Sarah P. works special events and weekends at the bookstore. She is a mother of four daughters, two dogs, two cats, a rabbit, and three hens. She keeps honeybees and practices permaculture in her organic garden. When not working, she is likely to be found hiking, reading under a quilt, or writing letters.
Oh, to reread this novel and discover Kate Morton for the first time! Travel backwards in memories and letters, enduring family estates, trysts in overgrown gardens, hidden passages, maddening twists - these are the hallmarks of her stories.
The main character is a young woman who is prickly, overconfident, and flawed, but her determination quickly earns the reader's respect. Her sleuthing uncovers layers of secrets like crumbling parchments, and the reader is duly unsettled but satisfied when the mystery unfolds.
This story's characters are prisms - they send pieces of light outwards to others, despite living through one of history's darkest moment. Doerr has a gift for describing everything in arresting detail: the lap of water on a beach, an ink stain under flour dust in a bakery, the light of humanity in a child's eye. I am forever haunted by this novel. It should be required reading because it underscores what could be lost from the human condition if we are not vigilant.
Curiosity drew me to pick up this book - how exactly do two authors craft a novel together, during a pandemic? Besides the fact that beekeeping plays a starring role, the novel is wonderful for three reasons:
One: I love a narrative that plays with time - this story is told mostly backwards. My favorite writers can move back and forth in time and use this to build suspense, make the reader revisit assumptions, or evoke a dreamlike quality.
Two: I love books that wrestle with ethics. In this novel: What is privacy? Are we allowed some secrets? How do we decide who to confide in, and when is the right time? When is a secret the same as a lie?
Three: To avoid spoilers, I'll just say that this book tenderly, and with dignity, leads the reader to a fuller appreciation for the diversity in humankind.
This story, about two plucky children facing an underground labyrinth of goblins, is best enjoyed in the 1978 printing on the lap of a parent reading in a drowsy voice. Irene is the original spunky princess, loyally rescuing Curdie and earning folk heroine status.
There is a sequel! Rejoin Irene and Curdie for more adventures in The Princess and Curdie.
The way the world works isn't fair. Andrea Lankford has a background as a badass National Park Ranger and a field medic-turned-nurse. But she's somehow also a skilled storyteller. Each chapter leaves the reader intrigued and unsatisfied. I could barely put it down, and have looked for several other readers. My heart aches for the parents of these young missing thru-hikers.