Jenna, a single mom, asks her older sister Betsy to watch her children while she attends an artist retreat to reconnect with photography. Despite her infertility issues and resulting melancholy (unbeknownst to Jenna), Betsy agrees, as she’s always been a mother figure to her unpredictable sibling. Both sisters find themselves outside their comfort zones and in turn, find their way back to each other, all this while waiting for a hurricane to hit.
Denton portrays a complex sister relationship of unspoken jealousies, fears, and parental love, and how a challenging economy affects marriage and livelihood, as Betsy supplements her husband’s dairy farm with educational tours. There’s a subtle lesson in this novel to follow your heart and take responsibility for your talent, to be true to yourself. The only taint is the author’s apparent expectation of her readership all being Christian, so that the story sometimes feels preachy and insular. It doesn’t seem credible for an infertility specialist to advise a couple to pray for a natural pregnancy after a failed treatment. This is a small blemish on a wonderful story of sisterhood and authenticity. I was fortunate to receive this lovely novel through NetGalley.
Christine and Marcus want a baby so much that they use a sperm donor. Pregnant Christine sees their donor on the news being arrested for multiple murders. Against Marcus’ wishes, she visits him and helps him with his defense. She vacillates between thinking him innocent and guilty, believing he is her sperm donor and desperately wanting him to be a good person.
Scottoline’s standalone novels are as twisty and turny as her lawyer series. Her unique storylines are compelling and emotional. As in most of her books, Scottoline’s protagonist proceeds on her mission with confidence despite those she loves disagreeing with her. Christine relies on her best friend when her husband opposes her. She does what she believes is moral and ethical.
Readers who like John Grisham and / or David Baldacci would likely appreciate Scottoline. If you love a fast-moving thriller with complex characters and ambiguous situations, you’ll like this story.
Alice wakes from a daydream of the beach to a painful head in an unfamiliar gym, with a colleague peering down at her. She fell off her bike in spin class and misplaced the last decade in her brain. Current events are not so current, and Alice learns some astonishing facts about the world and popular culture. Over the following week, she discovers some harsh truths about that decade from family, friends, and neighbors. As she slowly gains insight into her own life and troubled relations with her loved ones, the soul searching begins. When the memories hit all at once, Alice is stunned and reasserts herself as she merges her 29-year-old self with her 39-year old self.
Now this is how you open a novel! Moriarty begins the story with Alice floating in a pool, listening to a man playing Marco Polo with kids, knowing that the someone next to her with toenails painted different colors like her own is a person she loves. As the dreamlike sequence morphs into a painfully realistic nightmare of Alice’s confusion at finding herself in a gym, where she would never expect to be, the reader is pulled into the confusion and learns the truths as Alice learns them. Brilliant! Along with the facts presented to the memory-challenged Alice, secrets are unveiled, strengthening relationships and urging everyone forward toward positive opportunities.
Readers who wish to be invested deeply in the main character’s life will love this book. If you are fond of secrets, humorous references to current (and not so current) events, and gut-wrenching situations, this book is for you. Moriarty will have you laughing and crying out loud!