Whistling Past the Graveyard
I requested this one based on Corrin's recommendation and loved it. 9 year old Starla runs away from her grandmother, who spends most of her days telling Starla that she's a horrible child and grounded her for fairly minor infractions. Her destination is Nashville, where she believes her absent mother is a star singer. On her way, Starla accepts a ride from Eula, a black woman with a white baby. In the 1960s south, Eula is the wrong color, especially with a baby she took from the church steps. As the story unfolds, Starla and Eula become entrenched in one another's lives in a way no one would ever have expected, least of all the two of them. The author did an excellent job developing not only the two main characters, but secondary characters as well. I loved the voice of this story.
Big Little Lies
I love Lianne Moriarty's books because she has a really good handle on how to write a book from the perspective of different characters. I also love them because I can just shut off my brain and get really involved in the story, which is definitely what I did for this book. Written from the perspective of three friends (Madeline, Celeste and Jane), the story starts out in present time talking about a school trivia night that ended in murder. It then flashes back to six months before the trivia night and begins building toward that, interspersed with police statements from other characters. The police statements are never from the main characters or their spouses, so you have no idea who died on trivia night or who was involved, just a twisted web of gossip to unweave. My favorite part of the book was what lays beneath the surface of each person, how a person who may seem to have it all may really be one step away from losing it. Despite this book being over 400 pages, I finished it in one [lazy] day.
I wanted to read this book based on the comparison to The Son and Lonesome Dove (please read Lonesome Dove if you haven't!!). Catherine Lemay is an archaeology student in the 1950s world where careers for women are still frowned upon by society. She's sent by the Smithsonian to investigate the site of a possible dam in Montana. She's never been to the west before and Native American artifacts are not her thing, but she's willing to ride out into the middle of nowhere to look for artifacts. If none are found, the dam build can go ahead and the canyon will be flooded. In the midst of this, she meets a mysterious man named John H. who lives in the canyon. Catherine's story is told in conjunction with John's and while there were parts that didn't hold my interest quite so strongly, the ending of the story was a series of beautiful twists and turns that made this one a book that I was glad to read.
What are you reading?