#6Degrees of Separation: From What I Loved to Learning to See

July 4, 2020

Happy Birthday U.S.A.!

giphy

 #6Degrees of Separation: From What I Loved by Siri Hustved to Learning to See by Elise Hooper

#6Degrees of Separation (a collage of covers in this post)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

ART!

#6Degrees of Separation: from What I Loved by Siri Hustved to Learning to See by Elise Hooper.

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I’ve seen this meme around for a while and Davida’s posts at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog inspired me to give it a try this year! Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

This month’s prompt starts with What I Loved by Siri Hustved and is a book I have not read. I notice in the summary that an extraordinary painting is discovered, so my chain will be built around an art theme.

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt (cover) Image: a girl in a red spaghetti stap dress sits with her back to the camera and rests her left hand on the side of her dark short hairAmazon Summary: “What I Loved begins in New York in 1975, when art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a SoHo gallery. He buys the work; tracks down the artist, Bill Wechsler; and the two men embark on a life-long friendship. Leo’s story, which spans twenty-five years, follows the growing involvement between his family and Bill’s–an intricate constellation of attachments that includes the two men, their wives, Erica and Violet, and their sons, Matthew and Mark.

The families live in the same New York apartment building, rent a house together in the summers and keep up a lively exchange of ideas about life and art, but the bonds between them are tested, first by sudden tragedy, and then by monstrous duplicity that slowly comes to the surface. A beautifully written novel that combines the intimacy of a family saga with the suspense of a thriller, What I Loved is a deeply moving story about art, love, loss, and betrayal.”

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline (cover) Image a solitary house stands on a windswept prairieFirst Degree. From the summary of What I Loved, I notice that an extraordinary piece of art is discovered. This reminds me of A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting, Christina’s World..

Goodreads Summary: “A stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.

“Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.”

Christina's World painting by Andrew Wyeth (Image:) a young woman drags herself across a prairie toward a solitary house on a hill

Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century. My Goodreads review of A Piece of the World.

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain (cover)Second Degree: Another story involving art is Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain. Here, the story involves an imagined mural.

My Summary: “Secrets, prejudice, and making peace with the past …. Two young women living several decades apart are focused on the same mural….one is creating the mural in 1940 and the other is restoring the same mural in 2018. In alternate viewpoints and dual timelines, we hear both stories, the mystery of what happened to the original artist is uncovered, and connections between the two are revealed.” My review of Big Lies in a Small Town.

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (cover) Image: 17th cuntury portrait of a girl looking over her shoulder at the camera wearing a blue and gold head covering and a pearl earringThird Degree: The next book to involve art is is Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. The subject of the painting (as depicted on the cover) by the Dutch painter, Johannes Vermeer, is anonymous.

Amazon Summary: Tracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer’s most celebrated paintings.

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . . . even as she herself is immortalized in canvas and oil.” (***I gave this one 3.5 stars but didn’t write a review except to note that is is “an enjoyable and interesting character-driven story”).

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#6Degrees of Separation: From The Road to…

May 2, 2020

 #6Degrees of Separation: From The Road by Cormac McCarthy to…

collage of titles mentioned in this post

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Journey!

#6Degrees of Separation: from The Road by Cormac McCarthy to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce.

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I’ve seen this meme around for a while and a recent post by Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog inspired me to give it a try this year! Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

This month’s prompt starts with The Road by Cormac McCarthy….

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (cover) Image: footprints run vertically up the right side of the blue cover

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a book I have not heard about even though it has won a Pulitzer Prize. Post-apocalyptic is not my preferred genre, so it’s not a surprise that it wasn’t on my radar. Because I don’t read in this genre, my chain will consist of books that include a road journey.

Amazon Summary: A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other.

The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.”

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins (author)First Degree. From the summary of The Road, I notice that a father and son (sustained by love) are journeying along a road toward a better future. This reminds me of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins in which a mother and son embark on a treacherous journey to America in search of a new beginning.

My Summary: “Lydia, her journalist husband, and their young son live a comfortable, middle-class life in Acapulco, Mexico. Lydia and her husband are following their dreams: Lydia owns a bookshop while her husband writes investigative pieces that expose gang crime in the area. One day Lydia unknowingly befriends a charming bookshop customer who turns out to be the head of the newest drug cartel that has taken over the city. Her friendship with Javier sets in motion a tragic sequence of events that force Lydia and her eight-year-old son to flee for their lives as they undertake a journey by foot and rail to America.” My American Dirt review.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri (cover)Second Degree: Another story involving a journey is The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri. Here, Nuri and his wife, Afra, flee war-ravaged Syria in search of a safer life.

