Hope and laughter from a patron saint

Dear Christine Simon,

Normally I write a book review in this space, and I intend to do so here in regard to your novel “The Patron Saint of Second Chances” (Atria Books, 2022, 304 pages). But as this is also a thank you note as well as a look at your book, I am breaking ranks with my usual template of review.

Annus horribilis: A review of Taylor Downing’s ‘1942’

Annus horribilis is Latin for a horrible year, a time of disaster, and aptly applies to the first months of 1942. On all fronts the Allied Forces — Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor — suffered defeat after defeat.

Stepping backwards through time via literature

In the past 10 days, whim, a desire for a breather from our breathless age, and heaven knows what else tempted me away from contemporary literature and into the past.

Murder, bibliophiles, and a B&B

In “A Fatal Booking” (Crooked Lane Books, 2022, 304 pages), Victoria Gilbert’s third novel in her series “Booklovers B&B Mysteries,” we again meet Charlotte Reed, owner of Chapters Bed-and-Breakfast in Beaufort, North Carolina. Charlotte is a former school teacher and 40-something widow who has inherited this inn from her great-aunt Isabella. With a passion for books and reading, Charlotte remodels the old mansion, turning it into a literary lovers paradise. 

A trio of books all worth a read

Before proceeding to reading and books, a note on circumstances and environment.

Regrets and no regrets: a review of two books

Daniel Pink’s “The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward” (Riverhead Books, 1922, 256 pages) opens with a brief account of Edith Piaf’s “Je Ne Regrette Rien,” or “I regret nothing,” a song which includes the lines in English “No, not a thing.”

The boy monk: a review of ‘Monastery Mornings’

To be human is to suffer. In the case of third-grader Michael O’Brien, that meant watching the apparent disintegration of his family: a father who left home and divorced his wife, a series of moves that eventually led to making a home in Utah, and the struggles of his mom as she tried to pay her bills and raise her four children, of whom Michael was the youngest. 

Pride, ignorance and high tech equal disaster

About halfway through “Blue Fire” (Kensington Publishing Corp., 2022, 326 pages,) John Gilstrap’s apocalyptic novel about a worldwide nuclear war, I paused and asked myself a question: “Given the state of the world right now — the sabre rattling of nations like Iran, North Korea, and China, the war in Ukraine, the economic and cultural devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the foolish fiscal policies of our federal government — do you really want to be reading a book about hundreds of millions of people dying while many of the survivors become savages?”

Shipwreck, survival and faith all in one novel

Novels that touch on faith and God have long intrigued me.

Off to the beach with “Shrimp Highway”

Too much time has passed since I last visited the coast.

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