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Book Review: Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Sarah Jessica Parker said: 
"This book.
I read it in one day.
I hear I'm not alone."

Book review: 

And immediately to Amazon I went. "Buy now with 1-cick" and 2-3 business days later, I am three chapters in and can't stop reading. 

Immediately, I was enraptured by the main character Frances. She and her ex-girlfriend Bobbie  have a relationship that grabbed my attention. Are they together, or are they not? If they were once lovers, how can they be such close friends now? They perform spoken word poetry at various clubs around Dublin. I could picture them:  Bobbie, bold and confident, reciting the words that quiet, observant Frances wrote herself. When they are approached by a writer who wants to feature them in a magazine article, they quickly say yes and go to the writer's house for dinner. 

That dinner changes everything. There is a dramatic shift in the characters after that dinner, where Bobbie and Frances meet the writer, Melissa, and her husband, Nick. Frances is immediately curious about Nick and keeps a close eye on him. Eventually, they start emailing each other, attending each other's performances around the city. (He's an actor). 

What follows is part love story, part tragedy, as Frances and Nick play a cat and mouse game with high stakes. She is risking her sanity and her emotions. He is risking his marriage. They are both dealing with situations the other has no idea about, so when one is acting despondent and doubtful, the other assumes it's towards them. It's this combination of passion and the unknown that creates a riveting relationship that neither knows how to control. I  was reminded over and over of Jay Gatsby and Daisy. The parties, the conversations and the palpable tension drew me in, but also made me want to turn away at times, out of sadness or disappointment in the characters decisions, I wasn't sure.

What's compelling about Conversations with Friends is that though they sit at tables together and take photos of each other and ask each other intimate questions about love, politics, philosophy and everything in between, nobody actually knows what's going on behind the eyes on the person seated next to them.

Besides the relationship between Nick and Frances, her relationship with Bobbie also fascinated to me. The theme of friendship in this book has an undercurrent that you can't ignore. How well do you know your friends and what will you do (or not do) to keep them close and to be loyal to them?

I highly recommend.  

My favorite line: 
If two people make each other happy, then it's working." 

Book Review: Anatomy of a Scandal

Lovers of The Wife Between Us, It Happens All The Time and The Last Mrs. Parrish, there's one more you MUST add to your list: 

Synopsis: Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

My review: Great read, especially if you like this genre! This book is timely and helps bring light to the #metoo movement. The female character at the center is strong and determined. This is about the balance between lust and danger, which is a lot thinner than you might think. The time for men in power getting away with sexual assault is over and brave women taking control and telling their stories is as important and empowering as ever. 

Impeccably written in the way you love thrillers to be: suspicious, heart-pounding and dramatic.

Buy it here

Book Review: An American Marriage

This book had me hooked on the very first page. "There are two kinds of people in the world, those who leave home, and those who don't."- Great first sentence.

"Home" is an interesting theme throughout this book. Roy and Celestial are newly married and at the precipice of living the American dream. After only a year of marriage, Roy is accused of a crime that his wife knows for a fact that he did not commit. But after he is arrested and sentenced to spend time in prison (this isn't a spoiler, the book jacket sets the scene right away). He's ripped away from the home they thought they were going to build together. 

This couple started out with a once-in-a-lifetime love, one that they thought would stand the test of time and anything life might throw in their path. But maybe they were just being naive. I was equal parts happy and sad throughout this entire book. My heart was torn in two for this couple. 

What I love most about the book is the courageous hearts of Roy and Celestial. African American roots have made their sense of family and pride strong. Celestial is strong, independent and determine have the life she always wanted. 

But what she wanted was a successful career and lifetime of happiness with her husband by her side. And that's not what she got. What she got was 12 years of uncertainty and a broken heart, because the man she loved has been accused of an unthinkable crime. Does she stay by his side? Is she strong enough to live without him but still keep their marriage intact? How can a woman who has built her own success from the ground up, who has always been independent and head strong, have so much need for a man? And for Roy, how can a man accused and shamed for something he says he did not do, keep his pride?

Can Celestial stay married to a man behind bars? Is he the same man she married? Is it fair to ask her to wait for him? Is a marriage based on love or circumstance? All of the questions are beautifully answered in this unforgettable story. 

There are twists in this book; secrets that the characters are keeping from the reader that come as a shock and make you doubt if you even like them anymore. But in the end, you will love them and you'll never forget this story.

Readers- there is a REASON this book is a Book of the Month Club pick, an Oprah’s Book Club selection, AND the Belletrist February book...It's that good.

 Buy it here.