My Summary: “A compelling story of love, loss, hope, and compassion…Nuri, a beekeeper, and his wife Afra, an artist, live happily with their son in beautiful Aleppo. They enjoy a quiet and peaceful life and value the friendship of close friends and extended family. Suddenly, their lives are turned upside down by war and, out of desperation, they make a decision to flee Syria. What Afra has experienced and seen causes her to go blind, complicating their journey through Turkey and Greece to get to Britain. On this risky and uncertain journey, they must learn to survive in unpredictable situations, to deal with their loss, to trust each other, to depend on the kindness and compassion of strangers, and to keep their hope alive. My Beekeeper of Aleppo review.

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate (cover)Third Degree: The next book to involve a journey is The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate. In dual timelines, the 1875 timeline follows three girls on a harrowing journey to Texas in search of an inheritance and a lost family.

My Summary: Searching for family… As “Lost Friends” advertisements appear in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, freed slaves desperately try to find loved ones who had been sold off. In 1875, three young girls from Louisiana set off on a perilous journey to Texas. Two of the girls are financially desperate and in search of their inheritance and the third is looking for her long lost family and helping others do the same. The present-day timeline takes place in Lousiana in 1987 as a young and inexperienced teacher lands her first job in a poor, rural community. Throughout the year, she discovers the story of the three girls from 1875 and their connection to her current students.” My The Book of Lost Friends review.

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#6Degrees of Separation: From Stasiland to…

April 4, 2020

 #6Degrees of Separation: From Stasiland to…

#6Degrees of Separation collage of covers

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Resistance!

#6Degrees of Separation: from Stasiland by Anna Funder to ….

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I’ve seen this meme around for a while and a recent post by Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog inspired me to give it a try this year! Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

This month’s prompt starts with Stasiland by Anna Funder

Stasiland by Anna Funder (cover)

Stasiland by Anna Funder is a book I have not heard about, but it sounds like one I might be interested in adding to my TBR.

Amazon Summary: Anna Funder delivers a prize-winning and powerfully rendered account of the resistance against East Germany’s communist dictatorship in these harrowing, personal tales of life behind the Iron Curtain—and, especially, of life under the iron fist of the Stasi, East Germany’s brutal state security force. In the tradition of Frederick Taylor’s The Berlin Wall and Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families, Funder’s Stasiland is a masterpiece of investigative reporting, written with novelistic vividness and the compelling intensity of a universal, real-life story.”

Goodreads Summary: In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterward the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. In a country where the headquarters of the secret police can become a museum literally overnight, and one in 50 East Germans were informing on their countrymen and women, there are a thousand stories just waiting to get out. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany – she meets Miriam, who as a 16-year-old might have started World War III, visits the man who painted the line which became the Berlin Wall and gets drunk with the legendary ‘Mik Jegger’ of the East, once declared by the authorities to his face to ‘no longer to exist’. Written with wit and literary flair, Stasiland provides a riveting insight into life behind the wall.”

Ribbons of Scarlet by Kate Quinn et al. (cover)First Degree. From the summary of Stasiland, the topic of resistance immediately reminds me of the story of six real women in Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution by Kate Quinn et al.

My Summary: Liberty! Equality! Fraternity! Six masterful storytellers collaborate to share the experiences of seven unforgettable women of The French Revolution. During the Revolution, these courageous and determined women felt compelled to resist, to speak up, and to exert their influence wherever they could. Even though these are six separate stories, some passionate convictions and ideas connect them. My Review.

Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini (cover)Second Degree: Another story of resistance is the story of Mildred Fish Harnack in Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini.

My Summary: “Mildred Fish, an American College graduate, meets the love of her life, Arvid Harnack. After they fall in love, they marry and make their home in Arvid’s homeland of Germany. Mildred and Arvid thrive there, forming new friendships, and enjoying the intellectual and artistic offerings of 1930s Berlin. As Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party become more popular and powerful, Mildred and Arvid and their friends are compelled to resist. For years, Mildred and Arvid and their cohorts risk their lives to gather intelligence to bring down the Third Reich from within. Sadly, their sincere efforts don’t result in the help they desired or envisioned. This is a story of ordinary people who, while they should be enjoying their carefree youth, give their best efforts to fighting evil and saving their country.” My Review.

Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon (cover)Third Degree: A book that I haven’t yet read but is high on my TBR and has the same strong themes of resistance is Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon.

Amazon Summary: Code Name Hélène shares the story of the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII.

Told in interweaving timelines organized around the four code names Nancy used during the war, Code Name Hélène is a spellbinding and moving story of enduring love, remarkable sacrifice and unfaltering resolve that chronicles the true exploits of a woman who deserves to be a household name.

It is 1936 and Nancy Wake is an intrepid Australian expat living in Paris who has bluffed her way into a reporting job for Hearst newspaper when she meets the wealthy French industrialist Henri Fiocca. No sooner does Henri sweep Nancy off her feet and convince her to become Mrs. Fiocca than the Germans invade France and she takes yet another name: a code name.

