This Must Be the Place [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

July 9, 2020

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell….a complicated and multilayered family drama.

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell (cover) Image: a home with a person walking toward it fills a circle surrounded by a blue cloud filled sky

Genre/Categories: Literary Fiction, Complicated Families

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Are you a fan of literary fiction?

My Summary:

This Must Be the Place is a story of a collapsing and reawakening marriage.  Daniel, a young American professor, travels to Ireland on holiday and family business and to stabilize his life after a failed marriage and a difficult custody battle. By chance, he meets Claudette, a world-famous actress who dramatically left the public eye for a reclusive life in a rural Irish village. Daniel and Claudette fall in love and create an idyllic life in the country and have two children of their own. A secret from Daniel’s past threatens to destroy their carefully constructed and quiet, happy life. As Daniel leaves to make peace with his past and himself, he also reunites with the American son and daughter he has not seen for several years. His story is told from his own voice and other multiple voices as he wrestles with the complexities of loyalty and devotion, family, and extraordinary love.

Continue here for my full review of This Must Be the Place

QOTD: Have you read This Must Be the Place or is it on your TBR?

The Deal of a Lifetime [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

June 11, 2020

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of a favorite adult fairy tale, The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman….poignant, thought-provoking, and reflective.

Fredrik Backman is an auto-buy author for me, and I’m a Backman completist!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman (cover) Image: a blue suitcase sits against a wall on a wooden floor, a straw hat is propped on one corner of the suitcase and a white bunny (stuffed) lies on the floor in front of the suitcase

Genre/Categories:  literary fiction, contemporary fiction, adult fairy tale, ambition, self-reflection, end of life

My Summary:

“In true Backman style, The Deal of a Lifetime is an intricately woven story (novella) of an unlovable, complex, and flawed character whom we begin to understand and care about as he faces the end of his life. Written as the last message from father to son and told like a fairy tale for adults, it’s a story of a legacy, ambition and success at all costs, fear of failure, the meaning of life, the commodity of time, an accounting of one’s life, and a father/son relationship. I hesitate to give details of the plot in this summary because I don’t want to spoil your read. Briefly, it’s the story of a successful and famous man in the mid-years of his life counting the personal cost of his achievements and striking a last deal to make things right.”

For those who collect opening lines….these are stellar!

“…I’ve killed a person. That’s not how fairy tales usually begin, I know. But I took a life. Does it make a difference if you know whose it was…..Does it make a difference if I killed a good person? A loved person? A valuable life?”  ~Backman’s opening lines

A reflective read for those who appreciate the beauty of short stories and for readers who might enjoy a thoughtful adult fairy tale about the purpose and meaning of life …..

Continue here for my full review of The Deal of a Lifetime which includes a set of discussion questions for your book club!

QOTD: Have you read The Deal of a Lifetime or is it on your TBR?

Bookish Themed Hanukkah: Fifth Candle: Five-Day Work Week #eightcandlebooktag

December 26, 2019

 Celebrating a Bookish Hanukkah With Our Jewish Friends: Fifth Candle–Five-Day Work Week

#eightcandlebooktag

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I’m linking up today and for the next few days with Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog (information on the meme link up here) to celebrate a bookish Hanukkah with our Jewish friends.  #eightcandlebooktag  Join us! (find my first candle here, find my second candle here, third candle here, fourth here)

Happy Hanukkah to my friends, followers, and book buddies who are celebrating!

8th-candle

 

1 candle

1 candle

1 candle

1 candle

1 candle

Fifth Candle: Five-Day Work Week

A book that you felt reading it was hard work, but you were glad you kept at it and finished reading it.

I read a great deal of historical fiction, and some books feel hard to read for me because of their length and/or the amount of dense historical details. Some examples are Prairie Fires, Ribbons of Scarlet, Resistance Women, and Island of Sea Women. (titles are links to my reviews)

For today’s post, I’m choosing to highlight A Gentleman in Moscow.

  A Gentleman in Moscow felt like work to read, but when I finished, I was glad I read it. I know some readers who bailed on it. For me the quality of the masterful writing, the thoughtful themes, and the character of the Count encouraged me to hang in for the duration. I’m especially glad I stuck with it because the end was quite satisfying! Whenever I read books like this, I break the reading up into chunks and set it aside for a while to read other more engaging titles.

