Monthly Archives: February 2014

Guests On Earth by Lee Smith Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill ISBN 978-1-61620-253-8

In 1936, orphaned Evalina Toussaint was admitted to Highland Hospital which was a mental hospital.  She is the narrator in Lee Smith’s emotionally stirring novel, Guests On Earth.  Evalina resided at the facility for nine years, on and off and this is the story of her time there.  Early on she became a favorite of the hospital director’s concert pianist wife.  Evalina studied piano with her and eventually became an accomplished pianist in her own right.   She came to know many of the patients, including  Zelda Fitzgerald, and staff because of her participation in the music program.

Using evocative prose, the reader is drawn into Evalina’s sometimes fragile world. Complex and often puzzling characters are vividly brought to life.  Especially fascinating is the interaction between the novel’s characters.  Evalina’s  observations and opinions are richly detailed.  Her conversational tone places the reader in the room with her. There is sadness, grief and tragedy in this story, but camaraderie and hope are present, too.

Guests On Earth is a beautifully written story that brings together “fact and fiction”.  It is a thought provoking novel and well worth reading.


I received this book free of charge  through Library Thing and I give this review of my own free will.


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Sisterchicks Do The Hula by Robin Jones Gunn Multnomah Books ISBN978-1-59052-226-4

Sisterchicks Do the Hula, by Robin Jones Gunn, is the delightful story of a vacation to Hawaii that two best friends, Hope and Laurie, take to celebrate their fortieth birthdays. Whatever their expectations might have been, the trip yielded many surprises.  With beautiful and vivid details, the author places the reader  in Hawaii.  The descriptions of the scenery and vegetation makes them  come alive. Even though the women now live on opposite coasts, their friendship has lasted many years.  A fortieth birthday can be a time for reflection and introspection and these fortunate women have each other to make  the most of it.  While Laurie and Hope do many of the touristy activities, the success of the trip comes from what they learn about each other and themselves.  The art of compromise and their mutual respect play an important role in the friendship.  With wit and  insightfulness, the author has created a special story.

I received this book free of charge through Blogging for Books and I give this review of my own free will.




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