As LUCIENNE CARLIER Nancy smuggles people and documents across the border and earns a new nickname from the Gestapo for her remarkable ability to evade capture: THE WHITE MOUSE. With a five million franc bounty on her head, Nancy is forced to escape France and leave Henri behind. When she enters training with the Special Operations Executives in Britain, she is told to use the name HÉLÈNE with her comrades. And finally, with mission in hand, Nancy is airdropped back into France as the deadly MADAM ANDRÉE, where she claims her place as one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance, known for her ferocious wit, her signature red lipstick, and her ability to summon weapons straight from the Allied Forces. But no one can protect Nancy if the enemy finds out these four women are one and the same, and the closer to liberation France gets, the more exposed she–and the people she loves–will become.

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#6Degrees of Separation: From Wolfe Island to…

March 7, 2020

 #6Degrees of Separation: From Wolfe Island to…

A collage of all titles

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

#6Degrees of Separation: from Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar to The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré.

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I’ve seen this meme around for a while and a recent post by Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog inspired me to give it a try this year! Making connections between books is challenging, creative, and fun!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

This month’s prompt starts with Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar

Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar (cover)

Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar is a book I have not heard about, but it sounds like one I might be interested in adding to my TBR.

Amazon Summary: “For years Kitty Hawke has lived alone on Wolfe Island, witness to the island’s erosion and clinging to the ghosts of her past. Her work as a sculptor and her wolfdog Girl are enough. News of mainland turmoil is as distant as myth until refugees from that world arrive: her granddaughter Cat, and Luis and Alejandra, a brother and sister escaping persecution. When threats from the mainland draw closer, they are forced to flee for their lives. They travel north through winter, a journey during which Kitty must decide what she will do to protect the people she loves.

Part western, part lament for a disappearing world, Wolfe Island (set off the northeast coast of the US) is a transporting novel that explores connection and isolation and the ways lives and families shatter and are remade.”

The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister (cover)First Degree. From the summary, the remote and isolated island location in the northeast coast of the U.S. immediately reminds me of the remote island (also located along the northeast coast of the U>S.) in The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister.

My Summary: Emmeline lives on a small isolated and remote island with her father. They function as survivalists by foraging and growing their own food. Even though Emmeline and her father are isolated, the father has a contact who arrives by boat and occasionally delivers items that can’t be acquired on the island. Emmeline’s father teaches her about the natural world through her senses. Emmeline’s world is filled with love and security and it’s all she knows. Her father also has a mysterious machine that creates or captures scents (similar to a Polaroid camera), and he has scents stored in drawers that line the walls of their cabin. Although she’s curious about the scents, her father doesn’t offer a great deal of explanation. One day, Emmeline is forced out into the real world beyond the sanctuary of her island. She sets out on a quest to understand the life her father created for them, her father’s reasons, and the secrets he safeguarded. My Review.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (cover)Second Degree: Although not as remote, the atmospheric setting and a young girl on her own reminds me of the southern swamp setting in Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. In both survival stories, young girls are left to fend for themselves.

My Summary: Living in the marsh outside a quiet, small town on the coast of North Carolina, Kya Clark, later known as the “Marsh Girl,” is abandoned by her entire family and learns to survive in the marsh on her own from the age of ten. One by one her older siblings abandon the family, her mother leaves when Kya is about seven, and finally her father, a difficult, unreliable, and drunk man, leaves when she’s ten. Kya attends school for one day after a truant officer catches her. On that day, she is teased by the students, knows she’s hopelessly behind academically, and never returns. Preferring the isolation and safety of the marsh, she learns what she can through observing nature. Although she can survive on her own, she begins to long for companionship as she reaches her teen years. Two boys from town attract her attention. One of them turns up dead, and she is suspected of murder. The other becomes a life long supporter and friend. A coming of age story with a fair share of tragedy, mystery, and grit, this is an unforgettable read you’ll want to devour and recommend. My Review.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (cover)Third Degree: Connecting to these strong themes of isolation and survival, I’m reminded of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This young girl is not on an island and is not on her own, but the family is isolated in Alaska and the young girl is faced with physical as well as emotional survival.

My Summary: The Great Alone is a story about a dysfunctional family that eventually moves to the harsh wilderness of Alaska to make a fresh start. In this page turner by Kristin Hannah (author of the Nightingale), thirteen-year-old Leni watches her gentle and artistic mother struggle to live a happy and secure life with her father, a Vietnam War vet, who suffers from PTSD.  A survivalist, her father becomes more paranoid and controlling as the story progresses. ***trigger warnings for emotional and physical abuse***  Leni, struggling to stay in school and walking on egg shells around her father, is also concerned about her mother and about their general well-being as the dark winter and isolation of the Alaskan wilderness cause her father’s symptoms to worsen. The first part of the story is slower paced and devoted to establishing a sense of place, character development, and a slow build up of the problem. The last part of the story  unfolds at a rapid pace and there are attempts to escape and confrontations. Some have commented that the ending is tied together easily, quickly, and conveniently. This didn’t bother me too much because rapid emotional plot twists are Kristin Hannah’s style and part of me was eager and relieved to have closure to Leni’s story.  If you’re looking for an engaging page turner with an Alaskan wilderness setting, this is a good selection to meet that criteria. My Review.

