In the past week, I have finished and reviewed two books that could not be more different from one another.
*may contain spoilers*
After hearing varying thoughts about this book, I delved into it with an open mind and not the highest of expectations.
“The Girl on the Train” is narrated from the perspectives of the three main female characters — Rachel, a lonely and heavy-drinking divorcee who daydreams about the couple occupying a house along her daily commute; Megan, half of said couple; and Anna, the former mistress and new wife of Rachel’s ex-husband.
Like many people who have read this book, I found it difficult to put down as it is fast-paced and full of twists and turns that kept me asking, “What happened to Megan?” The answer was not at all what I expected.
I found it very difficult to empathize with any of the characters, except perhaps for Megan. I was somewhat confused by how the various conflicts among them were connected, to the point that I just wanted to get to the end of the book and be done with it. It almost read like a really creepy soap opera. Because of the multiple POVs, the story jumped around a LOT.
Overall, I did find it to be a worthwhile read, if for no other reason that to figure out what all the fuss is about over this book. I guess the hype is mostly justified. Fans of detail-rich, Hitchcock-style suspense will probably enjoy this one.
I discovered “Visioneering” after completing a YouVersion reading plan based on the book.
Through an interlibrary loan, I obtained a copy and read it in a little over a week. I kept having to remind myself I couldn’t highlight anything or make any notes in it, which tells me I need my own copy! Plus, the version I read is an early edition. It was recently revised and updated. I think I would enjoy a more modern edition, as some of the illustrations were a bit stale.
Stanley weaves in the story of Nehemiah’s vision for rebuilding the wall, which was a great biblical application. I don’t know whether the updated edition pares down Stanley’s “building blocks,” but there are 20 (!) of them in the edition that I read. That overwhelmed me a bit.
If nothing else, I want to reread “Visioneering” so I actually delve into the “projects” that follow each chapter. Keeping in mind that I had to return the library copy by a certain date prevented me from doing so, but that’s OK because I felt like giving this book an objective read the first time around helped me grasp general concepts.
I am in the early stages of developing a vision, and I want to be sure it’s a “God idea” and not just a “good idea.” This book provides a great litmus test for making that determination.
On Sunday, I finally started reading “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir” by Jennifer Ryan. In a nutshell, it’s historical fiction set in World War II-era Britain. I’m liking it so far.
“Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!”
As England enters World War II’s dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to shutter the church’s choir in the absence of men and instead “carry on singing.” Resurrecting themselves as “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir,” the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives.
Told through letters and journals, THE CHILBURY LADIES’ CHOIR moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit– a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn’t understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past– we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir’s collective voice reverberates in her individual life. In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the homefront, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict.”
If you live in Great Britain or Ireland, there is a Goodreads Giveaway for this one that runs through Nov. 20. Good luck!
This past Friday, I received my first review request from Melissa Simonson, the author of “Burning September.” I’ll be starting it once I’ve finished “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir.”
Kat’s life is going exactly the way her sister has planned it, until a detective shows up at their front door early one morning and arrests Caroline for murder.
Suddenly and utterly alone, Kat doesn’t know how to navigate a world without Caroline, the woman who raised her. During the aftermath of the crime, Kat tries to figure out who she is without her sister, but unlocking those doors only leads to more troubling questions.
Kat realizes the one person she thought would never lie to her had, and quite frequently. Sorting through the skeletons and lies might be more than she can handle, but it’s a necessary evil if she ever wants to see her sister acquitted.