WEEKLY UPDATES: MORE TRIPLE DIGITS, NETFLIX, ETC.

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

Has it been a week already since I last sat here on a Saturday morning, pondering the events of the past seven days?  The week has unfolded one day at a time, featuring triple digits…what else is new?  I did read and review FOUR books:  two were NetGalley review books, and the other two added to my Read the Books You Buy Challenge, now totaling 66 books.

I finished Season I of Ozark…which grew more and more like Breaking Bad as it progressed.  I hope there are more seasons!!

Next weekend, I am setting aside time to see the movie The Glass Castle, based on the book by Jeannette Walls.  Brie Larson, Naomi Watts, and Woody Harrelson star.

On Thursday, I got a manicure and changed up my nail color to dark blue, with minimal sparkles.  I needed to feel like something was changing here.  The photo, below, was snapped in my bedroom showing me “clutching” Pippa, my Kindle.  In the background you can see one set of bookshelves that now live in the room.

The rest of the week was more reading, some blogging, etc.  So let’s grab some coffee and take a closer look.

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Correcting an Oversight:  Obsessively….

Tuesday Potpourri:  “Sunday Morning Coming Down”

Monthly Wrap-Up:  Hello August!

My Interior World:  Books, Comfy Setting, & My Nook….

Hump Day Potpourri:  Let’s Engage in Reading…

Hump Day Sparks:  Sharing the Moments…

My Interior World:  Coffee, Books, Dreams, Etc.

Bookish Friday:  “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands”

Friday Potpourri:  The Queens of Tidbits & Obsessions…

Review:  Emma in the Night (e-book), by Wendy Walker (NG – 8/8)Review:  Sunday Morning Coming Down, by Nicci FrenchReview:  The Bookshop on the Corner (e-book), by Jenny ColganReview:  The Other Girl (e-book), by Erica Spindler (NG – 8/22)

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Nothing in my physical mailbox…but an e-mail brought a new NetGalley review book:

The Best Kind of People (e-book), by Zoe Whittall (NetGalley – 9/19)

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Then I downloaded these e-books (purchased):

The Address (e-book), by Fiona Davis

Crime Scene (e-book), by Jonathan Kellerman/Jesse Kellerman

The Truth We Bury (e-book), by Barbara Taylor Sissel

The Identicals (e-book), by Elin Hilderbrand

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WHAT’S NEXT?

I am caught up on NetGalley books until mid-September, so I’ve reached out for some books from my TBR:

Currently Reading:  Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands, by Chris Bohjalian

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Then…my list includes these books, but I might veer off course:

Swimming Lessons (e-book), by Claire Fuller

Before We Were Yours (e-book), by Lisa Wingate

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And that’s my week…what did yours look like?  Oh, here’s my late lunch from Thursday: Corn Chowder, Caesar Salad, Strawberry Margarita…and Pippa, my Kindle.

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REVIEW: SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN, BY NICCI FRENCH

Psychotherapist Dr Frieda Klein once again finds herself in the midst of a criminal investigation when the rotting body of an ex-policeman is found beneath the floorboards of her house.

The corpse is only months old but the main suspect, murderer Dean Reeve, died over seven years ago.

As the killer picks off his next victims and her home is turned into a crime scene, Frieda’s old life seems like a hazy dream.

With eyes of the world upon her and no answers from the police, Frieda realizes that she will have to track this killer before he tracks down those she loves.

My Thoughts: I have been a fan of this series from the very first outing. Some readers find Frieda Klein to be unlikable, but I am not one of them. Yes, she is determined, and she pursues her goals, even when others disagree with her; she has no qualms about telling others when they are wrong. She is almost always right, too, which annoys the police.

She loves London, and her famous walks through the streets when she is trying to think, to solve a problem, are a big part of her routines. She is a bit obsessive in these routines, but as a reader, I take comfort in how she goes through her days following these patterns. I can count on her to take certain actions when others will not.

I also like how she enjoys her cozy mews house, so when this book opens with the discovery of a dead body under the floor boards of that house, we know that Frieda will be deeply affected.

