Thursday, July 10, 2014

Inheritance by Philip L. Levin

Inheritance by Philip L. Levin

I met Philip Levin at last year's Florida Writer Association conference in Orlando.  The conference was winding down and I was in the bookstore desperately looking for something written by the vast number of talented writers I'd met.  We struck up a conversation and I settled on his book, Inheritance.  It came highly recommended! And he signed it for me.  I can never pass up a good book let alone an autographed one.

Tricia Tracy writes the gossip column for the local small town newspaper.  Her boyfriend is Mel, the police detective, who is investigating a murder.  He talks too freely with Tricia and finds what he thought he said in confidence on the pages of Tracy's Tidbits. 

While Inheritance is an entertaining who done it, I found the character development lacking in some areas.  For example, why is Mel discussing his case with Tricia even if she is his girlfriend?  And Tricia thinks she is frigid when things don't go well with Mel in the bedroom.  She's only 24.  There were a few other things that the characters did that detracted from my enjoyment of the story, but they may not be important to you so I don't want to ruin a good book. 

I also found it quite annoying to find footnotes which translated Spanish phrases spoken by the main murder suspect.  Maybe because I live in Florida and didn't need the translation.  If the target audience lives in the Midwest, then maybe it was necessary.  Only the author knows.  The mystery is eventually solved and I was surprised by it.  That's a sign of a good thriller.  And I loved the transcripts of the police interviews.  So lots of things to like in Inheritance after all.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

I have to admit I knew nothing of this story and the love affair of Mamah Borthwick and the famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Even though this is a novel, it is based in factual events of their lives together. 

Mamah and her husband, Ed Cheney commission Frank Lloyd Wright to build them a home in the suburbs of Chicago at the turn of the 20th century.  Their affair began almost immediately.  Mamah was an educated woman and had worked for a time as a librarian before her marriage.  For the time, she was very progressive. 

On one hand, her husband Ed, was intelligent, hard working, and took good care of Mamah and their children.  On the other hand, Mr. Wright was creative and highly self absorbed.  Mamah chose the bad boy and once she did nothing in her life would ever be the same.  She had found her soul mate in Frank.  Because of him however, whenever they were apart, Mamah spent her time trying to repair relationship with her children, her sister and many friends who had been left picking up the pieces for her when she suddenly walked out and left them for Frank.

I often felt Mamah should have given up Frank.  But then I had to remember the times she lived in were much different than today.  Women were not always free.  Ms. Horan  did a wonderful job of telling Mamah's story as conflicted as it was.  She also painted a very realistic picture of Frank Lloyd Wright and his talent.  I never like to give the ending away but since this novel is based on fact, the tragic ending is well documented.  We are all free to develop our own opinions but no matter what I think of Mamah and her choices, how this love story ends is devastating. 

Loving Frank is historical fiction at its best.

City of Thieves by David Benioff

City of Thieves by David Benioff It's World War II in Leningrad, Russia.  17 year old Lev elected to stay behind in the city when h...