More Than Words by Jill Santopolo

Jill Santopolo

More Than Words

Jill Santopolo’s last novel, THE LIGHT WE LOST broke records in sales.  Somehow I missed it. So I was determined to get a review copy of MORE THAN WORDS asap.

author

Jill Santopolo

Nina Gregory is heir to the Gregory Hotels. Her dad and grandad worked hard to make their family name rise to the top.  Nina was young when her mom died in a tragic car accident. So it was her and her dad together..

When Nina’s father dies her world changes drastically. She realizes her dad had always shielded her from all things bad. But, now, she’s running this company and discovering things that do not add up…

Nina has long known she’d be expected to run the family business. In fact, she has been schooled to do just that. However, she never thought it would happen so soon. She’s been enjoying working in politics and writing speeches for a smart young Latino man named Rafael. He’s running for mayor of New York City. It’s a big deal and even more so if he wins.  As she feels herself becoming closer to Rafael her relationship with her long-time friend Tim begins to change.

Mina is finding out that she is not the person she used to be. All bets are off.  We have a front row seat to Mina’s discovery of herself.  It’s a whirlwind story filled with mystery and romance.

I think you’ll love reading about Nina and her quest for herself.

My review copy arrived via the generous people at Putnam, a division of Penguin Random House. Thanks a bunch. I loved it.

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An Evening With Andre Dubus

Andre Dubus

Andre Dubus & Jean

A few months ago I told you about an upcoming author event at Copperfish. That event was last night. Andre Dubus was that author. What a pleasure to finally meet the man who is one of the most brilliant authors of our time.

The event was sold out.  Andre read from his amazing novel, graciously answered all questions and told stories of being picked for Oprah’s bookclub with HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG years ago. We were all in stitches.  Then he patiently signed everyone’s books and put his personal stamp on conversations.

We are so grateful to Andre for taking the time out of his busy week teaching to come help us sell books at Copperfish.  A  great evening was had by all!

If you click on the title of the book under the cover photo it will take you straight to my review.

We now know why and how this novel was set in our backyard! Loved it!

Late In The Day by Tessa Hadley

Tessa Hadley

Late In The Day

I adored THE PAST, Hadley’s last novel. When I saw she had a new novel coming I jumped for joy.

LATE IN THE DAY is a character study of two couples who have known each other for thirty years.  Best friends.   Lydia is married to Zachary who owns a London art gallery.  Christine is married to Alex, a poet who teaches at a local school.  But things are about to change dramatically as Lydia calls her friends late one evening. Zachary has dropped dead in his gallery.

LATE IN THE DAY is told in alternating time spans.  The parts of the story that have Christine and Lydia as students set the tone for their pursuit of their own lives. For instance, I found Lydia to be self-absorbed and flakey. On the other hand Christine was much more  settled and scholarly. The Lydia I saw would have gleefully thrown herself in front of a bus to attract the attention of the then-married Alex.  She was obsessed with him; convinced she would marry him. He was married to another woman and they had a child at the time.  But in the end it’s not Lydia who he marries the second time around.

Said to be a romantic comedy, LATE IN THE DAY has its comic moments. Mostly, it’s going beyond the surface of these characters to find the real deal.  This is not a thriller, not a romance novel, but it is a novel of persistence.  In fact, to quote my favorite book critic, Ron Charles of the Washington Post, ” Despite its grim opening, this is a novel about the persistence of life, the agonizing but clarifying effect of great loss. Even late in the day, Hadley suggest, there’s still time to begin again.”

We have copies of LATE IN THE DAY by Tessa Hadley available for purchase at Copperfish Books.  They’re marked 20% off. Come on in, we’d love to talk books with you.

Author

Tessa Hadley

Sending thanks out to Harper Collins for providing the review copy in exchange for an honest review.   Hadley has given us yet another stellar novel.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

 

Speaking With Elaine Newton At The Pelican Bay Women’s League

Pelican Bay Women's League

Jean with Elaine Newton

What an exciting day yesterday was! I spoke with my friend Elaine Newton at the Pelican Bay Women’s League.  The house was packed with a delightful group who arrived with their sense of humor in tact.

The topic was books, books, and so many more books.  And about what I do with all these books.  I shared what I do for book clubs in the tri-county area.  I also shared some fun tidbits of meeting big authors and working with Elaine on that amazing summer reading list for Artis-Naples over the years.

Pelican Bay Women’s League

Was truly a fun day meeting new friends and discovering even more avid readers. Sending a big thanks out to Nancy for all her hard work preparing for the event. And to Beverly for sending me copies of the  photos she took. Thank you both!

 

 

 

Announcing A Winner!

Everything Here Is Beautiful

I have my winner! Congratulations to Pat I. You’re my winner this morning. I will send you an email asking for your mailing address. Your beautiful finished copy of EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL will come straight from Penguin/RandomHouse.

I want to thank those of you who took the time to enter my giveaway! There will be more to come.

