Published by Atlantic Monthly Press, March 2014 *****
I adored LaPlante’s first novel, Turn of Mind, so I was excited for her latest endeavor, and Wives didn’t disappoint. I was immediately drawn in by Detective Sam Adam’s voice. In introducing herself, she presents her circumstances with a playful self-deprecation. As the curious circumstances emerge of the suspicious death of Dr. John Taylor, other narrators emerge, but each are entirely unreliable because of their emotional vulnerability in the wake of John’s death. All three are John’s wives. The original, Deborah, was aware of the other two. She is calculating and controlling, but determined to manage John in a vice-grip of pretended civility. Second wife MJ is blind-sided by the obituary stating that John left behind Deborah and three children. Helen, who is still in the honeymoon stage of her marriage to John, is more logical in dealing with the knowledge that she was wife three.
But the circumstances of the murder aren’t so cut and dry and Sam struggles to determine who would have a motive and the skill to (almost) make John’s death appear natural. I appreciated that all wives were so vastly different; Deborah is unhappy but concerned with maintaining a blissful domestic façade, free-spirited MJ is somewhat gullible, and oncologist Helen is incredibly fastidious and methodical. They were all so well-written and flawed. The conclusion was effective in its slight ambiguity and I love when I finish a book and am left wondering.
I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program
Published by Ballentine Books, November 2013 ****
This is the continuing saga of William, King of England, son of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. As alternate history, it’s a cool concept (what if Anne had been able to give Henry a son and heir and had therefore survived), but you probably won’t be able to appreciate the story if you haven’t read the first book in the series, The Boleyn King. In this novel, William is manipulating the French, trying to convince them that he is determined to fulfill the agreements of their newly formed treaty. He has promised to marry the French king’s daughter, though he has already secretly laid claim to his sister Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting, Minuette. Meanwhile, Minuette is trying to unravel the threads of a plot that was unresolved in the prior book. And Minuette is in love with William’s most trusted advisor, and newly made Duke of Exeter, Dominic. Like I said, you would be utterly confused if you didn’t already know what’s going on.
I loved that two particular historical characters were introduced here: mystical John Dee and spymaster Francis Walsingham. They both prove their skills in their respective fields of knowledge, especially to Elizabeth. With the very open-ended conclusion, there are so many possibilities in which direction the third book in the series could go.
I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.
I got some wonderful gifts for my birthday!
A few weeks ago, I saw the following ad in the lit section of The Trib, so I took a picture of it and text it to my dad, since he lives close to the venue where Diane Setterfield would be appearing.
Sure enough, in my bag of goodies was a signed copy of the new book Bellman & Black! Thanks Dad!
And from The Hubs I got my usual box of books! Gone Girl, The Fault In Our Stars, and The Divergent boxed trilogy. Squee!
(Sorry for the crappy iPhone photos. That’s me being lazy)
Update 1 – Four hours into my reading binge… Oh, what a lovely day this is so far! I have finished Maus, two of McEwan’s short stories, and started Dorian Gray, for a total of 221 pages so far.
Update 2 – 6 hours of reading and my afternoon is winding down. It’s time for me too check the mail and moderate comments and bask in Facebook birthday wishes. I’m glad to say I’ve finished one book and made very good progress on three others. Total pages read today: 283.
The house is filling with the smell of chicken in the crock pot, Harry Potter is on TV, my Christmas tree is lit (we decorated yesterday), the wine is chilling, so I’m going to snuggle up with The Hubs (who gave me some awesome books; I’ll report on that tomorrow). Enjoy the rest of your day!
I’m taking a short break to get my nosh on. Snacks today include radishes, sugar snap peas, cucumber, pita chips, and hummus. I also made a nice cuppa tea in the new mug my dad got me.
What are you looking forward to munching on today?
And I’m trying a new chicken and dumplings recipe in the crockpot that I found on Pinterst. Yum!
I have finished my first hour of the Birthday Readathon, so I wanted to share with you my giveaway offerings. First Prize: Two people will have the chance to win a custom book pendant necklace. I also am offering these pretty ribbon bookmarks and magnetic bookmarks.
There are 12 things you could possibly win! All you have to do is leave a comment below with the title of your favorite book (if you win, I will ask you what type of chain you prefer). Good luck! (Comments made prior to midnight Sunday, December 1st qualify).
Good morning, duckies! It’s my birthday and the one thing I wanted to do more than anything today was to host this little informal readathon. Can you believe I woke up at 8:00 on a Saturday WILLINGLY?! I’m that excited, and I’m even getting a bit of a head start. I’m cuddled up in my comfy clothes (and my Read Harder shirt) and I have my snacks at the ready. Here’s what I’m hoping to read today:
- In Between the Sheets by Ian McEwan (short stories)
- Maus by Art Spiegelman (graphic novel)
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (classic)
I also started A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante yesterday, so I might get sucked back into that one, too.
Tell me what you’re reading today. And please stop by in an hour for my Giveaway Extravaganza!