A Gentleman in Moscow

I haven’t written a full review of Gentleman in Moscow, but I’ll include a few bullet points here:

What I loved:

  • beautifully written literary fiction
  • well-researched, Russian history
  • thoughtful themes, including how to live a good life despite our circumstances
  • a heartwarming story of found family
  • well-developed characters
  • a charming, likable, sophisticated, kind, gracious, and honorable main character
  • a unique premise

What You Need to Know

  • character-driven narrative (for some readers this is most desirable)
  • lack of plot (with the exception of the ending which involves some excitement!)
  • not for speed readers (this is one to savor line by line)

A Gentleman in Moscow is definitely worth the read and a book I would recommend to the right reader:

  • someone who is a fan of beautifully written character-driven literary fiction
  • someone who enjoys Russian history
  • someone who appreciates thoughtful themes, reflective writing, and a wonderful main character

My Rating: 4 stars

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A Gentleman in Moscow

A Gentleman in Moscow Information

Meet the Author, Amor Towles

Amor TowlesBorn and raised in the Boston area, Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. Having worked as an investment professional in Manhattan for over twenty years, he now devotes himself full time to writing. His first novel, Rules of Civility, published in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller in both hardcover and paperback and was ranked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011. The book was optioned by Lionsgate to be made into a feature film and its French translation received the 2012 Prix Fitzgerald. His second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, published in 2016, was also a New York Times bestseller and was ranked as one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, the Miami Herald, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the St. Louis Dispatch, and NPR. Both novels have been translated into over fifteen languages.

Mr. Towles, who lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children, is an ardent fan of early 20th century painting, 1950’s jazz, 1970’s cop shows, rock & roll on vinyl, obsolete accessories, manifestoes, breakfast pastries, pasta, liquor, snow-days, Tuscany, Provence, Disneyland, Hollywood, the cast of Casablanca, 007, Captain Kirk, Bob Dylan (early, mid, and late phases), the wee hours, card games, cafés, and the cookies made by both of his grandmothers.



QOTD!

Have you read A Gentleman in Moscow or is it on your TBR?

Have you read his first book, Rules of Civility?



ICYMI

I have finished my Fall TBR!
(just in time to begin my Winter TBR!)

Winter 2019 TBR

My Nonfiction November Posts:
2019 Nonfiction Reads
Nonfiction and Racial Injustice
Nonfiction/Fiction Pairings
Favorite Nonfiction Books
2020 Nonfiction TBR
Finding Chika by Mitch Albom



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

The Dutch House: A Review

November 8, 2019

 The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House Review

Genre/Categories: Complicated Family Drama, Literary Fiction

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

***Recommending the audio book for this read!

Summary:

Siblings Danny and Maeve are living in The Dutch House when their mother abandons the family. Their father remarries, but after he dies, their stepmother kicks Danny and Maeve out of her life and out of the house. Suddenly, all Danny and Maeve have is each other. This story explores their complicated lives and relationships.

Amazon Rating: 4.4 Stars

My Thoughts:

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The Dearly Beloved: A Review

September 19, 2019

A thoughtful story of faith and doubt, hope and disappointment, friendship and marriage, career and family….

The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall

The Dearly Beloved Review

Genre/Categories: Literary Fiction, Faith, Marriage and Family

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Summary:

Four very different individuals (two couples) navigate relationships, marriage, children, faith, career, ministry, crisis, joy, friendship, forgiveness, uncertainty, understanding, and heartbreak. The couples meet in the 1960s when the men, Charles and James, accept positions as co-pastors of the Third Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. The relationship between the couples is strained because the wives are polar opposites: Lily is a loner and an atheist and Nan values connection and is a devout Christian. In this tender character-driven story that covers decades of life, we also learn the backstory of each individual.

