Monday, January 5, 2009

Three Quick Reviews--2 novels & 1 memoir

Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman
I have not read du Maurier’s Rebecca nor seen any of the movies based on that novel, so I cannot say how faithfully this book takes the characters from the novel. However, I was fully entranced by this book from the very first paragraph and remained so throughout. This book takes place in 1951, twenty years since the death of Rebecca, the first wife of Maxim de Winter. One of the characters in this book had asked Rebecca “who are you?” and this book is an answer to that question. Who is Rebecca is looked at through the thoughts and eyes of several characters, each bringing their own perspective to the question. In the end, the reader must decide that question each for their own self. It is a complex novel with complex characters and complex questions, creating an enthralling and difficult to put down story.

Sarah, by Margueritte Harmon Bro
The author lived from 1894-1977, and the book starts in the early 1900’s and continues into the mid 1920’s. Most of the book is set in a town in Minnesota and it follows the life of Sarah from age 12 onwards as she grows and learns. She must make difficult decisions about her life and learn to follow her own true self. The novel does a good job of creating this time and place for today’s readers. All the characters ring true in this richly detailed book.

A Year by the Sea, by Joan Anderson
The subtitle is “Thought of an Unfinished Woman” and this memoir details one year of the author’s life as she explores the meaning of being unfinished and how to return to her authentic self and to bring life back to her marriage. At the start of the book, I was somewhat disappointed, but then the narrative caught me up and I found much to enjoy and ponder in these pages.

All three of these books are currently in the store, available as trade paperbacks. Sally Beauman has also written other novels and they are in the store as mass market paperbacks.

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