Lifelong family secrets are revealed through a series of letters which arrive along with condolence notes in this novel written by French novelist Helene Gremillon. Camille, a single woman in her thirties has just lost her mother and has recently found herself to be pregnant. She begins receiving long, unsigned letters telling a story that she knows nothing about. As they continue to arrive she learns of a previous war time love triangle. Wealthy Monsieur and Madame M cannot conceive a child. Madame M is deperate to have a baby, and the wartime efforts are pushing all women to have children. She befriends a teenage girl of lower class and helps provide the necessary art supplies that Annie needs to encourage her creativity. Annie becomes so close to Madame M that she empathizes with her to the point of offering to have her child.
This dark tale of love gone wrong jumps between the present and the past with many twists and involved secrets. Camille begins to guess that these letters may involve her much more deeply than she wants to know in The Confidant.
If you are a parent-to-be trying to think up unique baby names and fall into any of the titular categories, Hello, My Name is Pabst is worth checking out. It offers a treasure trove of names, mostly off-the-wall ideas, interlaced with a few gems. Authors Bruno and Sparks have divided the book into chapters highlighting categories of names. Themes range from Craft beers to IKEA furniture to Architects, Nihilists, Tattoos, Mad scientists, Dreadlocks and beyond. The book’s casual writing style makes it a quick read with names featured in cartoon bubbles so you can skip the rest if you’re really in a hurry. “Tipster” sections give additional ideas to create your own baby names. Read it and decide if the authors are pulling your leg, or if you really want to brand your baby with one of these names.
Molly Hagan is a 40 year old mother with a 6 year old son and a husband–soon to be ex-husband, who dumped her for a younger woman. He has lost his job and has fallen behind in his child support payments, forcing Molly to look for work after being a stay-at-home Mom for several years. Feeling insecure about her abilities, her age, her skills and her body, Megan takes a job offered by a friend as a copy writer, designing the menu and name for a new bakery near the New York Public Library. The owners want a tie in with books, and Molly uses her ability to create puns as a source for the name of the bakery–Vanity Fare. Molly is a wonderfully written character and we see her change and grow through the book, becoming more confident in who she is and what she wants out of life. Molly’s circle of friends and supporters are likeable characters and are well-drawn. There is romance and humor, and the names for the baked goods at the bakery–”Tart of Darkness”, “Of Mousse and Men” for example, are tied to literary references. This is a delightful story, filled with fun, descriptions of wonderful desserts and starring a woman who struggles to turn into the person she aspires to be.