The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

The Turner House“Turners seemed incapable of doing anything in moderation.” This was one of the many quotes from The Turner House by Angela Flournoy that stood out to me. Flournoy has successfully created a story that examines the dynamics of a big, complicated, prideful, and loving family. I was very interested in the different roles and relationships between the 13 children, each of whom had a very distinct personality.

When the children claimed to see a supernatural presence one night in the Turner house, their father Francis denies the possibility of a ghost, saying “there ain’t no haints in Detroit.” Years later, when the siblings have become grandparents themselves, the mysterious haint is still present. This is especially true for Cha-Cha, the eldest sibling who took on the paternal role when Francis passed away. When their mother, Viola, becomes sick and the value of the Turner house crashes with the housing market in 2008, the siblings come together to decide how to move forward.

I really enjoyed The Turner House and the role that each of the siblings played, especially the youngest child Lelah. A terribly lonely woman, she’s addicted to gambling and the stillness that it brings her. Although her downward spiral disappointed me, I found myself rooting her on towards recovery. Because there were so many siblings, I had a tricky time keeping them all straight, but that’s to be expected with 13 children in one family.

Here’s one more quote from the book that really struck home with me:

“What parts of their worlds would crumble if they took a great look at their parents’ flaws? If there was no trauma, why not talk about the everyday, human elements of their upbringing?”

I definitely recommend The Turner House for a thought provoking read! Enjoy!

The Turner House

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The Forgotten Room by Beatriz Williams, Karen White & Lauren Willig

The Forgotten RoomThe Forgotten Room is a multigenerational story of three women spanning the decades between the 1890’s and 1940’s in New York City. To make the book even more special, it’s written by three wonderful authors, Beatriz Williams, Karen White, and Lauren Willig. It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of Beatriz Williams’ work so I immediately jumped at the chance to read and review The Forgotten Room.

The story begins in the 1940’s when the wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought into the hospital where Dr. Kate Schuyler works. Kate is unable to deny the strong connection she feels with Cooper and is shocked to find a small painting in his duffle bag that looks exactly like her. While trying to understand her connection with this new mysterious man, Kate unearths the mystery of three generations of women in her family. Kate discovers the story of her grandmother Olive, a woman who served as a maid in the very mansion-converted-hospital where Kate now works. Through her search, Kate also learns much more about her mother and the forces that brought her parents together.

Despite the fact that the story was written by three people, the scenes flowed together smoothly. It took me a bit of time to keep the characters straight due to the similarities between the determined heroines and their love interests, but in the end all of the loose ends were brought together.

This is a story of fate. A story of love lost and love found. I was completely absorbed by The Forgotten Room and definitely recommend it!

I received a copy of The Forgotten Room from the Berkley New American Library Group in exchange for an honest review.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the LaneI was very pleasantly surprised with The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman because I had no expectations when I started reading. A beautifully written story, it is both touching and a bit dazzling.

Our narrator returns to his hometown for a funeral and finds himself drawn to one of the farms neighboring his childhood home. Once there, he revisits an old memory of an adventure he had when he was seven years old. The boy is a lonely child and a bit self-deprecating in a sadly humorous way. Because of this, he is very excited to meet the little girl from the neighboring farm, Lettie. Lettie is mature beyond her eleven years and our narrator is instantly stricken by her wisdom and bravery to face danger as an adult might.

Gaiman does a fantastic job of allowing the reader to get inside the head of a child and I really enjoyed it. There is a really interesting divide between adults and children and the boy refers to the grown-ups in his life as though they are a set of different species.

A few of my favorite lines from the book:

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

“I lay on the bed and lost myself in stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyway.”

I really recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane. This is one of those books with lines and ideas that stick with you long after reading it.