>by Winifred Watson
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a charming story originally written in 1938. As Miss Pettigrew arrives at Delysia LaFosse’s flat to interview for what she thinks is a governess position, she is whirled into the dizzying pace of Miss LaFosse’s social life. Even before a how-di-do, Miss LaFasse presents Miss Pettigrew with a problem that must be solved immediately. The man in her bedroom must be gotten out without a trace of his being there and he mustn’t know Miss LaFosse desires him to leave. Now, before I go any farther, you must know that Miss Pettigrew is a dowdy non-worldly woman who blushes at even the thought of a couple’s kiss, while Miss LaFosse is a world wise woman with three men on the line. With determination (this may be her last chance at a job) Miss Pettigrew resolves to do what she is asked, even if it goes against her upbringing. Almost before the breeze of the man’s passing is gone, a second man appears at her door with great suspicion & searches the flat for evidence of the other man. Miss Pettigrew doesn’t miss a beat when he finds a cigar butt in the kitchen, “‘Young man…if there’s one thing I completely abominate it’s the effeminate type of man that snaps round a house like an old, peeking busybody….If I want to smoke cheroots, I’ll smoke cheroots,…Have one. I can recommend them.’ Miss Pettigrew opened her bag. She took out a worn packet of cheroots.” As Miss Pettigrew continues to help Delysia out of her many self made predicaments, Delysia turns Miss Pettigrew into a beautiful companion for her day filled with social affairs. This Cinderella, from rags to almost riches, story is a delight to read. I’ve heard the movie is fun too.
Life in the Canadian wilderness with a handsome Mountie(Royal Canadian Mounted Police) is the story behind Mrs. Mike.
This riveting lovestory was written in 1947 by Benedict and Nancy Freedman after Katherine MaryFlannigan shared with them the true adventures of her life. She emigrated to Bostonfrom Irelandin the early 1900’s with her family. Dueto her poor health she needed to leave Bostonfor a dryer climate. Her mother sent herto Calgary, Alberta to her Uncle John’s ranch where shemeets Sergeant Michael Flannigan of the Northwest Mounted. This handsome, self-assured policeman whosupervised a large segment of the Canadian wilderness falls for 16 year oldKatherine Mary and asks her uncle for permission to marry her.
Their life togetheris a beautiful blend of romance, adventure, tragedy, and history. The courage and humanity of both Katherineand Mike is truly heroic as they dealt with the native Indians, sickness anddeath. Mike had to be a doctor and judgeto the brave people that settled this cold, isolated country. Through the trials of living we see theshared joys and sorrows of this committed couple both to their marriage and tothe job that called them to this wild land. There are many tragic scenes in this book that will stay with you for along time, but the way this couple continue through them will also touch yoursoul.
Recently the Freedman’s have written two sequels tothis book from long ago, The Search for Joyful and Kathy Little Bird
In Dorothy Koomson’s latest book Goodnight Beautiful, Nova and Mal have been best friends since childhood, so when Mal and his wife Stephanie are unable to have a child of their own, they beg Nova to act as a surrogate mother. After much soul searching, Nova reluctantly agrees to help her friend, despite many reservations about her ability to give up a child and about how the situation will affect their long-standing friendship. Stephanie becomes jealous and resentful of the ties between Nova and Mal and forces Mal to abandon their plans for a child, leaving Nova pregnant and raising their child alone. Tragedy strikes and Nova must decide whether to let Mal back into her life for the sake of her son. The story is told from the perspectives of Leo, Nova and Stephanie and their viewpoints are touching and heartbreaking—a very moving story about love and family.
Another title available at the library by Koomson is My Best Friend’s Girl.
Summer in Sonoma by Robyn Carr follows four friends as they support each other through the biggest challenges of their lives. After a terrifying date experience, Cassie is ready to give up entirely on dating. She can’t refuse, however, to a budding friendship with the burly biker who came to her rescue. Julie married her high school sweetheart and quickly added three children to her family. Their life is full of love, but barren when it comes to money, causing conflict between a practical wife and an overly-optimistic husband. Marty married Joe for love, but is tired of picking up after him and of his lack of grooming. Suddenly her faithless but clean-cut ex is looking pretty good. Beth is quietly struggling with her health, putting everything else to the side in the meantime, but sometimes love is found in the most unexpected places.
A light story of friendship and love, Summer in Sonoma also demonstrates how the grass is not always greener on the other side.
Night Road is the story of the Farraday family–parents Jude and Miles and twins Mia and Zach. Lexi Baill is a new student at their school–abandoned by her addict mother, she is taken in by an elderly aunt after living in a series of foster homes, and does not fit into the upper-class school. On her first day at school, she becomes friends with Mia, eventually becoming a part of the Farraday family. She learns to love her aunt but also revels in her close ties to the Farraday family, a family that Lexi considers ideal. Both Lexi and Mia blossom in their friendship, and along the way Lexi and Zach fall in love. The trio attend a senior-year party, where all three make poor choices that result in a tragic accident. The repercussions send shock waves through the lives of all of the characters.
Kristen Hannah is a master at creating believable characters facing complex situations. Jude is a mother who is hesitant to allow her children independence, Miles attempts to strike a reasonable balance between the demands of his teens and the fears of his wife, Mia is dealing with typical teen insecurities, Zach is the golden boy for whom success comes easily and Lexi struggles to come to terms with her hopes for the future and the realities of her life. The characters must learn to deal with the tragedy they suffer and move on with their lives. This is a story about motherhood, family, love and loss and tells the story of how a family begins to find their way on the road to hope, healing and forgiveness.
Since the death of her husband in a car accident, Ellen Woods’ life has been a struggle, financially and emotionally. She centers her life around her 11 year old son Charlie. When money becomes a problem, her sister convinces her to take boarders into her home. Sabine–a German woman working in London, Allegra–an elderly romance novelist, and Matt–a writer for a men’s magazine, all move into Ellen’s home and each begins to contribute to changes in Ellen’s life. As all of the characters begin to know and care about each other, they come to help each other with their individual problems. The characters are well-developed and interesting. This is a heartwarming story about friendships and family, and how family can be comprised of those you love, not just those that are related by blood. The Home for Broken Hearts
is a sweet and charming novel–one that makes the reader care about the characters.
Manhattan Public Library owns several books written by Rowan Coleman–check our catalog for availability!
> Eleanor Brown has written a wonderfully literate debut novel in The Weird Sisters. Three sisters, Rose (Rosaline), Bean (Bianca), and Cordy (Cordelia), have simultaneously returned to their childhood home in a small college town in Ohio. They move back in with their Shakespearean expert father and absent-minded mother with the professed intent of helping their parents through their mother’s fight with breast cancer. Each sister has actually found that the world wasn’t what she thought it would or should be. Cordy wanders for years and finally heads home when she finds herself pregnant with no wish to tell the father. Bean has been living beyond her means in New York and flees when she is caught embezzling. Rose never left home and continues to care for her family long after it is good for them or for her.
The Weird Sisters is narrated as a creative blend of the voices of the three sisters and provides insight into their relationship with each other and with their parents, making this a great read for fans of women’s fiction. The entire family’s love of books and reading also makes this an appealing read for all bibliophiles, not just those who love all things Shakespeare.