Are you ready to add three good books to your reading list? Well, these aren’t really that new so you’ve probably already read them but let me tell you about why I liked these books.
Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh is the story of a small coal mining town. It’s citizens make up the neighborhoods of Little Italy, Swedentown and Polish Hill. One family, the Novak’s, will be a witness to the changes in landscape and atmosphere as they raise their five children during the 1940s.
This story really captivated me with the setting. I especially loved reading about how the women in were going out to work, perhaps the first in the families who sought work outside of the home. They experienced a freedom they didn’t have before but I thought there was also a loneliness there that I don’t think many were prepared for as they had never been away from home.
To me this book seemed like the perfect snapshot of an era. I have a couple of other books by this author and I think I will be in for a treat.
Source: Personal copy
The Weight of Heaven by Thrity Umrigar is an emotionally charged book. The main characters Frank and Ellie have lost their only child and now their relationship is in crisis. When Frank is offered a job in India the couple feel this might be the way to find their way back to what they had.
In India, Ellie seems to thrive and gets on well in her new home. Frank is finding that business conduct is different from what he was accustomed to and for him life in his new home is a bit more challenging. But the bright spot in his life is the child of the the couple who work in their home. Ramesh is a bright boy and Frank sees so much potential in him if only he could have a life like what any boy in the States could have.
As Frank gets closer to Ramesh, Ellie starts to resent this and not only that but Frank is not making friends of Ramesh’s dad. The boy’s father feels the American is very intrusive and only makes him look bad. The situation gets more tense and a point of not return is reached for the families. I was so upset with Frank for not seeing clearly how his behavior was out of line.
I think this would be a wonderful book for discussion. I didn’t particularly like the ending so that’s probably the only reason why this book is not one of my favorites of the year but still an engaging read.
Source: Personal copy
The House At Riverton by Kate Morton is the story of an Aristocratic family in England during the Interwar years. There are secrets, violence and through it all the all-knowing house staff who pledge to be there for the family.
Grace is the 98-year old narrator of the story. A director has approached her to film the story of Riverton and it’s inhabitants and through flashbacks she relates how she first arrived at Riverton as a maid.
At the center are two sisters, Hannah and Emmline, whom Grace watched as they grew up. In particular she feels a connection with Hannah and that connection will lead her to make some drastic choices in her personal life.
While the story of the sisters was interesting I loved reading about the house staff. How loyal they were to the family. So loyal that when one of the staff members goes to war and comes back with different views on the way things are, I thought you could really tell how the rest of the staff loved him but were disappointed by him. Maybe even a bit alarmed by him and his notions.
There were some unanswered questions for me in the end, but I still enjoyed this book a lot and look forward to reading another of her books.
There, done with three mini reviews. I still want to tell you about two other fantastic books I’ve recently read so hopefully I’ll get those done before the end of the year. So have you read these? What did you think?