But what happens next will be even more disturbing. Someone appears to be copying Frieda’s nemesis Dean Reeve, the perpetrator in previous murders that the police do not believe is still alive. Now her friends and loved ones are being targeted. That same Someone is sending Frieda a message. When she figures out who, someone the police have not even suspected, she has a hard time convincing them.

One more person, a police detective, almost dies before they finally get the message.

But will the perpetrator be captured? Will the police finally find Dean Reeve? The ending left me in a quandary. Is the series done, leaving so many loose ends? Or will there be another outing? No matter what, I loved this series and Sunday Morning Coming Down. 5 stars.

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WEEKLY UPDATES: MORE HEAT, LESS READING….

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

This morning, I woke up and started doing household tasks that I’ve put off all week.  Yes, I had done some things during the week, and I always keep things picked up…but my most hated chores are scrubbing floors!  So that’s what I’ve been doing today.  Done, now!  Just waiting for the bathroom rugs to dry.  I am trying to stay cool, although even with the AC on, floor scrubbing definitely brought up my heat levels.

Reading was good, but not phenomenal.  Three books read and reviewed, and since two of them were review ARCs, my Read the Books You Buy Challenge only went up one, now totaling 64 books.

I finished watching Shetland on Netflix...loved it!  Now I have to find another series!  I have added some to my queue:  Ozark, Friends from College, and Father Brown.  Has anyone seen them?  I’ve enjoyed catching up on my TV shows, like Broadchurch and The Fosters.  A new show I’m watching:  The Bold Type.

So…that’s where some of my reading time went.  And I finally went out to shop a little and had a late lunch one day.  The usual food photo:  soup and a margarita (see at the bottom of this post).

Here’s what morning in my office looks like:

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And now, let’s take a look back….

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Internet Trolls, Etc.:  Out of the Slime…

Tuesday Sparks:  “Heartbreak Hotel”

A Young Girl’s Interior World:  Excerpting “Web of Tyranny”

My Hump Day Reading:  Engaging!

Coffee Chat:  Hot Weather, Bad Mood…

A Baby Boomer’s Coming-of-Age Tale….

Bookish Friday:  “Emma in the Night”

Friday Potpourri:  Staying Cool with Family….

Review:  Mrs. Fletcher (e-book), by Tom Perrotta – (NetGalley – 8/1)Review:  Girl in Snow (e-book), by Danya Kukafta – (NetGalley – 8/1)Bad Housekeeping (e-book), by Maia Chance

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty mailbox!  But I did purchase one newly released e-book.

The Lying Game (e-book), by Ruth Ware

Atmospheric, twisty, and with just the right amount of chill that will keep you wrong-footed—which has now become Ruth Ware’s signature style—The Lying Game is sure to be her next big bestseller. Another unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

Can’t wait!

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Still Reading:  Emma in the Night (e-book), by Wendy Walker (NG-8-8)

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Because my next NetGalley review books won’t be released until late August and September, I think I’ll try some of my purchased TBR books, like this one:

Sunday Morning Coming Down, (A Frieda Klein Novel), by Nicci French

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The Bookshop on the Corner (e-book), by Jenny Colgan

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That was my week!  What did yours look like?  (Below), my Thursday late afternoon repast:  It is very familiar, isn’t it?  But what can I say…I love that soup and that margarita.

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REVIEW: GIRL IN SNOW, BY DANYA KUKAFTA

When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both. In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory.

My Thoughts: Flowing back and forth in time, via alternating narrators, the life and death of a young teenager living in a small Colorado town is shown through the eyes of her watchers; and then we follow their meandering and introspective thoughts about their own lives.

Who were these watchers, and which of them could have taken her life? Or could the perpetrator be someone completely different, someone not on our radar at all?

Cameron was described by other students as a stalker and a boy most likely to bring a gun to school. Actually, he was a budding artist and loved drawing what he could see.

Jade is an abused girl, someone unafraid to push her way into the inner circles, only to be ignored or taunted. She believes that Lucinda stole her boyfriend. Throughout, we see snippets of her writing in the form of a screenplay.

Russ, a police officer, has some secrets from the past. He once had a partner named Lee Whitley, Cameron’s dad, whose actions led to an arrest and his disappearance from town. What had Russ been willing to do to cover for his partner?

