The Week in Books #67

The week in books! I’m finally down to the last book in this stack, and also the most intimidating; The Goldfinch. I’m so intimidated I’m actually skipping ahead and reading The Prophets so my reading buddy here on the island and I can talk about it. Goldfinch next, I swear. This week I finished two:

1. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. I don’t read a lot of mystery/thrillers so this was stepping out of my ‘zone’ for a moment and I enjoyed it. I’d probably give it around 3 stars but I rounded up to 4 on GR because I liked that there was a protagonist with an anxiety disorder. I actually can’t remember reading a book where a character frequently has to calm themselves to avoid panic attacks and takes medication daily, struggling with withdrawal when they can’t take it for a few days. So I thought that was a relatable character trait, though apart from her anxiety induced sleeplessness leading to her hearing the sound of the body hitting the water (not a spoiler, it’s right there in the blurb) I don’t think it contributed much to the outcome of the story overall. Not quite as readable as Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train but I definitely raced to find out the ending.

In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…

With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned.

Simon and Schuster

2. The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall. This is an interesting look at sexual misconduct allegations from the perspective of the family of the accused. Right from the get-go George is arrested and goes to jail to await his trial, and the story revolves around how his children and wife react and are subsequently ostracized from the community by association. It’s a bit frustrating because you don’t actually know what has taken place, and you aren’t given any insight into George’s thoughts. So you are literally in the shoes of the family who also have no idea if the allegations are true but want to believe their Dad/husband would not be capable of it. It was like My Dark Vanessa but from the minds of Strane’s family. It dragged a bit in the middle but was enjoyable overall.

The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes.

Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence, Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast—and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.

Penguin Randomhouse

This week I got an order I made for some deeply discounted books from indigo (Trickster Drift was only $4.50!) though it was a bit nerve-wracking for a second there when I realized there was a mix up at the community mailbox; I got the notice that my books were delivered but the parcel box had a package for someone else in it instead and my package wasn’t there. I delivered the package to the person on the address label and waited to see if someone would do the same for me… and they did! This island is so nice.

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