Several years ago, the book group I used to be in read the wonderful Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons by Lorna Landvik. We loved the book that many of the women in the group could identify with as they were the same age of the protagonists.
They had lived through the 50s and Vietnam in the 60s. They understood how a child leaving could break your heart and how someone might pretend to be totally different to hide an unsavory background.
As a younger member of the group, I understood how these women connected over children and books, babies and delicious desserts. I remember lines at the oddest moments whether it is about Grant, an openly gay man at a time that was dangerous to be so, or Merit who bravely leaves her abusive husband and finds true love elsewhere.
So imagine my delight that my birthday gift from my mother included two books from Landvik. I was ecstatic. Here were two new books right at a time that I was in a book rut.
I started on Patty Jane’s House of Curl and found myself all over the map, emotionally. The story is about two sisters who survived alcoholic parents and buried them before Patty Jane was 20. The oldest sister, she makes a great leap in her life when she marries Thor Rolvaag, a young man who is more handsome than anyone in town.
Her sister, Harriet, meets the love of her life who turns out to be the heir to a cereal company. And he is willing to help Harriet realize her dreams of being a truly learned musician. Can it get any better than this?
Then, tragedy comes about. Their bond with Patty Jane’s mother-in-law is forged through tough times and the start of a business and the raising of a beautiful girl. I enjoyed this story and could read it again and again as soon as I find where I left the book! Hate it when they turn up missing.
The other book was The View from Mount Joy. I had enjoyed the other two and was ready to sink my teeth into this book.
The story is about Joe, a man who is one of those great guys with not much ambition or get up and go. As a teen he gets a job at a grocery store, ends up owning the place after the original owner dies and goes on to create a franchise. But first he flounders through life, especially whenever Kristi is around.
She is the Queen Bee cheerleader when they first meet and she fascinates Joe. Later, he is both fascinated and disgusted by her. Years go by and she becomes a Christian radio show host. Yet Joe wonders what she is really like under all of that. Once his life becomes directed, he doesn’t need her so much but he seems to be the only friend she has ever had.
The problem I had with this book is that I did not like the ‘powerhouse’ character of Kristi. Could not understand why Joe liked her, could not understand why even at the end he held her secrets. Plus, I might have been comparing it too much to Angry Housewives. That book was much richer, characters were more in-depth, the action more tantalizing.
Do you have a favorite author to marathon read?