Giveaway! Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee

Everything Here Is Beautiful

Miranda and Lucia arrived in New York with their mother on a flight from China. Miranda was a  young child, her sister Lucia still residing in their mother’s belly.  Their father died suddenly, turning their lives upside down.  Life in America looks good.

This beautiful debut novel begins with one of those startling first sentences that draws you right in with:  Lucia said she was going to marry a one-armed Russian Jew.  How can you not continue?  Little did I know what a journey I was about to begin.

Moving from America to Ecuador to Switzerland, then back to America, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL, keeps you on your toes.  There is really no one theme to this novel. It’s about sisters, parenting, immigration, love, empathy, courage. I could go on and on…mental illness.

Lucia is in her twenties when she marries Yonah, who is from Israel. He lost his arm at a young age while fighting in the war. He is full of life and Lucia falls madly in love with this older man who owns a health food store in the East Village in NYC.  They live happily in tiny rooms next door. All is well until Lucia’s latent mental illness roars its ugly head. Thinking herself cured, she’s on no medication. Soon, she’s out of control. Miranda steps in to help, as she always has done.  Lucia’s madness is finally under control again.  But not for long. She begins longing for a child. One day she leaves Yonah for a much younger undocumented immigrant. Manny is from Ecuador. He’s charming and handsome and has no idea that his life is about to change forever.

Told in varying points of view, we get great insight to these characters.  Miranda, always the older sister. Constantly feeling guilty and responsible for Lucia. Never feeling she can do enough. Trying to understand the cause and effects of psychosis.  Putting her own life on hold. Miranda marries and moves to Switzerland. She is hoping Lucia is finally taking her medication regularly.

Lucia and Manny have a beautiful baby daughter and it throws Lucia into the depths of madness once again.  Lucia spends time in the hospital and gets herself back up to par, but it’s taken its toll. Once out of the hospital she persuades Manny to move back to Ecuador with her and the baby in tow. They have visions of opening their own business close to Manny’s family. Yes, they are close to his family, but, once at home, he slides into the cultural ways. Everything is different. Though Lucia is welcomed into the family and the baby is loved and adored, everything about family life in Ecuador is opposite of family life in America and soon Lucia feels stifled and misses her job.

author

Mira T. Lee

Lee does a stellar job of showing us both sides of the story. We learn how Manny feels living outside his home country.  He is also illegal in America and lives with that over his head constantly.  But Lucia has different issues. She is in Ecuador legally. But she has no work outside the home. And the home is little more than a hut with mud floors in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere but a stone’s throw from Manny’s mother.  No modern conveniences. They actually wash their clothes in the river with stones and dry them on the bank.  For the women, the days are filled with cleaning, washing, and cooking the meals. It takes all day to do these, every day.

I know very little of mental illness. At times, I felt worn out reading through the bouts of ups and downs. Loved ones feel helpless and sometimes hopeless. This is genetic. And the cure is medicine to help keep it at bay. Mostly, the meds have adverse side affects that are not nice. And often the patients stop taking them because they either feel they no longer need them, or, they can’t stand the awful affects.

Lee brings us a timely and sensitive story full of characters you will not soon forget. This novel made me think. It has helped make me more aware of the affects of mental illness. And it’s beautifully written by an author I look forward to reading again soon.

I have one beautiful trade paperback copy of EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL by Mira T. Lee for giveaway. The very generous publishing house at Penguin/RandhomHouse are furnishing this book for you. Please comment below to enter the contest. I will choose a winner on Monday, January  14. No P.O. boxes, please, and only U.S. addresses, as per usual.  Good luck!!

Little by Edward Carey

Edward Carey

Little

Goodreads says, ” The wry, macabre, unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in Revolutionary Paris, befriended by royalty and radicals, who transforms herself into the legendary Madame Tussaud.”

The year is 1761.  Little Marie is born in a village in Switzerland.  Her beginnings are quite humble; but all that is subject to change, and drastically.

Marie is orphaned early in her life. She goes on to apprentice with a very strange wax sculptor  with whom she  bonds with almost immediately.  His laboratory is eerie and freakish. Marie finds it a solace from the reality that has become her life. And thus it begins.

Marie becomes so well known that she is summoned by Marie Antionette to the palace of Versailles where she saves Marie Antoinette during childbirth.  But we all know what’s going on outside the palace. Real heads are beginning to roll…

From these humble beginnings the monumental business of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museums have gone on to become a very big business, indeed. They now exist all over the world.

Edward Carey worked in the Madame Tussaud Museum in London for a short time. As a child he had been scared of the wax figures, but as an adult he began to have a healthy appreciation.  And look where that has taken him.

This tiny person filled with the determination of a hundred strong humans, managed to create an empire that will live on for eternity.

author

Edward Carey

I found this odd novel compellingly readable and full of quirky characters who helped change history to be a good fit for book clubs this season. There sure is a lot to talk about. Carey  knows how to draw in his audience and tell a helluva story!

I received a review copy of LITTLE by Edward Carey from Riverhead Books via Copperfish Books.