Saturday, August 30, 2014

Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye

Seven for a Secret
Lyndsay Faye
Berkley 2014
Timothy Wilde is a New York policeman, a wearer of a copper badge who may be of small stature but has a huge need to see justice done. He is quite the opposite of his brother Valentine, a big-shot in the corrupt Democratic machine that runs the city in the days of corrupt Tammany Hall, but despite their differences they are always there for each other. This adventure pits Tim against slave hunters who have kidnapped a free black woman and her young nephew and whose incredibly beautiful sister is married to a white man with a secret identity. He meets a vigilance committee, a group of free blacks who have banded together to help those other free blacks who are the targets of kidnappers who sell them into slavery and get away with it by pretending to be catching escaped slaves. The evil madam, Silkie Marsh, is still up to nefarious deeds. Well researched with the slang of the New York criminal class and vivid descriptions of the filth, poverty, and stink of mid 19th century Manhattan.
I generally don't review paperback reprints but this trade edition came in and I had missed it when it came out last year in hardcover.

 Recommended for book clubs.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book of the Week - Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day by Anne B. Ross

Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day
Anne B. Ross Viking 2014
Sassy Etta Mae, the bad girl of the Miss Julie series gets to tell her story. Working as a CNA, the twice divorced bombshell who has a kind heart is is engaged to Howard Connard, Senior, the wealthy elderly community leader, once the major employer in the area. Unfortunately her boss has told Howard Junior who has immediately come from Raleigh, even though he hadn't visited his father for months, and made plans to move him to a nursing home. Meanwhile, Etta Mae’s first ex-husband who had left her with nothing but debt returns to to town to tell her he has a winning lottery ticket he wants to split with her but unfortunately he is on the wrong side of a bunch of big bad guys who are hell bent on getting the ticket. When Etta Mae works out a way to free her fiance and get the wedding done in a hurry, every thing that can go wrong does to comic effect.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Carsick by John Walters

It has been another wild and crazy week with little time for reading.

I am a big fan of John Waters' movies so I grabbed his new audiobook Carsick which has something to offend almost anyone but is laugh-out-loud hilarious. I liked how he comes across as a genuinely good guy, albeit rather kinky and sometimes sex obsessed. The references to his movies and the people who played in them were delightful and the folks he met (or made up) in the course of his hitchhiking from his Baltimore home to his San Francisco home were awesomely quirky as were the bizarre and "filthy" (his word) situations he found (or imagined) himself in. Definitely for an adult audience.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown

This take on the real life story of Mary Rowlandson, a 17th century Puritan taken captive by Indians in King Philip's war and held for 11 weeks presents her differently, as a more complex and interesting person than in her memoir which can be read through Project Gutenberg. I highly recommend this novel for book groups with its useful author's note and discussion questions. While it is not a "fun" read, the look at the time and setting, life in a Puritan community and an Indian nation at war and on the move was fascinating. Mary's feelings for her children and later, the way her views of slavery, a woman's place, the treatment of indigenous people, and child rearing change is believable and great for discussion.