Deborah Harkness’s The Book of Life is a engrossing and fantastic end to an already incredible trilogy. Diana Bishop and her family are still frantically trying to find the elusive Ashmole 782, but things are never as simple as looking for that one book. Family members are questioning Diana’s connection to Philippe de Clermont, lost family members are resurfacing, and family dynamics are drastically changing. Not to mention Diana and Matthew are expecting twins and trying to keep their marriage strong.
I love this series! Once Diana realizes her true powers she becomes an extraordinary witch, which is good since her husband is such a force to be reckoned with. The magic is great and the characters are amazing! Harkness creates such unique individuals and engaging interactions. Each character has been so well developed that they lift off the pages and become so much more than the written word; it really feels like you are talking to your friends. Even though the story line can turn very dark, Harkness puts so much warmth into her pages. There are always issues among family members, but everyone will step up and do the right thing when the family is threatened. I am sad that the series is over, but I loved every book and am excited to see what Deborah Harkness comes up with next.
Jojo Moyes creates wonderful novels that are eloquently written and filled with amazing characters. Her latest novel is One Plus Oneand it is filled with funny mishaps and witty conversations. This is the tale about a mom who is trying to keep her family happy and safe, which has become a daunting task since her husband left them. To make things even more complicated, Jess is trying to find a way to stop her son from getting bullied as well as frantically trying to come up with money to send her genius daughter to an elite private academy. The only way she is going to get enough money for the school is if she can get her daughter to a math competition in Scotland. The trip doesn’t go as planned, in fact it goes worse than planned. Jess finds herself unable to get to Scotland until she runs into Ed, who has problems of his own. Now the dysfunctional family is whisked off in Ed’s car in hopes of turning their lives around.
This is a great contemporary British novel that is rich in atmosphere and character charm. It was fun getting lost in the chaos of the family and I instantly fell in love with all of the characters. The dynamic between Jess and Ed is really entertaining. They are both strong individuals who are fighting their own personal demons and are reluctant to let another person in for fear of being hurt, creating the perfect recipe for banter and drama. Overall what I enjoyed the most was the warm feeling you get when you read the novel. Even with all the mishaps you can feel the love and the joy of being a member of this non-traditional family.
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved Americaby Timothy Egan was a fascinating read. I was excited to read another Egan book after finishing The Worst Hard Time and I am so glad that I did. This is a narrative non-fiction book that details the fire of 1910 that swept across Washington, Idaho and Montana. Forest rangers assembled anyone they could find to help fight this enormous fire, but no one had seen anything like it before. Egan then takes the story further and discusses not only the men who attempted to fight this fire, but also how conservation and public parks came into existence through the leadership of Teddy Roosevelt. Egan did an incredible job of discussing the political, social and very human stories effected by this fire. You can’t help but be moved by some of the amazing stories of what people had to endure in order to put out the fire. A great read for any book club or non-fiction enthusiast.