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Chapter 11 - The Wow Factor

I am a pretty tough judge when it comes to books. I find that I rarely give a book five stars (out of five) and out of the 15 books I've read so far this year only three of them have received a five star rating. I think this is because I pick books to read that I've done research on and I really think I'll enjoy. Periodically I will get books in to read and review or sometimes books will be passed on to me by friends and these books may not even make it to a four star rating.

Here are some books which have been either in the four-plus category for me lately. I use StoryGraph to keep track of my books and have been doing that for over a year. It imported all my previous data from Goodreads and I don't have Amazon popping up to give me book recommendations every five minutes.

The Women by Kristin Hannah - This latest by Kristin Hannah is a novel about nurses serving in Vietnam. It has some pretty intense medical scenes in it and really helps identify the incredible job these women did in very difficult circumstances. Sadly they were not recognized for their service as well as treated poorly by civilians and the Veterans Administration after they came home.

Clytemnestra by Constanza Casati - The story of Clytemnestra is a part of Greek mythology/history. As the sister of Helen of Troy, she was a Spartan by birth and twice, a queen. She ruled her husband Agamemnon's kingdom until he returned from the Trojan War and when she returned she killed him. This is her story.

We Must Not Think of Ourselves by Lauren Grodstein - I described this a few months back when I identified I wanted to see Lauren Grodstein at the Savannah Book Festival. The novel is about the archival project undertaken by a group of Jewish scholars in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. I love to learn about pieces of the war I didn't know about and this book told a very important piece.

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett - I like most of Ann Patchett's books and find that she is very adept at writing believable characters. Her latest novel is about the wife of a cherry farmer whose three daughters return home during the pandemic. As they all pitch in to harvest cherries, Lara tells her daughters the story of her past as an actress and short-term partner to a famous actor. We all have origin stories and Patchett reminds us of this with themes of family, young love, married love, and the lives parents lived before their children were born.

When the Jessamine Grows by Donna Everhart - This novel is described as morally complex. Set in North Carolina during the Civil War, Joetta's son Henry, egged on by his grandfather, runs away to join the Confederate Army. Joetta's husband believes he will soon return but after weeks go by, Joetta insists that her husband, Ennis go look for him. Joetta does her best to keep her family neutral during the war but is shunned by friends who believe differently and a family member who doesn't hold her values.

Have you had any WOW books so far this year? Let me know.


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