Book Review: Three Ways to Disappear

Three Ways to Disappear by Katy Yocom

Leaving behind a nomadic and dangerous career as a journalist, Sarah DeVaughan returns to India, the country of her childhood and a place of unspeakable family tragedy, to help preserve the endangered Bengal tigers. Meanwhile, at home in Kentucky, her sister, Quinn–also deeply scarred by the past and herself a keeper of secrets–tries to support her sister, even as she fears that India will be Sarah’s undoing.

As Sarah faces challenges in her new job–made complicated by complex local politics and a forbidden love–Quinn copes with their mother’s refusal to talk about the past, her son’s life-threatening illness, and her own increasingly troubled marriage. When Sarah asks Quinn to join her in India, Quinn realizes that the only way to overcome the past is to return to it, and it is in this place of stunning natural beauty and hidden danger that the sisters can finally understand the ways in which their family has disappeared–from their shared history, from one another–and recognize that they may need to risk everything to find themselves again.

With dramatic urgency, a powerful sense of place, and a beautifully rendered cast of characters revealing a deep understanding of human nature in all its flawed glory, Katy Yocom has created an unforgettable novel about saving all that is precious, from endangered species to the indelible bonds among family.

 

Review:

I loved this book. It was really well written and kept me reading, curious about what the characters would do next.

The story goes back and forth between 2 sisters, Sarah, an international journalist who settles down in India to work at a tiger sanctuary, and Quinn, a mother of twins who has lives in Kentucky. They grew up as children in India until Sarah’s twin died and their mother moved them back to the US.

The relationship between the sisters and then their mother was great and I love how much it evolved, especially as they came to terms with the unfortunate death of their brother so many years ago.  I enjoyed the explorations of different ways that people disappear from one anther and how they use this to cope with or hide from their pain.

Then there were the tigers, the masters of camouflage. They were integral characters to the book as well and I loved the descriptions of them and their interesting personalities. In fact, so many of the scenes in India were wonderful and richly described. Along with the tigers were the small villages affected by the tiger sanctuary — there are so many layers to things and this book reminds us of this. Yes, it is good to save the tigers, but in so doing, there can be adverse effects for others nearby if the situation isn’t dealt with properly. This book highlighted how we are all interconnected, even down to purses being made by women in a village in India and how that changes things for the person selling them in the US.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and watching the characters develop, learn, and grow. I loved the descriptions, and even the politics. These are certainly issues we need to be dealing with on a global level, but shows how small, individual steps can make a difference and how women supporting women and change a community.

 

 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.

 

 

Share this:

Book Review: The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader

What drove their family apart just might bring them back together… It’s been seventeen years since the tragic summer the McAvoy sisters fell apart. Lindy, the wild one, left home, carved out a new life in the city and never looked back. Delia, the sister who stayed, became a mother herself, raising her daughters and running the family shop in their small Pennsylvania hometown on the shores of Lake Erie. But now, with their mother’s ailing health and a rebellious teenager to rein in, Delia has no choice but to welcome Lindy home. As the two sisters try to put their family back in order, they finally have the chance to reclaim what’s been lost over the years: for Delia, professional dreams and a happy marriage, and for Lindy, a sense of home and an old flame–and best of all, each other. But when one turbulent night leads to a shocking revelation, the women must face the past they’ve avoided for a decade. And there’s nothing like an old secret to bring the McAvoy women back together and stronger than ever.With warm affection and wry wit, Molly Fader’s The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets is about the ties that bind family and the power of secrets to hold us back or set us free.
Review:
This was a sweet, light read that I quite enjoyed. The book has alternating points of view and flashbacks to the past, but centres around estranged sisters, Lindy and Delia. Lindy left their small town at an early age, even though she had planned on staying and running the family fish store. Delia stayed though she had wished to leave and go traveling and then university. I liked each woman in her own way and was rooting for them to reconcile through the whole book.
The author did a good job in creating the tension in the family, then slowly dispelling it through understanding and revelations. I like how the generations were brought in, namely their mother and Delia’s daughter.
The mother was a fantastic character, a once sharp woman who’d had a stroke and was now having troubles with her memory. She was both foggy and sharp, but her (now) no nonsense approach was fun and her flashbacks of joys and regrets were authentic sounding.
The romances in the book were nice and not overdone — they added to rather than took away from or overpowered the story of the sisters and the family that was learning to heal.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
Share this:

Book Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a blackly comic novel about how blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water…

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

Review:
The title and cover of this book were instant draws for me. Then there’s the synopsis, which is absolutely wonderful.
I really enjoyed this book — the story of 2 very different sisters, Korede who takes care of everything and does what is expected of her and Ayoola who is very beautiful and flits her way through life. This is the story of Korede and how she cleans up after her sister after Ayoola murders her boyfriends, but there is also so much more.
It is a story of family relationships and expectations and how we are perceived. It’s about wants and desires and what we do to get them. It’s about social media and how men view women.
I loved Braithwaite’s writing and how she used satire and dark humour to get her points across. The characters were well developed, even in this short book, and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. She certainly doesn’t mince words!
Overall, this is a short and sweet read that is engaging, funny, and well worth the read.
Thank you to Edelweiss+ and the publisher for a review copy of this book.
Share this:

Book Review: Woman 99

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

A vivid historical thriller about a young woman whose quest to free her sister from an infamous insane asylum risks her sanity, her safety and her life

Charlotte Smith’s future is planned to the last detail, and so was her sister’s – until Phoebe became a disruption. When their parents commit Phoebe to a notorious asylum, Charlotte knows there’s more to the story than madness. Shedding her identity to become an anonymous inmate, “Woman Ninety-Nine,” Charlotte uncovers dangerous secrets. Insanity isn’t the only reason her fellow inmates were put away – and those in power will do anything to keep the truth, or Charlotte, from getting out.

Review:
I found myself drawn into this book right away. Charlotte is a young woman of marriageable age who lives in the 1880s San Francisco and her life laid out for her — her mother is social climbing, her father is always working, she has fallen in love with someone she can’t marry, and her sister, Phoebe, is “difficult”. When Phoebe gets sent to a notorious asylum, Charlotte decides to follow her in order to free her, even if it means breaking the rules and risking her own happiness.
Macallister clearly did her research on asylums of the time as her descriptions of life there feel authentic and not “over the top”. I also loved the relationships that Charlotte developed. It is clear that she loves her sister and that she has a rosy view of her, but she grows and learns at the asylum, meeting and becoming friends with women she never would have even talked to before her experience there.
I also enjoyed the author’s social commentary on “inconvenient” women and how society tries to deal with them — and how many of the women fight back. But she doesn’t shy away from mental illness, either, recognizing that some people do need help because they simply cannot function in society as it is.
Overall, this was a great read that had pretty much everything — sisters, history, loyalty, suspense, romance, rule breaking, risk taking, and some difficult conversations. Woman 99 approaches an interesting time in history, especially as far as mental health is concerned, and does it in an engaging, very readable way.
Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for the review copy of this book.
Share this: