POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: Secrets

Book Review: The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

Author: Joanne Harris
Title: The Gospel of Loki
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Saga (Simon and Schuster)
Number of Pages: 315
Narrator: Loki
Quality Rating: 84.5

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

What’s It About?

Loki is born in Chaos, a murky underworld lacking form and substance. Curious about Asgard, the world of the gods above, he wanders from his home and runs into the Allfather–Odin. Forming a pack with the Allfather, Loki agrees to use his dark magic and cleverness for Odin’s cause in exchange for a home among the gods.

The other gods are not so taken with Loki. And, when Loki gets himself into a pinch from a bargain he makes with a contractor, the gods wish to put him to death. Thus begins a series of exploits Loki pulls off to cunningly get himself back into the good graces of the gods.

Eventually, Loki realizes that he’s never going to be truly accepted among the gods. So, instead, he sets out to destroy them. One by one, he begins to seek out weaknesses to exploit in the gods–playing them against one another to his own end. Nevertheless, as he becomes increasingly entangled in the world of the gods, he wonders whether his mischief is only going to end in his own demise.

Should You Read It?

If you are a fan of Norse mythology, you’ll love this book. The tales of Loki incorporate many well-known legends–amending them slightly with cynical and capricious slants. If you enjoy the kind of story where the archetypal villain is cast as the victim, you’ll also enjoy this story. The narrative is written in a sarcastic and whimsical manner, so if you enjoy that sort of tone, you’ll be intrigued by Loki’s account. If these criteria sound appealing to you, you may want to give this book a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: The Guardian, The Independent, Kirkus Reviews, SFF World

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Joanne Harris: Runelight (2011), The French Maket (2005), Chocolat (1999), many others

Advertisements

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Author: Paula Hawkins
Title: The Girl on the Train
Genre: Mystery and Suspense
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Riverhead (Random House)
Number of Pages: 336
Narrators: Rachel, Megan, and Anna
Quality Rating: 81.34

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

What’s It About?

Everyday, Rachel takes the train into town so that her roommate thinks she still has her job. Ever since her husband cheated her and left her for another women, she has dissolved into a pitiful drunk. Eventually, her new slovenly manner had cost Rachel her job. Now, she rides the train everyday and makes up stories about the people she sees. One of these people just happens to be Megan.

Megan has grown restless in her marriage. She is tired of simply being a housewife. In an attempt to experience something new and exciting, she starts an affair with another man that has recently come into her life. One day, Rachel happens by on the train and sees her kissing a man who isn’t her husband.

Soon after Rachel sees her betraying her husband, Megan disappears. Trying to help, Rachel tells the police about the affair Megan was having. Given that she’s a drunk, though, her testimony is deemed unreliable. Anna, Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife, had recently hired Rachel as a babysitter. As the worlds of Rachel, Anna, and Megan collide, all three women must face a truth that neither of them are prepared to face.

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy a good psychological thriller built around dark secrets and hidden relationships, you’ll love this book. It has rightly been likened to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and it also bares a resemblance to Kimberly McCreight’s Where They Found Her. Themes include drunkeness, adultery, abuse, female independence, and broken memory. While the story does contain a good bit of reflection and introspection, there are a large number of twists and turns that build mystery and keep the reader guessing until the end.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Paula Hawkins: The Girl on the Train is Paula Hawkins’s debut novel.

Book Review: The Sound of Glass by Karen White

Author: Karen White
Title: The Sound of Glass
Genre: Literary
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: NAL (Random House)
Number of Pages: 432
Narrator: Merritt (first person), Edith and Loralee (third person)
Quality Rating: TBD

The Sound of Glass by Karen White

What’s It About?

A few years after the passing of her husband, Merritt discovers that she has received the inheritance of his estate following the passing of her deceased husband’s mother. As she makes the move from her home in Maine to Beaufort, South Carolina, she begins to discover a side of her husband that she’s never seen before.

