Sunday, January 31, 2016


This bittersweet love story takes place in Turkish Armenia just before and during World War I, a time when the Muslim Turks and the Muslim Ottomans sought control over the Christian Armenians. Hidden away in a mountaintop village, 15 year old Anno, daughter of the village Headman,  falls in love with Daron, son of the local merchant.  As village life proceeds, war and the Armenian genocide come ever closer.
Boyadajian knows her subject well and relates it with sympathy and clarity.  Anno and Daron become people you care deeply about.  Conflict within the village and conflict with the outside world illuminate the plot.  The village of Salor in the province of Sassoun is the focal point of the struggle between religions and politics. Salor and its inhabitants will live long in your memory.
5 of 5 stars

Saturday, January 30, 2016


A story within a story within a story is the only way to quickly describe THE STORYTELLER.  There are three storytellers -- Sage, a baker, who carries guilt and grief that consumes her; Josef, a beloved elderly man, who confesses to Sage and wants her to forgive and then kill him; and finally, Minka, a Polish Jew and resident of a concentration camp during WWII.  I found Minka’s story compelling. Forgiveness is the overriding theme of the book. A sentence on page 450 states that you can only forgive someone the wrong they have done to you personally. Sage, Josef and, even Minka, need forgiveness, but who can forgive them and will they – that is the question.
I found this to be one of Picoult’s more challenging and thought provoking books. She is known for addressing timely topics with a twist ending. THE STORYTELLER addresses forgiveness in way that will give you pause for thought, especially the ending.  Book groups will have a lively discussion of guilt and forgiveness. 
5 of 5 stars

Sunday, January 17, 2016


After a thrilling start The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins takes a while before the reader truly cares about Tom, his “trull” Kitty and the other characters in the novel.  But, once apprehension for Tom’s life and liberty sets in, the thrill ride begins and doesn’t stop.   Hodgson’s characters are engaging and fully formed.  The setting and history (London, in the early 1700’s) is well researched and clearly told.  The mystery is exciting with many red herrings and plot twists. The picture presented of Queen Caroline is delightful -- and convincingly nefarious.
Readers of both historical fiction and mysteries will be captivated with this book.  Although this is a second outing for Tom Hawkins and several other characters from The Devil in the Marshalsea are present, the necessary information from the first is presented logically and without undue repetition.
5 of 5 stars