Book Report {January 2015}

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Alrighty, fellow book worms...in need of a few suggestions for some good books to read?  With the temps still on the freezing side (at least around these parts) and the nights still arriving ridiculously early (come on Daylight Savings time!!), it's time to share some good reads that had me burning the midnight oil this month (and it was a good month)!!

With getting back to work this month, it was a bit of a slower month for me for reading!  Last month, I reviewed a book by Diane Chamberlain (The Silent Sisters) and it was so good that I read a few more of her books.  I LOVED both of them, so this is definitely an author I want to check out again.

Breaking the Silence (by Diane Chamberlain)

Breaking the Silence is a book about promises, secrets, and what happens when they intersect.  Laura Brandon promises her father, as he’s dying, to reach out and visit an elderly woman to be sure she’s okay.  Laura has never met this woman, but assumes she is a friend of her father’s that he has been looking out for.  She sees no reason why not to, but her husband repeatedly requests that she not follow through on the promise.  Unfortunately, she does with catastrophic consequences…her husband kills himself while she is out visiting the woman.  To make matters much worse, he does this in front of their 5 year old daughter.

Reeling from both deaths, she now takes on the battle of helping her daughter heal.  After witnessing such a tragic event, she’s gone mute and won’t speak.  A therapist senses she has a fear of men and encourages Laura to reach out to her daughter’s birth father…a man Laura hasn’t seen or spoken to (and barely knows) in 6 years.  

As she rekindles her friendship with her daughter’s birth father and forges a new friendship with the elderly woman, she starts to dig into a past that uncovers deep secrets that were meant to stay hidden.  But these secrets unknowingly links everyone and uncovers a past of deep despair, but also of deep love.

***

This was a FANTASTIC book!  I could not put it down and while I had a feeling I knew which way some of the story was taking, it still managed to surprise me in the end.  I felt the characters were well developed and the multiple, yet connected, story lines, flowed into and out of each other quite well. 

If you are looking for a book to sink your teeth into during these long, cold winter nights, then get your paws on this one!

Keeper of the Light (by Diane Chamberlain)

Keeper of the Light was another REALLY good book by Ms. Chamberlain!  It’s set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the early 90s.  Dr. Olivia Simon is on duty in the emergency room of the small local hospital.  It’s Christmas and Dr. Simon is near the end of her shift and all she wants to do is to get home to her husband to celebrate the holiday.  Unfortunately, a gunshot victim is brought into the ER and derails her plans to head home at the end of her shift.  

As she’s working frantically to save the woman’s life, she realizes this is the woman her husband is in love with.  Despite the shocking realization, she does everything in her power to save her, but the damage is too extensive and the woman, Annie O’Neill, dies on the operating table.

Annie was beloved across the island and her death sends shockwaves through the community.  Annie’s husband, Alec is devastated as is Olivia's husband, Paul.

Paul’s infatuation with Annie leads to the demise of his marriage to Olivia.  Olivia desperately wants to understand more of the woman that was so spellbinding.  

As she goes on a mission to learn more about Annie, she begins to integrate herself into Annie’s old life.  As she does so, secrets Annie had expertly buried start to come out and everyone around her is left shocked by who the real Annie was.

***

Diane Chamberlain has done it again! This is the third book I’ve read in a row by this author and all three of them were so good, I couldn’t put them down!!  This one may have been my favorite of the three, but really, you can’t go wrong with any of them.  

The Paying Guests (by Sarah Waters)

The Paying Guests is another one that dives into a world where secrets threaten to become unhidden.  Frances Wray is a woman in her mid-late 20s in post WW1 London.  By all definitions, she’s pretty much on her way to spinsterhood and lives with her widowed mother in their family home.  Due to financial difficulties after the war, they must take in lodgers to keep their heads above water.

Lily and Leonard Barber are a young married couple looking to start their lives in their own place.  They move into the extra rooms the Wray’s are letting and quickly their lives and that of Frances become intertwined.  

Lily and Frances become fast, if not unconventional friends for that era.  They're inseparable and share dreams, secrets, and hopes with each other.  On one particular night, a tragic event occurs to Leonard and these two friends are caught in the thick of things.  Their friendship is threatened, their future is uncertain, and the lives of others are drawn into the nightmare. 

Can they survive all of this and will the damage to poor Frances be too much to allow their friendship to repair itself?

***

This novel was a nice, long read.  It grabs you in slowly, but before you know it, you can't put this book down!  The author is a master at description and the story is very visual, which adds to the drama.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book!  My only teeny, tiny complaint...that it had either continued for a bit longer at the end, or contained an Epilogue to show where things were a year or two later!  Basically...I'm left wanting more!

Your turn, friends!  Have you read any good books lately?  Leave me a comment and let me know...I LOVE finding out about awesome books!