But Merritt isn’t alone. Shortly after her arrival, she is joined at the estate by her young, widowed step-mother, Loralee, and ten year old half-brother, Owen. Loralee is everything Merritt is not–peppy, southern, and pretentiously elegant. But Merritt lets them stay, because she feels as if she needs to get to know her young brother.

As Merritt gets to know Loralee, though, she discovers there’s more to her than meets the eye. To her surprise, the unexpected companionship of her new family may be just what she needs to face her husband’s past and find closure for the future.

Should You Read It?

This story is all about the characters–three women and the way they influence one another across time. If you’re interested in the kind of story that digs into the lives of its characters and slowly reveal secrets that both harm and heal, you’ll love this book. The tone is at once heart breaking and at once uplifting, but ultimately redemptive. If you enjoy a story about a family finding healing, you should give this a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Chicks Dig Lit, Kathy Reads Fiction

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Karen White: A Long Time Gone (2014), The Time in Between (2013), Sea Change (2012)

Book Review: Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

Author: Kimberly McCreight
Title: Where They Found Her
Genre: Literary; Suspense
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 336
Narrator: Molly Sanderson
Quality Rating: 84.2

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight

What’s It About?

Molly Sanderson is a new reporter for a small newspaper in Ridgedale–a university town in which her husband has gotten a job as an English Professor. As she seeks recovery from a recent mental breakdown, she wants to make the best of the job in order to become a better mother again for her young daughter. When a lead reporter takes a few days’ leave for minor operation, she receives the opportunity to cover a major story. There’s just one problem: the story involves an investigation into the discovery of an infant’s dead body–and Molly’s recent bout of depression had stemmed from the miscarriage of her second child.

As Molly investigates the story, despite her misgivings, she stumbles across a large cast of characters from a police chief, an overbearing mother, and the “town whore” to a university president, a campus security guard, and a school teacher–all who may or may not be connected to the baby. As she digs further into the case, she discovers a dark history buried for decades by some of Ridgedale’s most long-term and well-respected residents. As the truth slowly begins to come to light, Molly herself is drawn into the story in unexpected and heartbreaking ways.

Should You Read It?

If you like the kind of psychological mystery that climatically brings a slew of disconnected characters together in a web of dark secrets, you’ll love this book. The story is heavily character-driven, with the inclusion of perspectives from several other characters in addition to Molly’s first person account. But the mystery surrounding the identity of the baby and its parents also gives the story a suspenseful momentum that readers of authors such as Gillian Flynn would enjoy. Essentially, if you love a mystery built around the secrets of rich, fleshed-out characters, you may want to give this story a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, Books on the Table, Jen’s Book Thoughts

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Kimberly McCreight: Reconstructing Amelia (2013)

Book Review: God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

Author: Toni Morrison
Title: God Help the Child
Genre: Literary
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Random House
Number of Pages: 192
Narrator: Sweetness, Bride, Etc.
Quality Rating: 80.52

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

What’s It About?

Sweetness is a light-skinned black woman married to a light-skinned black man. They’re so light-skinned that they can pass as whites, and they live in such a time that it is beneficial to do so. Everything is going perfectly in their relationship until Sweetness gives birth to a baby girl who has extremely dark skin. Embarrassed, her husband leaves her to raise the girl on her own.

As the little girl grows, she feels the constant contempt of her mother. When she is six years old, she falsely accuses a woman of child molestation and sends her to prison for fifteen years–simply because she wants to gain her mother’s approval. The moment she reaches adulthood, Bride–as she comes to call herself–abruptly leaves the mother by whom she’s always felt scorned.

As an adult, Bride has become incredibly successful as an entrepreneur in the beauty industry. She is in a serious relationship with a man whose past demons make it difficult for him to commit. When the man suddenly leaves her, Bride begins to investigate how her mother’s abuse has shaped her own disposition in life. As the story unfolds, child abuse is explored in a myriad of ways through the lens of several characters.

