Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Mulberry Tree by Jude Deveraux

image from LibraryThing
Lillian Manville was nothing until James Manville found her.
And she continued to be nothing unless he was with her.  She was plump and shy and unhappy and unfazed by the glitter of the billionaire life.  And that was just the way James liked it. Lillian knew that.  And she was ok with that.

And then he died.

And she became the scapegoat and the butt of all jokes. The dumpy woman behind the genius. The pitiful wife who was left out of his will. The lump in the corner that everyone loved to ignore who now was truly a nobody.

But, did James really turn his back on her?
He left her a note in the will asking her to find the answers.
And he left her a house.  A horrible tumbledown ghastly house in the mountains of Virginia outside the town of Calburn.
A hideous house...with the most incredible garden hiding in the weeds under a magnificent mulberry tree.

And that is where Lillian finds her true self as Bailey James.

She finds her voice
and her will
and the truth behind James Manville.

This was a book that I thought I had figured out a couple of times.
It is a love story - the hunky contractor who swoops in to save the newly widowed. newly beautiful stranger in town. And yes that does happen - but it's more than that.

It is a story of empowering women to be more than just the spouse.
It is about the lengths of pain one decision can inflict on others.
It is about the stories that are hidden in small towns.
It is about how hard it is to find truth when most people want life to just be.

I enjoyed this!
And I would recommend this!

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Magician's King and The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

I am a sucker for a trilogy. So I knew I would read these all as soon as I started the first.  But - it was hard work to get through the The Magician King - the second one.  

I felt off kilter all the time.  They didn't behave the way I wanted a magical world to behave. I wanted happy magic. I know that Harry Potter was dark - but I always knew the good would win.  Here - I wasn't so sure.  It never felt like a done deal - it was always an option that the dark would just be.

On top of that I really didn't like Quentin - the main character.  He was a pompous ass and magic just made him a magical ass.  But the Magician King wasn't really his story. It was much more about Julia - Quentin's high school pre-magic love interest in the first book.  And although her story was intriguing - it was an even darker kind of magic.  It was tied up in extreme teen-age angst and I am just tired of that.

But - I am a sucker for a trilogy. So I kept going.

And then I read the last book - the Magician's Land.
And this one I liked.
Quentin was dethroned and humanized. He couldn't toss magic around as easily instead he had to really work!  And as he worked he became so much more likeable!  And he sacrificed himself for others - always a great and heroic thing to do!  And magic changed.  I like that!

So at the end of these three - I can say I am happy I read them.