Tuesday, February 24, 2015
By Hannah Kent
Burial Rites is the debut novel of Hannah Kent, an Australian author. She was 17 years old and traveled to Iceland as an exchange student. She has said, this is her love letter to Iceland.
The novel, which is historical fiction takes place in Iceland the year 1828. A 33 year old Agnes Magnustadottir, and Fredrik Siggurdsson, and Sigga Gudundsdottir were accused of two brutal murders of Natan Ketilsson, and Peter Jonsson at Illugastadir, Iceland. Agnes was the last person to be executed in Iceland.
After the trial, Agnes is sent to a family by order of the district commissioner Blondal. She will be staying there until her execution. The family, Jon, Margaret, Steina, and Lauga are not happy about this situation as you can imagine.
The novel has many layers. I absolutely loved this book. There are many themes to the book, and many questions to be answered. it just kept being build on and on.
Why was Agnes sent away to a family? Her family life as a child was not a happy one. Do you think it was destiny and fate? Do you think it was hopeless? Forever Agnes kept plugging along hoping things would change. Do you think her social status sealed her fate? How the priest Toti, was inept at first when he first encountered Agnes, but as the story unfolded it seemed he felt comfortable with Agnes as he learned about her. Natan was an evil man, but Agnes kept wanted to believe he loved her. The Iclandic landscape was bleak, and isolated, but there was also beauty that added to the the story. When Fredrik tried to commit the murder why couldn't he finish the job? What had to be difficult was dealing with one small room. No one had privacy. It must have been very difficult to keep secrets. Interesting that Natan was the only man with the two women present.
it was interesting that Jon, the father was kind to Agnes, Margaret the wife was not a very accepting person, and either was one of the daughters. But, as Agnes was telling her side of the story, Margaret starting to care about Agnes. Why do you think this was?
I read this for our book club. There were some of us that loved the style of the writing. Some of the members said they didn't like the book because it was so dark. Well, that is true. But, the writing style was wonderful. Burial Rites when I picked it up reminded me of Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, which I read and loved for the richness, and historical fiction. The same holds true of Burial Rites, I am very glad I read it. I recommend it for a book club, and there are many questions that will be asked from your book club. There are plenty of resources found about the book if you do a google search.
I have not felt like this in a long time, telling everyone that will listen, loved, loved Burial Rites. The last time was about a year ago, when I read Golem and the Jinni, another great book.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
By Lisa Scottoline
I was introduced to Lisa Scottoline's novel at Books and Books in Coral Gables years ago. Then for some reason I stopped reading them. I recently started reading her novels again.
I just finished reading Betrayed. I absolutely loved reading it. It was a easy read. Something to pick up and get away from it all. One of my publicist's friend's sent me a copy to review. I am so glad I picked up the copy. Betrayed is a wonderful novel for you if you are going on a tropical vacation or a cruise in the next few weeks,
One of my publicist's friend's sent me a copy to review. But, unfortunately with all the chaos, I forgot to post my thoughts on my book blog. So it is a bit fuzzy. I will tell you it was a great and fun read. It also had something to discuss, illegal immigration from Mexico to U. S. borders.
Betrayal is about three main characters, Judy, an attorney in Philadelphia. She is still unmarried. But, her friend is engaged. She asked Judy to be in the wedding. Talk about rubbing it in. She is happy for her friend, but wants to distance herself. Her relationship with her boyfriend doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
Then out of the blue her Mom is calling Judy. She asks her to come out to see her Aunt Barb with her. When she arrives she learns Aunt Barb has breast cancer. Aunt Barb is scheduled for surgery in the next couple days. In the mean time Judy meets Iris. Iris is an illegal from Mexico. Aunt Barb adores her. She is counting on her to help her through the surgery. But, Judy's mom seems to be jealous of their relationship, but why??
After Iris leaves the house Judy finds a stash of money, about 50,000. During the night. Something is wrong, Iris doesn't show up to her job. She's found dead in her car. It appears it was natural causes. But was it ??
Judy starts snooping around with her sick aunt. Thing don't seem to appear as you think. Iris's best friend apparenly left town, The priest is dead,What is going on? No one wants to answer questions. Things appear to get worse, and more suspicious. The only comment I will make about the story, it appears the author was trying to cram too much in. But, it didn't deter from the story.
You will just have to find out the rest because I don't want to ruin it for you. This story keeps you guessing and turning the pages. Like, I said before it was terrific. I recommend this for anyone that is looking for something to read to escape from it all. The only thing I will say it there have been numerous amount of people complaining about the writing style, it is too simplistic. It is, but for me it didn't deter away from the story.
Thank you John Karle from St. Martin for allowing me to review.