September is here! Time to reorganize closets, decorate the house for fall and update my reading list. Around inconsistent schedules and Morgan’s struggle to nap as well as sleep while cutting her first two teeth, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in August reading. This was also a tough month because I couldn’t quite get excited enough to want to pick up some of these books. One I liked, one was just meh and the other was just not my cup of tea though I read it because of many recommendations. See which was which below:
The Hiding Place
Growing up I always enjoyed learning about the Holocaust. That sounds like such a weird thing to say but it was just so fascinating to me how people could get behind a leader like Hitler and treat people that way. So incredibly sad. But with that being said, I came across this book on my Kindle as a recommendation after reading another book prior. Seeing that it was a true story about a family in Holland, I was curious to read it.
In this biographical narrative, Corrie ten Boom and her family recount back to the 1940s when Holland fell to the Nazis. Their family owned a watch shop in their town of Haarlem and were well respected in their community. They were also strong in their faith and showed great Christian charity through their efforts in the Jewish underground. They provided refuge, the perfect hiding place, for anyone who knocked and helped countless Jews to escape concentration camps and death. Their operation was eventually discovered by the Nazis, so the story also recounts what happened to the family members, their experience in concentration camps and how their faith remained unshakable. After this era was behind them, Corrie made it her life’s mission to share her message of faith and her testimony during those events to show that goodness can prevail.
The book began a little slow but picked up momentum as the threat of the Nazis increased. If you are a history fan like me, then I would definitely recommend it.
This book, once again, was a recommendation I received from Amazon after finishing another recent psychological thriller. Robyn Harding is also the author of The Party, which I saw recommended by another blogger I follow, but decided to start with this one first.
The book begins with a news article describing the details of a ‘missing girl’ case. From there you are introduced to Frances Metcalfe, a mom with a great husband, but super critical of herself and someone who just doesn’t quite fit in with the mom-crowd at her son’s new school because he has some challenges. Following an incident at school involving her son, Frances feels more insecure than ever; until she meets Kate Randolph. Kate is basically the polar opposite of Frances: wealthy, beautiful and confident but the author touches on things to make you feel like both women have something dark in their pasts to connect them. As they bond, a secret is unveiled that threatens their friendship … because one of them is living a double life … and she is a murderer.
This book is written from the viewpoint of a handful of characters both in the past and present time. It keeps the story line moving and keeps you guessing as to how some of the characters are connected.
The more I read, the darker I felt the story became. At times I almost felt like it was going in a direction a little too dark for me but managed to get through it. This definitely wasn’t my favorite psycho thriller though I’m still interested in reading other titles by the author including The Party. I would assume from there I’ll be able to determine if this is just the author’s writing style or just a darker storyline. I appreciated the fairly quick pace of the plot but most of the twists were predictable. Overall this book was just meh compared to some of the other thrillers I’ve already read.
With the number of recommendations and good things I’ve heard about this book, I think it’s safe to say that I’m probably in a small percentage of people who didn’t enjoy this book. Could I have enjoyed it more had it not been built up so much? Maybe. Would I have appreciated the story had I better known what it was about going into it? Possibly. But if I’m being honest with you, I didn’t like it.
I opened the book expecting it to read like a Nicholas Sparks novel since I had heard it was the perfect summer read. But that’s not what I got. Instead it started with a young girl named Kya who spoke in super broken, southern low-country english. Her family was dissipating right before her eyes and she endured neglect and abuse. And then amongst this developing story line, the book would jump several years into the future to the local sheriff and detective working a supposed murder case. I struggled between following what year I was in from chapter to chapter, understanding how the case fell into the few characters I knew at that point and just how slow the story was developing between Kya digging for mussels, going to buy grits at the store and feeding cornbread to the gulls on the beach.
I’d say the story finally began to pick up around page 200 when the jumps between past and present finally caught up to one another and the characters were living during the same time the murder case was happening. I finally felt invested enough to want to figure out what happened. Not to mention it had taken me over 2 weeks to get through those first 200 pages and I had 2 days left until my Kindle book loan ended from my library. Once I start a book, I have to finish it so I wasn’t quitting at this point and needed to find the time to do so. The ending was overall what I had hoped for plus or minus a few things, but did appreciate the final twist to tie the loose ends tighter.
I’ve since spoken with several friends who also read this book and they had the same opinion. One described it as a book with a slow start, not the most intriguing read but glad she read it and another who struggled for it to keep her attention but was determined to finish because like me she can’t just quit on a book she’s started. Though I didn’t like it doesn’t mean the same for you. I would recommend reading the book sleeve or an online summary to see if this book is something you would enjoy so that you are in the correct frame of mind going into it. I think doing that would have helped me but I’m quick to judge a book by it’s cover. Literally. If the cover looks enticing, I’m in. Sue me.
All book cover pictures and titles are linked. If you’re interested in giving any or all of these a read, just give them a quick click to be taken to Amazon. Thank you so much!
I hope you have a great week!