The Clover House

June 1, 2015 at 10:56 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

15798318Title: The Clover House

Author: Henriette Lazaridis Power

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Length: 397 pages

It took me much longer than it should have to read this book. It has the vibe of a Kate Morton novel, but didn’t quite enrapture me in the same way – mostly because I am preoccupied.  It’s possibly ironic because this preoccupation was along the same vein of that of the main character – but I was left unmoved.

It’s the slipperiness of memory that caught my attention though.  How some people remember things so drastically different than other people who were right there in the same room.  How perceptions are changed by knowledge.  How ignorance is not always bliss, but can be if you let it.

I think more than anything, the book was good, but perhaps I wasn’t ready for it.  And if I was, perhaps I’m just not ready to discuss it.  Don’t be surprised if I bring it up six months from now, once I’ve digested it all.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Secret Keeper and Storytellers

December 22, 2013 at 7:14 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

secret-keeperTitle:The Secret Keeper

Author: Kate Morton

Publisher: Atria Books

Genre: Fiction/ Historical Fiction

Length: 484 pages

I broke my Kate Morton rule.  I read TWO Kate Morton novels in a 12 month period.  And it was wonderful.

Forget my previously mentioned warnings to space out her books as long as it takes her to write them.  This was a perfect winter read, she sucked me in – as always – and I found myself thinking it was her best piece since The Forgotten Garden.  Don’t I say that every time?

I don’t just love Kate Morton as a reader, I find her inspiring as a writer.  When everyone else is diving into NaNoWrMo – something I signed up for, but just really don’t get – I dive into Kate Morton and find that’s the push I need to get my own stories out of my head.  (Same goes for Stephen King, that man really pushes my buttons and moves me to write.)

Semi side note: Is it just me or is NaNoWrMo distracting as all get out.  I write 2k words a day on average – granted, not all usable, obviously – but every time I open an email for NaNoWrMo I find myself reading and sifting through a bunch of stuff and not getting ANY writing done at all.  It’s fake motivation for me.  It’s a complete and utter distraction.  Like going to a pep rally.  I’m more excited for a football game when I’m at the football game, but if you push me through the noise of a pep rally I just don’t feel like going anymore.  SO counter productive.

You really want to be motivated to write? Read a good book.  Read a really good book.  Find someone who just moves you and you can’t help but think – I want to do that.  Not exactly that, mind you, I want to write my own stuff.  But I want to get a story out that moves people the way I’ve just been moved.  Or excites people the way I’ve just been excited.  The best motivation for a storyteller, I think, is to hear/read a good story.

Kate Morton’s stories are always good.  No, not good, GREAT.  She weaves through time with the skill of a T.A.R.D.I.S. and the hearts of a TimeLord.   She is always a master of her chosen histories and reveals stories with an onion layer effect that always makes me giddy.  The best moment of every one of her books is the, “I knew it!” moment.  I love that she feeds you all the details but somehow leaves you thinking she might just surprise you – even though you don’t want to be surprised because you need to be right about this one detail that has dropped bread crumbs all over the story but hasn’t outright made itself obvious.

The-Secret-Keeper

Click to read another blogger’s review.

Even more than that, though, is Morton’s uncanny ability in every novel to write a character that feels so overly familiar to me.  Or, if not familiar, someone I want to be familiar.  The Secret Keeper had a lot of familiar faces from my real world.

Permalink 2 Comments

Lost in Morton

June 27, 2013 at 6:42 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

dISTANTTitle: The Distant Hours

Author: Kate Morton

Publisher: Washington Square Press

Length: 562 pages

Kate Morton writes my favorite general fiction sub-genre.  Did you grow up reading Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and the Mysteries of Udolpho? Just before your reading level allowed the immersion into those worlds were you held captive by The Secret Garden, gothic ghost stories, and possibly some Anne Shirley who was a hopeless book-nerd and romantic?  Kate Morton writes these tales, all grown up and contemporary.  And they put me out of commission from line one until completion.

I have loved every story I’ve read by Morton. They are each one incredible and amazing, riveting and beautiful.

The Distant Hours was no different.

Except I figured it out far too soon.

I spread a lot of work out by authors to keep this from happening.  I have a rule about Morton, that I must give at least a 12 month break between books (which works out well because she takes just the right amount of time to write them and makes this not only possible but necessary).  This rule also keeps my husband sane, as I get completely lost in Morton and am completely gone from this world until her stories have ended; and even when they end, I have a nostalgic resignation that is hard to kick.

Morton’s layers are deep and onion-like, piece after piece of the puzzle is laid out for you over the course of the book.  Always leading up to the moment when you are presented with the facts of the matter, revealed to you with a shudder of lovely understanding of everything all at once.

