Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Poacher’s Son by Paul Doiron

doiron-poachers-son-coverI have had this book in my “to read” pile for a long time-the book was published in 2010.  As all fellow booklovers know your book pile can get, well,  a little out of control.  While a friend was visiting I loaned her this book from my pile, to read and she couldn’t put it down.  “The Poacher’s Son”  was Paul Doiron’s first book and it was recognized by multiple award nominations including the Edgar, Anthony and Macavity awards.  So I decided it was time to finally read “The Poacher’s Son”. 

By all accounts Mike Bowditch had a difficult childhood, with an alcoholic father who never held a job for more than a few months and had an explosive temper.  Mike’s mother divorced his father when Mike was young so Mike grew up mostly without his father.  The memories he does have of his father are mostly negative and at the beginning of the book, Mike has not spoken to his father in over two years.  Mike arrives home from a call about a rampaging black bear to listen to a strange message on his machine from his father.  The next morning Mike wakes up to the news that a well liked local cop and a paper company executive have been killed.  It is quickly apparent that everyone believes that Mike’s dad is the killer.  Everyone except Mike, who risks everything he loves and has worked for to prove that his father is not the killer people believe him to be.  Oh, did I mention that that there are plenty of suspects as well as twists?

I loved this book for many reasons.  One, because it brought the Maine wilderness to life and two because it had strong characters that I cared about.  This is the first book which features Mike Bodwitch and I have already checked out the second book called “Trespasser”.  The third book in the series is “Bad Little Falls” and the next book out this summer is “Massacre Pond: A Novel”.  Enjoy!

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Secrets of an Organized Mom by Barbara Reich

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As I browsed the new non-fiction recently, I could not resist Secrets of an Organized Mom by Barbara Reich.  It could only help jump start my recent “bag a day” project encouraging me to purposefully remove a bag of stuff from my house each day, right?  Right!  This is a great resource for those of us with too many papers, toys, shoes by the back door…Reich is witty but firm in sharing the guiding principles that she calls her Ten Commandments of Organizing.  Her book offers a chapter for each part of your house; her tips are useful, practical, and meant to help you better your style of living.  It works for any size home, and any number of family members. Ultimately, if you follow Reich’s organizational style, you can end up buying and wasting less, not to mention being able to find what you need when you need it.

These are some secrets you will want to be in on…

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Fever by Mary Beth Keane

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Fever is a great period piece.  Meet Typhoid Mary, the real person, and get her side of the Typhoid epidemic.  Mary emigrates from Ireland as a teenager to New York City, and gets a laundry job.  She works her way up to cooking, and as she moves from job to job, so too does the coincidental (or not) outbreak of Typhoid.  When she is connected to the epidemic, she is arrested and taken to Brother Island for quarantine.  There, she lives in a small house built for her near the water, and is treated kindly by the gardener who delivers her meals.  She is denied visits by friends, but manages to secure a lawyer, who manages to obtain her freedom as long as she agrees not to cook again.  Mary goes back to her life, but ends up cooking again, still believing she is not passing Typhoid along to those who eat her food.  She is oddly endearing, despite the fact that I believed she was spreading Typhoid, and despite the many bad choices she makes.

What I found interesting:  Mary doesn’t make lifestyle choices that do her any favors or that match the morals of her era, and is thought less of because of these choices.  She already has a stigma before the suspicions about Typhoid are developed.  She is saved by the kindness of people who, while they believe she is a carrier, believe she is entitled to certain unalienable rights, and will fight for those rights, even when their motivation is more altruistic than any other characters in book.  Finally, how did people not know about hand washing and getting rid of garbage.  It is amazing to see how far we have come in terms of sanitation and hygiene!  Mid book, my 8-year-old told me she thought she caught a cold from using the pencils at school because not everyone remembered to use hand sanitizer before using the pencils.  There is a message to send back in time!

 

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The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

The Aviator's Wife

Adding to the new trend in fictionalized memoirs of famous wives is Melanie Benjamin’s The Aviator’s Wife, the story of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  Benjamin starts with their starstruck courtship and shares their life up through Charles’ death in 1974, all from Anne’s point of view.  Interspersed throughout are short chapters while Anne attends Charles as he is dying.  These chapters are teasers,  explained more fully as the book continues.  They are the author’s opportunity to make Charles admit to or take responsibility for his actions, and despite these admissions, Anne remains present to Charles at the end.

The Lindbergh’s  story is well-known, but Benjamin is insightful in her ability to share more of Anne’s thoughts, frustrations, and undying love for her larger than life husband, despite their large life (the travelling, the affairs,  the kidnapping, the children, the paparazzi at every turn…)   What I appreciate about these fictionalized accounts is that they often prompt me to read a little more…Lindbergh by  A. Scott Berg or Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. 

Worth the read!

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The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee

13547262Meet Betsey Dobson, turn of the century typewriter girl in London.  Betsey has few advantages besides her determination and hard working nature, so she does what she thinks she needs to do to make a better life for herself.  Against the odds, she ends up with a job offer as an excursion manager at a new resort and pier at Indensea, but with no required reference, and not quite enough money for her train fair.  Caught by the train conductor, she is saved at the last minute by Mr. Jones, who turns out to be her new boss and a needed advocate.  Betsey is not really your typical typewriter girl, and at times the story is a little contrived, but that seems part of the genre.  Her obstacles are also a little contrived, so I think it all works.  The Typewriter Girl is a lovely historical romance–truly a pleasure read–with some great characters.  I love the time period and Betsey’s sense of adventure.  Worth a weekend read…

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