Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bring Her Home by David Bell

Bring Her Home. David Bell. Penguin Publishing Group. July 2017. 464 pp. ISBN #: 9780399584442. 

Summer and her best friend Haley have disappeared.  Now, a year and a half after the death of Summer’s Mom, Bill, learns that his daughter Summer is in the hospital in the Intensive Care Unit and Haley is dead!  No one yet knows what happened; all that is known is that both girls were found badly beaten.  On his arrival at the hospital, Bill is angry about all the unknowns and wants to go speak to the guys the girls used to hang around.  Haley’s parents arrive to comfort him, remarkable to say the least since their loss is a million times worse than his. 

A few weeks later, the unbelievable happens!  It turns out that the girls used to switch clothes all the time and it’s really Summer who has been killed and Haley who is alive!  It’s beyond one’s imagination and one can barely understand Bill’s shock and grief.  Add to that another girl is missing!  Then there’s a question about whether it was Summer who was dead!  Crazy-making revelations!

This then is the story of a mystery left to unfold!  By now we know that Bill has a definite anger management problem and that he has been questioned about his own relationship with Summer and her Mom.  But that’s minor compared to the facts about to be revealed.  The solution lies with a very friendly neighbor and a bunch of guys trying to up the ante on their competitive reputation as womanizers, that is, tallying the number of girls they’ve slept with.  Silly and childish, right?  But what happens when some go too far?

Bring Her Home is a mystery, a crime thriller!  It also, however, is a satire on those who live daily lives without really paying attention to what spouses and children are doing on a day-to-day basis.  It’s a call to awareness as a few hours can make all the difference between life and death!

Stunning novel that, although somewhat contrived, is a spine-tingling, hair-raising read!  

A Mother Like Mine: Hartley-By-The-Sea No. 3 by Kate Hewitt

A Mother Like Mine: Hartley-By-The Sea No. 3. Kate Hewitt. Penguin Publishing Group/Berkley. August 2017. 384 pp. ISBN #: 9780399583797.  

Abby Rhodes, now a widow, and her 5-year-old son, Noah, have returned to Hartley-by-the-Sea and remained for two years now.  She’s just about taken over running the cafĂ© on the beach as her grandmother Mary has recently had a heart attack and is not well at all.  Imagine their surprise when a knock on the door reveals that Abby’s mother, Laura, has now returned and plans on staying indefinitely.  Laura was, as far as Abby is concerned, an absentee mother for as long as Abby can remember!

This is the story of their reunion and attempt to resolve pain from the past, an opportunity to reshape the future as a family.  Sounds lovely as an idea, but it’s a difficult labyrinth to travel.  No one knows how it will all end!
Abby lives in a constant tension of feeling anger and hurt at her mother’s failure as a mother and a mature attitude and effort to put it behind her.  Giving her mother a second chance is a tall order, but Mary begs her repeatedly to try.  Noah, as a child and grandchild, is innocent about it all and he is the glue that keeps the whole quagmire from exploding and decimating the family again.

As the story progresses, Abby and Laura discover that each carries an unknown story with elements that were unpredictable, causing choices that may or may not have been best for all involved. 

Eventually a great loss and a surprising revelation will change their lives forever.  This is a story of love with all its messy and wonderful moments, a healing journey that forges a new relationship to last forever!

Fine, fine story that is a tense, poignant but lovely read!!!! Highly recommended!