Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Nevermore: First Frost, Never Have I Ever, Book Charmer, Redhead by the Side of the Road, Rodham, My Lovely Wife

Reported by Kristin

Our first Nevermore reader reported on the joys of using Tennessee R.E.A.D.S. for ebooks. From the historical sage of A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan, a multigenerational store of the Orchire family, to a story collection entitled Strange Trades by Paul Di Filippo, a look at humanity through their daily work, the world of ebooks has opened up many more reading possibilities as many readers stay safe at home. Our reader effused the joy of jumping back and forth between different genres, and especially noted as “absolutely fabulous” the Virginia mountain tale of Ivy Rowe in Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith.

Another reader continued with her enjoyment of Sarah Addison Allen novels, this time with First Frost. The Waverley sisters were first seen in Garden Spells, and the tale of the family with a mischievous and moody apple tree has captivated several readers in the group. Set in Bascom, North Carolina, Claire Waverley has begun a new business, creating candies with herbs and a hint of magic. Our reader said that this entertaining tale was exactly what she needed.

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson took our next reader a little further south to Florida. When Angelica Roux arrives at a suburban book club, she quickly turns Amy Whey's world upside down. Amy has created a normal life which some might even call boring and blasé, but she loves it—raising her baby son and her stepdaughter, being a loving wife to her husband. But Roux knows something about Amy's past, and she has her own agenda of destruction. Our reader said that it kept her on the edge of her chair waiting to see what would happen next.

Next up was The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins, featuring Sarah, a librarian in a small southern town called Dove Pond. With her particular gift, Sarah is able to hear the books whispering to her as she matches stories to readers. This quirky little book was touted as a happy, nice story.

Another highly recommended novel was Anne Tyler's newest release, Redhead by the Side of the Road. Micah Mortimer is the very organized manager of his Baltimore apartment building and is rather set in his ways, some might even call him rigid. His life is thrown into more confusion than he likes when his “woman friend” may be getting evicted and needs a place to stay and a teenage boy shows up on the doorstep claiming to be his son. Our reader found this to be full of beautiful writing, and well worth reading.

This day full of fiction also included a title which sounds like it should be non-fiction, but isn't. Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld is a speculative novel which asks the simple question: What if Hillary hadn't married Bill? Taking Hillary Rodham's potential as a law student, activist, and proponent of women's rights, this novel imagines what could have been if she had diverged from her real life path. Our reader enjoyed the novel and recommended it to others.

Finally, My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing is a debut thriller told from the point of a husband who really loves his wife and their nearly perfect life. Millicent feeds her family healthy food and maintains their high social standing in their upper middle class community. Their fifteen year marriage seems perfect, except that to spice it up, Millicent has begun to murder people. Our reader said that she really wasn't sure how to feel about this book because of this extremely unusual premise, but that it was amusing and unique. 

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