My Thoughts:

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This Must Be the Place [Book Review]

January 12, 2018

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O'Farrell (cover) Image: a home with a person walking toward it fills a circle surrounded by a blue cloud filled sky

Genre: Literary Fiction, Complicated Family Drama

Complex, complicated, and multi layered…

Summary:

This Must Be the Place is a story of a collapsing and reawakening marriage.  Daniel, a young American professor, travels to Ireland on holiday and family business and to stabilize his life after a failed marriage and a difficult custody battle. By chance, he meets Claudette, a world-famous actress who dramatically left the public eye for a reclusive life in a rural Irish village. Daniel and Claudette fall in love and create an idyllic life in the country and have two children of their own. A secret from Daniel’s past threatens to destroy their carefully constructed and quiet, happy life. As Daniel leaves to make peace with his past and himself, he also reunites with the American son and daughter he has not seen for several years. His story is told from his own voice and other multiple voices as he wrestles with the complexities of loyalty and devotion, family, and an extraordinary love.

Amazon Rating (January): 4.2 Stars

My Thoughts:

The Writing: At first I was less than enthusiastic about This Must Be the Place and set it aside on multiple occasions. Although the writing was beautiful, the structure was complicated and jarring as the story jumped perspectives and time periods. If I wanted to continue with the book, I knew I had to focus and invest some hard reading work. Somewhere around 50%, the persistence paid off and I started enjoying my reading experience. After that switch in my attitude, I grew to admire this complex and multi layered literary fiction work.

Flawed and Complicated Character: If you’re looking for a challenging and complex read and appreciate literary fiction, you might consider This Must Be the Place. I think what I enjoyed the most was the fully developed character study of a complex and flawed human being who really is trying to get things right in his life.

Themes: As always in well-written literature, I appreciate the meaningful themes presented. In This Must Be the Place, you will find substantial themes that include family relationships, choices, love, regret, and courage to make changes. Daniel is certainly a flawed character; however, I appreciate his determination to do the hard work in his life of becoming sober to work toward regaining that which is most important to him.

Recommended: If you’re in the mood for something light and easy reading, you might want to skip this one. However, if you’re in the mood for multilayered and complicated family drama and grappling with life’s grittier themes, this might be the right read for you. This Must Be the Place is also recommended for fans of Maggie O’Farrell and for book clubs. I read this book as part of the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club and this poignant post describes how she applied one concept in the book to her personal life.

My rating: 4 stars
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This Must be the Place

This Must Be the Place Information Here

Meet the Author, Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie OFarrell

MAGGIE O’FARRELL is the author of four previous novels, including the acclaimed The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, which was a B&N Recommends Pick, and After You’d Gone. Born in Northern Ireland in 1972, O’Farrell grew up in Wales and Scotland. She has two children.

 

 

 



QOTD:

Are you a fan of Maggie O’Farrell?

Have you read This Must Be the Place or is it on your TBR?



Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection!
Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



Looking Ahead:

This week I’m reading Left Neglected (an inspiring story of a woman living with a traumatic brain injury) by Lisa Genova (author of Still Alice). 

Left Neglected

Left Neglected Information Here

What are you reading this week?



Let’s Get Social

Thank you for reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

Find me at:
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Pinterest



***Blogs posts may contain affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I can earn a small percentage of your purchase price. This money will be used to offset the costs of running a blog and to sponsor giveaways, etc.

Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

The book covers and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s website.

© ReadingLadies.com

The Deal of a Lifetime [Book Review]

November 24, 2017

What would you be prepared to sacrifice in order to save a life?

What footprints are you leaving in your life?

For what or how will you be remembered?

What is your legacy?

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman (cover) Image: a blue suitcase sits against a wall on a wooden floor, a straw hat is propped on one corner of the suitcase and a white bunny (stuffed) lies on the floor in front of the suitcase

Genre/categories: literary fiction, contemporary fiction, adult fairy tale, ambition, self-reflection, end of life

Summary:

In true Backman style, this is an intricately woven story of an unlovable, complex, and flawed character whom we begin to understand and care about as he faces the end of his life. Written as the last message from father to son and told like a fairy tale for adults, it’s a story of a legacy, ambition and success at all costs, fear of failure, the meaning of life, the commodity of time, an accounting of one’s life, and a father/son relationship. I hesitate to give details of the plot in this summary because I don’t want to spoil your read. Briefly, it’s the story of a successful and famous man in the mid-years of his life counting the personal cost of his achievements and striking a last deal to make things right.

Although it’s sold as a novella, I consider it a short story. In reading Amazon reviews, I found that several readers that gave a 3 Star or lower rating cited their disappointment at the shortness of the work when they were expecting something longer for the price.

Amazon Rating: 4.2 Stars

My Thoughts:

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