The Diary by Eileen Goudge

Review by Anne Beier

A Perfect Valentines Day Mystery Novel

Elizabeth Marshall  was a quintessential, mid-western, 1950’s, wife and mother. She married a wonderful man  who was madly in love with her, as well as an upstanding citizen of their community, deacon at their church, hard worker, and loving father. Their grown daughters, Sarah and Emily always thought their parents had a storybook marriage, until they discover their mother’s diary, while cleaning out the attic of their childhood home, before it goes on the market.

Who is A.J.?  He was a dynamic, magnetic man with and engaging and endearing sense of humor. Their mother’s unrequited love for him is a shock.  Inspired by a true story, the sisters discover, so much about this incredible man,  who was a major love interest in their mother’s life. Or was he?

Both of their parents were only children, and with no one to ask, they are compelled to find out the truth, which adds to the mysterious yet satisfying conclusion. This is page-turner, with many twists and turns. The reader will uncover a charming and surprising story, as they take an uphill journey with Sarah and Emily.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society By Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Review by Anne Beier

This engaging post WWII story is told in letters, between several fictional characters. It centers around Juliet Ashton, an author who decides to write a book about the inhabitants of the Guernsey Island, in The English Channel, focusing on how they survived during the German occupation of this British territory.

This subject comes to her serendipitously. A letter arrives to her in London, from a native, middle aged man, who still lives there about an entirely unrelated subject.  Juliet gets caught up in his story and continues to correspond with him and members of his book group called “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.” Behind the letters, she senses an enigma. Maybe more than one.

Juliet is drawn to visit Guernsey, and interview these people. After she arrives, she becomes captivated with her new found friends, the life, and history this charming town has to offer. However, the story becomes more fascinating with every letter, beginning with the first few; some bring laughter, and some bring tears. By the end, many bewildering mysteries will be revealed.

 

The Children Act by Ian McEwan

Book Review by Anne Beier

This surprising novel takes place in present day London.  Fiona, a family judge, presides over a case where a boy, just shy of his 18th birthday, which would then make him legally old enough to make his own decisions, is refusing a life-saving procedure for a serious, chronic illness. It is against his family’s religious values to proceed with this medical treatment. As a strict professional, Fiona interviews Adam in the hospital, and must rule. However, after further communication with him, she is torn about her relationship with him, her husband and her responsibilities inherent as a judge.

Once again, Ian McEwan leads us through a character’s inner life and struggles.  Fiona comes to a multi-forked road in her life and is challenged to make difficult realizations and decisions.

 

 

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Book Review

.Major Pettigrew, a kind and proper Englishman, lives in a small, country village. He frequents a shop, similar to a general store, in town that is run by a Pakistani Woman and her family.

The Major’s brother passes away. Their relationship was laced with veiled competitiveness, and rather prickly. This event is the catalyst, along with a curious inheritance, that changes his current life in ways he never expected, including the people around him.

Readers will enjoy the superb writing, and the surprises Major Pettigrew encounters as he wrestles with, and makes a go of many challenges.