Are you looking for the next Bridget Jones read, something perfect for the beach? Well on the face of it, One Day in December by Josie Silver might fit the bill. Laurie James, a would-be journalist, stuck in a dead-end job, always looking for someone special, is sitting on a double decker bus in London when she spies a young man, deep in a book at the bus stop and she knows this is the one. She stares at him until he looks up and silently pleads with him to get on the bus or she will get off. But it’s crowded and finally when he makes a move to board, it is too late. Laurie spends the next year thinking of who this man might be.
She and her best friend Sarah nickname him “The Bus Boy” and it is not until Sarah introduces her to her new boyfriend, the love of her life, Jack, that Laurie recognizes him. (Surprised?), Does he remember her…will she tell Sarah? That would be too easy. Instead, Jack and Laurie become fast friends, but there is a tension between them that never goes away. Through ten years of changing relationships and even marriage, Jack is there, but is he “there there” or just a good friend? Well, you have to read this charming novel to find out. I read it for a book club and seriously we had one of the best conversations!
What initially attracted me about The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave was that Hannah and her husband Owen and stepdaughter Baily live in a floating house in Sausalito. How cool would that be? But that’s not what the book is about. This novel is literally a page turner which I finished in a record amount of time! After a big scandal at Owen’s company, Owen disappears leaving a two word note for his wife “Protect her” and a bag full of money for his daughter Bailey. But to protect Bailey, Hannah must figure out why Owen left and finally who he actually is. Along with sulky and understandably freaked out Baily, the two set out on a quest to get to the truth of Owen’s life story, and Bailey’s as well, which takes them to Austin, Texas. And when they do, life will never be the same for either of them. Read it on a floating house which I’m sure you’ll buy soon.
Are you looking for a book that will satisfy your every literary need? Mystery, romance, tragedy, heartbreak and a good deal of anger is what The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont brings to your bookshelf. I do not have to introduce Agatha Christie to this audience, but maybe some of you don’t know that for 11 days in 1926, Christie disappeared and no one beside Christie herself ever found out what happened during those 11 days.
The Christie Affair is a novel that offers a possible explanation…not probable but possible. She was 36 years old, and her marriage was falling apart. Nan O’Dea (not her real name) was the “other woman” who was having an affair with Archie Christie and was determined to have him. Then one night, Agatha drove off and disappeared while the whole of England searched for her. I will not fill in the whole story, but I can say that Nan was not only very involved in her disappearance but narrated the novel as well (even though there were some parts she could not have possibly known). And it is through her eyes that we fall into this story with a plot you do not expect. It’s as if Christie wrote it herself, complete with clues and parts of Christie’s mysteries thrown in for good measure. I absolutely loved this book and I’m proud to say that my cousin, Peter Steinberg, de Gramont’s literary agent gave her the idea for this book! (But that is not why I loved it!)
Impossible Us by Sarah Lotz—I’m not sure how much to divulge about this page turner of a romantic/science fiction novel. Bee and Nick meet online after a misdirected email. Bee repurposes wedding dresses and is not doing well in the dating department and Nick is a failed writer in a bad marriage. But when they get to know each other through emails, they cannot deny the chemical charge. And after some lengthy emailing, they decide to meet at Euston Station in London. They plot it out down to what they are both wearing, and they both show up…but they cannot find each other. And the question is why? When they finally get back online, they start comparing anomalies. Their worlds seem different on some levels: In Nick’s world Trump is a failure and ecology is a priority. Bee’s world is unfortunately the same as ours. Could it be that they live in parallel universes? Follow these star-crossed lovers as they map out a plan to finally meet. Romance, humor, science fiction…perfect for a movie! I read it in a week.
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend by Jenny Colgan—Let me first say that the worst part of this very engrossing novel is the title. I was embarrassed to have people around the pool see that I was reading such a pink, frivolous book. I am of course a former librarian and consider myself a literata (yes that’s a word)! But because I’ve read some of her previous books and because a good friend lent it to me, I thought I’d try it out.
Poor little rich girl, Sophie had everything she wanted, except for her mother, who died when Sophie was 11 years old. After that it was just her and her doting father. But when her father married Gail several years later, it was war and Sophie became the spoiled rich girl with her spoiled rich friends…until the fateful night when her life changed dramatically, and she was told she had to live on her own for six months to develop some responsibility. She finds a flat in the worst part of London with four scrappy, messy, male students and…well I’m sure you can figure out the basic plot, but it is written in a way to make those pages turn. I actually enjoyed it, despite the title.
For the past few years, 741 days to be exact, I’ve been studying Spanish through Duolingo.com along with some of my family. I still can’t join a real conversation with real Spanish speakers, but what I can do is read! My son offered me this “Spanish for Beginners” novel, Hola Lola! by Juan Fernandez. The book follows clueless, 20-year-old William from Newcastle, England. He is living in Madrid and trying to learn Spanish by taking a Spanish course there. He lives in a flat with other students and just tries to get along. He describes himself as awkward, not handsome and a little chubby (his favorite foods are MacDonalds burgers and chocolate chip cookies). We follow William as he navigates through social minefields. In addition, his Spanish is not easily understandable. The novel is written in a way that totally explains the characters and plot with repetition, and vocabulary with questions and answers at the end of each chapter. It’s funny and only about 200 pages. I enjoyed my first ever novel in Spanish! This is the first in a series about William’s adventures. Available from Amazon.com. And I actually read this one on the beach! (en la playa).
Hope you enjoy these novels. I have. Remember to use sunscreen and eat some ice cream every day, just like me.