Comanche Moon

Comanche MoonComanche Moon by Catherine Anderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This probably rates about a 2.8 for me, but I REALLY don’t like romances. The guy is too good to be true. The woman is, at times, infuriatingly stupid. Brave, but stupid. Most of the time I am rolling my eyes, alternating between laughing and wanting to throw the book at the wall. HOWEVER – I wanted something “fluffy” after reading Her Fearful Symmetry and the four Jackson Brodie mysteries. I’ll give the author credit for her sensitive treatment of the Comanche people. It engaged me enough to send for the sequel, Comanche Heart. We’ll see.

Description:
A harrowing tale of two cultures colliding on the 19th-century American frontier. Orphaned after her parents were killed by Comanches, Loretta Simpson still lives in terror that the warriors will return, her fear so powerful, she is no longer able to speak a word. Comanche Hunter of the Wolf sees her as the embodiment of an ancient prophesy and claims her for marriage. After she is abducted by Hunter, Loretta must confront her fears — and her passions. Despite the hatred between their peoples, Loretta and Hunter gradually find their enmity changing to respect and care. In the midst of such conflict, it will take all the force of their love to find a safe haven.

Audio version narrated by Ruth Ann Phimister.

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The Help

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know what to say beyond “5 stars” – one of the best reads of the year! I loved the characters, and didn’t want the book to end. Can’t wait to see the movie. This one is destined to become a classic.

Description:
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful SymmetryHer Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s a lot to like in this book: interesting ideas, quirky characters, atmospheric setting, lovely descriptions. I particularly loved Martin and his wife, and cheering on his efforts to overcome his OCD. But I had to work too hard at suspending my disbelief in the mechanics of the plot, and the motivations/choices of some of the characters. Still, there was a certain fascination with the creepiness of some of the relationships.

Description:
Julia and Valentina Poole are twenty-year-old sisters with an intense attachment to each other. One morning the mailman delivers a thick envelope to their house in the suburbs of Chicago. Their English aunt Elspeth Noblin has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. There are two conditions for this inheritance: that they live in the flat for a year before they sell it and that their parents not enter it. Julia and Valentina are twins. So were the girls’ aunt Elspeth and their mother, Edie.

The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, which borders the vast Highgate Cemetery, where Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Stella Gibbons, and other luminaries are buried. Julia and Valentina become involved with their living neighbors: Martin, a composer of crossword puzzles who suffers from crippling OCD, and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. They also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including—perhaps—their aunt.