The Last Flight – Julie Clark

Two women desperate to escape the terror of their lives meet at the airport and decide to exchange their tickets. Surely this is the solution that will save them both.

As the story slips back and forth between the women and back and forth between pre and post flight we learn what led them to take such a desperate risk and how they are dealing with their “new” lives.

The concept is intriguing, but the book did not live up to its hype. While there were a couple of unexpected plot twists, the tension a reader would expect just wasn’t there and when the women were in tight spots there was an easy out—rather like the “oh, it was just a dream” scenario. Another problem that detracted? Too much telling and not enough showing.

BLURB

Two women. Two flights. One last chance to disappear.

Claire Cook has a perfect life. Married to the scion of a political dynasty, with a Manhattan townhouse and a staff of ten, her surroundings are elegant, her days flawlessly choreographed, and her future auspicious. But behind closed doors, nothing is quite as it seems. That perfect husband has a temper that burns bright and he’s not above using his staff to track Claire’s every move.

What he doesn’t know is that Claire has worked for months on a plan to vanish. A plan that takes her to the airport, poised to run from it all. But a chance meeting in the airport bar brings her together with a woman whose circumstances seem equally dire. Together they make a last-minute decision.

The two women switch tickets, with Claire taking Eva’s flight to Oakland, and Eva traveling to Puerto Rico as Claire. They believe the swap will give each of them the head start they need to begin again somewhere far away. But when the flight to Puerto Rico crashes, Claire realizes it’s no longer a head start but a new life. Cut off, out of options, with the news of her death about to explode in the media, Claire will assume Eva’s identity, and along with it, the secrets Eva fought so hard to keep hidden.

Www.darlenejonesauthor.com

New to Me Authors in 2021

Once again, I’m inspired by Davida Chazan (The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog) to write this post – New to Me Authors in 2021.

Here are four of my new-to-me authors.

1. Steve Martin – Shopgirl

I had this book on my kindle for some time waiting to be read. Knowing Martin for his humor, I expected a light, perhaps laugh out loud, read. Shopgirl is much more than that—a treatise on communication between male and female and how what one says, believing they are being honest and forthright, can be badly misunderstood by the other.

2. Amanda Skenandore – The Second Life of Mirielle West

Skenandore’s novel is an enlightening read. While leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) is now treated in out patient clinics, this wasn’t always the case. Patients were treated abominably, thrown into cattle cars and shipped off to the Carville Colony near New Orleans.

As I read the book, Mirielle became more and more real. She’s a character based, not on any one person, but on stories of those sent to Carville. Nevertheless, I will not forget Mirielle, but will remember and feel connected to her for a long time.

And I will be looking for more of Skenandore’s books.

3. Oyinkan Braithwaite – My Sister, the Serial Killer

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

This novel is not at all what one would expect from the title and that’s exactly what makes it so amazing.

Show, don’t tell, they say. Braithwaite has done that expertly, presenting the reader—in her crisp writing style—with a story and characters that mesmerize the reader from the first sentence to the last page. And then she shocks us with a wholly unexpected (for this reader), but perfect ending.

Next on my list, by Braithwaite – The Baby is Mine

4. Bianca Marias – If You Want to Make God Laugh

There are not enough words to describe the strength of every aspect of this book — vivid characterization, logical plot, searing pain, encompassing love, surprising twists… Religion, rape, apartheid, alcoholism, poverty, intimidation… On the surface, it seems to be too much for one novel, but Marais brings it all together in the only way this story could possibly be told.

I’m currently reading her second book, Hum if you Don’t Know the Words.

Your turn. Which authors were new for you in 2021 and how would you rate their books?

http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com

The Letter on the Tree – Natalie Savage Carlson

I found this delightful book, published in 1964, a long time ago and no matter how many times I read it to children in school and now to my granddaughter, it never fails to warm my heart.

A young French Canadian boy, Bebert, wants an accordion more than anything, He attaches a note telling of his wish to a Christmas tree which will be sold in the United States.

While bits of the book are old-fashioned, the story provides ample opportunities to discuss French Canadian culture, religion, and the “old days.” Having grown up on a farm in Saskatchewan, I was thrilled to tell my granddaughter about the things I grew up with that mirror Bebert’s experiences.

My granddaughter loves the book as much as I do and we read it together every Christmas season.

Available from ABE books.

My Sister the Serial Killer – Oyinkin Braithwaite


“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

This novel is not at all what one would expect from the title and that’s exactly what makes it so amazing.

Show, don’t tell, they say. Braithwaite has done that expertly, presenting the reader—in her crisp writing style—with a story and characters that mesmerize the reader from the first sentence to the last page. And then she shocks us with a wholly unexpected (for this reader), but perfect ending.

BLURB

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead.

Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.

Www.darlenejonesauthor.com

The Blue – Nancy Bilyeau

We’ve all heard of and know of the esteem to which high quality porcelain is held, but I, for one, had no idea of the rivalry involved—high stakes spying to steal formulas, the sponsorship of people like Madame de Pompadour and King Louis XV, the role of scientists in the discovery of cobalt  blue, and its toxicity.

Bilyeau has integrated this history with the war between England and France, the plight of the Huguenot refugees in London, the Derby Porcelain works and, of course, Sèvres, in existence since 1740.

The Blue is a captivating story that takes the reader on a wild ride.