Daily Archives: April 27, 2009

Mailbox Monday – April 27, 2009

mailboxmondayIt’s my favorite blogging day of the week – Mailbox Mondays hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This week my cup runneth over with great books:

bestintentions Best Intentions by Emily Listfield is a finished hard cover which arrived from Lauren, publicist for the author. I have not read any books by Listfield, but after checking out her website and the dedicated site for the book, I was intrigued enough to accept this review copy. Publisher’s Weekly writes about Best Intentions: “A writerly page-turner… deft pacing keeps the action moving and the reader guessing. Listfield ensures no character is above suspicion, and in the end, no one is without blame.” Emily Listfield has written six other novels, including Waiting to Surface, Acts of Love, The Last Good Night, and the New York Times Notable Book It Was Gonna Be Like Paris. Best Intentions is due for release May 5th.

actsoflove Acts of Love by Emily Listfield arrived unexpectedly in the same package as Best Intentions (thank you, Lauren!).  Published in trade paperback last year and the author’s fourth novel, Acts of Love is a mystery and courtroom drama that revolves around a murder trial involving a husband and wife and their two young daughters. I’m looking forward to reading this one!

nooneyouknow No One You Know by Michelle Richmond arrived direct from the author. I read The Year of Fog last year and loved it, so when Michelle contacted me to ask if I wanted a copy of her latest book I said “yes” immediately. The Boston Globe wrote about No One You Know: ‘Richmond never strikes a false note in No One You Know…an intelligent, emotionally convincing tale about a family tragedy and the process of storytelling.‘ To read more about the author and her books, visit the author’s website. To win a signed copy of this book in trade paperback come back to Caribousmom on its release date (May 19th) to enter my contest!

angelsgame The Angel’s Game by Carolos Ruiz Zafon arrived from Doubleday through a Shelf Awareness offer. I loved Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind, so when I saw an ARC of his latest book available for early review I requested it. This novel has already been #1 on the bestseller’s lists in Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Norway, and Portugal. Due for publication in the United States in mid-June, The Angel’s Game is set in 1920s Barcelona and explores the perilous nature of obsession in literature and love. Read more on the publisher’s website.

liberation2 tourmaline

Liberation AND Tourmaline, by Joanna Scott arrived together from Miriam at Little Brown and Company. I just finished reading Scott’s latest release (Follow Me) which I reviewed here. When Miriam asked if I wanted copies of these other two novels, I jumped at the chance. And to sweeten the pot, I am offering Liberation and Tourmaline, as well as an ARC of Follow Me for give-away here at Caribousmom beginning TODAY. To enter the contest, use this link. To read more about Joanna Scott and all of her work, visit the author bibliography page at Little Brown and Company.

yearofpleasures The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg arrived unsolicited from the publisher because I signed up for their book club. I read this book in 2007 and (as with all Berg novels) really enjoyed it (read my review). I’ve decided to send this on to my oldest sister who I think will love this book.  To read more about Elizabeth Berg and her fantastic body of work, visit the author’s website.

localnews The Local News by Miriam Gershow arrived in finished hard cover from the publisher. I actually received an ARC of this book not too long ago, and then I saw that TLC book tours would be touring it in June and July and jumped at the chance to be involved in that tour. Because of that, I now have a finished hardcover of the book – so my ARC will most likely be finding a home with someone else. Look for my review on July 9th. In the meantime, you can read an excerpt from the book here, and more about the author here.

Joanna Scott – Book Giveaway

followme liberation2 tourmaline

Follow Me



Contest Open April 27 – May 5, 2009

Thanks to Miriam at Little Brown and Company, I am thrilled to be able to offer a giveaway of THREE of Joanna Scott’s novels. I recently read her latest book Follow me (read my review) and can recommend it. The other two books are on my TBR pile and I hope to get to them soon. A brief synopsis of each book as follows:

Follow Me (published April 2009)

On a summer day in 1946 Sally Werner, the precocious young daughter of hardscrabble Pennsylvania farmers, secretly accepts her cousin’s invitation to ride his new motorcycle. Like so much of what follows in Sally’s life, it’s an impulsive decision with dramatic and far-reaching consequences. Soon she abandons her home to begin a daring journey of self-creation, the truth of which she entrusts only with her granddaughter and namesake, six decades later. But when young Sally’s father–a man she has never known–enters her life and offers another story altogether, she must uncover the truth of her grandmother’s secret history.Read more on the Publisher’s website

To read reviews of this book, visit blogs touring the book on April 27thAll tour blogs are listed here.

Liberation (published November 2005)

Adriana Nardi is only 10 years old when Allied forces occupy her lush island home during World War II, plaguing the quiet Italian village with violence and uncertainty. Amdu is a Senegalese soldier who abandons his comrades and befriends Adriana after witnessing an unspeakable act that has far-reaching repercussions.

Decades later, on a commuter train bound for Penn Station, 60-year-old Adriana revisits her memories of the war and her doomed relationship with Amdu, even as a present crisis threatens her life. Read more on the Publisher’s website

Tourmaline (published October 2002)

Read a Chapter excerpt

In 1956, extravagant, debt-ridden Murray Murdoch takes his wife and four young sons on a vacation to Elba, where he becomes convinced that he can profit from the island’s abundant deposits of semiprecious gems. When the summer comes to an end and Murray still hasn’t found the valuable tourmaline that he’s looking for, the Murdochs decide to postpone their departure indefinitely. Their idyllic existence is shattered when a mysterious local girl goes missing and the community begins to suspect that the “investor from the United States” is somehow involved. The story is told by Ollie, the youngest of the four boys, who was five when the family arrived on the island and is 50 now.

A little about Joanna Scott (from the Publisher’s website):

Joanna Scott is the author of four novels, including 1997 Pulitzer Prize finalist The Manikin, and a short story collection, Various Antidotes, which was a finalist for the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award. She has received a MacArthur Fellowship and a Lannan Award. She lives in Rochester, New York.

To enter this contest:

  • Contest is open ONLY to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses (no PO boxes please).
  • Leave me a comment on this post by May 5th at 11:00 pm PST. Please let me know if you have already read any of the books, and I will make sure you don’t get that book in the drawing. Otherwise I will be using Random.org to pick THREE winners in the order that the books appear above.
  • I will post the winners to my blog AND email each one – so please make sure that you leave a valid email in the comment form (no need to leave your email in the body of the comment if you have left it in the correct spot on the form). Winners will have FIVE days to email me their snail mail address.
  • PLEASE – if you have entered this contest and then win the book through another site, let me know so I can withdraw your name from THIS contest! THANK YOU!
  • Miriam will be mailing out Tourmaline and Liberation directly (finished copies)
  • I will be mailing an Advance Reader’s Edition of Follow Me

Good Luck!

Follow Me – Book Review

followmeShe entrusted me with her version of this story late in her life. In fact, it’s a long story when all the pieces are added together, and it begins many years before my father jumped from the pedestrian bridge, when my grandmother was young and set out to follow the Tuskee River north. She confided in me because she wanted me to understand, as she put it, how one thing led to another. But I had to promise never to repeat what she told me to anyone. She would be furious to hear that I’m about to break my promise. I’d like to hope, though that by the end she would forgive me. – from Follow Me, page 7 –

Sally Werner is only sixteen years old in 1946 when an unexpected sexual encounter with her cousin Daniel results in the birth of a baby boy. On impulse, Sally abandons her baby on her parents’ kitchen table and flees, heading north along the fictional Tuskee River in Pennsylvania to seek a bigger life and leave her shame behind. Sally Werner recreates herself many times – changing her last name along the way (from Werner to Angel to Mole to Bliss), and starting her life over again each time fate delivers a bad hand.

More than sixty years later, the story of Sally’s life is retold by her granddaughter and namesake who has the benefit of pitting her grandmother’s story against another version…that of her biological father who one day sends her a package of tapes which reveal his side of the story.

There’s her side of the story, there’s mine, we’re lichen, our stories, the way they relate, they remind me of lichen. Lichen, you know, is made up of fungus and algae, it’s really two plants in one, the fungus is a parasite, it draws the carbohydrates from the algae, but the algae don’t seem to mind. I like to cite lichen as a prime example of symbiosis. Doesn’t every story involve symbiosis in a way, a relationship of dependence between two parts? Your mother’s story, what she knows, it’s a partial version, but so is your grandmother’s. – from Follow Me, page 313 –

Follow Me is a magical tale of one woman’s life and how her decisions impact others long after she is gone. Thematically, it is a novel about the selective process of memory and how history is defined by who is telling the story. Like the river which parallels Sally Werner’s life, Follow Me is filled with secrets and murky half-truths and things are never entirely how they first appear.

Joanna Scott is a gifted story teller. Her prose flows smoothly and the interconnected lives of her characters are revealed from several viewpoints. Embedded in the story of Sally is a larger story – that of the struggle of single women faced with unplanned pregnancies and the shame that often accompanies them. Sally is not a wholly likable character, and yet I found myself admiring her resilience and determination. Her mistakes, her desire for forgiveness, her effort to make things right again – all resonated with me.

My only complaint with the novel was its length. At times I felt impatient for the story to unravel faster. I wanted the secrets revealed sooner. Follow Me is a leisurely story. It meanders. But despite my impatience, I turned the final page with admiration for Scott’s writing, as well as a deeper understanding of her characters.

For readers who enjoy literary fiction, family sagas, and character-driven novels –  Follow Me will appeal.