A Book with a Type of Plant in the Title

2018

For my second book in the challenge, I selected The Moonflower Vine by Jetta Carleton.

This book was published in 1962, concurrent with other simple stories of family and human nature, such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Joy in the Morning. With all the craziness in today’s world, the idea of going back in time to a simpler era is appealing.

There are those who feel this book is an unsung hero. At just a few pages in, I can attest that it is a loving depiction of the “ordinariness” of living that many of us who grew up in a rural setting will recognize. Perhaps its quiet and unassuming impression was overshadowed by more intensity in its peers.

So far, The Moonflower Vine is a lovely, gentle read, reminding me of the magical days when one could spend an afternoon lying in the grass gazing up at a summer sky and then awakening to find several decades have passed. Life feels so much like that at my age now.

Mary Jo

I chose this book for two reasons. One, I was looking for something that fit the challenge, and while Heather is a girl’s name in this book, it is also a plant so it fits. And two, it’s a debut novel from the creator of Mad Men. I had high hopes for it because of the latter.

To call Heather the Totality a novel is a stretch, in my opinion, it’s more of a novelette or a long short story. I was disappointed in it, perhaps more of a reflection on my expectations rather than the story itself. I was expecting some of the Mad Men wittiness and vibrant repartee. Instead, it was a reflection of two parents obsessed with their daughter and a dangerous stranger who becomes so as well.

There are probably some good discussion points for a book group, though, and perhaps his second outing will be a winner.

A Book That Takes Place in a Destination You’d Like to Visit

2018

Betsy

For the first book in the Ticket to Read challenge, I’ve selected a book that takes place in a destination I’d like to visit: The Mistresses of Cliveden: Three Centuries of Scandal, Power, and Intrigue in an English Stately Home
As a fan of Downton Abbey, The Crown, and similar Netflix series, and as one who loves a good biographical novel, I want to visit the great houses in the United Kingdom. This book will suffice until we actually return to Europe. What’s not to like about scandalous, powerful women, and the intrigue that automatically surrounds them? Painted against a backdrop of a luxurious home which was avant-garde in terms of architectural style for its time, these stories are likely to entertain as well as inform. I’m very much looking forward to the “three centuries of misbehavior” that went on within the walls of Cliveden.


Mary Jo

This book is a fictional account of a true story – a shipful of Jewish citizens fleeing Berlin to escape the rise of the Nazi power. They were loaded on a transatlantic cruise ship and headed for Cuba. Unfortunately, when they got to Cuba, only a small number were allowed to enter the country.

I had not recalled this happening, so in addition to the family saga related in the novel, it was a reminder of a part of history that I had forgotten.

Spoiler Alert: The ship was forced to return to Europe both the U.S. and Canada refused to accept these Jewish refugees.

I didn’t love the book, I felt like it jumped around too much and left me floundering trying to figure out what was going on, but I liked the story of the refugees and the power of family.

I chose this book for a place I’d like to visit – Cuba, where a good deal of the story took place.

 

Among the Mad is the sixth addition to the Maisie Dobbs series. I started the series earlier this year on the recommendation of a local librarian and I look forward to each new book.

Set in the aftermath of WWI in England (and the greater U.K.), I enjoy following a strong female protagonist searching to find meaning after the horror of war.

I haven’t been to England yet but will be there shortly.


I love a good thriller and after a few unsuccessful attempts to find one, The Flight Attendant grabbed my attention and didn’t let it go.

Imagine waking up on a layover in Dubai, not in your own hotel room, but in a posh room at a posh hotel with a very dead man in bed with you.

Weaving in the typical thriller arcs, set against the cultural and political background of Dubai and the Middle East, this one kept me up at night reading to the end.

Set in Manhattan and Key West, this legal thriller has some good ups and downs, twists and turns, and ultimately an ending that was both surprising and satisfying.

Key West is one of those places I’d like to visit, and I’m exploring that for 2019. While I know that it won’t be much like the city portrayed in the novel, it’s still a fun look at a city on my to-visit list.