I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last Arum Lilea Book Club post but, given that I’ve had a life changing event (and added a member to the book club), I hope you’ll forgive me. I’ve done plenty reading this year despite being one book behind on my Goodreads Reading Challenge. Let’s dive straight into my latest book reviews.
NOT A HAPPY FAMILY BY SHARI LAPENA
Talk about a complicated family! This story follows the tale of a very wealthy self-made father that does not show any love or affection for his wife and children whom he considers disappointments for various reasons. After tension at their Easter dinner boils over into a walk-out by all three adult children and their partners, their parents are found by the housekeeper to have been murdered. Given the circumstances of the family’s last meal together and the fact that each sibling is now set to gain millions in their inheritance, the police have their suspicions as to what really took place that evening and within reason because every person they interview is lying. This fast-paced story will have you doubting every character that appears in the book. The characters doubt each other too. I didn’t see the ending coming and I love it when that happens. This was the first time I’ve read a book written by Shari Lapena and now I definitely want to read more. I love a gripping, fast-paced mystery and this was everything I was looking for.
REMINDERS OF HIM BY COLLEEN HOOVER
You may recall that I have recommended Verity by Colleen Hoover multiple times because it is simply fantastic. This is the second book I’ve read by Hoover and it’s very different to Verity. The writing style was not as good but, wow, this story will hit you directly in the heart. After a horrendous car crash, two lovers are separated forever. One dies and the other goes to prison as a result of the death. Kenna discovers that she is pregnant after she’s been sentenced for Scotty’s death and is forced to give up her baby girl to Scotty’s parents who want nothing to do with Kenna ever again. Once Kenna is released from prison, she goes in search of her daughter. All this time, she has been writing letters to Scotty. Through her letters, we learn what really happened the night of the crash and it will just about break your heart. Through Kenna’s struggle for forgiveness, we see how easily one mistake can impact so heavily on all aspects of life. The ending of this book is something that will linger in your mind long after you finish the final page. It’s beautiful.
When three sisters and their cousin have drifted away from one another, they decide that it is high time they book a holiday together to spend some quality time with one another on a health retreat. Unfortunately, things go terribly wrong when one is murdered on arrival. The shock barely has time to sink in before another murder takes place and it appears that a pattern begins to emerge… there is a serial killer on the island just as there was a generation before. Is it the same killer or is it a copy-cat? As the situation becomes more desperate on the island, we start to uncover dark secrets about each visitor that they’d definitely prefer to keep buried. This book has so many twists and turns that it kept me completely enthralled right up to the final page. It was brilliant! This was another author new to me but I’m definitely going to be reading more of Pearse’s novels.
THE DICTIONARY OF LOST WORDS BY PIP WILLIAMS
When I saw the feminist nature of this storyline, I was already intrigued. Add to that intrigue a book about the creation of the dictionary and its key role players, I knew I needed to read it. Coincidentally, the suffragette movement took place in the same era of the publication of the dictionary and women were involved in the process of collecting words to include in the publication. It is so interesting to hear the history behind the dictionary and what a huge project it was at inception. This story follows Esme who is raised in the house where the dictionary began because her father worked on its creation. Esme quickly grasps the importance of the meaning of words, whether colloquial, related to females or simply pique her curiosity. Slowly she starts to build a collection of words herself. Be that as it may, I found this book rather disappointing. There were times when I had no idea where the storyline was going or if there was any direction at all. This is a Reese Witherspoon bookclub pick so I was quite surprised to be let down by it considering its popularity. In my opinion, you can skip this book without having lost out at all.
THE BRONZE HORSEMAN BY PAULINA SIMONS
This is an epic war-time romance set during the time of the Nazi invasion of Russia. Tatiana, just a young girl at the time, falls madly in love with a soldier, Alexander, who is equally besotted with her from the moment their eyes meet. Timing couldn’t possibly be worse as, so Tatiana learns, Alexander has been seeing her sister for a number of weeks before Tatiana and Alexander meet. So as not to break her sister’s heart, Tatiana and Alexander try to hide their feelings for one another. As the realities of a siege and war set in, life comes a heartbreaking fight for survival. Each character is forced to make whatever decision they need in order to live another day. At the outset, let me admit that I’m not one for a romance novel so I was intrigued by the historical fiction element of this story far more than the lovey-dovey tortured love troupe. I was often frustrated by Tatiana’s passive nature and I don’t enjoy depictions of submissive women. The deception of Tatiana’s sister also did not sit well with me. Despite this, if you love a romance, tragedy, a love between sisters and a novel set in war-time, you will love this book. I can see why so many people do.
That’s it for this Arum Lilea Book Club review. I still have so many more to share so I will do so soon. Please let me know if you’ve discovered any incredible books lately. I’m always looking for suggestions so I would really love it if you left the name of a few in the comments below. Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you again in my next post.
Thanks for the honest book review. I am not a reading person and I have never read a book before but now I want to give books a try. Can you recommend me any book as a first time reader?