The Ghost by Danielle Steel

The story starts off with Charles Waterston, who is going through a divorce, he is heartbroken, his wife left him for another man, and he just can't stop thinking about her and how his life just got screwed up.I actually liked this part of the book, it hit close to home. But he was getting so whiny and kept repeating the same thing over and over. If that's not enough, his firm transfers him to New York, but that is too much for him to handle. He takes leave of absence and goes skiing in Vermont for Christmas. One he arrives in the snowy town he needs a place to stay and that's when we meet a sweet elderly woman, who immediately falls in love with Charlie. (And I don't mean in love in love). They just become really close, and through her Charlie learns about Sarah Ferguson, a woman who died there two centuries before. Charles is mesmerized by this woman and her story, and to add to his luck he finds a set of diaries that she kept. By learning about Sarah and what she went through, he can finally let go of the past, and live toward the future.

That's basically what this book is about, a middle aged man finding his way back to happiness after a divorce. My mom and aunt recommended this book to me. She made it sound a lot better though than what I thought it was. Sure the story is kind of sweet and all, but I couldn't get in touch with the characters as much as I would like to. Maybe if the story didn't jump from Charlie to Sarah I would be more interested. Sarah's story is interesting enough, I would just like to skip Charles all together and find out more about her. But that's just my opinion. If you're looking for something fun and quick to read, by all means it's a good book. It just didn't do it for me. 

 
 
 
 
 

Anna Karenina By Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy is a master of the written word, he has the ability to completely engage the reader into the lives of his characters.

"All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way," is the first sentence of the book, and this is really what the whole book is about, how each character strives for happiness because they feel unhappy. It examines the way people view their problems, families and how they strive to resolve their issues. The book is not necessarily all about Anna, it's about all the people she knows and the story is told from all of their perspectives. You get to know each character on a deep and personal level, their fears and their hopes come to life, and even though it's set in the 19th century Russia, we can relate to each character on some level. It's no wonder this book is said to be the best of the best. It's not a very easy read, as Tolstoy mixes romance with Russian politics and socioeconomic problems, but once I finished the book I understood why he did it. It's to make the reader more aware of all the issues that were going on at the time, everything influences our lives, even if it is politics, people are effected by all that is going on in their country. And the character Levin is deeply involved in farming so the socioeconomic issues are important to understand.  The book really needs to be read to be appreciated, and I really wish I hadn't seen the movie after I finished reading this, it just ruined it for me. The book is so much better then all the movies made from it so far. I loved this book, too bad I knew the ending before I started it, but it still did the job, I read a few chapters a day, it was a bit difficult to wrap my head around all these characters and all their problems, with a lot of details and imagery. But the story is beautiful, it takes time to understand.

A Secret Kept by Tatiana De Rosnay - REVIEW

It's very hard to describe how upset I am with this book. Antoine Rey is an architect living in Paris, he recently got divorced and is trying to make sense of life again. After taking his sister on a birthday trip where they mostly reflect on their childhood, Mélanie remembers something shocking. As she begins to tell Antoine she looses control of the car.  As a result from the crash she cannot remember what she was going to tell him. After months the big "secret" emerges. While they try to discover more about their mothers' death Antoine is struggling with his own life. Repressed memories, unloving father, rebellious teenagers and his ex-wife.

This book was really disappointing compared to the authors previous book Sarah's Key, which I enjoyed. This one did not interest me at all. Pretty much 90% of the book deals with Antoines' mid-life crisis, and how he can't communicate with his children, about his one night stands and repressed memories he can't put to rest.

The author throws so many upsetting events (divorce, car accident, amnesia, adultery, lesbians, death, another death, troubled teenagers, cancer, possible murder?) at us that it seems like she was trying too hard to make this book interesting.

And the 'big secret' —once we actually get to it, by the end of the book— doesn't seem all that important. I found my self saying 'Big deal'.  I HAD to read this in one sitting because if I came back another day I would not open it again. There was no suspense or big climax, just boring boring boring.