Here is another update on my reading. I’m starting to chug through some books. Still behind on my goal for the year, but I’m trying!
A Beautiful Poison by Lydia Kang
This book is a murder mystery set in 1918 involving a trio of young people, each of whom has a problematic person in their lives murdered with a “you’re welcome” note involved. At first the police don’t suspect any foul play in the deaths as the notes were found later, so socialite Allene and her friends Jasper and BIrdie work to solve the murders. Several twists and turns and red herrings in this book. It was a very fast read and well researched for events going on at the time.
Quarantine by John Smolens
When I was in school, I took a microbiology class that got me hooked on all things related to bacteria and viruses, so this book was a no-brainer for me to read. It takes place in 1796 during the plague outbreak as it reaches Newburyport, Massachusetts. Giles, the town doctor, is trying to save people and prevent the spread by building a pest house and using medical practices of the time while the town begins to rise up in religious fervor.The story was extrapolated from real history and the author was very meticulous in describing how life was back then and how they dealt with outbreaks. There is also a subplot of a conspiracy, which results in an unexpected ending. At times it moved a little slow, particularly in the beginning, but it moved quickly from there. I ended up reading this on a flight from NY to Denver this summer.
Close To Shore by Michael Capuzzo
This is a nonfiction book that tells the story of the Great White shark attacks on the Jersey Shore in 1919. The author creates a narrative based on newspaper accounts, as well as personal diaries and journals. He also does a good job of setting the tone of what life was like in 1916, although sometimes I found the details of that took away from the actual telling of the shark part. These were the first reported shark attacks in the upper East Coast and people could not seem to grasp that it was a shark that did this. At the time, people thought sharks didn’t attack people because their jaws weren’t strong enough. Really an interesting book and I have to say that it doesn’t make me want to swim in the ocean LOL!
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
This book is two stories woven together by two different real life disasters in New York – the Triangle Shirtwaist fire (1911) and current 9/11/2001. The parallels between these two events are actually striking, I have to say. Most of the book follows a nurse named Clara as she tries to deal with losing someone in the Shirtwaist factory fire and her inability to move on. She takes a job on Ellis Island to create a safe haven for herself until she is forced to go back to the mainland. The part of the book in the current time follows Taryn, a widow who lost her husband in 9/11. She also has not learned to truly move on. Both stories are connected by a beautiful scarf that passes through various hands. I found Taryn’s story to be not as well developed, so I wasn’t much emotionally invested in her story. Clara I wanted to grab her and shake her many times LOL! But I was rooting for her. Again, another story well researched for the settings. Also a quick read.
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Of course, I got this book because it was about a gardener, but it’s not a good gardener! This is the story of two Irish teenagers who arrive in America after being separated from their parents on the sea voyage in the late 1800s (from the famine). They find work in a household that is shunned by the town. The family seems to be slowly changing and at night a strange figure watches over everyone sleeping. Everything with the house seems to be tied up in the large tree that grows very close to the house. It’s up to Molly and her brother to figure out what is happening and how to save the family and themselves. This book is actually supposed to be for younger readers, but it’s really scary at times. The author is really great at creating a mood – and the mood is creepy! I think it would give a 10-year-old nightmares. The writing is quite good and I want to explore other books by this author.
I’m really stuck in a time period, aren’t I? Even the nonfiction one is around the same time!