Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Nevermore: Winspear, Possibility Dogs, Atwood, Lee Smith, Erik Larson

Reported by Kristin

Maisie Dobbs is a favorite character of a few Nevermore readers, and this time she showed up in An Incomplete Revenge by Jacqueline Winspear. This series takes place after the Great War in England, as Maisie undertakes criminal investigations with a psychological bent. This outing has her researching a small village in Kent, and is full of the historical detail that readers of the series enjoy. Our reader recommends starting at the beginning with the first book, simply titled Maisie Dobbs.

Returning to non-fiction, another Nevermore member read and enjoyed The Possibility Dogs: What I Learned from Second-Chance Rescues about Service, Hope, and Healing by Susannah Charleston. The author was involved in search-and-rescue operations and began to find shelter dogs who had the potential to be of service to people with disabilities. Our reader found that she was amazed at how much the dogs have to learn to do, and found their capabilities heartwarming.

Graphic novels pop up in the group once in a while, and today it was Angel CatBird by Margaret Atwood. The author of the well-known The Handmaid's Tale and the more recent sequel The Testaments, Atwood wrote this fantasy novel of genetic engineer Strig Feleedus who ends up as part of his own science experiment based on cat and owl DNA. Strig becomes a superhero in this first part of a trilogy. Our reader noted that Atwood wrote this book as a bit of an apology to birds as she realized that her indoor-outdoor cats over the years had been stalking and killing avian prey. This book comes recommended if you would like something just a little different.

Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith has been passed around to several book club members, and is usually praised highly. Ivy Rowe was born in the Virginia mountains and never ventures far, but tells her tale of Appalachia through a series of letters. Written using local dialogue, this novel is touching and very identifiable to those who live in this region.

Finally, a reader discussed Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. With two interwoven stories of Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the telegraph, and Hawley Crippen, a man who probably would have gotten away with murder if he just hadn't chopped up his wife. As news was able to be communicated more quickly due to the telegraph, the murder investigation travelled across the Atlantic faster than the sailing ships could. This strange juxtaposition of stories sounds odd, but it works as Larson is skilled at telling the tales of quirky people.

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