The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker is a chunkster at 656 pages and I do believe it could have easily been edited down to a much more reasonable length but I still found it engrossing enough to finish within just a couple days.
Harry Quebert is a famous novelist whose protégé, Marcus, has himself become a bestselling novelist. The deadline for Marcus's second book is looming and Marcus hasn't written a word, so he goes to visit Harry, hoping for inspiration. While visiting, Marcus becomes involved in a murder investigation. Decades in the past young Nola, the love of Harry's life, disappeared and now her body has been found with evidence that incriminates Harry. Marcus believes Harry is innocent and sets out to solve the mystery.
I found the fact that both writers became fabulously wealthy very difficult to buy into and grew weary of Harry and Nola gushing about their love for each other. But I was captivated enough to ignore the book's flaws, whip through the reading and give it a 4-star rating, if for no other reason than the fact that I dislike mysteries, in general, so I figure if a mystery can hold my attention for over 600 pages, it ought to get an above-average rating. For the most part, the French author's understanding of Americans is pretty impressive, as well. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair is an award winner in the author's home country. Recommended, but you'll probably either love it or hate it.
Cricket doesn't want to spend all her time in the bookstore, so she goes out in search of a job and finds a position working as a tour guide in a local mansion called Chartwell House. There, a baby was murdered, the baby's mother found guilty and hanged for her crime. But, was she truly guilty? As Cricket explores the house and its history, she is able to see scenes that lead her to believe that there are dark forces at work and she must solve the mystery to put at least one ghost to rest.
I thought Parsons Green was a pretty good story, apart from the fact that a few too many people believed in or saw ghosts. My biggest problem with it was the common self-published-book problem: Parsons Green is desperately in need of a professional editing job. Had the book been much longer, I probably wouldn't have made it all the way through the reading, but it's short and the story is compelling. Recommended with a warning that the sheer quantity of errors is exhausting.
Goodnight June is the first book I've read by Sarah Jio, although I've been hearing gushy praise of her books for several years.
June is a cut-throat New York banker whose job is to take over small businesses that are struggling and sell off their assets. June moved to New York from Seattle and has not returned home for several years. She has few friends, no romantic prospects, and she works long hours. June is so stressed that as Goodnight June opens, she's in the hospital to get her blood pressure under control. She's only in her 30's.
When June finds out her Aunt Ruby has died and left June her beloved bookstore, June travels to Seattle intending to simply sell the store and rush back home. But, she meets a handsome restaurateur, finds a set of letters connecting the bookstore and her aunt to Margaret Wise Brown's book, Goodnight Moon, and decides she must stay to save the bookstore. The store is failing and June finds herself in the same position as the business owners whose livelihoods she has heartlessly ripped away.
Goodnight June is fluffy, sentimental, beachy reading. It was the right book for the moment -- I was swept away, at first, and I enjoyed the fact that it was a quick read. But, it's more than a little far-fetched and the many strands had a "way too convenient" aspect that pulled me out of the reading. In spite of the fact that I had trouble buying into the storyline, I finished Goodnight June, so I gave it an average rating. Recommended for a fluff break with a warning that the story is extremely far-fetched.
If you've already read Goodnight June, you might be interested to know that Margaret Wise Brown's New York writing cottage, Cobble Court, is under threat and may be torn down to make space for condominiums.
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