But I figured out The Distant Hours too soon, I think around the the two hundred page mark or so rather than the typical five hundred mark.  Of course, I still had to read every word after my realization to be sure I was correct.  I half expected her to shake me up a bit, and she tried! But in the end, I was right!

I still LOVED this book.  It is highly recommended to any gothic loving book fiend, or even World War II reader… if you love castles, are a British bibliophile, or just plain love a good story about people.  I recommend ALL Kate Morton books.  If I could write half as well, I’d consider myself a success!

I just also had to note that this being the third book I’ve read by her, I felt like I figured her out.  Still, looking forward to The Secret Keeper.

Kate Morton Blog Pic

Permalink 1 Comment

The House at Riverton – A Review

March 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

ImageTitle: The House at Riverton

Author: Kate Morton

Publisher: Washington Square Press

Genre: Fiction

Length: 468 pages

Buy The House at Riverton

I fell in love with Kate Morton’s writing when I first read The Forgotten Garden, Morton’s ode to her love for Frances Hodgson Burnett.  How appropriate then that I fall in love with her work all over again while reading The House at Riverton, Morton’s ode to all things F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ian McEwan’s Atonement – appropriate because I recently wept and swooned over Tanya Egan Gibson’s own ode to her love of The Great Gatsby (How To Buy a Love of Reading) and felt compelled to re-read the work myself.  Apparently it is to be a year of the jazz age.  I’m even on a mission to read the entire Agatha Christie Crime Collection.  In honor of it all, I may be a flapper again for Halloween this year, but what I really want is that green dress Keira Knightly wears in Atonement and for my husband to take me to a play while I wear it.  Of course, I no longer have the boyish figure of the jazz age, emaciated with Kate Hudson sized breasts, I haven’t had that since college.  Now I have the soft roundness of motherhood.

But of course, I’m not talking about me, I’m supposed to be writing a review.  That’s the thing about Kate Morton though, her work is beautiful and intricate and secretive and it feels so real.  Although I get completely engrossed in her story (because she is an amazing story teller), by the end all I can think about is my own story, my own secrets.  Obviously, nothing so dark and grand as love-babies out of wedlock and murder and suicide, but still she makes you think about all the things in your life left unsaid that will remain unsaid even after you die.

Morton wrote the elderly Grace beautifully.  I imagine that is exactly how it must feel to be old.  I loved her so much, and she reminded me so well of people I have met in nursing homes when I used to sing there.  She left so many little hints of other pieces of Grace’s life outside of Riverton, I was left longing for more of Grace even after Hannah and Emmeline’s story was over.  I wanted to dive into a spin off story of Grace on her archeological adventures and reconnection to Alfred.  I know it wouldn’t be a best seller, wouldn’t hold the same magic with Grace’s deep dark secret already revealed and the last thoughts at her death already documented, but I wanted to have a little more of Grace nonetheless.  That’s what makes Morton’s writing so great though, you don’t get tired of the story.  She wraps everything up so nicely for you, but still leaves an inkling of longing in your heart for what is now done.

One thing that I must say to the masses about this book… if you are one of those that reads the last page first – DON’T.  You will ruin the charm and the magic.  I can’t imagine reading the last page first without the whole book losing its adventure.

Check out this blog to read a more detailed and descriptive review: http://gigilovesparis.blogspot.com/2009/12/house-at-riverton-by-kate-morton-review.html

Permalink 2 Comments

The Forgotten Garden, an Overlooked Book

September 3, 2011 at 3:31 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , )

Over and over again, I saw Kate Morton’s House at Riverton lurking on the general fiction shelves at Half Price Books.  I never picked it up, the cover just wasn’t right.  Book jackets are magical things.  Between the author, the publishig company, brilliant marketing people, and the perception of the onlookers – a book jacket tells all.  The House at Riverton just wasn’t telling me what I wanted to hear.  Then one day, my boss waves The Forgotten Garden in front of my face.   “This is amazing.”  It looked amazing.  The antique cream color, the ivy, the fairies, the magical nostalgia of a Frances Hodgson Burnett novel… I desired it immediately.  I was dumbstruck to realize it was the same author.

The Forgotten Garden is beautiful.  Twins, secrets, best friends, a family saga, England, Australian, painters, storytellers, an authoress, spooky deaths… It was the perfect mood follow up to The Thirteenth Tale.  It was an amazing read.  It took me too long to discover it due to the terrible marketing of the author’s previous book.  Thank God, the publisher’s finally gave Morton’s writing her book cover art due.

If you are wondering, I have broken protocol and abandoned my book cover instincts for the sake of reading Morton’s previous work – I bought The House at Riverton and its horrible cover.   I plan to read it around Christmas, a review to follow.  Her third book, Th Distant Hour is scheduled for me to read Spring 2012.

Buy Here: http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=anakawhims-20&o=1&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1416550550

Permalink 1 Comment