Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Nevermore: Happiness, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, Farewell to Manzanar, A Woman of No Importance

 Reported by Garry

Our Nevermore group brought its usual good mix of fiction, fact and humor to the table this week.


First up was Happiness: A Novel by Aminatta Forna which drew a rave review from our book club member.  “I have got to own this book!” she exuberantly stated.  She called it the most enlightening book she has read in a while.  Jean, an American studying urbanized foxes in London and Atilla, a Ghanaian psychiatrist have a chance encounter on a London bridge that will change the courses of both of their lives in ways they could not imagine.   Our reader found this to be an incredibly inspiring book – wonderfully heartfelt and very uplifting.  She definitely recommends it and will be reading it again.   


Also highly recommended was the debut novel, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman.  This is our reader’s new favorite book. In this historical fiction novel set in the early 1960s, CeeCee is brought up in the North by a Southern mother, and her life is not very good.  The mother keeps referring to Savannah, Georgia where she was raised, but something in her tales seems off and just does not sit right.  CeeCee winds up living in Savannah, and learns about the eccentric, powerful women who run the city.  Full of wonderful, flavorful characters, this book had our reader smiling and frowning as it transported her to Georgia in the early 1960s.  Our reader is looking forward to more books by this brilliant author.


Next up was Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatskui Huston and James D. Huston. This 1973 memoir recalls the internment of American citizens of Japanese heritage during World War II.  Manzanar was an internment camp built in the high mountains of California and housed over 11,000 Japanese Americans from December of 1941 until December of 1944.  Our reader really enjoyed this true story of a lesser known chapter of American history.   If you are interested in this book, you will also like Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.


Our next book review was of A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell.  This is an award winning biography of American spy Virginia Hall, a very smart, attractive, tall, very charismatic Baltimore native who became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines, despite her prosthetic leg.  Hall loved France as her second country and through her determinism, grit and spycraft, built a huge Resistance network against the Nazis in France, even when her face was plastered across the country on Wanted posters.  Our reader was enthralled with this biography, and highly recommends it.   

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