Tightrope by Simon Mawer is a novel that opens a window on modern history and fictional characters who became cold war warriors. Marian Sutro was one of the few British women who became an undercover agent, parachuting into France to work with the Resistance. Unfortunately, she was captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrueck concentration camp. She was debriefed extensively as part of the process of gathering information that could be used to prosecute criminals following the war. Her adjustment to civilian life back home with her parents was difficult. Eventually a job was found for her at an agency that worked to promote world peace. Her brother was a scientist with some knowledge of atomic research, That slight connection sets Marion up for betrayal. Ever since her capture, she has feared betrayal. The characters play some of the classic roles of the spy and counterspy as attitudes and knowledge concerning a world with powerful new weapons of mass destruction develop.
What happens to a family when the major breadwinner has a melt down? In A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan, Alice Pearse’s husband becomes so angry when he learns he will not make partner at his law firm that he throws a laptop across the room. When he decides to open his own law practice, Alice needs to go to work full time. Her new job is at a company that hopes to revolutionize bookstores across the country. Although she is reasonably competent, she has not fully embraced advancing technology. Scroll is a company that will only stock ebooks which mildly dismays Alice. She struggles to keep up with younger colleagues, trying to understand why they wouldn’t love the solid feel of a physical book. She is exhausted by trying to combine a parent’s duties with working in an environment that is so challenging. When an even greater change is planned at Scroll, Alice needs to decide what her future will be. This novel is exhausting to read as it follows how difficult life is for Alice. In ways it may be a mother’s worst nightmare.
If you often associate reading with eating, I have a book for you. Voracious by Cara Nicoletti explores why certain books are among her favorites and pairs them with recipes for meals mentioned in the books. Nicoletti was an English Lit major who planned a different life but found herself working in the food industry, eventually becoming a butcher. She divides the book titles which she presents according to the time of her life when she was most influenced by a particular book. You might be inspired to read or reread a book from Nicoletti’s insightful description of a book. Some of the recipes provide a better understanding of just what the author had the characters eating. Her first book and recipe is breakfast sausage in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book The Little House in the Big Woods. A humorous pairing is clam chowder with Moby-Dick. Cherry pie seems just a little creepy with In Cold Blood. I hope this book will inspire you to both read something and cook something.
If you read the title from my review last month, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, you will probably like Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons by Denise Grover Swank. Although there really isn’t much mention of said reasons, it has the same feel as the first book. The same cast of characters appears in this story, as well as some new friends for Rose.
When Rose gets a summons for jury duty and is chosen, things take a turn for the worse. She has a vision and knows that the person accused of murder in the trial, is not guilty. Her run-ins with the Assistant DA and the judge will keep you amused, and as usual, Joe shows up to bail Rose out of trouble.
This is an easy, quick read, although in my opinion – not quite as good as the first. But see what you think….and let me know.