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#6Degrees of Separation: From Fleishman to…

February 1, 2020

 #6Degrees of Separation: From Fleishman to…

#6Degrees of Separation book covers

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

#6Degrees of Separation: from Fleishman Is in Trouble: A Novel by Taffy Brodesser-Akner to We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter.

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I’ve seen this meme around for a while and a recent post by Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog inspired me to give it a try this year!

Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. The rules are:

  • Link the books together in any way you like.
  • Provide a link in your post to the meme at Books are My Favourite and Best.
  • Share these rules in your post.
  • Paste the link to your post in the comments on Kate’s post and/or the Linky Tool on that post.
  • Invite your blog readers to join in and paste their links in the comments and/or the Linky Tool.
  • Share your post on Twitter using the #6Degrees hash tag.
  • Be nice! Visit and comment on other posts and/or retweet other #6Degrees posts.

Play Along?

This month’s prompt is to start with Fleishman Is in Trouble: A Novel by Taffy Brodesser-Akner….

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (cover)

Fleishman Is in Trouble: A Novel by Taffy Brodesser-Akner is a book I’ve heard about but I decided not to read it (although I’ve read quite a few positive reviews from some of my favorite bloggers).

Amazon Summary: “Toby Fleishman thought he knew what to expect when he and his wife of almost fifteen years separated: weekends and every other holiday with the kids, some residual bitterness, the occasional moment of tension in their co-parenting negotiations. He could not have predicted that one day, in the middle of his summer of sexual emancipation, Rachel would just drop their two children off at his place and simply not return. He had been working so hard to find equilibrium in his single life. The winds of his optimism, long dormant, had finally begun to pick up. Now this.

As Toby tries to figure out where Rachel went, all while juggling his patients at the hospital, his never-ending parental duties, and his new app-assisted sexual popularity, his tidy narrative of the spurned husband with the too-ambitious wife is his sole consolation. But if Toby ever wants to truly understand what happened to Rachel and what happened to his marriage, he is going to have to consider that he might not have seen things all that clearly in the first place.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (cover)First Degree. From the summary, it sounds like Mr. Fleishman (and his wife) might benefit from some counseling or therapy which leads me to think of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb.

My Brief Summary: “Exploring mental health, finding meaning in life, and repairing broken relationships…

Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist and national advice columnist, shares a behind-the-scenes look into her work as a therapist. She also shares what it was like when she sought out therapy for herself.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (cover)Second Degree: The therapy themes in Maybe You Should Talk to Someone reminds me of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine because she sees a therapist and that section of the story is the most heart wrenching and compelling.This story is on my lifetime favorites list.

My Summary: “If you enjoy stories about quirky characters like Frederick Backman’s Ove or Britt-Marie, you will likely enjoy Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Throughout this amazing, poignant, and unique read, we learn her story. Eleanor isn’t fine, and I was completely captivated by her bravery and the themes of loneliness, honesty, survival, unconditional love, healing, acceptance, and restoration. I wanted to crawl into the story and give her a hug. Highly recommended as a story that builds empathy for others.”

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly (cover)Third Degree: One of the strong themes in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is friendship. This reminds me of the strong themes of friendship between Eliza and Sofya in Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly.

My Summary: “Fans of Lilac Girls will be interested in the prequel, Lost Roses, as it shares the story of Caroline Ferriday’s mother, Eliza. The story is told from three perspectives: Eliza Ferriday, a New York socialite; Sofya, a  Russian aristocrat and cousin to the Romanovs; and Varinka, a Russian peasant and fortune teller’s daughter. The story begins in 1914 when Sofya comes to the U.S. to visit her best friend, Eliza. Later when Eliza accompanies Sofya back to St. Petersburg, they find Russia on the brink of revolution. Unsettled by the conflict, Eliza escapes back to the U.S. Because her heart is with the Russian women, she creates a charity to help support women and children as they flee Russia. After some time when she hasn’t heard from Sofya, she becomes deeply concerned. Meanwhile in Russia, Sofya has hired a peasant girl, Varinka, to help with the household tasks but this decision brings additional danger. In a dramatic and tense conclusion, Eliza travels to Paris in search of Sofya while Sofya risks everything in Paris to find Varinka.”

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