Hello reader friends! I devoured two novels this November and oh–they were exquisite. By complete chance, they were both love stories. And if you haven’t read a good love story in a while, I highly recommend a little romance to warm up the winter blues. It had been a long, long time and two in a row reminded me what I was missing.
If you are familiar with the authors, you might guess these books are opposites. This is true in some ways, but at their cores–they are about the same thing: love held and love lost over the course of many years.
Let me preface the Atwood review with the following caveat: Our lady Margaret Atwood is my favorite author and I’ve loved everything she’s ever written with my whole heart. There is no work in her very long list of works that I have not read and then rated with five golden stars due to incredible writing and story-telling. She is everything I’ve ever wanted a hero to be.
That said, my success rate recommending her novels to others gets a solid B-. Approximately half of my reader friends do not enjoy her books, which is truly fine with me. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I’m not a book snob. As long as you get lost in your vampire novels, historical fiction, or teen pregnancy memoirs–keep on reading. Try new things, but don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. That’s the point of art. It’s supposed to be subjective.
As always, all book reviews are spoiler free.
If You’re Looking For: Science fiction, dystopian fiction, adult fiction, love story
My Review: Every time I start a new Margaret Atwood book, I hold my breath and think– Will this be the one I won’t enjoy? Her latest novel is another dystopian tale, but with a lighter tone than The Handmaid’s Tale or the MaddAddam Trilogy (my favorites). Even though it’s still littered with dark and creepy moments, at its heart it’s a love story. A story about marriage and trust and sometimes hating your spouse because they’re kind of annoying. It’s also a cautionary tale, as most dystopian novels are, causing the reader to stop and temporarily panic every few chapters about genetic engineering. Contemporary, satirical, horrifying, and fun. Five out of five golden stars for pure entertainment.
Their Review: “A gripping, psychologically acute portrayal of our own future gone totally wrong, and the eternal constant of flawed humanity.” —Huffington Post
Quoted: “Powerful but insecure men don’t take well to rejection. Rage could result.”
2. Who Do You Love.
If You’re Looking For: Chick lit, fiction, escape, beach read, romance
My Review: I hate to call this book chick-lit (so does Jennifer Weiner), so my apologies to the author. It’s the only way I can think of to describe the tone and story without giving it all away. I’ve followed Jennifer on Twitter for years (she’s hilarious), but this is the first time I’ve read one of her novels and I’m so glad I did. Who Do You Love is her 12th book and has gotten a lot of press for its fresh and funny take on modern romance. It’s also a page-turner, a very “will they or won’t they” tale with fate seeming to constantly work against them. It’s a great story to get lost in, especially if you’re tired of heavy reads. Bonus: the sexy parts make you appreciate sexy writing done well. 4/5 stars for fulfilling its intended purpose.
Their Review: “Overwhelmingly this is an affecting novel about how people carry the heavy burdens that came with their lives — and how they set them down so they can goon… Weiner draws her characters with empathy and nuance. We take the 30-year journey with them, and root for them along the way.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
Quoted: “Your first love is important. It’s part of your story. The story you’ll tell yourself, the one you’ll tell about yourself, for the rest of your life.”