A Review of Home Song by LaVyrle Spencer

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Home Song is an emotional journey into the lives of a small town family that is tested more than they ever imagined when a long kept secret comes to light. Tom and Claire Gardner were married 17 years ago and now have two teenage children and a beautiful relationship. The night before they were married, Tom had a one night stand with a woman named Monica. He was faithful every day after that and has a wonderful relationship with his wife, Claire, but he never told her about his indiscretion and he never spoke to Monica again. Until now. 17 years later, Monica shows up again and she has a 17 year old son, Kent Arens, in tow. Tom knows right away that Kent is his son and must decide how to handle it.

Home Song is the story of his family learning of Kent Arens and, thus, Tom’s long ago infidelity and betrayal of Claire, and how they work through it together. I really enjoyed this book. It was a Three Ladies and Their Babies book club selection. I probably wouldn’t have read Home Song if it wasn’t for our book club, but I’m glad that I did. Right from the start, this book holds no punches. It sucks you in and keeps you there with the drama of Tom and his family. I felt myself rooting for Tom a lot, which went against everything I’ve always felt about cheating. I was angry with his wife at times for having the same type of feelings that I would have had if I were in her shoes. I think the audience is allowed to feel sympathy for Tom when we normally wouldn’t because we have that special insight into what he’s really thinking and feeling and we know he’s not really a bad guy, he just made one stupid mistake many years ago.

I think if you read this book, you won’t regret it. It’s a great read and it will pull you in and not let go until the very end when you find out what happens with the Gardner family. Home Song was the type of book that I was telling other people about because I needed to talk about it with someone. Don’t forget to check out Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club over on Facebook if you want to get involved in our group discussions.

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Gone Girl: A Review

gone girl imageThe third book chosen in the Three Ladies and Their Babies book club was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This was a selection full of twists and turns that left the reader wondering if and when the characters of the book were ever going to get back to “normal.”

Gone Girl is a suspense novel written from the alternating points of view of Nick Dunn and his wife, Amy. In the beginning, the reader is introduced to Amy through her diary entries. She is an interesting New Yorker who is full of life and waiting for love when Nick walks into her life. When they finally get reconnected after losing touch, they end up marrying. For a while, the marriage works, but before long, trouble creeps in. Amy seems to be a very accepting and forgiving wife, often sacrificing her own wants and needs to those of her husband. Nick, on the other hand, seems completely self-absorbed and uncaring of his wife’s needs as he drags her off to his Midwest hometown to care for his ailing parents. Then, on their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy disappears, leaving behind signs of a struggle. As Nick becomes the focus of police scrutiny and is hanged in the court of public opinion, we start to learn a little more about their marriage and Amy’s true personality comes to life. Is Amy really the victim of a violent abduction and possible murder at the hands of her husband or is something more going on here? Nick does not help his case much as he tells the reader of his bitterness toward his wife, discusses the shape of her skull, and blunders his way through interviews and interrogations. As the story unfolds and more details come to light, you’ll be kept on your toes trying to figure out where things are going.

I found this book to be very engaging. It did take a few chapters before I really got into it, but by part two, I was hooked. I had a hard time putting it down and found myself trying to sneak in a few pages anytime I had an extra minute or two. I really enjoyed it…until the last few pages. Without ruining it for you, I have to say that I did not like the ending. There were a couple of ways that I could have re-written it in my head. That being said, I’m a big fan of happy endings, and Flynn, herself, is quoted as saying, “I wrote the ending that was the most unsettling to me. I am a big fan of the ending of unease. To me it feels real and it feels unnerving. Because you may not know exactly what is going to happen next in Gone Girl World, but you know it’s not good.”

Overall, I found Gone Girl to be a very quick and intriguing read. It kept me double guessing myself and anxious to see what would happen next. I would give it a solid B, with points knocked off due to the ending, but it is most definitely a great summer book.

Book Club: Books 4, 5, & 6 Selections

The two day voting window for the polls for books 4-6 at Facebook are officially closed and I am pleased to announce the winning books! I will introduce them now with a description of each book as found on Goodreads.

Book Four (June 5 – June 19, discussion at Facebook on June 20):
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

518897When Victoria Leonard answers the phone in her Manhattan office, Caitlin’s voice catches her by surprise.  Vix hasn’t talked to her oldest friend in months.  Caitlin’s news takes her breath away–and Vix is transported back in time, back to the moment she and Caitlin Somers first met, back to the casual betrayals and whispered confessions of their long, complicated friendship, back to the magical island where two friends became summer sisters.

Caitlin dazzled Vix from the start, sweeping her into the heart of the unruly Somers family, into a world of privilege, adventure, and sexual daring.  Vix’s bond with her summer family forever reshapes her ties to her own, opening doors to opportunities she had never imagined–until the summer she falls passionately in love.  Then, in one shattering moment on a moonswept Vineyard beach, everything changes, exposing a dark undercurrent in her extraordinary friendship with Caitlin that will haunt them through the years.

As their story carries us from Santa Fe to Martha’s Vineyard, from New York to Venice, we come to know the men and women who shape their lives.  And as we follow the two women on the paths they each choose, we wait for the inevitable reckoning to be made in the fine spaces between friendship and betrayal, between love and freedom.

Book Five (June 21 – July 5, discussion at Facebook on July 6):
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

30868Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

Book Six (July 9 – July 23, discussion at Facebook on July 26):
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

7788995Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him — the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being hunted by Kenny G!

In this enchanting novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut.”

She’s Come Undone: Discussion Reminder

We just wanted to remind you that tomorrow (5/16), will be the discussion day for She’s Come Undone. Be sure to join us on the Facebook group page, “Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club” to discuss your thoughts on the book. This book has proven to touch on a lot of tough topics, so I’m certain the discussion will be interesting, too. If you haven’t finished the book yet be sure to exercise caution when visiting the group page so as not to see any spoilers. Just come on over and join in the talk as soon as you’re done.

If you are just now tuning in to the book club, feel free to join us as we begin reading our third book, Gone Girl on Saturday.  The group can be found at: Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club. Simply follow the link and click “join group.”

A Review of Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

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If you’ve read any of our book club posts then you know that Midwives was the first book chosen. This was actually my selection. I was secretly hoping that Midwives would be the one out of my three choices that would win the vote and it did!

Midwives is a story about Sybil Danforth as told by her daughter Connie. Connie is telling us the story as an adult, but she was 14 during the time of this particular story. Sybil Danforth is a lay midwife and during one home birth she finds herself in a terrible situation where she takes desperate measures to save the life of a baby whose mother has seemingly passed away during childbirth. After the labor, doubts arise as to whether the mother was actually dead, which brings Sybil’s actions into question and we’re taken down the intense road of a criminal trial that sees Sybil Danforth at the center of it.

Right from the start I had a hard time putting Midwives down. Even though the story is told from the perspective of Sybil’s daughter, we’re not left feeling like we didn’t get enough information. Even knowing the premise of the book, I was in disbelief that Sybil was charged with the woman’s death. It seemed obvious to me that the woman, Charlotte, was dead when Sybil saved the baby and I felt that if I were in Charlotte’s position I would want my midwife to do everything she could to save my baby. As the story went on I got a better understanding of why Sybil was charged and also why there were so many doubts about Charlotte’s death, but I never personally thought Sybil should be found guilty. Bohjalian does a superb job of giving different perspectives. We’re shown the prejudices that many people had (and still have) about midwives and home birth, and we’re also shown the side of people who believe wholeheartedly in the practice of midwifery.

For me, this was an edge-of-your-seat story until the very last page. I know a lot of members of the book club agreed with me, while others enjoyed it, but weren’t crazy about it like I was. I’d love to tell you more of my thoughts on Midwives, but for fear of giving away any vital parts of the story, I will stop here. Please feel free to join Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club at Facebook and join in our discussion of Midwives, as well as the book we’re currently reading, She’s Come Undone.

Reminder: Midwives Discussion Starts Tomorrow

We just wanted to remind everyone that our discussion of Midwives starts tomorrow on our Facebook group page, “Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club”.  We are very excited to start talking about our thoughts on our first book and to see what everyone else has to say.  For those of you who might not have finished yet, please exercise caution when checking the group page.  There are sure to be spoilers!  You can just jump into the discussion when you are finished!

