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The Illuminator by Brenda Rickman Vantrease
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Adventurous

Glad I wasn't born back then! What a lesson in history - I can't imagine not having the right to own property, or to be a leader. It was an enlightening look back in time.

Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous
If you like Carl Hiaasen....

I like to read silly, fun books in the summer, by the pool. I gravitate toward Carl Hiaasen, and consider him the benchmark (Razor Girl, Bad Monkey, Nature Girl), and also enjoy many other Florida-based authors & books, like Tim Dorsey, Dave Barry, and of course, Randy Wayne White (he's the Clive Cussler of Florida). Just fun reading.

Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Insightful, Confusing
Goodbye, Sunshine!

I guess it was an interesting read, but a bit far-fetched for me. Maybe because the "big city" and Hamptons life style is so foreign to me, I just couldn't quite buy-in to the authenticity of the story. That a husband could be so cruel to his own wife, that he claimed to love; that a community of people could so quickly turn their collective back on a member; and that a family could be so resentful for so long..... these parts were just beyond my ability to accept the story for what it was. What I like about this book: it reminded me that it's easy for anyone to get wrapped up in the material world, to lose sight of what's important, and that in the end, it's so much more valuable to speak your truth and live by your truth. Deception will always come back to bite you, so why bother? Other than reinforcing the goals and boundaries I've set for my life, this book wasn't life changing or very enlightening for me. I'd recommend it to the younger generation(s), specifically for the young women that have seemed to been swept up in the false glory of "having": having fake things, having expensive things, having things they think they need to have because someone on TV says they should look, act, or have a certain thing.

Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Adventurous, Interesting
Book Medicine

I had a hard time getting into this book, and it took many attempts. However, once I dug in, I stuck with it and really enjoyed it. Maybe because it's a poignant time in my life, having recently lost both of my parents, I found the parallel in learning how to grieve. I am a book lover, so just the idea of "la pharmacie litteraire" (a Literary Apothecary) kept me interested and wanting to read more. I loved the visual stimulation of gently making their way through the canals of southern France, and the way the author described the landscape, flowers, food, and peoples. M. Perdu's story was very sad, and I had such a hard time believing that such a character could even begin to exist. Are French men really that way? Are ANY men really that way? To love another so intensely... to basically give up on life because of someone... to never open the letter. Really? I guess this is what makes it fiction. I enjoyed the story, the characters, and learning about Nina George.

Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful

Not my usual genre, but it was very interesting, and enlightening. I can't imagine living in a world like that - where people could be condemned, and killed, based off of ridiculous and/or unsubstantiated accusations. Then I realized, we still live in a world where fairness and justice are completely foreign concepts to so many people - women, children, people of colors. And now, the opposite is true, too. People have come out of the shadows to speak up, but they are ignored. Overall, the book was engaging and a good read. By the time I got to the end of the book, I had forgotten that it was based on a letter from a grandmother to a granddaughter.

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