Thursday, 1 August 2019

Evvie Drake Starts Over


Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
 
Evvie Drake Starts Over, by Linda Holmes, is a light read for those who are looking for a refreshing tale for summer. Evvie Drake is recently widowed, her doctor husband having been the apple of everyone’s eye in their small Maine town. His golden boy reputation has outlived him and he continues to be honoured. Although Evvie finds these tributes difficult, she attends the events, but for the most part keeps herself isolated in her house, not really dealing with the truth about her husband that keeps her from moving forward.

Dean Tenney is a successful baseball pitcher, who has had many a trip to the World Series. However, now his arm is not behaving as it should and he is facing the wrath of his fans, who are not being very kind. Dean is the childhood friend of Evvie’s best pal, Andy, and Andy sees an opportunity for Evvie to make a little extra money by renting out the back apartment in her house to Dean, who desperately needs somewhere to hide out and recover from the game that no longer loves him.

As Dean moves in, he and Evvie strike a deal to not talk about the things that haunt them, his sudden inability to pitch and her husband. While this may be a good plan, it inevitably does not last for long. They quickly become friends and begin to confide in each other, creating a support enabling them to face their own truths. 

Naturally, as in any love story, there are a few bumps and hurdles along the way, but Holmes’ writing is in no way predictable and Dean and Evvie’s story is filled with friendly banter, laughter and self-realization. All in all, a very enjoyable feel good read about life, acceptance and the relationships we have. 

Helen Varga is a library technician at the Steveston Branch of the Richmond Public Library.
For other popular reading suggestions check out Richmond Public Library's Web site at www.yourlibrary.ca/goodbooks/. 

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Daisy Jones and the Six


Image result for daisy jones and the sizx
Taylor Jenkins Reid

Written as a series of interviews , Daisy Jones and the Six chronicles the rapid rise and fall of one of the most popular band of the Seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid creates an entire band and their history from scratch, piecing it together through snippets of dialogue and creating a fully realized cast of characters. 

Billy Dunne, the charismatic frontman for a band called The Six, is destined to be a rock legend after two successful albums.  Daisy Jones is an up and coming name in the music industry with a raspy voice and a look that is uniquely her own. Tormented, soulful, and beautiful, she has that ‘it factor’ that draws attention like nothing else.  When the manager of The Six gets Daisy to feature on their album, the music is explosive. The albums that follow are the stuff of legend; however, after a few short years, the band dissolves and they are never heard from again. What happened to these rock gods and why did they quit at the peak of their career? Years later, the mysterious interviewer writing this book collects stories from all members involved in the band to tell their story.

I listened to this book as an audiobook and highly recommend that experience to anyone and everyone. It is recorded with a full cast for every band member, manager, family member, and fan on the street; as such, you really feel like you are listening to real people telling their story.  To top this off, they also recorded one of the songs written by the fictional band and played it at the end of the audiobook. It is so easy to forget that this band is a figment of Reid’s imagination with such a vivid cast of unique characters.

This book, though fictional, reads like a memoire. Similar books I have read and enjoyed include Joni Mitchell’s In Her Own Words, and Love Janis, a book of letters and personal stories written by Janis Joplin’s sister.

Monday, 17 June 2019

To the Bright Edge of the World

To the Bright Edge of the World
To the Bright Edge of the World
By Eowyn Ivey


It’s 1885 and Colonel Allen Forrester has been assigned to lead his men up Alaska’s Wolverine River.  The journey will take them from Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska, through narrow canyons and passages not yet explored by white men, and down the Yukon River to the Bering Sea.  They will travel deep into the territory of the Midnoosky Indians where, a century before, the Midnooskies massacred a group of Russian explorers.

The dangers are very real, but Colonel Forrester ensures that he is accompanied by capable men, including a translator.  He employs some of the Indians he meets, paying them to assist on the journey.  His practicality is tempered only by his love for his wife, Sophie.  Newly pregnant, Sophie awaits the Colonel’s return to their cabin at the Vancouver (Washington) Barracks.

An adventurous and unconventional woman, Sophie purchases a camera while her husband is away and occupies her time taking pictures of her beloved birds and developing photos.  She must face the prying eyes and judgmental nature of the other barracks ladies, most of whom find her hobby rather unbecoming.

Contrast this with the Colonel’s journey far from the civilized world.  Although he is prepared for physical hardship, he does not know how to cope with some of the unearthly terrors that besiege his party. When the Indians warn of the dangers in the mountains, where the dead roam, the Colonel dismisses them.  But he must concede that he cannot explain many of the events that transpire.  

Among other things, the Colonel’s party must contend with the local shaman, or the Man Who Flies on Black Wings.  “[T]he natives believe the Old Man can change the weather, make people sick or cure them, as suits his mood...  Today he’ll rob you blind, but tomorrow he might give you a warm blanket when you need it most.” (p. 59)

Most appealing about this novel is its format.  Written as a series of diary entries, official reports, letters and newspaper clippings, To the Bright Edge of the World even contains photographs and maps.  The book, although fictional, is like a tome of historical artefacts waiting to be uncovered.  I love the way it weaves together mystery, the supernatural, and a detailed, albeit imaginary past.

Highly recommended!