Review: Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor

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Eighteen-year-old Ada Concannon has just been hired by the respected but eccentric Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts. Despite their difference in age and the upstairs-downstairs divide, Ada strikes up a deep friendship with Miss Emily, the gifted elder daughter living a spinster’s life at home. But Emily’s passion for words begins to dominate her life. She will wear only white and avoids the world outside the Dickinson homestead. When Ada’s safety and reputation are threatened, however, Emily must face down her own demons in order to help her friend, with shocking consequences.

Miss Emily is Nuala O’Connor’s debut novel in America. The book is a fictional story of Emily Dickson and her Irish maid Ada. This is a beautifully written book. I loved the way O’Connor writes in such a poetic way, and how she developed both Emily’s and Ada’s characters. The book is told from the perspective of both of the girls, alternating each chapter.

The story gets a little heavy towards the middle of the book, and it caught me by surprise. I can’t say much without giving away the plot, but the book has a nice happy ending and O’Connor’s writing will stay with you for some days to come. Miss Emily is a gorgeously written story about female friendship.

This is an excellent selection for a book club. I highly recommend it.

I received an early copy of this book for free from Penguin Random House First To Read in exchange for my honest review.

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Book Details:

Title: Miss Emily/Author:Nuala O’Connor/Genre:Fiction/ ISBN:9780143126751/Publisher:Penguin Books/Rating: 4-Stars/Read:July, 2015.

Review: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

The husband's secret

Title: The Husband’s Secret

Author: Liane Moriarty

Pages: 394

Genre: Fiction

ISBN: 9780399159343

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons 

Rating: 3-Stars

Read: May 2015–I own a copy

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive.

Cecilia Fitzpatrick is a successful business woman and a devoted mother and wife who someday, accidentally, stumbles upon her husband’s letter addressed to her.

“For my wife, Cecilia Fitzpatrick
To be opened only in the event of my death”

And just like Pandora’s box, once the letter is opened we are immersed in a tale of secrets and the repercussion of those secrets in our lives.

The Husband’s Secret is Liane Moriarty’s fifth of six novels. What I absolutely love about Moriarty’s books is her writing style. I love her voice! I love the way she develops her characters and the characters’ dialogues; the twists and turns, and her ability to weave in a bit of humor even in the most serious and sad parts of her books. Moriarty is excellent at writing about everyday life with its secrets, betrayals, heartbreaks and illusions. In that sense the author did not disappoint– but having read Big Little Lies (her latest novel) first, I feel I was a little bit spoiled and expected so much more from this novel. I found the subject of the letter a bit predictable and the ending left me wanting a lot more.

Overall, this is another wonderful book by an author who is quickly becoming another favorite of mine.

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: The Farm by Tom Rob Smith

the Farm

Title: The Farm

Author: Tom Rob Smith

Pages: 352

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

ISBN: 9780446550734

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Ratings: 4-Star

Read: April 16, 2015- May 2,2015 – I own a copy.

Daniel believed that his parents were enjoying a peaceful retirement on a remote farm in Sweden. But with a single phone call, everything changes.

“Your mother…she’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things – terrible, terrible things. She’s had a psychotic breakdown, and been committed to a mental hospital.”

Before Daniel can board a plane to Sweden, his mother calls: “Everything that man has told you is a lie. I’m not mad… I need the police… Meet me at Heathrow.”

When Daniel gets off the phone after talking to his mother, we embark in this amazing journey of lies, secrets and misconceptions through rural Sweden. Daniel is caught between his parents allegations against each other, and at times it is simply impossible to distinguish who’s telling the truth. There is so much more to this novel than meets the eye.

I read this book in a few days not because of lack of interest, but purely for lack of time. Smith does a fantastic job at building the suspense in this novel and weaving a compelling plot that is really a plot within a plot, full of twists and turns.

What I simply adored about this book was the fact that I had it all wrong. I never saw that ending coming.

I definitely recommend this book! This was my first novel by author Tom Rob Smith, and I simply LOVED it! I’m really looking forward to reading more books from him.

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies Photo

Title: Big Little Lies

Author: Liane Moriarty

Pages: 480

Genre: Fiction/Mystery

ISBN-13: 9780399167065

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Rating: 4-stars

Read: April, 2015 – I own a copy.

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal. . .  A murder… . . . a tragic accident… . . . or just parents behaving badly? What’s indisputable is that someone is dead. But who did what?”

Set in suburban Australia, Big Little Lies is the fifth book of bestseller author Liane Moriarty. It follows the lives of three women, their struggles, and events that lead to a death at Pirriwee Public School trivia night.

The book follows these three different women as they meet at a kindergarten orientation at school. Madeline, who’s just turned forty, and her daughter Chloe. The young and single mother Jane, who had recently moved to Pirriwee beach with her son Ziggy; and the beautiful Celeste with her twins Max and Josh.

When Jane’s five-year-old son Ziggy is accused of choking and bullying another child, some of the parents immediately take a stand against the boy triggering hysteria and a series of playground politics and drama.

What I absolutely loved about this book was how easily Moriarty weaved the lives of these complex characters and tackled hard topics such as murder, bullying, infidelity, domestic abuse, and violence against women in a humorous and fun way, but without ever losing the severity of these social issues. She managed to write an extremely well plotted and engrossing story. I simply could not put this book down. It kept me up till late hours of the night dying to get to the end of the book, not so much to find out who did it, but who dies?

I laughed; I cried; and now I’m very sad that it ended. Oh calamity…

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: The Daughter by Jane Shemilt

The Daughter

Title: The Daughter

Author: Jane Shemilt

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Rating: 3-Stars

Read: March 3, 2015-March 10, 2015 – I own a copy.

Jenny is a successful family doctor in England, who seems to have everything, a perfect job, perfect marriage, and the perfect family. When Jenny’s fifteen-year-old doesn’t return home after a school play, Jenny’s life starts to crumble. Naomi seems to have vanished, and the authorities have no clue how to find her. As the weeks and months after Naomi’s disappearance go by, Jenny starts to discover information that shows a very different Naomi from the girl she thought she’d raised.

My thoughts: 

The Daughter is Jane Shemilt’s debut novel, and for a first novel it did not disappoint. While the book was a suspenseful page-turner that kept me up until late hours of the night, there were a few problems for me. The flow of the narrative was not continuous. Shemilt switched back and forth between the days/weeks leading up to the daughter’s disappearance to a year after her disappearance. My problem with that type of narrative structure was the fact that all the leads and suspects that you learned about in the days and weeks coming up to the disappearance, if they were still present in the novel a year later, then you knew they probably weren’t involved in the disappearance, so that broke the flow of suspense to me. Although I enjoyed the book, I did not really like any of the characters and could not truly sympathize with any of them. I couldn’t stand the mother’s naiveté about her children’s lives to the point of denial. The father’s cold and detached personality, and the twin brothers’ rich and spoiled behavior. As for Naomi, we only get to know her initially by Jenny’s eyes, and obviously the mother was oblivious to Naomi’s lifestyle and affairs. Naomi being such a central character was never truly developed, and her actions at the end of the book seemed random, leaving the reader begging for more explanations. The daughter is a novel that ponders on topics of betrayal, guilt, truth and family, and asks the question: “Can we have extremely busy careers and still be truly involved in our families’ lives?

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3 star