Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Sisters of Glass Ferry by Kim Michele Richardson





What They Say.....Spanning several decades and written in an authentic voice both lyrical and wise, The Sisters of Glass Ferry is a haunting novel about small-town Southern secrets, loss and atonement, and the unbreakable bond between siblings.

Glass Ferry, Kentucky, is bourbon country. Whiskey has been a way of life for generations, enabling families to provide and survive even in the darkest times. Flannery Butler’s daddy, Beauregard “Honey Bee” Butler, was known for making some of the best whiskey in the state, aged in barrels he’d take by boat up and down the Kentucky River until the rocking waters turned the spirits smooth and golden. Flannery is the only person Honey Bee ever entrusted with his recipes before he passed on, swearing her to secrecy as he did so. 

But Flannery is harboring other secrets too, about her twin sister Patsy, older by eight minutes and pretty in a way Flannery knows she’ll never be. Then comes the prom night when Patsy—wearing a yellow chiffon dress and the family pearls—disappears along with her date. Every succeeding year on the twins’ birthday, Flannery’s mother bakes a strawberry cake, convinced that this is the day Patsy will finally come home. But it will be two tumultuous decades until the muddy river yields a clue about what happened that night, compelling Flannery to confront the truth about her sleepy town, her family’s past, and the choices she and those closest to her have made in the name of love and retribution . . .

What I Say.....The setup for this book seemed very promising.  Flannery and Patsy are twins growing up in Glass Ferry, Kentucky, daughters of a whiskey bootlegger.  They've been inseparable growing up, but now they are growing apart.  Patsy is interested in boys and the idea of escaping Glass Ferry, and Flannery is interested in everything staying the same.

The book goes back and forth in time.  From the time Patsy goes missing, to 20 years later, and then even fast forwards to present day.  The mystery is solved early on in the book, but then it turns into a character study.  The characters were all a bit cardboard, and I never got attached to any of them.  

You could see the outline of a great story, but none of them were given the attention they deserved.  They touched on a rape, domestic abuse, female imprisonment in an asylum, sterilization without consent, murder and then a ghost thrown in for good measure.  I think the author could have cut about  half of these out, and then explored what remained in greater detail. 

The overall storyline was good, it just needed a little more fleshing out.  It almost felt more like reading a really long synopsis.

Current Goodreads Rating 3.82


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Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes by Anna McPartlin





What They Say.....Here is a truth that can't be escaped: for Mia "Rabbit" Hayes, life is coming to an end . . .

Rabbit Hayes loves her life, ordinary as it is, and the extraordinary people in it. She loves her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colorful, unruly family; the only man in her big heart, Johnny Faye. But it turns out the world has other plans for Rabbit, and she's okay with that. Because she has plans for the world too, an only a handful of days left to make them happen. 

Here is a truth that won't be forgotten: this is a story about laughing through life's surprises and finding the joy in every moment.


What I Say.....So I have had this on my shelf for a loooonng time.  And it just kept getting put aside for other books, not because I didn't want to read it, but because it just didn't seem to be the right time.

But I have recently joined a book club and December was my month to choose the book.  As I looked through my TBR shelf, The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes jumped out at me.  I chose it and we will be discussing it on December 16, so I can't publish this review until after then.

I will say straight off, there were a lot a tears shed reading this book.  I thought it was going to be more uplifting, and it was in many ways, but there was no escaping that a daughter, sister and mother was ending her life way too soon.

And as we begin to go back over Rabbit's life, we learn that her relationships are solid and loving and utterly ordinary but no less important.  

I don't want to offer any spoilers, and it turns out about as you expect even though I had moments where I thought this is one of the perks of writing a book, the ability to change the story, creating a happy ending where there isn't one possible in real life, but it wasn't to be.

It ended as happily as it could and I shed a lot of therapeutic tears for Rabbit.

Current Goodreads Rating 4.25

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