Girl in Snow kept me engaged throughout, although it was sometimes difficult to connect with the characters; we saw them only in bits and pieces, and sometimes, like a shift in a kaleidoscope, we watched them morph abruptly into the past.

I was surprised by the reveal at the end, and while it made sense, there were no hints of this person’s culpability ahead of time. After the revelations, there were moments in which we saw the lives of the other characters as they started to move on. I did like knowing what was ahead for them. 4 stars.

***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

WEEKLY UPDATES: HOT DAYS & MORE READING…

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

Another hot week!  I did read four books again this week, bringing my challenge total to 63 books.

There were some outside activities, too, which I tried to restrict to mornings:  coffee at Barnes & Noble on Wednesday, with a friend; and hair styling on Thursday.

Sadly the rash came back…despite the organic dye.  Luckily I had some of the ointment left over from last time, the kind that worked after several trials.  I also refilled the prescription for more…just in case.  After one day of using it, I’m almost in control of it. 

I may have to shave my head!  LOL.  No, I’ll probably just find a solution that involves going natural.  Whatever that may look like these days.

This morning I had breakfast at Marie Callender’s, after getting my prescription…I didn’t photograph it, as the platter was huge.  I didn’t eat it all…but still.  Piggy time?

Now I’m having more coffee in my “reading” cup.  Check out the dwindling book stacks on the shelf nearby…and I like the morning light coming through the blinds.  Now let’s look at last week’s blogging and reading…the blog posts were minimal, but the reading was good.

 

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Potpourri:  “The Secrets She Keeps”

Hump Day Potpourri:  A Week of Reading….

Chatting with Coffee….

Bookish Friday:  “Mrs. Saint & the Defectives”

Looking Back…and Moving Forward….

Review:  My Life to Live, by Agnes NixonReview:  The Marriage Pact (e-book), by Michelle Richmond (NG – 9/25)Review:  The Best of Us (e-book), by Joyce Maynard (NG-9/5)Review:  Every Wild Heart (e-book), by Meg Donohue

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INCOMING BOOKS: (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

Empty physical mailbox!  My inbox, however, brought ONE NetGalley Review ARC…as if I need more.

The Blackbird Season (e-book), by Kate Moretti (NG – 9/26)

 

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WHAT’S UP NEXT?

Currently Reading:  Mrs. Fletcher (e-book), by Tom Perrotta (NG – 8/1)

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I also need to read some more e-ARCs in the next couple of weeks, like…

Girl in Snow (e-book), by Danya Kukafka (NG – 8/1)

Emma in the Night (e-book), by Wendy Walker (NG – 8/8)

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I would also love to grab one or two books from my TBR (Purchased)…but we shall see.

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That’s my week…what did yours look like?  A couple of nights ago, I read while eating this salad, topped off with my Pomegranate Martini.

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REVIEW: EVERY WILD HEART, BY MEG DONOHUE

Passionate and funny, radio personality Gail Gideon is a true original. Nine years ago when Gail’s husband announced that he wanted a divorce, her ensuing on-air rant propelled her local radio show into the national spotlight. Now, “The Gail Gideon Show” is beloved by millions of single women who tune-in for her advice on the power of self-reinvention. But fame comes at a price. After all, what does a woman who has staked her career on being single do when she finds herself falling in love? And is the person who is harassing her in increasingly troubling ways a misguided fan or a true danger to Gail and her daughter, Nic?

Fourteen-year-old Nic has always felt that she pales in comparison to her vibrant, outgoing mother. Plagued by a fear of social situations, she is most comfortable at the stable where she spends her afternoons. But when a riding accident lands Nic in the hospital, she awakens from her coma changed. Suddenly, she has no fear at all and her disconcerting behavior lands her in one risky situation after another. And no one, least of all her mother, can guess what she will do next…

My Thoughts: I love a good mother/daughter tale, and a single mother raising a teenager resonates with me.

Gail is one of those characters I enjoy: feisty, opinionated, protective, talented, and smart. She is famous for all of those qualities on her radio show, and although she works at night and her daughter is at school in the daytime, they still manage to keep in touch.

