A Fall of Marigolds

A Fall of MarigoldsA Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
Published by NAL on February 4th 2014
Pages: 394
ISBN: 045141991X
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three-half-stars

“The marigold insisted I not give up. They are very resilient flowers, you know…. They aren’t fragrant like roses and sweet peas, but they can stand against odds that the more fragile flowers cannot…. They can bloom in the fall, even after a frost. Even after all other flowers have given up.”

A scarf connects two women both coping with tragic events which lead to loss and heartache.

In 1911, Nurse Clara Wood survived the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. The fire was the deadliest industrial disaster in U.S. history. The fire resulted in the death of 123 women and 23 men. In the book, Clara was able to get out of the factory in time only to see those who jumped, including a man she had feelings for, to their deaths rather than face the flames. However, the trauma of the fire and what and who she has lost haunts her and she accepts a job on Ellis Island caring for sick immigrants. There she meets a man with whom she feels a connection as he has a loss like her own. She is drawn to the scarf he has, and the name embroidered on it. In helping the man obtain some of his belongings, she learns some truths and is left with a decision concerning the “truth” and whether to tell the truth and in doing so will she herself learn some “truths”?

In September 2011, widow Taryn Michaels is working in a specialty fabric store. Her life is turned upside down when a photograph of her is published in a magazine. The photograph shows her and a man who helped her on September 11, 2001 when she was attempting to meet her husband at the World Trade Center when tragedy struck. In the book, her husband dies in the collapse in the World Trade Center. The attacks on 9/11 killed 2,996 people and injured 6,000 others (according to Wikipedia).

“Everything beautiful has a story it wants to tell. But not every story is beautiful.”

The book is about both women but mainly focuses on Clara’s story. With dual story-lines, I find I always enjoy one more than the other and this was the case here. I did enjoy Clara’s story more but wonder if that is because her story was given more attention in this book. Her story takes up most of the book. I did learn some about scarlet fever and how immigration was handled during that time specifically when dealing with ill immigrants. I enjoyed how the Author showed Clara being unwilling to move on with her life as her friends were gently prodding her to do just that. To move on, to stop being stuck, and to finally see the “truth” about not only how she was living but also about the man who died the day of the fire. Having said that, I also feel that the Author could have moved things along a little faster in this aspect.

I would have liked to have seen Taryn’s story-line fleshed out a lot more. She lost her husband in 9/11 and is coping with the guilt that he was on a certain floor in the tower because she asked him to meet her there. She is also wrestling with what her daughter’s reaction will be when she learns this information. I remember watching the towers fall on television. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to be in NYC during that time and after. In this book Taryn was saved by a stranger as so many were that tragic day. I really would have loved more about Taryn’s experiences in this book. Her story line got the short end of the stick her and I would have liked to have known more about her and her daughter.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read about two women who share the theme of loss and have a connection to a scarf. Their story-line’s eventually merge, and it was rewarding to learn how. As the Author used real life tragic events, I wish she would have given both equal time. I know I have said that before in my review, but I just wanted a little bit more. I realize that Clara’s story-line is necessary for setting up the reason for the connecting of both story-lines, but I feel that could have been done with giving more focus to Taryn’s story-line as well.

This is a great book for books clubs as there is a lot to discuss here: historical events, loss, tragedies, love, denial, what constitutes love, survivor’s guilt, moving on, coping with loss of a loved one, transference, ethics, etc.

three-half-stars

You Knew Me When

You Knew Me WhenYou Knew Me When by Emily Liebert
Published by NAL on September 3rd 2013
Pages: 352
ISBN: 0451419448
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three-half-stars

This was a nice fast read about two women who become friends after Kitty’s Mother dies and her Father purchases a home in Vermont near Laney’s home. The girls become best friends and also form a bond with the neighbor who lives in between their homes. Kitty also begins dating Laney’s brother when they become teenagers. They stopped talking after “life” gets in the way. I think they both behaved immaturely especially Laney around the big “reveal” One moves to NYC to attend College and one stays home and gets married. I enjoyed how the story went back and forth between their teenage years and the present day. After years go by, they have been notified that they have been named in a will and must be present for the reading. They see how their lives have changed since the last time the two women were together. This was a really nice book that would make a great beach read, or plane ride. The book had a nice sweet ending that was predictable but still very sweet. This is a charming little book about friendships, family, and love

three-half-stars

The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidThe Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch
Published by NAL on February 5th 2013
Pages: 350
ISBN: 0451239199
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four-stars

***Received from Gloodreads first reads giveaway

This was a fantastic book! Very well written and extensively researched. Most of us have seen the movie staring Robert Redford and Paul Newman and/or have basic knowledge of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This book is great if you want to learn more, a lot more, about them, their crimes, their escapes, associates and exploits. This book begins by taking us back to their origins, their childhood, their upbrining and their first experience with crime. Their stories are told individually and then together after they met and became members of the “Wild Bunch”. Their exploits, robberies, arrests, loves, move to South Americ etc. are well told in this book. I definitely learned a lot about both men and their lives. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history, the wild west, crime or who enjoys a good book.

four-stars

The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

The Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidThe Last Outlaws: The Lives and Legends of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid by Thom Hatch
Published by NAL on February 5th 2013
Pages: 350
ISBN: 0451239199
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

***Received from Gloodreads first reads giveaway

This was a fantastic book! Very well written and extensively researched. Most of us have seen the movie staring Robert Redford and Paul Newman and/or have basic knowledge of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This book is great if you want to learn more, a lot more, about them, their crimes, their escapes, associates and exploits. This book begins by taking us back to their origins, their childhood, their upbrining and their first experience with crime. Their stories are told individually and then together after they met and became members of the “Wild Bunch”. Their exploits, robberies, arrests, loves, move to South Americ etc. are well told in this book. I definitely learned a lot about both men and their lives. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history, the wild west, crime or who enjoys a good book.

four-stars

Far From True

Far From TrueFar From True (Promise Falls Trilogy, #2) by Linwood Barclay
Published by NAL on March 8th 2016
Pages: 449
ISBN: 0451472705
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four-stars

Received from NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Whew! This is the second book in the Promise Falls series and I enjoyed it very much. I have not read the first book in the series but I am going to add it to my want to read list. For the second book in the series, I found it worked well as a stand alone book for me. There are A LOT of characters in this book. In the beginning I thought “maybe I should take notes” as there were so many people and so many plots and subplots going on. But after a while, I found it easy to follow with the exception of two of the characters names looking similar to me: Duckworth and Duncomb. There are also two investigators working in this book. In the beginning I found this confusing but then I found my stride and it all made sense to me.

Secrets, Secrets, Secrets. Secret lives, secret rooms, secret lovers,secret rendezvous, secret appetites are exposed after a drive in theater movie screen falls on two parked cars killing the occupants. Small towns tend to have BIG secrets and Promise Falls is no exception. The Daughter of one of the victims hires a private investigator to investigate a break in at her deceased father’s home. What is found in the basement is shocking and holds many of the town members secrets. Missing DVD’s are sought and secrets are revealed. Two investigators work at solving the crimes.

There is a cliff hanger at the end that leaves me wanting to find out more. I understand this is how the first book in the series ended as well. My advice to anyone is if this book seems confusing or there are two many characters, just give it time, write down some facts and characters if you need to, but do not give up on this book. This is a very well thought out book. I found the writing to be very engaging and intelligent. I really love books that I can’t figure out all the way. This book kept me guessing and I still don’t know what is going to be revealed next.

I will definitely read the first book in this series as soon as possible and I will also be reading the next in this series.

four-stars