Category Archives: Reviewed by Carol

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

The story begins in 1937 in Shanghai, China, where two young adult women who live with their parents make money by modeling for calendars and other products.  Their world comes to a crashing halt when they learn that their father gambled away all the family’s money and assets.  Then the country is invaded by Japan.  May and Pearl travel to the United States to be with husbands selected for them by their father.  The characters are interesting.  History jumps off the page while you are immersed in this tale.

The Great Divorce : A nineteeth-century mother’s extraordinary fight against her husband, the Shakers, and her times by Ilyon Woo

In the early 1800s a woman had few rights.  If she married, she didn’t own property.  If she separated from her husband, she usually didn’t have custody of her children.  Eunice Chapman, a small woman, enlisted the support of New York State legislators to get custody of her children after her husband joined the Shakers at the Watervliet site.  This true story reads like fiction.  It is balanced and enlightening.

The Penguin Who Knew Too Much: A Meg Langslow Mystery by Donna Andrews

This is the eighth book in the Meg Langslow series, all of which have birds in the titles and in the stories.  It all started with Peacocks.  The books do not have to be read in order.  Some have more laughs than others.  This one is laugh out loud funny.  You get exposed to Meg’s ever-growing extended family.  A body is found in her home while she and her fiancé are planning their wedding.  To add to the mix, a zoo-load of animals is being dumped off at their home.  Just sit back and enjoy.

Day After Night by Anita Diamant

Just when I thought I had heard of most of the twists and turns related to the Holocaust, another facet is discovered.  This novel, based on a true situation, tells the story of four young women who go to Israel after World War II.  They were placed by the British in Atlit, an internment camp for “illegal” immigrants.  We learn about life at the camp, the different paths which brought the women to Atlit, and their life afterwards.  It is a richly told story by the author of The Red Tent.

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother by James McBride

A black man and his 11 siblings were raised in predominately African American sections in the boroughs of New York by his white mother.  She didn’t speak of her upbringing while the children were growing up.  Mr. McBride explores her past while recounting his childhood. This is an engrossing biography about race, religion and human nature.