What I Read in November 2016 Part I. . .A Most Novel Revenge by Ashley Weaver-- Historical Mystery
Now that Amory and her husband Milo are happier than ever, they plan to spend a romantic winter in Italy alone. However, Amory's cousin Laurel wants Amory to come join a house party at Lysonsgate, the scene of a tragic event years earlier that tore apart the lives of several young people. Amory discovers that the house party was assembled by one Miss Isobel Van Allen, a notorious writer who wrote a scandalous tell-all novel about that fateful night. Now Isobel claims she has evidence that she had been wrong and the killer is still out there. She plans to unmask the killer in her new novel, but the killer finds her first. One of the guests or the hosts must be the culprit and Amory won't rest until she solves the mystery.
I liked the mystery better than the previous two. It seemed like it might be the typical pick them off one by one story but it stayed central to the core mystery-what happened after a wild night of partying that resulted in a young man's death. Was it merely a toxic combo of drugs and alcohol plus exposure to the cold or was it murder? If it was murder, then who? Someone doesn't want anyone to know. The mystery kept me guessing and I never ever guessed. The story didn't go in the direction I expected in terms of old secrets. That was a nice change from typical mysteries set in this period.
Now Amory and Miles are getting along better, I like her. She is now communicating with her husband and he recognizes now that she is not invulnerable and she does love him. He's a very attentive husband now but still charming as ever. None of the other characters are even remotely likeable. Isobel is a despicable human being. She encourages scandalous behavior only for the purposes of exploitation. She drives the action in the story both before the novel begins and after her death. She ruined several lives in the process of trying to become a rich and famous writer. Reggie Lyons seems like a nice fellow. He had a difficult time during the war but still he fell prey to Isobel and went along with her schemes so he was just as responsible for the destruction of his family and friends, yet no one sees it that way. His sister Beatrice comes across as a cold-hearted witch. Lucinda acts like a child. I thought she was 16 but she was apparently 16 at the time of the incident. I felt sorry for her to have a sister like Beatrice but not sorry for her because she threw herself at a married man. I felt sorry for Amory's old friend Freida, but she had choices and chose a path that led to unhappiness. Her husband is creepy. Desmond Roberts is weak and whiny. Like Freida, he made bad choices that led to unhappiness.
Only Laurel is normal and nice but she's pretty bland. Mr. Winters, the artist, may be likable. He amused me but he is hard to read and may be hiding something. I'll leave you to read the book and figure out the killer's identity!
Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban--Middle Grades Historical Fiction
This is a simple story appropriate for kids 8-10. It tells the story of the Japanese internment camps in child-friendly language. The story is told from Manami's point-of-view and the adults never tell her what's going on so she has to work it out for herself. She is a sweet little girl who goes through some terrible times and stops talking as a result. That gives the book a unique voice because it's her inner voice observing everything. This book would be good for kids who have moved to a new environment, been through a difficult situation/experienced trauma and even kids who have lost a pet. It doesn't make my favorites list but it's not a bad story.