Monthly Archives: December 2017

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

The Confusion of Languages

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon

Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons on June 27, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Cassie Hugo and Margaret Brickshaw both find themselves living in Jordan after their soldier husbands were stationed at the U.S. embassy there. As Cassie has been there for two years already, she becomes a reluctant mentor to Margaret, who has just arrived. And much to Cassie’s chagrin, Margaret is not as interested in making sure she follows all of the rules as she is allowing her restlessness and desire to explore to get the better of her. After Margaret is in a minor car accident, Cassie agrees to watch her infant son while she goes down to the police station to pay her fine and clear up the matter. But as more time begins to creep by, Cassie’s concern grows. And when she finds Margaret’s journal and begins to read it, the insights she gains into her neighbor’s life not only helps her to better understand Margaret–it also helps her to understand herself and feeds her concern about Margaret’s current whereabouts.

This is an interesting story that touches on a number of issues including friendship, cultural differences, marital relationships, motherhood/parenthood, jealousy, honesty, and so much more. The complexity of the relationships that comes through, by seeing things from Cassie’s perspective and from Margaret’s words in her journal, is fascinating as it comes together. My only complaint is that with jumping between Cassie’s flashbacks, Margaret’s journal entries, and the present moment, it wasn’t always clear where we were at any moment. Sometimes this was a little confusing, but it was easy to recover within the first few paragraphs of each chapter.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on an advance review copy provided by the publisher via the First to Read program.]

The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor

The Lost Letter

The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor

Published by: Riverhead Books on June 13, 2017
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

When Katie Nelson takes her father’s stamp collection to an expert to see if there’s anything of value, she doesn’t expect anything will come of it. But when the appraiser, Benjamin, expresses interest in what may be not only a rare find but also an anomaly, a mystery is laid before her that she can’t help but try to answer. And the journey takes her down a path that spans back over fifty years and exposes secrets and identities that have been long-buried and thought lost forever. Along the way, Katie also just might find some things she thought she had lost forever as well…

When this book first started jumping back and forth between the 1989 “present” and the 1938 “past”, I found myself wondering if there was any real connection or if it was just two stories being told side-by-side because of a single point of connection: a stamp. And the reality is that while that stamp is the key to much of the story and the connection, there is so much more here that reveals itself as you go. This is a story of love, of perseverance, of exploration, and of never giving up hope.

[Disclaimer: This review is based on an advance review copy received from the publisher as part of the First to Read program.]