How are you doing on My Sisters the Saints? I finished it last night. After a bit of a slow start, I really enjoyed the ending. I don’t want to give anything away before our official discussion, but I do hope you all get to finish it. It’s worth pushing through.
On to a couple pieces of business:
1. Have any of you planned a local book club meeting for our book? I’m going to send out an invitation tonight? Or tomorrow? Soon, for sure. I really hope y’all are able to get some women together for this. If not this month, then soon. We women need to stick together! What better way than over a nice cup of coffee or tea, or a yummy glass of wine? Doooooooo it!
2. How should we handle the online discussion of My Sisters? Blog post with comments? Link-up? Facebook discussion at a specified time? Weigh in, please!
3. And now the fun part! Let’s vote on a fiction book for next month! I’ll include the Amazon blurb for each. You can vote in the comment box, on the Stella Maris Facebook group, or by sending me an email at micaela (dot) darr (at) gmail (dot) com. Voting will close on Saturday. I’ll refrain from voting unless there is a need to break a tie.
The Shadow of the Bear: A Fairy Tale Retold by Regina Doman
When Bear, a mysterious young man, lands on Blanche and Rose Brier’s doorstep in New York City, the two sisters have conflicting opinions on whether or not he is dangerous. Even as Blanche learns to trust him, her fears that Bear’s friendship threatens their family prove terrifyingly true. A modern retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm fairytale.
Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy by Rumer Godden
This haunting tale of shame and redemption is the story of Lise Fanshawe, prostitute and brothel manager in postwar Paris, murderer and prisoner, and, finally, a Catholic nun in an order dedicated to serving people on the margins of society. (Not available on Kindle, if that matters to anyone.)
The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers
Dynah Carey knew where her life was headed. Engaged to a wonderful man, the daughter of doting parents, a faithful child of God, she has it all. Then the unthinkable happens: Dynah’s perfect life is irrevocably changed by a rape that results in an unwanted pregnancy. Her family is torn apart and her seemingly rock-solid faith is pushed to the limits as she faces the most momentous choice of her life: to embrace or to end the life within her. This is ultimately a tale of three women, as Dynah’s plight forces both her mother and her grandmother to face the choices they made.
Someone: A Novel by Alice McDermott
Our first glimpse of Marie is as a child: a girl in glasses waiting on a Brooklyn stoop for her beloved father to come home from work. A seemingly innocuous encounter with a young woman named Pegeen sets the bittersweet tone of this remarkable novel. Pegeen describes herself as an “amadan,” a fool; indeed, soon after her chat with Marie, Pegeen tumbles down her own basement stairs. The magic of McDermott’s novel lies in how it reveals us all as fools for this or that, in one way or another.
Marie’s first heartbreak and her eventual marriage; her brother’s brief stint as a Catholic priest, subsequent loss of faith, and eventual breakdown; the Second World War; her parents’ deaths; the births and lives of Marie’s children; the changing world of her Irish-American enclave in Brooklyn—McDermott sketches all of it with sympathy and insight.
The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark
“Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions,”begins The Girls of Slender Means, Dame Muriel Spark’s tragic and rapier-witted portrait of a London ladies’ hostel just emerging from the shadow of World War II.
Like the May of Teck Club itself—”three times window shattered since 1940 but never directly hit”—its lady inhabitants do their best to act as if the world were back to normal: practicing elocution, and jostling over suitors and a single Schiaparelli gown. The novel’s harrowing ending reveals that the girls’ giddy literary and amorous peregrinations are hiding some tragically painful war wounds.
Gunnar’s Daughter by Sigrid Undset
More than a decade before writing Kristin Lavransdatter (the trilogy about fourteenth-century Norway that won her the Nobel Prize) Sigrid Undset published Gunnar’s Daughter, a brief, swiftly moving tale about a more violent period of her country’s history, the Saga Age.
Set in Norway and Iceland at the beginning of the eleventh century, Gunnar’s Daughter is the story of the beautiful, spoiled Vigdis Gunnarsdatter, who is casually raped by the man she had wanted to love. A woman of courage and intelligence, Vigdis is toughened by adversity. Alone she raises the child conceived in violence, repeatedly defending her autonomy in a world governed by men. Alone she rebuilds her life and restores her family’s honor — until an unremitting social code propels her to take the action that again destroys her happiness. (Not available on Kindle)
Alright, friends. Make some noise! Let me know what you want to read next. And if you know anyone who would like to join in next month, send ’em to the Facebook group!
The links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. If you click through them and buy anything, I get a few pennies to support my incurable book habit at no extra cost to you. Thanks!