some, not as good as some, just kind of middle-of-the-road for her.  If you’re in the mood for an unputdownable tech-thriller, this one will likely not disappoint. 

And the book I finished this morning is Flight by Lisa Steger Strong.  Set just a few days before Christmas in an old country house on the outskirts of a small town in Maine, this book focuses on the family dynamics of three siblings and their spouses and children who are getting together for the first time since their mother Helen passed away in the spring.  Martin is married to Tess and has two children; Kate is married to Josh and has three children; and Henry is married to Alice, but they are childless.  The elephant in the room is Helen’s house in Florida.  Martin wants to sell it and split the money, Kate wants to live in it but can’t afford to buy her brothers out, and Henry wants to sell it to the state so they can expand the nature preserve onto which this property abuts.  Since Alice has been unable to have children, she’s abandoned her art and is now a social worker, and she has a special place in her heart for one of her cases, twenty-three-year-old Quinn and her daughter Madeleine, who live in the nearby town.  This book looks at the relationships between spouses, between siblings, between parents and children, and between clients and workers, and explores different ways of parenting, different ways of being in a relationship, different ways we all screw up sometimes, but also different ways we sometimes get it exactly right.  It actually would have been a really good book if not for the choppy writing style.  For example, talking about Helen’s earlier life when she had money issues, Strong writes:  “She would struggle not to let the children know, to continue to send them gifts and pay for school and room and board and lend them money in those early years when they still asked - the years Martin paused grad school to teach high school because he couldn’t live off of his stipend and she couldn’t write the check she would have had to write to convince him not to work those years until Tess finished law school and got a job and he went back.”  Or when Tess is looking for her oldest child, she writes:  “Even as Tess rushed in, as she grabbed hold of Colin, pulled him off the scaffolding to hug him, as Kate watched him flinch and Tess stepped back, embarrassed, was clearly close to tears, Kate worked to catch a glimpse of (Henry’s art).”  This is fine if you want to stop the flow of the text to make a point, but imagine sentences like these in every paragraph, awkward, stilted ones that impede the flow of the story. It made this relatively short book seem fairly long.  Otherwise it was an interesting plot and all of the characters were very realistic, flawed yet strong and perfect each in their own way.  Since I now know what to expect with the language and writing style, I may have to read this again sometime, as the characters were really interesting, each ultimately wanting the same things but just going about getting there in completely different ways.

That's all for tonight. Stay dry and keep reading!

Bye for now... Julie

No comments:

Post a Comment