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A Gathering Of Secrets
by Linda Castillo


Castillo’s novel, again set in Amish country and featuring Chief of Police Kate Burkholter, starts with a girl’s suicide by hanging in her family’s barn, followed six months later by the intentional brutal burning to death of a young Amish boy lured into the tack room of his family’s barn. In her usual meticulous manner, Kate tracks all leads, friends, and evidence, pressuring Amish folks who want to keep all their secrets and shames to themselves, some of whom do not really know their children at all. The more Kate persists, the more she learns about the burn victim Daniel Gingerich; is he the genial, reliable boy she first learned about? Her investigation takes her down many paths with many possible suspects, making for another good Castillo read with a gripping ending.
 
 


A Piece of the World
by Christina Baker Kline


Kline paints a bleak backstory of the girl in Wyeth’s famous painting Christina’s World. Christina lives on a remote farm in Maine with her parents and several brothers. Her life is extremely hard, particularly because she suffers from a degenerative disease which worsens over time, making climbing stairs or moving around outside very difficult. The one really bright escape in her bleak life is the yearly summer interactions with Andrew Wyeth who sets up shop on the farmhouse’s third floor. He creates many paintings of her and her brother and their farm, including her stark pose in the field which captures her debility as well as her spirit and determination to persist in spite of her challenges. Kline’s prose creatively fleshes out that admirable personality.
 
 


Private Life
by Jane Smiley


Jane Smiley's novel gives a whole new meaning to the word "private." Margaret Mayfield, an intelligent, curious young woman from the St. Louis vicinity after the Civil War looks to be an old maid at 27 when her mother and Mrs. Early form an alliance to unite her with her son Captain Andrew Jackson Early, local celebrity naval officer and supposed brilliant astronomer. Margaret expects the usual married life, romance, children, loving home. However, after her husband's toting her cross country to California, she learns he is married to his scientific obsessions which leave little attention for her. Within the confines of her preconceived notions of duty, she subjugates herself to her husband's demands while still taking every opportunity she can to explore her environs, meet interesting people, and push back on some of Captain Early's more outlandish theories. In the end, however, are these "private" activities enough for a fulfilled life?
 
 


Perestroika In Paris
by Jane Smiley


This short book is a far cry from Smiley's "Private Life," but nonetheless engaging. Inquisitive, young filly Paras escapes from her mistakenly unlatched stall with a bag full of her recent earnings for a horse race. She wanders to a beautiful Paris park where she subsequently meets other animal residents who help her adjust and survive in a "free" environment. Eventually, a young boy living with his aged great-grandmama coaxes Paras and her friends into their once grand home, where he tries to keep her a secret from the local gendarme, store owners, and his great-grandmama. Poop in the grand salon, startling horse visits to the grocers, rats riding the mane are just a few of the unexpected events that ensue. The desire to find out how this menagerie will end ensures a delightful read.
 
 


Peril
by Bob Woodward And Robert Costa


I found the book eye opening on what goes on behind the scenes and the level of gamesmanship is truly frightening.
 
 


Gone Missing
by Linda Castillo


Castillo's Gone Missing is another foray into Chief of Police Kate Burkholder's detective work among the Ohio Amish community. This case starts with the suicide of a young girl whose body is not discovered until months later. By that time, several other youth are missing. Of course, suspects abound: parents of missing children, current boyfriends, a local deacon who purports to help those wishing to leave the community. Kate and boyfriend State Agent John Tomasetti John forces again to solve the murders in a gripping, dangerous chase.
 
 


A Piece Of The World
by Christina Baker Kline


Kline well covers many imagined aspects of Christina, the subject of Andrew Wyeth's famous painting. She suffers from a progressive debilitating illness which early on she chooses not to treat. This stubborn, determined personality both helps and hinders her as she bravely deals with rigid family obligations, great difficulty in navigating chores and even her family home, and disappointment in love. Enter Wyeth who takes over a floor of her brother's and her home after her parents are gone. His presence provides a bright spot in her life every summer. Kline employs the technique of jumping around in time from Christina's youth through WWII and after. Luckily, she announces these shifts with years stated at the beginning of chapter groupings. All in all, Kline brings Christina and her environment vividly to life.
 
 


Golden Girl
by Elin Hilderbrand


Elin Hilderbrand does it again! This is her best work yet!
 
 


Dog Man Brawl Of The Wild
by Dav Pilkey


My son's favorite book series. He is reading this book with his book club buddy. He enjoys reading and talking about the story and characters and guessing the next part of the story.
 
 


Dog Man Brawl Of The Wild
by Dav Pilkey


My son's favorite book series. He is reading this book with his book club buddy. He enjoys reading and talking about the story and characters and guessing the next part of the story.
 
 
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