Monday, October 3, 2011

Lori's Book Sense

Lori's Reading Corner

Welcome to this months edition of Lori's Book Sense.
I hope you enjoy these great titles I've chosen for you this month.

 'Every good love story has another love hiding within it.' Brokenhearted and still mourning the loss of her husband, Heidi travels with Abbott, her obsessive-compulsive seven-year-old son, and Charlotte, her jaded sixteen-year-old niece, to the small village of Puyloubier in the south of France, where a crumbling stone house may be responsible for mending hearts since before World War II. There, Charlotte confesses a shocking secret, and Heidi learns the truth about her mother's 'lost summer' when Heidi was a child. As three generations collide with one another, with the neighbor who seems to know all of their family skeletons, and with an enigmatic Frenchman, Heidi, Charlotte, and Abbot journey through love, loss, and healing amid the vineyards, warm winds and delicious food of Provence. Can the magic of the house heal Heidi's heart, too?

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted is a story full o f hope, promise, and the love one feels for someone even after they are gone. It's about families finding each other, about secrets being told, and about coming home again. It's a story about believing in oneself, hope for the future, coming together, and dealing with the past. The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted is a tender-hearted love story that tackles moving on from grief and opening up to love again. 

Friendship Bread by Darian Gee

An anonymous gift sends a woman on a journey she never could have anticipated. One afternoon, Julia Evarts and her five-year-old daughter, Gracie, arrive home to find an unexpected gift on the front porch: a homemade loaf of Amish Friendship Bread and a simple note: I hope you enjoy it. Also included are a bag of starter, instructions on how to make the bread herself, and a request to share it with others. Still reeling from a personal tragedy that left her estranged from the sister who was once her best friend, Julia remains at a loss as to how to move on with her life. She'd just as soon toss the anonymous gift, but to make Gracie happy, she agrees to bake the bread.  When Julia meets two newcomers to the small town of Avalon, Illinois, she sparks a connection by offering them her extra bread starter. Widow Madeline Davis is laboring to keep her tea salon afloat while Hannah Wang de Brisay, a famed concert cellist, is at a crossroads, her career and marriage having come to an abrupt end. In the warm kitchen of Madeline's tea salon, the three women forge a friendship that will change their lives forever. In no time, everyone in Avalon is baking Amish Friendship Bread. But even as the town unites for a benevolent cause and Julia becomes ever closer to her new friends, she realizes the profound necessity of confronting the painful past she shares with her sister. About life and loss, friendship and community, food and family, Friendship Bread tells the uplifting story of what endures when even the unthinkable happens.

The main characters in the book are Julia, Hannah, Livvy, Madeline, and Edie. But throughout the book are chapters about other members in the community, like Mark the therapist, Clinton the copy machine tech, Clyde the pharmacist, and A.A. the bike shop owner. While some readers may find these chapters unnecessary and detracting away from the central characters and their stories, I enjoyed them. They showed us not only what the concept of the Friendship Bread stood for, how it affected not only Julia, Hannah, Livvy, Madeline, and Edie, but the community as a whole. And when another tragedy befalls a neighboring community, we see how this one simple act of kindness, of sharing your Amish Friendship Bread starter, can bring everyone together to pay it forward and change the lives of many. Friendship Bread is a beautiful story of old loves, new friends, and the repairing of tattered relationships. It should be read slowly ~ savored like your favorite desert. 

Such A Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb

In this warm, funny, thoroughly candid novel, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb introduces an unforgettable heroine who's half the woman she used to be, and about to find herself for the first time.Two years and 170 pounds ago, Stevie Barrett was wheeled into an operating room for surgery that most likely saved her life. Since that day, a new Stevie has emerged, one who walks without wheezing, plants a garden for self-therapy, and builds and paints fantastical wooden chairs. At thirty-five, Stevie is the one thing she never thought she'd be: thin. But for everything that's changed, some things remain the same. Stevie's shyness refuses to melt away. She still can't look her neighbors' gorgeous great-nephew in the eye. The Portland law office where she works remains utterly dysfunctional, as does her family-the aunt, uncle, and cousins who took her in when she was a child. To top it off, her once supportive best friend clearly resents her weight loss. By far the biggest challenge in Stevie's new life lies in figuring out how to define her new self. Collaborating with her cousins to plan her aunt and uncle's problematic fortieth anniversary party, Stevie starts to find some surprising answers-about who she is, who she wants to be, and how the old Stevie evolved in the first place. And with each revelation, she realizes the most important part of her transformation may not be what she's lost, but the courage and confidence she's gathering, day by day. As achingly honest as it is witty, Such A Pretty Face is a richly insightful novel of one woman's search for love, family, and acceptance, of the pain we all carry-and the wonders that can happen when we let it go at last.

This book is loaded with tough topics like anorexia, overeating, gay marriage, divorce, self-esteem issues, mental illness, abuse, and death. It is not for the faint of heart. BUT, it is also filled with love, hope, humor, honesty, devotion, trust and forgiveness. You will want to reach right into the pages of the book to comfort those who are hurting. Does being skinny and having a "pretty face" mean you have it all? Nope. As the saying goes - beauty is only skin deep. From an opening that will tear your heart to pieces to an ending that will sew it back together again, Such A Pretty Face will make you laugh and it will make you cry. It will make you feel. Because that's exactly what a great book does.

Until next month...... 

1 comment:

  1. "It will make you feel. Because that's exactly what a great book does."

    So true, Lori. Thanks for another great post with some great reads. Maggie