BOOKISH FRIDAY: “THE DOLLHOUSE”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today I am featuring a recent download.  The Dollhouse, by Fiona Davis, is a stunning debut novel that pulls readers into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where in the 1950’s a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side-by-side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.

 

 

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Beginning:  New York City, 2016

She’d forgotten the onions.

After all the preparation, the lists, the running out of work early to finish shopping and buy everything she needed for their special dinner, Rose had forgotten a key risotto ingredient.  She checked the pantry, but the basket was empty save for a few remnants of the papery outer layers.

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56:  Darby wasn’t so sure.  The place was frightening, and she scanned the exits, wondering which was the quickest way out in case there was a fire or a fight.  All these people pressed together, in the smoke and darkness, made her heart beat faster and her mouth grow dry in panic.

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Synopsis:  When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren’t: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn’t belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she’s introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that’s used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon’s gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby’s involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman’s rent-controlled apartment. It’s a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby’s upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose’s obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

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What do you think?  Are you intrigued?  I like the dual time lines, and can’t wait to find out what the present day characters discover about the past.

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BOOKISH FRIDAYS: EXCERPTING “THREE-MARTINI LUNCH”

BOOKISH FRIDAY LOGO

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s featured book is an ARC from Amazon Vine.  I’ve been reading it regularly today and, while it started a little slow for me, I’m really into it now.  Three-Martini Lunch, by Suzanne Rindell, is an evocative, multilayered story of ambition, success, and secrecy in 1950s New York.

 

 

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Beginning: (Cliff)

Greenwich Village in ’58 was a madman’s paradise.  In those days, a bunch of us went around together drinking too much coffee and smoking too much cannabis and talking all the time about poetry and Nietzsche and bebop.  I had been running around with the same guys I knew from Columbia—give or take a colored jazz musician here or a benny addict there—and together we would get good and stoned and ride the subway down to Washington Square.

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56:  (Eden)

Bobby grinned in an extremely charming, lopsided way.  He was tall and very good-looking, with the kind of relaxed, slouchy posture that suggested he was very reassured about how good-looking he was, too.

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Synopsis:  In 1958, Greenwich Village buzzes with beatniks, jazz clubs, and new ideas—the ideal spot for three ambitious young people to meet. Cliff Nelson, the son of a successful book editor, is convinced he’s the next Kerouac, if only his father would notice. Eden Katz dreams of being an editor but is shocked when she encounters roadblocks to that ambition. And Miles Tillman, a talented black writer from Harlem, seeks to learn the truth about his father’s past, finding love in the process. Though different from one another, all three share a common goal: to succeed in the competitive and uncompromising world of book publishing. As they reach for what they want, they come to understand what they must sacrifice, conceal, and betray to achieve their goals, learning they must live with the consequences of their choices. In Three-Martini Lunch, Suzanne Rindell has written both a page-turning morality tale and a captivating look at a stylish, demanding era—and a world steeped in tradition that’s poised for great upheaval.

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I am really enjoying the setting and the era of this book.  What do you think?  What are you sharing?

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BOOKISH FRIDAY: “BROOKLYN”

BOOKISH FRIDAY LOGO

Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

My featured book today is a recent addition to Pippa, my Kindle:  Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin.

 

 

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Beginning:  Eilis Lacey, sitting at the window of the upstairs living room in the house on Friary Street, noticed her sister walking briskly from work.  She watched Rose crossing the street from sunlight into shade, carrying the new leather handbag that she had bought in Clerys in Dublin in the sale.

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56:  Mrs. Kehoe, who owned the house, was from Wexford town and loved to talk to her about home, about Sunday trips to Curracloe and Rosslare Strand, or hurling matches, or the shops along the Main Street in Wexford town, or characters she remembered.

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Synopsis:   Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, she cannot find a job in the miserable Irish economy. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn to sponsor Eilis in America — to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood “just like Ireland” — she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

By far Tóibín’s most instantly engaging and emotionally resonant novel, Brooklyn will make readers fall in love with his gorgeous writing and spellbinding characters.

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I am eager to read this one…and I also want to see the movie.  What do you think?  Have you read it?

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CHASE AWAY THE BLUES WITH INTROS/TEASERS – “A FIREPROOF HOME FOR THE BRIDE”

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Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Should Be Reading.

Here we are at Tuesday already, with Christmas just around the corner.  And no, I’m not featuring a Christmas book today, but another ARC:  A Fireproof Home for the Bride, by Amy Scheibe.

 

 

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Intro:  (Prologue – His Wonders to Perform – October 1952)

A hazy dawn broke over a small lean-to of weathered gray planks and multicolored leafy branches that had been meticulously assembled the day before, the work completed mostly between the morning chores and those dispatched in the afternoon.  Emmy looked up at the speckled yellow covering of boughs that she had carefully chosen from the row of shrubs and smaller trees that edged the barren late-autumn field of sheared cornstalks, their papery remains bent toward the earth, waiting for the punishment of the long Minnesota winter to grind them down into dust.

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Teaser:  At the crunch of rustled leaves in the distance, Ambrose moved from his squat into a creeping crawl, picking up his shotgun as he squinted into the piercing daylight.  A slight nod of his head brought her gaze level alongside of his. (p. 3).

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Amazon Blurb:  Emmeline Nelson and her sister Birdie grow up in the hard, cold rural Lutheran world of strict parents, strict milking times, and strict morals. Marriage is preordained, the groom practically predestined. Though it’s 1958, southern Minnesota did not see changing roles for women on the horizon. Caught in a time bubble between a world war and the ferment of the 1960’s, Emmy doesn’t see that she has any say in her life, any choices at all. Only when Emmy’s fiancé shows his true colors and forces himself on her does she find the courage to act—falling instead for a forbidden Catholic boy, a boy whose family seems warm and encouraging after the sere Nelson farm life. Not only moving to town and breaking free from her engagement but getting a job on the local newspaper begins to open Emmy’s eyes. She discovers that the KKK is not only active in the Midwest but that her family is involved, and her sense of the firm rules she grew up under—and their effect—changes completely. A FIREPROOF HOME FOR THE BRIDE has the charm of detail that will drop readers into its time and place: the home economics class lecture on cuts of meat, the group date to the diner, the small-town movie theater popcorn for a penny. It also has a love story—the wrong love giving way to the right—and most of all the pull of a great main character whose self-discovery sweeps the plot forward.

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What do you think?  Does it pique your curiosity?  Would you keep reading?

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