I’m participating with Carolyn Astfalk and Catholic Mom.com in An Open Book. Here’s what I’ve been reading and working on for the past month.
Margaret Ferry by Mary Flynn
Amazon Synopsis: In 1950s Brooklyn, Margaret Ferry’s compassion crosses the line when she stubbornly disregards the wishes of her parental aunt and uncle at a time when they are facing their own personal challenges. The theft of her uncle’s valuable papers puts his job and career in great jeopardy, while her aunt is coming to terms with the heartbreaking news she received from her doctor. Compounding their struggles is Aunt Lolly, whose innocent intentions usually have disastrous results. Lolly’s gift of a beautiful vintage shawl leads to catastrophe and the unfolding of events that are inexplicable, mystifying and life-changing beyond their immediate family and neighborhood. Amid trials, tribulations and the most unexpected turn of events, this is a story of conflict and love, goodness and miracles, and a secret whose consequences are unknown until the final surprising twist.
My review: I enjoyed this beautiful historical novel by Mary Flynn. It’s well written (though it could’ve used another round of proofreading). Readers of American historical fiction will enjoy this as well. Recommend. 4/5.
Secrets in September by Doreen McAvoy
Amazon Synopsis: Will was looking forward to eighth grade.
Will he even make it past September?
Will Abbott expects his eighth-grade year at Fern Valley Middle School to be the same as the last seven—school, soccer, and lazy Saturdays. But when a rash of crime strikes his little town, it doesn’t take long to realize something peculiar is going on. Will is certain the class bully, Beefy Boris, is involved and suspects he’s getting help—from their own classmates! As Will and his friends investigate, they stumble upon clues leading them to suspect someone even more sinister is responsible. Can Will and his friends—including a new girl with a mysterious past—trap the criminal mastermind and reveal a secret that has haunted Fern Valley for twelve years?
My review: This is was an interesting middle-grade novel that even adults can enjoy. A quick read. Recommend. 4/5.
The Roses of No Man’s Land by Lyn MacDonald
Amazon Synopsis: On the face of it,’ writes Lyn Macdonald, ‘no one could have been less equipped for the job than these gently nurtured girls who walked straight out of Edwardian drawing rooms into the manifest horrors of the First World War…’
Yet the volunteer nurses rose magnificently to the occasion. In leaking tents and draughty huts they fought another war, a war against agony and death, as men lay suffering from the pain of unimaginable wounds or diseases we can now cure almost instantly. It was here that young doctors frantically forged new medical techniques – of blood transfusion, dentistry, psychiatry and plastic surgery – in the attempt to save soldiers shattered in body or spirit. And it was here that women achieved a quiet but permanent revolution, by proving beyond question they could do anything. All this is superbly captured in The Roses of No Man’s Land, a panorama of hardship, disillusion and despair, yet also of endurance and supreme courage.
My review: This is next on my To-Read shelf. I’ve heard great things about this book, looking forward to reading it.
The Night Olivia Fell by Christine MacDonald
Amazon Synopsis: A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.
In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.
When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?
Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heart-wrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?
My review: Mixed with flashbacks, this is a compelling whodunnit with well-defined, believable characters. The best thing about this book was the beautiful prolife message, which is rare in a secular book. Highly recommend. 5/5.