Sunday, 11 March 2007

More good reads

Finished March 11
Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky
This novel begins with an interesting premise, a white couple has a baby who shows African-American features. The father, Hugh, is a blueblood with a family tree traced back several generations. His father, Eaton, is a historian who has just written a personal history book. The mother, Dana, who was born to a single mother who died when she was five, doesn't know her father's background and feel impelled to trace him. As the parents are influenced by family prejudice and have trust issues with each other, they reexamine their values and beliefs.
Dana's grandmother, who raised her runs a knitting store and Dana feels comfort and support there, both from the staff and the patrons.
The questions that arise, about whether those with liberal beliefs change when it becomes personal, about how to answer questions about the baby's colour, and about trust and responsibilities between people who care about each other.

Finished March 10
Treading Water by Anne DeGrace
This Canadian first novel has interesting characters and plot. Taking place in the fictional community of Bear Creek in the mountains of B.C. the plot moves from the late 1800s to the present. The first settlers in the community are Mennonites from Manitoba, moving to where they hope to find an easier land to make a living in. Other early settlers include a trapper, and men working riverboats. There is some interaction with local native people, not all positive. The first child born in the community, Ursula is followed through the book. There are some inconsistencies, such as when Ursula is 16 and in her last year of school, other students included in the class are described and include boys who were young when she was born, so some editing would have elped here. Eventually the community is bought out by the government when a hydro project will flood the area.
Part of why I was drawn to read this was that I lived in Hudson Hope, B.C. as a young child when they were building the dam there.
The characters are memorable and several of them are portrayed in more than one time period, but I would have liked to see greater depth to some of them. I will look forward to the author's next offering.

Finished March 8
Invitation to Provence by Elizabeth Adler
I'd classify this one as suspense/romance. I listened to the unabridged book in my car (getting a lot listened to Monday evening when I was stuck in a traffic jam getting home!) The plot does force one to suspend disbelief just a tad due to the close calls, and romantic encounters. But it was a nice light read. The heroine, Franny Martin is a veterinarian who worked hard to put herself through school after her father died when she was 17. Going to meet her long-distance boyfriend after work one night, she finds herself met by his soon-t0-be-ex-wife instead. Amazing the two get along quite well and become best friends. Meanwhile, Franny's estranged great aunt in France, who Franny isn't even aware of, decides to reunite all her family. Taking place in Provence, the Cote D'Azur, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, the family meetings the invitations lead does brings murder, discover, arson, and romance.

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