Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"This is Ground Control to Major Tom..."

Capsule reviews:

The Girl Who Chased the Moon – Sarah Addison Allen

Another enchanting novel from the author of Garden Spells (but stronger and more cohesive than Sugar Queen, in my humble opinion). I loved the characters – our lovely heroine, Emily Benedict, who returns to her lost mother’s hometown to discover her mother’s secrets but live her own life; Shelby Vance, Emily’s giant, reclusive grandfather; Julia Winterson, the lonely baker with secrets of her own. The story is straightforward but woven with enough magical threads to keep you guessing and entranced. And I feel it's only fair to warn you that it makes you hungry, too.

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd – Jim Fergus

Little Wolf, the leader of the Cheynne Indian tribes, proposes to President Ulysses S Grant that 1000 white women be given to the Indians as brides, to bear and raise mixed race children within the Indian tribes; he contends that this action would bond the Indians to the whites and promote peace. President Grant reacts with outer horror and shock, but secretly approves a plan to recruit the thousand women from prisons, brothels, mental institutions, and tenements. May Dodd engineers her escape thusly from the mental institution to which her socially rigid family had committed her, and travels west, to marry the chief himself and live among the Cheyenne. Her journals tell her life’s story, and her adventures going westward and living with the tribe. This is a work of fiction, but it could easily be read as truth, so clear and real is May. I have no idea how I didn’t read this book when it first came out; it’s a debut novel that more than pleasantly surprised me.

Nanny Returns – Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Krauss

The Nanny Diaries broke my heart at its end, and you’d think I’d have learned, but no. I WANT Nanny to swoop in and save Grayer X (and, in this book, his younger brother Stilton) but instead a combination of mature, compassionate decisions on Nanny’s part and some heavily coincidental but nevertheless satisfying happenings in the lives of Mr & Mrs X wind up leaving me brokenhearted again. Every child deserves the unconditional (if at times smothering : )) love that they give us. I may yell at my kids and I may crave a few hours of alone time, but I adore my boys and play with them and listen to them and don’t care if they get dirt on my clothes or muss up my hair. I’ll take maple-syrup-sticky fingers patting my cheek in love and chocolatey fingers clutching mine any day over a perfect coif and unblemished manicure, and I’ll never understand why you’d have children if you felt otherwise. Apparently neither does Nanny. A satisfying sequel to the only other book of McCaughlin’s and Krauss’ that I liked.

I am wrapping up The Forgotten Garden and have the newest Maisie Dobbs waiting. So, you know, hang around...


Kathy said...

I was going back and forth about The Girl Who Chased the Moon -- I think I'll read it.

BabelBabe said...

if you liked Garden Spells, you will like it. it is a tad more -- Faulknerian, if one can even use his name in the same breath as Allen's...

Julia said...

A new Maisie Dobbs, thanks for the heads up!