Posts tagged ‘Chris Bohjalian’

The Summer Reading Finale

imageI ended the summer with a lot of fast reads.  Admittedly, they were all breezy and some were more enjoyable than others.  But to be fair, some of them were read on the beach in Hilton Head and that might have made them even more enjoyable.

1. “The Other Typist” by Suzanne Rindell (Published in 2013) –   This is set in 1920s New York.  Rose is a typist at the local police precinct. She is plain and her life is simple.  When Odalie is hired on as another typist, Rose becomes intrigued by her and they become fast friends.  Odalie’s life is exciting and Rose finds herself very quickly sucked into it.  But as time passes it seems that Odalie is not who she says she is and very quickly Rose’s life spins out of control.  I was so interested in reading this book but it was truly beyond me. I would absolutely love it if someone else read this book and could explain it to me. I am serious – if you can please make a comment to this post. I finished it and thought “what just happened?”

2. “Reconstructing Amelia” by Kimberly McCreight (Published in 2013) – Kate has spent her life trying to balance being a single mother with a successful career as a litigator.  Her teenaged daughter, Amelia, always made it seem that Kate was making it all work.  Amelia was bright, pretty and seemed to tell her mother everything.  So Kate is surprised when she receives a call from Amelia’s school that she is being suspended for plagiarizing. Kate immediately heads over to the school only to find that between the phone call and Kate arriving at the school Amelia has committed suicide by jumping off the school’s roof.  As Kate deals with Amelia’s death she receives an anonymous text that merely says “she didn’t jump.”  And from there Kate begins trying to piece together what really happened to Amelia.  This book is fun but I was stunned by the writing at the end.  It could only have been written by a mother (sorry guys) – it is beautiful and touching though a little out of sync with the rest of the book.  This is a thriller with a bit of a predictability problem but that didn’t make it any less fun.

3. “Secrets of Eden” by Chris Bohjahian (Published in 2010) – The same day that Alice is baptized by Reverend Stephen Drew she is strangled by her husband, who then commits suicide.  Rev. Drew, who knew that Alice’s husband was abusive, finds himself losing faith when he is suddenly visited by Heather, a best-selling author who writes about angels.  Heather and Drew have an immediate connection – particularly since Heather’s mom was also killed by her father who then committed suicide.  As the investigation of Alice’s murder takes place, it seems that her husband was shot from 2 feet away – making impossible that it is a suicide (you totally saw this coming didn’t you).  And thus the investigation begins and everyone is a suspect.  Okay this book is pretty good and does pull you in but I was unclear what the purpose of some of the characters were.  Bohjahian addresses the issue of domestic violence in this kind of round about way that is not as poignant as it could be.  I do love the way Bohjahian writes, I just have yet to be amazed by his books. But for some reason I am compelled to keep trying.

4. “A Half Forgotten Song” by Katherine Webb (Published in 2013) – Zach owns an art gallery in Bath, England but it is a failing art gallery and his wife has left him, taking his daughter to America.  His publisher has called him and said that the book he is writing about the famous author Charles Aubrey must be completed in the next four months or they will go with another author.  And so aimless and lonely Zach heads to a village on the Dorset coast where Aubrey spent his summers for many years to try to find a new angle for his book.  There he meets Mitzy, an old, eccentric woman, who spent a short time as Aubrey’s muse when she was sixteen.  As her story about her relationship with Aubrey unfolds Zach finds that Mitzy really is the story he was looking for.  This sounds absolutely cheesy but it is definitely worth the read.  I did not love Webb’s book “The Legacy” but in this book I feel like she has found a great story that showcases her writing well.

And so the summer ends and I am fine with that.  It is time for beautiful leaves and pumpkin lattes and apple pies. Chilly nights and lots and lots of books.  Happy Autumn my fellow readers.

Other reviews to check out:


September 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm 3 comments

Come and play with us forever and ever – “The Night Strangers” by Chris Bohjalian

“The Night Strangers” by Chris Bohjalian, Published in 2012

Again kudos to Bohajalian for his writing – like I said in my review of “Midwives” this guy does a lot of research for his characters and really writes admirably. But this novel, that started out so promising, just kind of turned into “The Shining” meets “Practical Magic” meets “Rosemary’s Baby” meets “Locked in Time” (Lois Duncan can scare the crap out of any teen girl) and so it becomes a kind of really unimpressive, discombobulated ghost story.

Chip Linton is a commercial airline pilot based out of Pennsylvania, happily married to Emily with twin 10 year-old daughters Hallie and Garnet. They are a fairly normal family until a flock of birds fly into Chip’s plane shutting down the engines.  He is forced to make a water landing and 39 passengers die, including his co-pilot. After months of battling severe depression and post traumatic stress disorder, the Lintons decide to move to a large Victorian house in the White Mountains to start over.

The house is quirky with a dark history – but promises to be a good family home.  Until the Lintons move in no one notices the door in the dirt floor basement.  It is a small door that has been sealed off with exactly 39 steel bolts.  Chip decides one day to break down the door with an axe that he found hidden in the house. After that he begins to be haunted by Ashley, a young girl, and her father. Both died in the plane crash.  Ashley’s father wants her to have a playmate in eternity and Chip finds that he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice of one of his children to make amends for the crash and Ashley’s untimely death.

Meanwhile, Emily and the girls have been befriended by a local group of women interested in horticulture who have renamed themselves after herbs and flowers. However, as time passes it becomes clear that the women are interested in the twins in a way that is both creepy and very dangerous.

The disappointing part about this book is that there are really no surprises. Bohjalian has cherry picked parts of some of the creepiest stories that you have already read and applies them here.  The book has such a promising and scary start that I was mistakenly optimistic about where it was going.  I cannot however abandon Bohjalian as an author so I will be revisiting more of his books in the future.   Hopefully none will have a small boy staring in the mirror, a finger raised, saying “red rum” that would just be a bit obvious and Stephen King might have something to say about that.

Now I need to find a good, scary book for these chilly October nights. Suggestions anyone?

scary door Stock Photo - 1640441

Other reviews to check out:

From Pen in her Hand 

From Horrific Knits 

From Turning Pages 90

October 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm 3 comments


There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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