Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"And Every Morning the Road Home Gets Longer and Longer" by Frederick Backman

FTC Disclosure: I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I checked out the audiobook from my library through Overdrive.

A few months ago, it had been weeks since I've finished a book. It was probably the longest I've ever gone without finishing a book; it's certainly the longest I remember. Yet on my most recent work trip, I found myself with an hour left of my flight and no more work to do. Luckily, I had downloaded "And Every Morning the Road Home Gets Longer" by Frederick Backman on audio from my library before my trip.

Knowing that I'm a fan of Backman, his publisher had originally sent me an e-ARC of this novella prior to its publication. Unfortunately, I wasn't up for a contemplative work at the time, and failed to make time for it in time for a publication day review. But it turned out to be the perfect reading experience for my unexpected hour of free time.

This is a novella "about missing someone who is still here," to quote Backman himself. It's about the relationships between grandfathers and grandsons, and fathers and sons, and how these relationships are remembered at the end of a life. Backman opens with an introduction explaining that this is a personal piece of writing through which he worked out his own feelings as he wrote. Yet this portrayal of Alzheimer's will ring true to those who have been through this experience with a loved one.

This charming novella feels different from Backman's other works. It lacks the quirky humor of his novels but retains the ability to pull on your heart strings. I found myself crying as the plane entered its initial descent to our final destination. It's charming and heartfelt, and a worthwhile read.

Verdict: Affirmed, whether you're a fan of Backman or not, this is an endearing departure from his novels.

"And Every Morning the Road Home Gets Longer and Longer" by Fredrik Backman, published November 1, 2016 by Atria Books. Audio narration by David Morse, published November 1, 2016 by Simon & Schuster Audio.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"The Address" by Fiona Davis

FTC Disclosure: I received an eARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I checked out the audiobook from my library through Overdrive.

Fellow readers, I am sorry that "next week" turned into many, many weeks. I did read "The Address," but was traveling and then moving and then starting a new job, and blogging clearly fell to the wayside. But things have settled down and I can collect my thoughts.

Last time I blogged, I wrote about how much I enjoyed Fiona Davis's "The Dollhouse." While "The Address" doesn't quite live up to the promise of "The Dollhouse," I still found it an enjoyable read while traveling. In the 1980's, Bailey just got out of rehab and is hoping to relaunch her interior design career by redecorating her cousin's apartment in The Dakota. In the 1880's, Sara has moved from Britain to New York City to work in the newly built Dakota, where she has to navigate her relationship with her boss and the building's wealthy, demanding residents. Their stories intertwine across history, mysteries ensue.

As I noted on Goodreads, some of the side characters lacked depth and felt like plot devices. The story also took a few weird turns. I didn't think there was enough groundwork laid for some of the twists. Nevertheless, I found both Bailey and Sara to be intriguing protagonists, even if the ultimate answer to the mystery was fairly apparent from the start.

Verdict: Jury's Out. If you like historical fiction, specifically mysteries bouncing between time periods, this novel will scratch that itch. If you need some more depth to your characters and plot, though, look elsewhere.

"The Address" by Fiona Davis, published August 1, 2017 by Dutton Books.