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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Internet Absence and Three Reviews

I took a bit of a blogging break, for various reasons, but I had several reviews scheduled to occupy about a little more than a week.

Which was a good thing, as I've since had both computer problems and internet problems.  When SuddenLink did an upgrade, their instructions about getting connected again didn't work.

Of course, as a technodunce of the first order, my efforts were fruitless.  However, even my husband had difficulty and several phone calls were required.   I may go days without wanting to use the computer, but as soon as it is unavailable...I'm frantic.

Finally, Fee got us connected again, and I'm sighing with relief.

Three short reviews:

 Safe Harbor  by Rosemary McCracken is another debut novel.  Here is the book description:

Financial advisor Pat Tierney’s world is shattered when a visitor to her office tells her that Pat's late husband is the father of a seven-year-old boy. Stunned by the revelation of her husband's affair, Pat is even more shocked when the woman bolts from the office, leaving young Tommy behind. 

When Tommy's mother is murdered, police tell Pat that the boy may be the killer's next target. In a desperate race to protect Tommy, Pat's searches for the truth.... (I omitted spoilers)

 Set in Toronto, the novel deals with legal and illegal immigration as well as the personal crisis Pat faces when she learns about her husband's affair and must deal with the sense of betrayal she feels.  The novel also deals with parent-child relationships.

Overall--a moderately entertaining mystery and a fast read.

Fiction.  Mystery.  2012.  220 pages.  library book.

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty is the story of Cora Carlisle, a housewife from Wichita, Kansas who accompanies the fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922.

I really liked that Cora was one of the orphans on an Orphan Train from New York.  I wrote about this fascinating and neglected part of American history here after seeing the documentary.

I also liked the parts about Louise Brooks, that icon of silent movies from the twenties and thirties.  I really want to read her autobiography LuLu in Hollywood.  Brooks was intelligent, beautiful, arrogant, and unconventional.

An entirely readable novel that involves a kind of coming of age for  the thirty-six-year-old Cora who has never questioned much about convention or how to manage certain difficulties in her own life. I enjoyed this one.

An ARC from the Penguin Group.

Historical Fiction.  2012.  423 pages (with extensive bibliography).

The Last Good Man by A.J. Kazinski.  I'm only mentioning this one because of the Lamed- Vav Tzadikim (or Tzadikim Nistarim), who in Jewish tradition are the "thirty six righteous ones" in each generation that are responsible for saving the world.

The book was pretty awful, but the coincidence of reading the book at the same time I was watching the last episode of Touched  with Kiefer Southerland on Hulu was interesting.  I was not familiar with this idea and to have it show up at the same time in a book and a television series was one of those synchronicitous occasions that catch your attention.

When doing a little research on Wikipedia, I discovered that Jodie Picoult, Sam Bourne, Neil Gaiman, and Michael Chabon have all made use of the Talmudic statement about the Lamed-Vav Tzadikim.

I wouldn't even have mentioned this book if it had not been for the fact that the Lamed-Vav Tzadikim was such an intriguing concept.

Mystery. 2012.  480 pages.  library book.


  1. Rosemary McCrackenJune 13, 2012 9:35 AM

    Jenclair, thank you for including a review of Safe Harbor on your blog!

  2. The Chaperone sounds interesting and an intriguing era. I'll keep my eye out for that one thanks.
    Lynn :D

  3. Rosemary- I will be interested in whether you will have another book featuring Pat Tierney.

    LynneD - I enjoyed The Chaperone. Hope you do, if you get a chance to read it!

  4. The Chaperone is one I am raving about. This latest from Moriarty is a bit different than her other books - set in 1922, this is Moriarty's first foray into historical fiction and it is amazing.
    Much like the Paris Wife by Paula McLain captured Ernest and Hadley Hemingway's lives, and Loving Frank by Nancy Horan chronicles a clandestine affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney, The Chaperone features Louise Brooks, a young actress going to New York City for the first time. Her chaperone, nearly middle aged Cora Carlisle, is intrigued by this opportunity to visit New York City, her birthplace, and where she spent her younger years at an orphanage. Louise is quite the handful - upsetting every idea of propriety that Cora has come to know and believe in. From sneaking out at night to getting drunk, Cora's job trying to control Louise is hard work.

  5. Ceska - I haven't read anything else by Moriarty, but I will certainly look for some of her other books.