Book Connections

Book Family Complications.

Family is a rather ubiquitous theme in books, as a reader you meet it whether its in the title or not! However I find it is endlessly interesting.

Family Reunion I’ve just  read Family Reunion  It’s set in Nantucket. There is Eleanor who is the grandmother and lives in a wonderful old house on the island.

Her grand daughter Ari is with her spending the summer after study. She has just broken up her engagement. She loves her grandmother and they have a great relationship.Then there is Ari’s parents and uncle. They live off island but visit. They provide quite a bit of the conflict.

I liked the two main characters, and the plot moved along at a nice pace, there was always something happening – mostly in a quiet kind of way, but still eventful. Plus most of the characters grow as the book develops.   4 stars.

book cover I  just finished reading this backlist book by Emilie Richards – Rising Tides. It follows on from Iron Lace which I read back in 2017 but never moved on to this one. It was first published in 1997. Aurore has died and all relevant people have been called to the cottage to listen to the will in Louisiana.

Complicated family totally, with racism, tension violence and huge secrets. I don’t know that I like this family that much! But they do get surprises and that’s for sure and maybe some answers.

It isn’t a favourite by ER for me, but I am still finding myself wanting to find out all the sordid family details and what each will do with them. It is a 4 star rating for me.

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One I read way back in 2016. Echoes of Family. This is a story of family, of the burdens some carry from their past, of living with a mental illness. And that from the point of view of the person with the mental illness and those who love and support them and angst for them. It gave me insight and enabled me understand and open my heart to those who have the burden of such illness.

I like anything this author writes but she hasn’t published anything recently.

This was a  five star read. Keeper shelf.

book cover A 2020 read – Just An Ordinary Family. I always love to showcase this Australian Author. She writes a fine story.

Any book that makes me want to keep coming back to pick it up and read is a winner in my view. It is complicated family relationships at its best. It made me waver back and forth about all the characters – did I like them, did I agree with them, could I accept them for all their flaws? Final verdict is that I did hold them in my heart – wept at times and smiled at times. Cheered them on.

4.5 stars. Keeper Shelf.

And one from my TBR shelf! Hana Khan Carries On. Surprising to me on my actual TBR print books I could only pick out one book that seems to be family complications oriented.

It centers on Hana but involves her mother and a mysterious aunt and teenage cousin which draws Hana into a long-buried family secret. Published 2021.

Looking forward to reading this one soon.

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Book Connections

Garden Books.

I am not a gardener although there are plenty in my family who are and my forebears were gardeners too. Most of my garden is very dry at present, and I do have a small veggie garden. Love picking from that.

There have been quite a few books I’ve read that have almost at centre stage – a garden.

book cover The Unfinished Garden is the author’s debut novel and the only one I hadn’t read of hers until now. Tilly the main woman character is into gardens and garden and loves it. Both in North Carolina where she has a business and in her home in England where she spends some time as well. Then there is James who wants Tilly’s help with a garden for his place. He has OCD and can’t put his hands near the earth. This book I think is titled The Unfinished Garden because a garden is never finished. How true!  Barbara Claypole White always presents a very compassionate stance towards her characters with mental illness and I always love her knowledge and the help she provides her readers to take these people into their hearts.

book coverA Home Like Ours also has a special Australian garden at its centre. It’s very important and brings a community together. My review for this one will be up soon. It was a 5 star read for me.

book coverThis was an engrossing tale, told from a few different viewpoints and times. The story and mystery unfold – the reader has enough clues to see what has happened before the characters. Its both sad and and uplifting. What a complicated family! It involves a kind of secret garden.

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The Garden of Happy Endings  involves sisters and a community garden in a poor part of town. I loved this story, so thoughtful and enjoyable. Loved the  women and each of their stories. Their search and exploration of what makes them happy was important. I especially appreciated Elsa’s journey – her spiritual one and her search for her partner in life. Felt very real and authentic.

book coverThe Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman. Witty and insightful. Wonderful group of characters. Two sisters, well two sets of sisters who made me laugh and at times sad. A group of people who come together around a gardening project and form what I think will be lasting friendships. Tons of good hints about gardening.

There is another book I’ll be wanting to read… The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly which comes well recommended.


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The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White

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Published: Lake Union Publishing
Date: 16th January 2018
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Rating of book
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Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.

But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?

The Promise Between Us was my first read for 2018 and really it was a perfect choice. What a mind blowing, emotional, informative story. It is one that will stay with me and one that I will want to reread again.

The story is told mainly from Katie’s point of view, the mother who walked out and left her child because she was terrified she would harm her. However we also have Cal – her ex husband, Jake his close mate, Lilah now Cal’s wife and Maisie the daughter of Cal and Katie. As well there is Delaney – Katie’s sister and Ben the guy who just might be someone important in Katie’s life. While the last two do not get a ‘viewpoint’ they have important roles and I love how Barbara Claypole White portrayed them

The other ‘main character’ in the story is OCD, Katie lives with it and now after accidentally meeting Maisie, she fears Maisie has it too. As a reader I learned so much about OCD through the book and how important treatment is for it and how courageous one has to be to live fully and not let the OCD take over your life. And so terrible things happen in this story, but always there is courage and hope and that stood out right the way through.

As it turns out Katie and Maisie are not the only ones suffering from anxiety – and that was a heart breaking aspect as well to this story – I am not going to say who or how as I do not want to spoil the story if you read it. However it is handled gently and in a positive manner. I loved the emphasis on truth and honesty, and kudos to Lilah, what a wonderful young woman – so wise.

At the beginning of the book Jake seems to be a frivolous, happy go lucky man, but in actual fact he has hidden depths and I can see as the future evolves he and Katie will work together on some project close to their hearts.

A favorite quote from the book:

” Perfection stops you from enjoying the wonder of what is. It snares you with unrealistic expectations. Tells you constantly things can only be a certain way, and that’s how you fall into the trap”

This was a wonderful story to read, just as a story – but as well it helped me see into the mind and heart of others and invited me as a person to expand my heart and mind to believe all over again that darkness does not win; compassion, love and hope are far stronger.