Book Connections, Review

Five Books that Explore Family Complications


Families most likely by their nature are complicated, I guess we can all point to our own complications. And so when books explore these various complications a) we nod our heads or b) we think “well thank goodness that didn’t happen to us”.

Book cover Lucy’s own mother is dead and she would really welcome a mother figure. However her mother-in-law Diana is not that friendly a figure. She is aloof, unemotional, stands by strict beliefs about money and spends her time on a very good cause. When Diana ends up dead – the question is who did it and why? I didn’t like Diana at the beginning but I warmed to her eventually, I listened to this one on audio and that version was well done.

A middle grade book that introduces to us two twelve year olds who discover their dads are in a relationship and they want their daughters to be “family”. Initially the daughters are horrified! Then a firm friendship is formed in spite of their quite different personalities. The dads have their issues because they aren’t alike either and they stop the relationship to the disappointment of the girls. I thoroughly enjoyed this middle grade book and was delighted by all the plot twists and turns.

book coverA family complication happens in this YA novel and so Aria and her mother move provinces in Canada. One of the complications is that on a night out on Halloween Aria spies her father in another house with a young child on his knee and  the woman who answers the door is pregnant. Well! And there is a second complication but I am not saying a word because I hope some of you read this novel.  It explores what it is to be different, to harbor a secret, and it takes a hard look at bullying. Loved the touch of romance and development of the characters. K. A. Tucker I am so a fan.

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This book fits only loosely into family complications, because really its about friendship complications.However what about when friends eventually work through all the relationship complications over a long number of years and recognise that actually they are family. That’s how this one works out, along the way exploring alcoholism, dieting, secrets and deceit. I enjoyed this book although I didn’t love it. I was so happy it was a library borrow!

Book Cover What happens when one sister steals or seems to steal the man you are to marry right from under your nose. Going to be complicated for sure and it is. It’s either fight or flight and Lena chooses flight and I sympathise with her on that. When she returns home ten years later its because her Dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimers and its all hands on deck. Herself, her sister and brother plus their Dad must deal. In the dealing there is much exploration of memories, of forgiveness and the difference between forgetting and not forgetting. Plus there is a twist that is well signalled and ties in well to the title. And a second twist that I wasn’t that happy with and meant I scored it 4 rather than 5 stars.


Its’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Hello August.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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For some reason the last week seems to have been rather long to me, not that it was boring, just that it had a lot of days in it! Lovely sunshine today, but cold, which I love and would welcome colder. Much of the country has snow but the cold only lightly graced our coastal area.

I had a good reading week, totally loved three of these books and one was just okay. But happily it was a library book.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

Just starting another book by Carmel Harrington – Irish author. Thanks to Trish at Between the Lines who introduced this author to me.

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I am still listening to the Rosamunde Pilcher book The Shell Seekers and will likely be most of the month as its long.

Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

The Huntress. Kate Quinn

July Reading Round Up

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Summer Secrets. Jane Green

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Summer Secrets
Jane Green
Published: Macmillan
Date: July 1st. 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 376
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Own book
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Summer Secrets by Jane Green is my first ever read by Jane Green.  Surprising but true. However now I am won over and will be catching up over time on her backlist. I went out and bought this after reading a number of reviews, and just headed it on up to the top of my reading pile on a whim.

Set mostly in London, England with some of the time in Nantucket USA, this is the story of Cat and her addiction to alcohol.  Cat has grown up with a father who is distant and controlling, and a mother who often takes to her bed with depression.  She grows up lonely and always feeling she is not quite enough.  While a competent journalist, she often drinks herself into oblivion, so avoiding her pain and feelings of loneliness and insecurity.  
And so we follow the path that Cat takes, the father she always thought as her father dies, and then she learns new information about her father that takes her on a trip to meet another family in Nantucket.  Looking in on them she thinks it must be perfect and makes that mistake we often think that other people have the perfect life.  However after an initial “well met” she does something that sends her back to London.
Cat makes attempts to gain sobriety but always to please someone else. Can she ever do it to please herself?  It is a long hard road for Cat, she hurts others along the way and is in turn hurt too.  Jane Green gives us an insightful look into the life of an alcoholic. I found myself caught up in the story and read through it every moment I could. I have never been an alcoholic or lived with one, so it was an exploration of the illness of alcoholism that gave me an appreciation of its difficulties, heartbreaks and challenges. I appreciate the fact that while Cat chose to numb herself through drink there are many ways we can numb ourselves to pain in our lives. Facing it, accepting it and not turning from it is so important. Does Cat do that? Can she do it? It’s tough!
I am not mentioning other characters so that if you haven’t read the book you are introduced to them as they enter the story.  Some are wonderful, some do just the right thing at the right time and some don’t. There are unexpected turns at times and this too added to the emotion and tension in the story.
Loved it! Life, love, hell, hope, forgiveness – this book has it all.
4.5 stars