Saturday, June 28, 2014

Conditions of the Heart

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman


They don't make men like Ove anymore. He's just a man who worked at his job and loved his wife. Now at 59, forced into early retirement not long after his wife died, there nothing left to live for. That's when Ove decides to do something about it, but one thing or another keeps gets in his way.

This is yet another "if you liked the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you'll love this" book. But just as I noted in my review of The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81, Ove is no Harold Fry, and nor are either of them Frank Derrick. If pressed, I'd say that Ove is more like Harold Fry than Frank Derrick. Of course, the most obvious thing that these three men have in common is that they are older men. Notice I didn't call them "old men" here, because despite whatever ages they may be chronologically, none of them meet my criteria for being totally old. This is mostly because they each have a purpose and each of their stories tells us how they go about trying to achieve what they aim to do. In Ove's case, what he's trying to do is kill himself so he can be reunited with the only person who ever "got" him, his wife Sonja.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The 12 Days of Kelly Christmas


The Extra Ordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 by J.B. Morrison


Turning 81 is not a remarkable event, unless a milk float runs you down, giving you a concussion, breaking your arm and fracturing a bone in your foot. When this happened to Frank Derrick, he probably said nothing more than "ouch." Frank's daughter, however, thinks he needs some home help during his recovery. The last think Frank wants is weekly visits from with some bossy woman who would possibly scare (or even look like) Margret Thatcher. Then the pretty, 27 year-old Kelly Christmas shows up at his door, and the only thing he's sure of is that this isn't what he was expecting - and that's a good thing.

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Dazzling Dozen of Speakeasy Sisters


The Girls of the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

Every one of the 12 Hamilton sisters have been shuttered away from the world since the day they were born. With no boys as his heir, their father wants to make sure his girls stay unsullied until he can marry them off and be rid of them. But their determination to find some freedom is stronger than their fear of their father - who most of them have never even met. It is Josephine, the eldest, who figures out how to escape their jail. The danger of going to speakeasies during prohibition in New York only makes it more exciting and appealing. Eventually, these dozen girls are going out every night to dance their troubles away. But despite the extreme lengths of discretion and secrecy they go to, there is always something (or someone) lurking that could trap them and end it all. This is "The Girls at the Kingfisher Club" by Genevieve Valentine.