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March 7, 2020

Early March Books to Read

by Susan Roberts

February has ended and it sure seemed like a quick month.  March is one of my favorite months as the spring flowers start to bloom in my part of the South.  I have reviews of three books that are publishing in early March.  They are all totally different genres but they are fun books to read that I don't want you to miss.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

March 2020; St. Martin's; 978-1250202031
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); domestic thriller
"The woman glances my way and I notice she's about my height - five foot ten - and my age but her hair is shorter and lighter than mine.  Her face is pleasant, she's the kind of person I'd ask for directions if I was lost.
She steps close to the edge of the platform.
My mind screams a warning:  Too close!
In that instant, I realize she isn't there to ride the subway.
I stretch out my hand toward her and yell something - NO or DON"T - but it's too late.
We lock eyes.  The train appears in the mouth of the tunnel.  Then she leaps."  (p5)

This is going to be a very short review because there are so many twists and turns in this book and I don't want to give away any spoilers. My advice is to clear your calendar and read this book -- you will be caught up in it from the first chapter to the end and you'll enjoy every minute of the roller coaster ride!

Shay is just a regular person trying to make it in New York City. She has a dead-end temp job, no romance and few friends. She lives in an apartment with a male friend but his girlfriend has just moved in and three's a crowd! She is in the subway terminal and sees a woman jump before an oncoming train. For some reason, she becomes obsessed with the suicide and wants to learn more about the woman. The more she learns, the more curious she becomes until she is totally wrapped up in a life unlike her own. How she got there and if she ever gets out -- those are the questions that will keep you turning the pages long past your bedtime!

Buy You Are Not Alone at Amazon

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Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman

March 2020; Ecco; 978-0062909077
audio, ebook, print (288 pages); humor
"Nothing in particular in reminding me more than usual of life's quick passage of random moments, some good, some not so good, some very bad, disappearing like train cars into the vanishing point of a distant horizon."  ..."The ruthless purging of possessions to the point of self-erasure is what I'm after.  I already feel invisible;  why not go all the way."  (p3)

"Everything in life is about timing, about patience, about having faith in the future, but I’ve never believed in any of that.”

This humorous novel is about getting old and life changing - something that happens to all of us but some people accept it better than others. As with many people, the main character feels that she is invisible to the rest of the world but she comes up with a strange way to handle her feelings. I empathized with her because I've had a lot of the same feelings so it was great to read a funny book about life changing as you get older.

Judy is 50 years old. She has a surly teenage son who no longer talks to her and a pot-smoking husband plus her best friend is dying of cancer. Judy is an author who had a very successful children's book but is now in permanent writer's block. She and her husband are always in debt and have trouble with bills - like their son's tuition. They are separated and sleep in different rooms but they can't afford to get a divorce. One day as Judy is cleaning out the basement, she finds the baby sling that someone gave her at her baby shower and she realizes that she's never used it. So she puts it on and tucks her dog into the sling. All of a sudden life begins to feel better and she has the dog with her to help alleviate her anxiety over life. Carrying around the dog in a sling upsets her son and husband but it makes her feel wonderful so she continues to do it. The big question throughout the book is whether Judy will be able to find happiness in her life as she is faced with all of the struggles and setbacks that seem to multiply as you get older. And if she does find happiness, will she be able to get rid of the sling or will it keep her set in her old ways and attitudes.

It's hard to grow old and become invisible to the rest of the world but even if you are invisible, you can still find happiness. Separation Anxiety is a funny but emotional look at finding peace and contentment as you grow older.

Buy Separation Anxiety at Amazon

And They Called It Camelot: A Novel of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis by Stephanie Marie Thornton

March 2020; Berkley; 978-0451490926
audio, ebook, print (480 pages); historical fiction
"For one brief shining moment, there was a Camelot."  (p 335)

On her author page, Stephanie Thornton says that she "retells the stories of history's forgotten women".  Jacqueline Kennedy is not exactly a forgotten woman in American history but what Americans remember about her was often very different than the real person that she was.  In this well-researched book, we are able to learn about the REAL Jackie - the one often hidden from the public, the person full of doubts and fears and full of love for her family.

For many younger readers, this book will be a history book.  Because I was in high school when JFK was assassinated, this book brought back many sad memories.  Like most Americans, I was glued to the TV for several days, watching the pageantry in DC and crying for days.  At the time, it was impossible to have any feelings for the first lady other than profound respect for the way she handled the funeral, her children and herself.  She later fell off the false pedestal that America had put her on when she married Onassis but was the pedestal ever really real or was she someone just like us with doubts and fears and sadness?  After reading this book, I understand so much more about her - her love for her husband despite his philandering ways, her unconditional love for her children and her fear for their safety and her wish to make a mark on Washington and be a true respected partner with her husband.  Even though this was fiction, I felt like I was reading Jackie's memoir.  The author did so much research and it felt like she had totally captured Jackie's voice.

I have read many books about the Kennedy family where Jackie was just another family member - no one special - but in this novel, the real person is front and center.  We see things that happened in politics at the time through her eyes and are given a real portrait of a strong and resilient woman who spent her life taking care of and loving the people around her.  Due to the author's research, I feel like I finally have a good picture of the real Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and I admire her for her life of service to this country and for her love of her family and her goal of working to keep her children safe from harm.

Buy And They Called it Camelot at Amazon

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  1. the title and cover for you are not alone really intrigues me. hope you enjoy them all
    sherry @ fundinmental