Hey, readers. During the month of August, I read several books. Since I’ve been on a blog break, I’m playing catch-up with the reviews.
The Storm Girl
I enjoy dual timeline books and The Storm Girl didn’t disappoint. The story alternates between two main characters—Esther in the 1700s, and Millie in present day.
After her divorce, Millie Grafton buys a historical home that was once a tavern. The house needs renovations, so she hires contractor Nick Marshall. They discover a hidden passage behind the fireplace that leads to a hidden cellar and a partially collapsed tunnel.
Millie likes Nick, but her nosy neighbor, Sharon, is quick to point out that Nick’s father was once involved in some illegal activity and even hints they may even be connected to drug trafficking. When the body of a young woman is found in a nearby marsh, Sharon insinuates Nick’s family might have been involved.
In the 1700s, Esther helps her ailing father run a tavern. They also help smuggle goods and allow them to be stored in the hidden cellar. When a battle breaks out between the revenue officers and free traders, Esther and her family are caught in the middle.
The characters were well developed, and the author did a good job at keeping readers guessing whether some of them were good or evil. I also liked the way she tied the 1700s mystery to the present day.
Flight of Dreams
For years, I had heard stories of the Hindenburg Disaster. I’d even listened to the clip of Herbert Morrison’s live broadcast and eyewitness account as the airship exploded and burned within seconds. Before reading Ariel Lawhon’s Flight of Dreams, I couldn’t name a single passenger or crew member.
Told from the point of view of five people—the stewardess, the navigator, the journalist, the cabin boy, and the American, the book covers the story from the day everyone boarded the airship, to the fatal crash, and the aftermath.
There has been much speculation and many hypotheses as to what caused the zeppelin to incinerate. The author takes factual events and blends them with a fictional account of what might have happened.
Lawhon made the characters come alive, and I wanted to know more about them. For the first time, these people became real to me. They were no longer a list of passengers and crew who were part of the disaster that brought an end to air travel by dirigible. For readers wanting to know more, check out the links the author provided in her notes at the end of the book.
The book started slow, but the pace picked up mid-way through. At the end, it was hard to put down. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Last Summer Boys
Last Summer Boys is a delightful coming-of-age story set during the summer of 1968. Having grown up in that time period, reading this book brought back lots of memories from the late 1960s.
Jack Elliott doesn’t want his older brother to go to war. Together with his city cousin, Frankie, Jack devises a plot that he believes will keep Pete from being drafted. Along the way, the two of them along with Jack’s two brothers encounter adventures, help a neighbor who is being harassed by a motorcycle gang, and set out to find a lost fighter jet.
There is also a greedy land developer who is determined to take their parent’s land. All this makes for an interesting summer.
I would have given the book five stars, except for a couple of historical inaccuracies, but even those didn’t keep me from enjoying the story. This is a great debut novel for author Bill Rivers.
After coming off what I feel is the high point of the series, Trickster’s Point, I looked forward to Tamarack County. However, it was a big disappointment.
The book started well and had promise, but this clearly isn’t Krueger’s best work. It’s almost as if he threw this one together. The plot seemed contrived, the characters were rather flat, and missing was the author’s usual vivid descriptions of the Minnesota wilderness. (Yes, we know the winters are cold, but…)
Also, Cork needs to get his act together with the women in his life. He apparently made his decision at the end of the book, which by the way, seemed abrupt.
I’ll continue with the series because I know Krueger is capable of MUCH better writing. Clearly, this wasn’t his best work.
That wraps it up for this week’s reviews. I plan to revert to a weekly review schedule next Tuesday.