The Day She Disappeared by Christobel Kent. This was a really good read and so suspenseful that I got out my kindle at night to continue reading it. It begins with a murder, which the reader is privy to, although only to the action, not to the identity of the perpetrator. So although we know that Nat’s friend and co-worker, Beth, is probably the one killed, we do not know who did it. Kent switches chapters between Nat’s point of view – she is increasingly sure that something happened to Beth, and that Beth did not just run away – and Victor, an old man who often comes into the pub in which Nat and Beth work. Kent is really good at building suspense and fear, and the story is set up in such a way that there really are multiple credible suspects. The writing is excellent and it was interesting having the point of view be from two such disparate characters. It was an excellent read.
Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward, and Never Giving Up by Elizabeth Smart. This is a nonfiction book filled with stories of people who have overcome often quite significant adversity. Smart herself interviews them all and asks them how they moved on from their traumatic event. She also goes into detail about what she herself did and did not do to not let her life become only what had happened to her. It was well done on the whole and more interesting than I would have thought.
End Of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina. This is the second book in Mina’s Alex Morrow series and it was really good. A few years have passed since the first book and Alex Morrow is in a better place and pregnant with twins. She gets called to the scene of a murder and when questioning potential witnesses she realizes one witness is an old school friend of hers. Kay’s sons might be involved, and there is also a slight connection with Alex’s estranged brother. The chapters change between Alex and Thomas Anderson, one of the murderers, who is dealing with his own horrors. It is well played out and develops suspensefully at a good pace. Thomas Anderson’s circumstances are almost too horrible to believe, but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the book. Onward to book 3!
Educated by Tara Westover. To me, this is the book that Hillbilly Elegy tried to be and failed miserably, because of the author’s cluelessness (or deviousness, take your pick) regarding his own politics. It’s a similar story, although Tara Westover’s upbringing is truly horrible, and she is kept at a great distance her whole life from school and the real world. She grows up in the mountains of Idaho, with parents who are at best anti-society Mormons. Her father is a paranoid schizophrenic and her mother goes along with almost all of his craziness. She and her six brothers and sisters have no schooling and no birth certificates; they are not allowed to see a doctor –even for the frequent horrible accidents that befall them – and she really knows nothing true about the world. She has one brother, Tyler, who escapes and goes off to college and grad school, and when Westover is 16, she takes the ACT and sets off to escape her home life – which has become even more horrible from the violent abuse another brother subjects her to – and attends Brigham Young University. There she is able to do well, even though she really has had zero education, and goes on to Cambridge, Harvard, and then back to Cambridge for her Ph.D. The odds Westover was up against were truly daunting and her story of overcoming them an amazing one. I loved it.