Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “family drama”

HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #37: The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper is a standard tale of secrets, gossip and female friendship set in the South.  Set in a small town in rural North Carolina, Willa Jackson breaks free of her family’s legacy through a series of high school pranks and later, by running a successful independent business. Paxton Osgood is set up as the classic Southern daughter; dutiful, highly involved in the town’s women society and planning the social event of the season.  As Paxton runs into a series of obstacles planning the gala and Willa falls for Paxton’s brother, both women discover they have more in common than they realized.

The book  is fairly heavy handed in its discussion of female friendship.  Paxton and Willa’s grandmothers bonded over a tragic series of events many years ago, and as those long-buried secrets come to light, Paxton and Willa forge their own bond.  A major theme in the book is rediscovering your roots, and your values, by learning to look past shallow distractions like status.

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HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #32: The Shoemaker’s Wife by Adriana Trigiani

*Although this book has now been released, I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the author.

Adriana Trigiani’s warm and inviting stories are about Italians living in or immigrating to America, and their families, lovers and friends. The Shoemaker’s Wife is the love story of Ciro and Enza, who meet as children in their small mountain Italian town and both immigrate to America – Ciro for punishment, Enza to support her family. Over the years, as Enza works her way up the seamstress ladder to become the main seamstress for a Metropolitan Opera star, and Ciro firmly establishes himself as an entrepreneurial shoemaker, they occasionally bump into each other, rekindling their childhood feelings for each other.

Enza was my favorite part of this novel.  She’s one of the truly strong, brave, hardworking female characters Trigiani is known for.  She worships her family, moving abroad to support them and earning enough money over time to build them a house.  She wants something for herself, something more than marriage, and along with her Irish best friend, she works tirelessly to get it. She’s kind, sensitive and wonderfully creative – I loved the chapters about her and her friend Laura working as seamstresses at the Met. It was both exciting, and grueling, to read about.

If you’re looking for a will-they-or-won’t-they love story rich in historical details, I highly recommend The Shoemaker’s Wife.  However, there were a few things I didn’t enjoy (potential spoilers after the jump).

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HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #31: Broken Harbour by Tana French

*I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Tana French’s Broken Harbour through a Goodreads giveaway.

Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series is fantastic, and Broken Harbour is no exception.  Mike “Scorcher” Kennedy may have been burned by Detective Frank Mackey in Faithful Place  when he tried ally with Mackey in hopes of  making a name for himself, but as the featured detective in this novel, he knocks it out of the park. When a family is brutally attacked in their home and the wife barely survives, Kennedy takes on the defining case of his career that  parallels his struggles with his bipolar sister.

Broken Harbour combined my favorite elements of French’s past novels.  Her mysteries are particularly fascinating because she narrows the field of suspects to two or three real suspects.  Here, French gives us an in depth character study of the husband, wife and their childhood friend.  You become emotionally invested in the potential suspects, and most importantly – this is no bait and switch.  There’s no random stranger or undiscovered evidence that comes in at the end and let’s everyone off the hook.  Someone you care about deeply about by the end of the story will be the killer, which only heightens the emotional impact.

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