Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Review - "A Secret Kept"

Written by Tatiana de Rosnay, author of Sarah's Key, A Secret Kept is also a story about the past and its effect on the present. This book is told from the perspective of Antoine Rey, an emotionally wounded man, whose wife has divorced him.

A surprise trip with his sister Melanie for her birthday, to Noirmoutier Island opens the story. They have not visited the magical island since the death of their mother when they were quite young. Melanie was so young the last time they visited, at first she doesn't think she remembers anything. As they approach the island, she remembers Le Gois passage, a causeway that is only available about 4 hours a day at very low tide. If you search You Tube for  Le Gois, there is an amazing trip (by car) across the causeway in which the family just misses disaster!

By the end of the weekend, as Melanie and Antoine leave the island, Melanie is preoccupied. And as she begins to tell her brother what she remembers, she is loses control of the car causing a terrible accident. As Antoine pursues the memory, he uncovers not just the past, but the father and person he is meant to be.

The book club was generally pleased with A Secret Kept. A few members, but not the majority, enjoyed Sarah's Key more. While Antoine was not an immediately likable character, he became more appealing as he faces his life and his shortcomings as a father and partner.

Overall, a thumbs up!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Now in Paperback - March & February

We missed posting last month's now in paperback, so this month will include paperbacks introduced in March and February... all books mentioned are in stock at Hattie's Books now!

“The Pioneer Woman is at it again, but this time she's not dishing up recipes, rather she's giving us the juicy details of her courtship and her first year of marriage with her own 'Marlboro Man.' It's not your conventional fairy tale - Drummond went from designer clothes and spa days to becoming the hard working wife of a cowboy on an isolated ranch. But through it all, it's still clear that she landed one major prince. She traded her glass slippers for cowboy boots--and she couldn't be happier.”

-- Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO

“The sisters in this funny and touching book are not 'weird' in the modern sense of the word; the title refers to the three witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Headed by a father who was a professor of Shakespeare and his loving wife, the Adreas family was certainly unusual, and the three daughters grew up speaking in couplets, quoting Hamlet, and reading constantly. When their mother develops breast cancer, all three sisters return to their Midwestern home to aid in her care - and end up caring for each other as well. This is a wonderful tribute to literature, the bonds of sisterhood, and the importance of family.”
-- Ellen Burns, Books On The Common, Ridgefield, CT

“In South Korea in 1960, Soo-Ja Choi is a beautiful young woman from a well-to-do family. As the country is struggling to recover from a divisive war and tries to enter the modern world, Soo-Ja is exploring her options as a young adult. When her father does not allow her to accept a position studying to be a diplomat, he destroys her dreams. Over the next 15 years, she struggles with her life decisions, her new family, and a love she gave up before she understood the permanence of choice. A compulsive read, the novel is based on the life of Park's mother.”
-- Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, CA

“This isn't your typical chef memoir. Gabrielle Hamilton has come to the stove by sheer force and tenacity, and it comes through on every page of her book. From a rural childhood with her large family hosting a lamb roast for 100 guests to owning one of the most respected restaurants in New York City, Hamilton's journey hasn't always been easy, but always surrounded by good 'real' food, which is where her passion lies. Hamilton writes so deliciously that your mouth will be watering as you read.”
 -- Sherri Gallentine, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

“On one hand, this is a tremendously affecting biography of William Styron, gorgeously written, dramatic, insightful, and compassionate. On the other, it is Mad Men, all skinny ties, nipped waists, scotch in the afternoon, and torrid love affairs. That the younger Styron has managed to both shed a bright light on her father's career, from its rapid rise in the '50s to its dark decline as a result of profound depression, as well as to entertain with literary name-dropping and party tales is commendable. I loved it!” 
-- Becky Dayton, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT