Posted by Book Mavens on 7th April 2011
Title: These Things Hidden
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Mira, January 2011
Summary: Though Allison Glenn’s parents considered her their golden child, they soon learned that no one is perfect. Allison deviated from the plan-she fell in love, had a secret affair, and started to enjoy life-until her grades slipped and her parents stepped up the pressure. That was six years ago. Nine months after ending that affair and hiding her pregnancy, Allison was accused and convicted of drowning her newborn daughter. Allison has spent the last five years paying for that crime in Cravenville prison. Released early for good behavior, Allison is now 21 years old, living in a halfway house, and working part time at Bookends, a local bookstore owned by Claire and Jonathan Kelby. It is clear to Allison that her parents want nothing to do with her; her younger sister Brynn isn’t taking her calls either. Brynn just wants to forget that awful night when she helped her sister give birth on the bedroom floor. She thinks of that baby all the time-being taken away by the swift current of the Druid River.
Twenty one year old Charm Tullia is a nursing student who frequents the Kelby’s bookstore. She has been taking care of her beloved stepfather, Gus, who is dying of cancer. Claire sees how difficult it is for Charm and the two have become friends over the past few years. Charm always asks about the Kelby’s five year old adopted son Joshua when she visits the store. As an infant, Joshua had been abandoned at a local fire station under the “Safe Haven” law and Claire and Jonathan adopted him soon after. Charm has a special interest in Joshua that the Kelby’s don’t know about.
This is a cautionary tale of the danger that comes with expecting perfection, from yourself or others, and leaving no room for failure. It is a riveting and fast paced story in which the greatest parental love has nothing to do with biology (the biological parents here leave much to be desired), but with the character and heart of the people who step in to take over where others have failed.
Who Might Like This?: If you like characters that stay with you after you’ve finished the book, and if you liked Heather’s last novel “The Weight of Silence”, I think you’ll like this one as well.
Recommended by: Sue B, Circulation Coordinator
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Tags: 2011 Releases, Adoption, Crime, Family, Friendship
Posted in Fiction | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 26th October 2010
Title: The Convent
Author: Panos Karnezis
Publisher: Norton, November 2010
Summary: The setting for this new novel by Panos Karnezis is a 16th century nunnery in the Spanish Sierra. There are only 6 nuns living at Our Lady of Mercy in the early 1920’s when a newborn baby is left on the steps of the convent. Of the six, only two are eager to keep the baby. The Mother Superior, Sister Maria Ines, believes the baby is God’s way of letting her know that her past sins have been forgiven and that his arrival on their doorstep is a miracle. Sister Beatriz is happy to help Sister Maria Ines with the baby in any way she can. The Mother Superior’s maternal instincts kick into high gear but are accompanied by an increasing paranoia. She begins to see almost everyone and everything as a threat to the precious child she has named Renato. It doesn’t help that one of the nuns, Sister Ana, believes the baby was sent by Satan himself. Sister Ana’s suspicions are reinforced as she witnesses the changes in the Mother Superior’s behavior. The mystery of the baby’s parentage and his fate are revealed slowly and deliberately in this sparse novel.
The main character in this novel is certainly Sister Maria Ines. There is very little said about most of the other characters in this story, including the baby. Her obsessive love for the baby, caused by her desperate need to be forgiven, becomes a character of its own. Though the ending doesn’t come as much of a surprise, it is heartbreaking none the less. This is a story of promises made and promises broken, and the price paid for both.
Who will like this book? Readers of historical fiction.
Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator
Tags: 2010 Releases, Adoption, Obsession, Religion, Spain
Posted in Fiction, Historical, Literary | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 4th October 2010
Title: Without a Map: A Memoir
Author: Meredith Hall
Publisher: Beacon, April 2007
Summary: If you think you had problems as a teen, try finding yourself pregnant at 16, being disowned by your family, and shunned by everyone in your community. This memoir takes place in the 1960’s in a small New Hampshire town. Hall’s parents are divorced. She is sent away from her family, friends, and school to live with her father and stepmother where she is basically ostracized in an attempt to hide her pregnancy. She is forced to give up the baby and then spends her early adulthood wandering and longing for the baby she gave up and the parents who betrayed her.
She eventually reconnects with her son when he is a young adult, but it is bittersweet as he has been adopted by a family who lived in poverty and had abused him. Hall ultimately helps to care for her aging parents, offering them what they were never able to offer her. She is brutally honest in recalling her life. She takes responsibility for her mistakes. Hers is a story about hope, survival, and finding forgiveness.
Recommended by: Barbara, Head of Children’s Services
Tags: 2007 Releases, Abuse, Adoption, Maine, New Hampshire, Pregnancy, Teen Pregnancy
Posted in Biography & Memoir | No Comments »
Posted by Merry Mao on 6th March 2009
Title: Three Weeks to Say Goodbye
Author: C.J. Box
Publisher: St. Martin’s Minotaur, January 2009
Summary: Nine months after adopting their daughter Angelina, Jack and Melissa receive devastating news. The baby’s teenage father never signed the adoption papers and now he and his powerful father want the baby back. They have three weeks to prepare to hand their baby back over to her father-three weeks to say goodbye. It doesn’t take Jack and Melissa long to question the true motive of Angelina’s father and grandfather. The deeper they dig into the pasts of these two men, the more frightened they become for their daughter.
Jack and Melissa are convincing as parents facing a terrifying situation. If you are a true fan of thrillers (like me), don’t despair! There are plenty of sick and twisted characters to keep you interested in this one.
Who will like this book? Thriller and crime fiction fans.
Recommended by: Sue, Circulation Coordinator
Tags: 2009 Releases, Adoption, Colorado, Crime, Denver
Posted in Mysteries & Thrillers | No Comments »