Under the Harrow is Flynn Berry’s first novel, and I’ll be looking to read anything else she publishes. I do not usually talk to people about what I’m reading, but this week I said at least ten times, “I’m reading a book that is really effing with me.”
This book really got into my head. It stuck with me. It took me one week to read, but I could have read it much faster if it hadn’t freaked me out so much. This story is about a young woman named Nora who goes to visit her sister for the weekend. She expects her sister to be in the kitchen of her house in the countryside making dinner, but Nora finds her brutally murdered. Through the book Nora tries to sort out who killed her sister, while telling us about how her sister had been attacked when they were teenagers.
Nora’s search for her sister’s murderer, coupled with her pain keeps this book moving quickly. We get glimpses into Nora’s history with her sister, her current life, and the struggles that every family faces. Nora learns that she does not know every aspect of her sister’s life as she thought she did.
A few months ago I had a realization that there is a vast difference in the books that I read versus the shows that I binge on Netflix. I am Netflix-obsessed with shows that contain an whodunnit component. Give me a show where someone is murdered and we have to figure out what happened over the course of a season, and I am hooked! I love the suspense, and I love trying to sort it all out before the detectives do. If you’re into this, be sure to watch: The Killing and Broadchurch. Actually, I should just give you my Netflix password so you can see the whole list of these.
I had the realization, however, that I have not ever really read a truly suspenseful novel. So, I picked up The Killing Forest by Sara Blaedel. And it sat on my shelf for ages. Until two weeks ago!
I really liked the story of a 15-year-old boy who has gone missing coupled with other mysteries that are revealed as the book moves on. I jumped into this series of Louise Rick novels, and I think that I should have started at the beginning, or at least I should have read a few of the earlier books first. This one had so much hype, though!
While I liked the story and the mystery, I was not impressed with Blaedel’s writing. However, it may have been the translator? If I do read another of her novels I will be looking for one with a different translator, and at the start of a series.
On Sunday night I was able to sit outside with a glass of wine while the sun was setting and finish Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng while the puppy played in the yard.
I could hardly put this book down. The book opens with the death of Lydia, a teenager in the Lee family. Ng allows each family member the opportunity to reflect on how their history, how major events impacted their relationships, and their last interactions with Lydia. The book follows as the police try to sort out what happened, and how each member of the family attempts to cope with Lydia’s death.
If you have followed the blog at all, you know that I am a sucker for books with multiple perspectives and time lapses, so I was eating this up! I also like when there is some mystery to a book (or movie, or TV show), so I spent the entire book trying to sort out how Lydia turned up dead. I was worried for quite a few pages that Ng would not reveal what had happened, but thankfully she allows Lydia some reflections, as well.
I would recommend reading this book. It will not take you long, it will keep you guessing, and remind you that all families are complicated.
I took a break from my reading challenge to get through Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I loved Gone Girl, and I keep hearing comparisons about the two books. My lovely grandmother had purchased it, but did not have time to read it this week with all of the Christmas preparations, so she kindly let me borrow it, and I read it in three sittings.
This book is well-written, and is certainly a page-turner. It is written from multiple perspectives, which I appreciate, and it had some great cliffhangers at the end of a few sections. The only thing that I really knew about this book before reading it was that it was comparable to Gone Girl, and it had a twist. I did figure the twist out, but not until it was close to the big reveal, so that was not terribly disappointing. I liked the character development in this book. The main character, Rachel, is well-developed and complex. Hawkins did not allow her alcoholism to be romanticized in any way. Because Rachel is an alcoholic, she is not the most reliable narrator of her sections of the book – she does not remember things clearly, and sometimes not accurately. There were a few of her quirks that annoyed me, but that happens with real people, too!
I would, of course, recommend this book, especially if you like books that allow you to try and sort out what’s coming next.
Do you have any recommendations for books that get your heart beating a little and leave you trying to figure out the puzzle?