The Beginner’s Goodbye
Anne Tyler / April 15, 2017

The Beginner’s Goodbye (2012), the 19th novel by our wonderful Anne Tyler, a writer who has given us fabulous books for years and years. In her newest book, Tyler introduces us to Aaron Woolcott and his lack of coping, or near-coping, with the death of Dorothy, his wife. A tree falls on their house, a TV slams on top of her, and she is dead. Aaron is alone. Or, Aaron feels alone until Dorothy begins visiting him from the grave. Aaron was physically handicapped when he was young, but still very capable of going about his daily business, although his sister thought he couldn’t do without her motherly care and advice. Sort of a stifling sister. But he eventually meets Dorothy, and his life begins. And then that life with Dorothy is suddenly over. Tyler takes us down the road of grief. A look back on a life when a death occurs gives a glow and a shine to what we believe are the big things, might highlight some of the most insignificant things, and might even give us an unclear picture of exactly what that life was truly like. Which of those things are true and which are imagination…

The Cove
Ron Rash / March 5, 2017

  The Cove (2012), a gutsy novel by Ron Rash, that very same celebrated author of Serena. Rash gives us another juicy book to spend hours reading. I was blown away by Rash’s book Serena,  and got a great gusty wind from The Cove, but it would be difficult for any author to outdo Serena. Rash does a fabulous job with The Cove, though, a stupendous job. Earthy, human, wickedly clever, with point-on writing. You feel it.   Set in the Appalachian Mountains during World War I, Laurel and her brother Hank live on a farm that is supposedly cursed. A lonely, dreary, hard existence that is enhanced by the lore of the farm’s haunted history and the birthmark on Laurel’s shoulder that tends to feed the gossip that she might be a witch. Beware, reader, for she just might make you think she has a little bit of witch in her by the end of the book. Good witch or bad witch?  You be the judge. Laurel and Hank are existing, which is made difficult by his missing arm that he lost overseas during the war. Home again, Hank is making the adjustment, and even finds what he thinks…

A Risk Worth Taking
Robin Pilcher / February 23, 2017

  A Risk Worth Taking (2005), a beautifully written book by Robin Pilcher, son of the famous author Rosamunde Pilcher. Not following in his mother’s footsteps, but making his own, independent, mighty stride in the world of literature, Robin Pilcher gives us a wonderful story, with wonderful characters.   Sensitively told, this is the story of Dan Porter, a man who recently lost his high-paying job in London. This job loss creates a strain within his shaky marriage, and disrupts the lives of his three children. The two girls are pulled out of their private schools and thrust into public schools. Josh, Dan’s son, a college dropout, is idling his life away. The cushy life had been easy; reality is difficult to deal with.   Dan, at loose ends jobwise — dealing with a dragging depression after watching on TV as the buildings burned on 911 in New York, knowing some of his former co-workers were in the building and slowly getting more and more estranged from his wife – sees an advertisement in a magazine about the sale of a company called Vagabonds, which is located in Scotland. Letting his imagination and eternal hope lead him, Dan hops the…

Rebecca
Daphne DuMaurier / January 5, 2017

  Rebecca, first published in 1938 by author Daphne DuMaurier, became a very highly acclaimed novel over the years. This clever book tells us the story of the “second wife” of Maxim de Winter. Maxim has again married and this time to a younger woman, who is only referred to as Mrs. de Winter throughout the book. The story also tells us the story of the first Mrs. de Winter, Rebecca, who died tragically and under suspicious circumstances. The second wife is a young innocent who is taken to the famous family estate that is called Manderley, which is located in England. There, this poor innocent young girl encounters Rebecca’s ever-faithful servants and various faithful relatives. The life of the new young bride is fraught with anxiety and betrayal. She is told tales of how wonderful Rebecca was, and then she is given a vastly different story by Maxim. Maxim should know the truth, as he was married to the very wonderful Rebecca, shouldn’t he?  When Rebecca’s body is recovered after all those years after her death, many questions arise as to how she died. Was Rebecca killed?   This book is written in the old English style of long,…