But Nic’s form of social anxiety worries her mother…and then when she has the horse riding accident, everything changes. It is as if a part of Nic, a wild side, has been awakened. Part of that awakening came in the form of a boy named Lucas Holt, a senior boy drawn to her, just as she was to him.

Every Wild Heart kept me engaged all the way through, and I enjoyed the alternating narratives of Gail and Nic. Seeing each perspective kept me rooting for each of them.

I wanted Gail to succeed, and a great offer for her to do a TV show was very tempting for her, but with all that Nic was going through, she was struggling with the decision. What would ultimately bring out the best in each of them without the other being sidelined? How would they find a way to work through the fearsome times? How would a sudden stalker threatening Gail and Nic bring the story to a crashing conclusion?

I was stunned by the stalker reveal…and then the pieces fell into place for Gail and Nic moving forward. 4 stars.

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REVIEW: THE MARRIAGE PACT, BY MICHELLE RICHMOND

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.

And then one of them breaks the rules.

The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.

My Thoughts: First of all, I couldn’t imagine why Jake and Alice would sign up for something so secretive and mysterious. Wouldn’t they have wondered about the “consequences” mentioned in the contracts? Wouldn’t the control the organization seemed to exert bother them?

I wanted them to somehow get out of the weird group before anything bad happened, but hovering overhead were the implicit threats, the idea of The Pact’s all-encompassing influence, and concerns about people who had mysteriously disappeared.

Jake was the first-person narrator, so it was probably natural for me to connect to his side of things, and even though he loved Alice, I could see how he worried about why she seemed more into the group than he was. Since she was a lawyer, I couldn’t quite imagine her willingness to be “all in.” But then I recalled the mention of her dysfunctional family, and it made more sense.

What is behind the mysterious meetings that JoAnne, an old college friend, arranges with Jake? Is she seriously in trouble, or is she part of some covert operation?

The whole idea that the group somehow monitored their every move made me feel creepy and also fascinated. I couldn’t stop reading. As the dangers in The Marriage Pact  escalated, I was hanging onto every word, hoping for a positive resolution. 5 stars.

***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley.

WEEKLY UPDATES: MORE HEAT, READING, & SOME PAMPERING….

Good morning! Today’s post will link up to The Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves, for weekly updates.

**Mailbox Monday is hosted at the home site: Mailbox Monday.

And let’s join Kathryn, our leader in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, at Book Date.

Luckily the AC kept me cool indoors, where I’ve hidden out from the ongoing triple digits.   As a result, I read and reviewed FOUR more wonderful books this week, bringing my Read the Books You Buy Challenge to 61.

My viewing this week has been sporadic, but I’ve finished the Netflix Season I of Gypsy, and have added a few more to my queue, like the movie Lion, along with Shetland...and Father Brown.  I’ve heard good things.

I continue watching Broadchurch, and started a new show on Freeform called The Bold Type.

I braved the heat and headed to the cool nail salon for some pampering with a mani-pedi..and changed up my nail color from dark purple to red.

So…now as I eat breakfast and sip a cup of coffee in my office, I contemplate my reading and blogging for the week:

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Tuesday Sparks:  “The Child”

Tuesday Potpourri:  A Bonanza of Books…

Hump Day Reading….

Hump Day Sparks:  More Prague Photos, Etc.

Let’s Grab Some Coffee and Chat….

Bookish Friday:  “After Anna”

Friday Potpourri:  Assessing My Book Stacks….

Review:  The Girl, etc., by Samantha GeimerReview:  The Summer House (e-book), by Hannah McKinnonReview:  The Comfort of Others, by Kay LangdaleReview:  The Child (e-book), by Fiona Barton

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INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

What a book bonanza this week!  One book I purchased arrived in my physical mailbox, and I downloaded three NetGalley review books.  Additionally, I purchased four downloads.

Sunday Morning Coming Down, by Nicci French (in my mailbox!)

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NetGalley Review Books:

The Best of Us (e-book), by Joyce Maynard (Release Date:  9/5)

The Stolen Marriage (e-book), by Diane Chamberlain (Release Date – 10/3)

The Rules of Magic (e-book), by Alice Hoffman – (Release Date – 10/10)

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Purchased Downloads:

The Almost Sisters (e-book), by Joshilyn Jackson

Bring Her Home (e-book), by David Bell

Before We Were Yours (e-book), by Lisa Wingate

The Secrets She Keeps (e-book), by Michael Robotham

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WHAT’S UP NEXT?

Currently Reading:  The Marriage Pact (e-book), by Michelle Richmond – (NG-7/25)

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Then….these possibilities:

My Life to Live, by Agnes Nixon

Every Wild Heart (e-book), by Meg Donohue

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That was my week….what did yours look like?  Enjoy this treat with me…from a few days ago.  I had Corn Chowder, a Margarita, and started reading The Child:

 

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REVIEW: THE CHILD, BY FIONA BARTON

As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell…

My Thoughts: Slowly the three women who are central to the story in The Child are revealed to us in bits and pieces. We do not know what, if anything, connects them. But they are all struck by the news of the infant. A baby that has been buried on the site for a number of years. The story takes us from the present to the past through alternating narrators, who show us moments in their lives and offer up thoughts, feelings, and clues to their histories.

Emma Massingham Simmonds is struggling every day, her mind a mess of anxieties, dark thoughts, and nightmares. Her husband Paul takes care of her, and she works at home as a book editor. But her conflicted relationship with her mother Jude seems to be at the heart of her emotional angst, and she has dark secrets that come to her in nightmares.

Angela Irving is still heartbroken over her lost infant Alice. Her husband and other children have given up on her constant grief. But she hangs onto her hope. Something about the buried baby calls to her.

Jude, Emma’s mother, seems worried about what might be discovered about that baby, and her mind flits to memories of her great love for a man named Charlie…and then her relationship with a professor named Will Burnside, whom she cannot forget. She seems to blame Emma for losing these “loves of her life.”

Kate Waters, the reporter, is such an interesting character who searches for answers, interviews people who lived in the neighborhood where the baby was found, and gradually finds herself drawn more and more to the women who all seem to have a personal interest in the story. Her ferocious pursuit despite discouraging moments kept me intrigued, as she met with numerous characters, many of whom were troubling and sometimes unreliable.

I loved watching how she pushed ahead to find the answers…and then, just when I thought she had it all figured out, a startling twist turned everything upside down. Suddenly, out of the confusion, the clarity came. An unputdownable novel that earned 5 stars.

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REVIEW: THE GIRL: A LIFE IN THE SHADOW OF ROMAN POLANSKI, BY SAMANTHA GEIMER

In this searing and surprising memoir, Samantha Geimer, “the girl” at the center of the infamous Roman Polanski sexual assault case, breaks a virtual thirty-five-year silence to tell her story and reflect on the events of that day and their lifelong repercussions.
My Thoughts: Our first person narrator is Samantha, the victim of the 1977 episode with Roman Polanski, and the ongoing victim of the court system.

From her perspective, we learn what it was like to be questioned repeatedly prior to the actual filing of charges, and then again by various attorneys and a psychiatrist. Recalling how different attitudes were in the 1970s, especially for celebrities, it would take some maneuvering to protect the identity of the girl…but in the end, the ego of the judge in charge would ultimately change her life negatively going forward. When an agreement had been reached that could have ended the matter once and for all, the judge reneged on the deal, which led to Polanski fleeing to France.

Now many years later, despite efforts to dismiss the case, supported by the victim, the matter remains unresolved. Extradition from Switzerland was denied after the 2009 arrest, and one might think life could go on. But it hasn’t.

In concluding The Girl:  A Life in the Shadow of Roman Polanski,  Samantha wrote, in terms of Polanski: “As different as our lives have been, we do share a common sense of battle fatigue when it comes to the court system and the media. We’ve both been punished. We both want to move on.”

She has also stated that the events of that night in 1977 were not as damaging to her as the subsequent years of what the system has done to her. But despite it all, she has gained her own strength from taking matters into her own hands and writing about her experiences. An inspiring story that earned 5 stars.

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