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy the prior work of Toni Morrison, this book–though set in the modern day–carries her signature style. The story is about racism–but not really about racism. It’s really about child abuse, and Sweetness’s contempt for the color of her daughter’s skin is just one of many examples in the novel of how children are exploited, abused, and ruined by the adults they trust. If this topic is important to you, you would probably find this book very helpful in understanding the impact abuse has on children as they claw their way into adulthood.

Links and References

Author Information: Wikipedia, The Toni Morrison Society

Book Reviews: New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, LA Times

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Toni Morrison: Paradise (1997), Beloved (1987), The Bluest Eye (1970)

Book Review: Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova

Author: Krassi Zourkova
Title: Wildalone
Genre: Fantasy; Paranormal; Romance
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Number of Pages: 384
Narrator: Thea Slavin
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 43 reviews, the average reader rating was 83.26%.

Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova

What’s It About?

Thea Slavin is a musical prodigy who has come from her home in Bulgaria to study at Princeton University in America. Soon after she arrives, she develops a relationship with a man who seems helplessly attracted to her. She is drawn to him as well, but she knows that he is harboring a secret that could tear them apart.

Years ago, Thea’s older sister had been a student at Princeton. She had mysteriously died, and her body had been stolen–and never recovered. As Thea researches the circumstances of her sister’s death and disappearance, she discovers that her sister may have been involved in the secret practices of a Dionysian cult.

Within the family history of the Slavins is a legend about wildalones–mythological women who imprison men to their wills. As Thea finds out more about her sister and this strange yet irresistible new man to whom she is drawn, she begins to believe the myths may hold more truth than superstition. The question is–will she be able to handle the truth about her lost sister and her new lover when it is finally revealed to her?

Should You Read It?

The comparisons on the cover jacket to The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and Twilight are fitting. The story is like The Secret History in that it’s heavily couched in Greek mythology–particularly that involving sex and debauchery. It’s like Jane Eyre in that Thea’s lover does have a “secret wife” of sorts “hidden in the attic.” Finally, it’s like the Twilight saga not only in that it involves a supernatural love triangle but also in that it consists of the erotically tense interplay between a dominant male and a submissive, albeit stubborn, female. Although the plot would certainly fall under the umbrella of a paranormal romance, the poetic nature of the writing style could qualify the book as a literary work. References to the supernatural are subtle–laced with mystery and ambiguity. The erotic intensity, however, fills the pages from start to finish. So, if you enjoy paranormal romance but also are drawn to something a little more high brow, I’d definitely recommend Wildalone.

Links and References

Author Information: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, Dark Matter Zine, Urban Fantasy Magazine

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Krassi Zourkova: Wildalone is Krassi Zourkova’s debut novel.

Book Review: First There Was Forever by Juliana Romano

Author: Juliana Romano
Title: First There Was Forever
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: Dial (Penguin)
Number of Pages: 400
Narrator: Lima

First There Was Forever by Juliana Romano

What’s It About?

As they enter their sophomore year, Lima’s best friend reveals that she’s lost her virginity to a stranger over summer break. Shrugging if off as “no big deal,” Lima’s friend becomes increasingly more involved in the party scene–a space in which Lima is extremely uncomfortable. Eventually, Lima’s friend all but abandons her for another girl who is more interesting and fun to be around.

Lima has never had a serious relationship with a boy, and she has no plans to start one. That is, until she meets Nate. Never has a boy so cool and so attractive shown an interest in her. And, as painful as it is for her to admit it, she’s starting to have feelings for him too. There’s only one problem–this is the boy her best friend has always had a crush on, and Lima has promised never to be with him.

As the sophomore year draws to a close, Lima must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she try to sustain a dying friendship and, in doing so, lose her first real chance at love? Or, will she follow her heart and accept the diverging paths she and her best friend have begun to take?

Should You Read It?

