Connie's Picks for June
I’ve read every JoJo Moyes book that’s been published in the U.S. So it’s a no brainer that I’d grab her newest book One Plus One. It’s another contemporary opposites attract love story. What I love about her latest book is that I care equally about each character. Jess is trying to hold everything together, despite her vanishing husband, her teenage son who is being bullied, and no money to pay for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Tanzie, her math prodigy daughter. She cleans the home of tech millionaire Ed, who has problems of his own but finds himself coming to her rescue. Moyes lovingly and capably guides the reader to a satisfactory conclusion with lots of laughs along the way. Robert Harris is another author whose novels never disappoint.
An Officer and a Spy takes a shameful part of French history and thrillingly transports the reader to another country and place in time. I felt I was an observer in the courtroom, political and military back rooms, meetings and dinner parties of 19th century Paris. Alfred Dreyfuss, a Jewish officer in the French army is accused, tried and found guilty of being a spy. Some years later Georges Picquart, an officer involved in the case, finds evidence that this may not be the case. Those are the facts and Harris builds his story around them, revealing the racism and class issues that made Dreyfuss an easy scapegoat. It’s clear that Harris meticulously researches his novels and each one provides insight into real people caught up in almost unbelievable events.
Marina Keegan was a promising writer, just hired by the New Yorker, whose play was about to be produced in New York, whose stories and essays had already been published in prominent magazines and who tragically died in a car crash five days after graduating magna cum laude from Yale. Her book of essays and stories, The Opposite of Loneliness was published two years later and I picked up her book, not knowing any of her writing or her short life. In a review J.R. Moehringer describes a “sorrow/joy” feeling while reading her book. Sorrow, for her short life so filled with promise, and joy that her insights and words provide hope for all of us. Marina’s voice leaps off the page and I savored every sentence.