What I’ve been reading…..

What would you think of a postmistress who chose not to deliver the mail?

This question is posed by American radio gal Frankie Bard at a dinner party.  Of course that stops the conversation cold once they learn it really happened.  Frankie’s radio dispatches cross the Atlantic ocean over the airwaves, imploring listeners to pay attention—as the Nazis bomb London nightly, and Jewish refugees stream across Europe. Frankie is convinced that if she can just get the right story, it will wake Americans to action and they will join the fight. 

Meanwhile, in Franklin, Massachusetts, a small town on Cape Cod, Iris James, the postmistress, hears Frankie’s broadcasts and believes that it is only a matter of time before the war arrives on Franklin’s shores. In charge of the town’s mail, Iris believes that her job is to deliver and keep people’s secrets.  This she does….but she’s not the only one with a secret.   Why does Frankie end up in Franklin, is it merely to “rest” or does she have an unfinished story to tell?

Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 11:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

What I’ve been reading……

Married and the father of a young daughter, John Bevan had finally found the traditional family he lacked as an orphaned child in Jason Wright’s latest book, the Cross Gardener.  But all that disappears when a fatal car accident steals away his wife-and the unborn child she carried.   John is filled with sorrow and withdraws from life, sleeping late, not getting his daughter to school on time, just barely functioning.  He erects two crosses at the scene of the accident and becomes fanatic in taking care to visit them every day.  Too bad that John sometimes comes across as more sullen than bereaved. 

 One morning he encounters a young man touching up the crosses with white paint.  Who is this person? Is the gardener real or imaginary?  This story explores the questions we ask when our lives are touched by loss: How do we carry on? And who will show us the way? Who will be my Cross Gardener?

Published in: on June 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

What I’ve been reading…..

A family saga that takes place in Appalachia, this debut novel by Amy Greene follows the story of the Lamb women—Byrdie, Clio, Myra, and Laura—from the Depression to the present day. Poverty, folk culture, and the often harsh conditions of Appalachian life color the loves, hatreds, and losses of the Lamb family; for these women, circumstances beyond their control—and some poor decisions of their own—lead to one unhappy ending after another. About three quarters of the way through the book I almost put it down, it was just so depressing.  Though Greene has a flair for physical description, I really felt a sense of place, even though I have never been to Appalachia, too many characters and frequent shifts in point of view throughout the entire novel led to some confusion.  It was too tragic to be pleasurable, but somehow I couldn’t give up on it.

Published in: on June 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment