I was excited to read my third Shirley Jackson book “The Road Through the Wall.” I read two Jackson books on my beach vacation and loved them.
I took the time to read the forward — something that I don’t always do.
Compared to the “Haunting of Hill House” or “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” Jackson’s masterful late novels, “The Road Through the Wall” is a slighter work.
Ruth Franklin, book critic and contributinG editor at The New Republic
The two books I read on vacation were the ones mentioned. This latest book was Jackson’s first novel, so yes, it is a lesser work. But reading those words dampened my enthusiasm to read the book. I wondered if I should even bother.
I now wish I’d read the forward AFTERWORD. I’m almost finished with the book and I’m enjoying it, but I felt this feeling of doubt when I started. Ruth Franklin’s forward is detailed and explains a lot about the story. I will finally read the Forward again — after I finish reading the book.
What are your thoughts about Forwards and Prologues. Do you read them? Do you think they add or detract to the story?
I finished reading two books this week. “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba” by Chanel Cleetom and “The Matchmaker” by Elin Hilderbrand.
The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba
I read a book by Cleeton earlier this summer called “Next Year in Havana” and absolutely loved it. Although “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba” is good, it comes in second place to the prior book I read. This story takes place in Cuba and the United States during the Spanish American War amidst the battle of two newspaper empires, Pullitzer and Hearst.
The novel tells the story of three women, a reporter Grace Harrington in New York City based on Nellie Bly, the real-life Cuban revolutionary Evangelina Cisneros, who becomes famous as the “most beautiful girl in Cuba,” and Marina who left the comfort and safety of her wealthy Cuban family to marry her love, a poor Cuban farmer and fighter.
I recommend this book, but it took me about a third of the way in to get engrossed. In both of Cleeton’s books I’ve read, she has the same main family of Perez’s. I enjoy following their stories from different generations. I’m starting a third novel by her today, “The Last Train to Key West.”
I have read at least a dozen Elin Hilderbrand books and enjoy them. I get lost in the scenery of Nantucket, the Caribbean, or the other backdrops which become as much of a character as the people in her novels.
I get caught up right away and find she creates easy, fun reads. Although there’s usually common threads of death and cheating spouses, her stories fascinate me.
This is the story of a high school couple who are madly in love their entire lives, although not together after college graduation when Clendenin takes a job in as a reporter on the other side of the world. The main character, Dabney stays on Nantucket and becomes the director of the Chamber of Commerce and literally runs the island as a single mother. Eventually, she gets married to a famous economist Box, who becomes a great father and husband.
I won’t give away more of the story, but I got kind of annoyed. This one requires a lot of kleenex and I just wasn’t in the mood.
Have your read books by these authors? What are your opinions of them? What are some good books you’ve read lately and can recommend?