I’m ready to share what I read in September. Let’s do it!
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Maggie O’Farrell is brilliant at taking obscure historical figures and writing fascinating stories about them and The Marriage Portrait is no exception. Her ability to create a setting that feels vibrant and alive with detail is my favorite thing about her writing. There were moments while reading this book that I felt the panic and confusion of young Lucrezia, I could see the paintings she made, and I swore I could taste the delicacies prepared for her to eat. O’Farrell has taken very few historical facts and turned them into a full fledged story of passion, deceit, and the struggle for power and survival in 1500s Italy. Highly recommended. I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I adored this book about a female scientist in the 1960s who does not allow herself to become a victim despite the misogyny and prejudice she faces. She is courageous and smart, and manages to succeed despite all the crappy things that happen to derail her. The dialogue is smart, the feminism is strong, and the story is triumphant. My only complaint is the cover and the blurb about this book are highly misleading. This is not a light madcap adventure, this is a serious book (with lighthearted moments) about the struggle women have faced in the workplace and the home. Highly recommended.
Muddled Through by Barbara Ross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is another solid entry in this series. Barbara Ross continues to find ways to introduce new characters and has managed to not let this go stale even 10 books in, unlike some cozy mysteries that I’ve read. If you love the coast of Maine and enjoy cozy mysteries, this is a good series to read.
Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I realize I’m in the minority but I just did not care for this book. I found it boring and repetitive, the dialogue was stilted, and the attempt at recreating And Then There Were None fell flat. The big twist/reveal at the end felt contrived and almost silly. I do not recommend this but your mileage may vary.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“What is a game?” Marx said. “It’s tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. It’s the possibility of infinite rebirth, infinite redemption. The idea that if you keep playing, you could win. No loss is permanent, because nothing is permanent, ever.”
I adored so much about this book. The pace of the writing, the familiar Boston setting for much of it, the fresh and flawed characters, and the descriptions of all the games. It was headed to be a 5 star read for me until there was a development that I did not see coming and I was disappointed in the aftermath and how the author chose to portray it. I won’t say more due to spoilers, and I still loved the book, but I believe the author missed an opportunity to make it truly great. Still highly recommended.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Set in New York City and Hollywood, this novel depicts an elderly actress as she approaches the end of life and wishes to tell her story after a lifetime of refusing interviews, set the record straight on all of her romantic relationships, and atone for her sins. It’s an easy read, but there is an unexpected depth to the characters and the storyline, and enough intrigue to keep you guessing
And that’s a wrap on September’s reading. It was mostly excellent, with one clunker.
I plan to read all of these except maybe Daisy Darker though who knows I may get to it at a later date. I own Muddled Through and look forward to another in that series and have 3 others on hold at the library. I keep forgetting to look for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo or put it on hold. I’m finishing up an older Kristin Higgins book and then I just picked up from the library today, Remarkable Bright Creatures for a local book club. I’m hoping to dive into that this weekend.
I always enjoy reading your reviews and seeing what books you’ve read, Carole. (And, look! I’m not going to say a word about Lessons in Chemistry . . . ) 😉
I also really look forward to your book reviews and I always find a book or two to add to my TBR list! Thank you!
I always deeply appreciate your book reviews, Carole. They generally result in me looking for some books! I think Lessons in Chemistry is a love it or leave it book. I loved it as well, and I did not think it was a light book. I have been on the fence about the Zevin book since I am not a gamer, but I will try to overcome my bias and check it out. Thanks, Carole!
I’ve tried to figure out why I couldn’t get over Lessons in Chemistry and I think that mainly I was angry that I felt so misled about what kind of book it was. It’s a story that should be told; I just thought it could have been told much, much better. I did read something that said the author didn’t have any input into the cover (and presumably how it was marketed also) so I think I might try her next book.
Thank you! I always look forward to your book reviews and giving me choice I might not have chosen. ??