Essentially, this story is about the complicated interplay between self-discovery, friendship, and romance experienced during female adolescence. You could call it “teenage chick lit.” If you are interested in love triangles in young adult literature, you’ll probably enjoy this story. But, at its heart, this book is really about the fleeting nature of friendship during the time in a person’s life that is most filled with change.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, YA Love, Rather Be Reading

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Juliana Romano: First There Was Forever is Juliana Romano’s debut novel.

Book Review: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

Author: Rachel Joyce
Title: The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
Genre: Literary
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Random House
Number of Pages: 384
Narrator: Queenie Hennessy
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 167 reviews, the average reader rating was 86.95%.

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

What’s It About?

Queenie Hennessy has reached the end of her days and she lies ready to pass in a hospice facility of southern England. Then, she unexpectedly receives a message from an old friend whom she has always secretly loved. “Wait for me,” says Harold Fry. Her friend, she discovers, is walking all the way from the northern end of England to see her–believing that he can keep her alive as long as he is traveling.

Partly overjoyed and partly panicked, Queenie begins writing Harold a letter that she insists he read when he arrives–before he sees her. All her life, she has been harboring two secrets–the secret of her love for him and a secret that can destroy any love he might have for her. As she writes her letter, she tells her story in a series of flashbacks and slowly reveals these secrets in her narrative.

As Queenie waits for Harold, she becomes the center of attention among the other residents of the hospice and its staff. Everyone gets involved in waiting for Harold Fry–giving a group of dying men and women a reason to hang on and inspiring an outside world with a remarkable love story.

Should You Read It?

Although I haven’t read it at this time, I understand this book to be a “companion novel” to the story of Harold Fry–I
in which Queenie is a minor character in the tale of Harold and his wife. So, if you enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you’ll definitely want to read this. While carrying a serious, melancholy tone throughout, there is plenty of dialogue laced with humor. With much of the story unfolding through flashbacks and dialogue, the novel is largely character-driven. If you enjoy contemporary British works focusing on memory and longing, you’ll love Queenie’s story.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Washington Post, The Telegraph, The Guardian

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Rachel Joyce: This book is the sequel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (2012), which takes place concurrently with The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.

Book Review: Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik

Author: Lili Anolik
Title: Dark Rooms
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Number of Pages: 329
Narrator: Grace Baker
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B-, Very Good; of the first 32 reviews, the average reader rating was 81.25%.

Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik

What’s It About?

Grace Baker is an ordinary, middle-class teenage girl living in Hartford, Connecticut. Just as she is about to graduate high school and move on to a prestigious liberal arts college, her younger sister Nica is murdered. When the murder goes unsolved, Grace decides to put off college and stay in Hartford to seek out her sister’s killer.

As she works through her list of potential suspects, she is forced to deal with the fall out from Nica’s death. Her father has become listless and spends most of his days sulking. Her mother has left her father and moved away to be by herself. On top of her parents’ issues, Grace realizes that she is pregnant–and she honestly doesn’t remember having slept with anyone recently.

Working with her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Grace begins to investigate her sister’s circle of close friends. The more leads Grace gets on her sister’s murder, the more she realizes that her family isn’t exactly what it seems. Her sister, it turns out, had secrets that Grace knew nothing about. And the revelation of these secrets ultimately lead Grace to discovering the mystery behind Nica’s death.

Should You Read It?

This book has been rightly compared to the writings of Megan Abbott and Gillian Flynn, as well as to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. The story–with its cast of sex-crazed, counter-cultural characters–can be described as a psychological soap opera. As the plot develops, the mystery builds around tangled relationships and sexual secrets. While it is a murder mystery, the intrigue¬†has less to do with the murder than it does with the web of secrets leading up to it. If you’re into that sort of thing, I would definitely give this book a read.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Vanity Fair Interview

Book Reviews: LA Review, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, BookPage

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Lili Anolik: Dark Rooms is Lili Anolik’s debut novel. However, she is an accomplished popular journalist and currently works for Vanity Fair.