This past week I felt restless and in a bit of a funk. I think the loss of our sweet Lily (3) weeks ago has caught up with me. I also feel bad because the death of our cat has seemed to have generated all sorts of questions about death and getting old for our oldest granddaughter who not yet 5. (I hate that this little one is being troubled by the concept of death at such an early age).
The weather has been very cold and extremely windy so that hasn't helped with and on Tuesday they are anticipating an almost spring snowstorm...ugh
I did have a good reading week and managed to finish (3) books and began (2) others as well.
Among the Lesser Gods; Margot Catts
(Arcade Publishing - 2017)
(My Thoughts) - A lovely debut novel about family, secrets, hope, healing and redemption.
Elena Alvarez should be happy that her college days in LA are over but, she's a young woman who seems stuck and can't get past her troubled younger years and the guilt that lingers. As a child Elena was indirectly responsible for a fire that took the lives of (3) people. Soon after the tragedy her mother left, never to return and there has been a disconnect with her father as well. With no job prospects yet and an unplanned pregnancy as well, she decides to pursue an offer for a summer job posed to her by her grandmother back in Leadville, CO. The job is to care for (2) young children ages 12 and 5. The children's mother has just died and the father's job requires frequent travel. Little does Elena realize but summer proves to be one of healing for not only herself but, those she is surrounded by as well. Descriptive writing; very enjoyable. (4.5/5 stars)
First Women: Kate Anderson Brower
(Harper Audio) (2016) (Karen White-narrator)
Some interesting tidbits - Mamie Eisenhower was not happy about having to relinquish her residence to the Kennedy family. In fact when Jackie visited the White House after JFK's win, she had just given birth to John John by C-section and, although a wheel chair was available, Mrs. Eisenhower didn't offer it to her, making Jackie walk the massive residence. Jackie later spent several weeks on bedrest as a result. Jackie's story was sad by circumstance: newborn son Patrick's death, assassination of JFK and widowhood in her early 30s. I thought Jackie, Betty Ford and Ladybird Johnson seemed to be shown as the most respected First Ladies, followed by the Bush women and Mrs. Clinton. Nancy Reagan seemed like the most difficult of the women. I thought the author's commentary on Michelle Obama was lacking. She basically stated that Michelle never wanted to be a First Lady and that Michelle found her experience to be "too confining." She did state that Michelle O along with Jackie seemed to be the most protective of their children. Overall, I was happy I listened to the book but as you can tell, I had a few issues with it as well.
The Residence; Kate Anderson Brower
(Harper Audio) (2015) (Karen White-narrator)
(My Thoughts) - Another entertaining, informative, gossipy look at the private lives of the First Families, from Kennedy to Obama as seen through the eyes of the service staff through their everyday interactions. The maids, butlers, chefs, painters and more, many of which had over 30 years of employment serving our First Families share their candid observations. This book also could have benefited from a more chronological structure.
A few interesting tidbits - The senior Mr & Mrs Bush were the most liked by the White House staff. They always interacted with staff and made them feel appreciated. The Clinton's and Obamas came across as more private and at times standoffish. Bill Clinton's need for head stitches during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Bill claimed he hit his head on a door during the night, while the staff were confident that Hillary hit him with one of the many heavy books from her nightstand. President Johnson was a tyrant and treated the staff terribly. He demanded an elaborate shower that required all new plumbing to get it just the way he wanted it. His wife Ladybird was kind and well respected. Nancy Reagan was so quirky and annoying and known for her outbursts when things didn't go a certain way. Young Jackie Kennedy's story was just so sad because of circumstance yet she always treated the staff kindly.
Many significant and even tragic events such as the JFK assassination and 9/11 attack and its aftermath are covered in this book. Enjoyable read overall (4/5 stars)