If you are just now tuning in to the goings on in the book club, feel free to join us as we begin reading our second book, She’s Come Undone on Thursday.  The group can be found at: Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club. Simply follow the link and click “join group.”

Look forward to hearing from everyone tomorrow!

Book Club: Books 1, 2, & 3 Selections

The two day voting window for the first three book polls at Facebook are officially closed and I am pleased to announce our first three book selections. I will introduce them now with a description of each book as found on Goodreads.

Book One (April 16 – April 30, discussion at Facebook on May 1st): Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

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The time is 1981, and Sibyl Danforth has been a dedicated midwife in the rural community of Reddington, Vermont, for fifteen years. But one treacherous winter night, in a house isolated by icy roads and failed telephone lines, Sibyl takes desperate measures to save a baby’s life. She performs an emergency Caesarean section on its mother, who appears to have died in labor. But what if—as Sibyl’s assistant later charges—the patient wasn’t already dead, and it was Sibyl who inadvertently killed her?

As recounted by Sibyl’s precocious fourteen-year-old daughter, Connie, the ensuing trial bears the earmarks of a witch hunt except for the fact that all its participants are acting from the highest motives—and the defendant increasingly appears to be guilty. As Sibyl Danforth faces the antagonism of the law, the hostility of traditional doctors, and the accusations of her own conscience, Midwives engages, moves, and transfixes us as only the very best novels ever do.

Book Two (May 2 – May 16, discussion at Facebook on May 17th): She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.

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In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years.

Meet Dolores Price. She’s 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Stranded in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally orbits into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she’s determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before she really goes under.

Book Three (May 20 – June 3, discussion at Facebook on June 4th): Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

We’re all very excited to start reading the first book and hope you are as well. Enjoy!

Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club

Books On Shelf In Bookshop

Have you ever read a really good book and thought, “I wish I could talk to someone else about this!” Of course you could tell someone about it, but you don’t want to give away the ending in case they ever want to read it themselves. Plus it’s far more fun to discuss a great book with someone who has already read it than to try and explain just what was so great about it to a person who hasn’t read it.

Well, we’ve had these thoughts. One of our own Three Ladies, Stephany, recently blogged about 35 things she wanted to accomplish before she was 35. Stephany mentioned how the idea of being in a book club was exciting to her. With the wonderful suggestion of one our readers, we decided to start a virtual book club!
We’ve decided that we’re going to use the following list of criteria to run the book club:

  1. The book club will be primarily located at Facebook, with an update here at the blog each time we finish a book and select a new book.
  2. Anyone will be allowed to join the book club, but you mut be approved by an admin (Either Stephany, Ashley, or Lisa). This is only so we can keep track of who joins when which is vital for book selection (see below).
  3. We will be selecting a new book every two weeks. If this becomes too much for everyone to handle, we may extend it in future. This is the goal time to get books read in, but we definitely understand how busy life can get, so don’t stress out if you can’t make the goal. Just read it in your own time and come back to the discussion once you’re finished.
  4. We will only be reading more current books. We’ve discussed it together and the general idea is that we’re not that interested in classic literature.
  5. Each member will get an opportunity to select a book. In the order they join, we will select a member every two weeks to present the group with 3 books. We will then make a poll on Facebook with those 3 books and members can pick which one of the three they’d like to read. The book that gets the most votes will win. If there is a tie, one of the Three Ladies will decide.
  6. There will be two weeks allowed to read the book, the day after the two week reading period, one of the Three Ladies will make a post on Facebook opening a discussion of the book. Members are encouraged to comment to the discussion post with their own thoughts and questions regarding the book.
  7. We will leave one day solely for discussion. The following day we will start the next book. This doesn’t mean you can only discuss the previous book for one day, you may discuss the previous book as often as you like once the discussion post has been started.
  8. On the Facebook group for the book club, you can find a calendar under the tab “files” that gives a timeline of book selection, reading window, and discussion up until August.

Now that you know what we’re about, we really hope you’ll join us. As I said, the primary location of the book club is on Facebook. The group can be found at: Three Ladies and Their Babies: The Book Club. Simply follow the link and click “join group.” Keep an eye out here or there for the announcement of the first book! Enjoy!