Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman Review

Book Club
Hey Everyone!
I hope you all had a great month of May! I have left a little bit longer before starting this discussion to give everyone time to receive their books and actually have chance to read them! A big thank you to William Morrow for kindly providing this months read.
I had heard about but had never read Laura Lippman before, and was intrigued to read something new. (On a side note I am going to her hometown of Baltimore this weekend for a visit!)
 Wilde Lake Laura Lippman

My review:

As a new reader of Laura Lippman, I must say I was instantly impressed with her writing – she is indisputably a very talented novelist and her personal tone was instantly captivating.
The story was gripping. Lu is working on a murder trial, and it transpires that it is interwoven into the very core of the family. Lippman successfully drew a parallel between every stage of the trial and the events of the past, and throughout her research, Lu discovers that fundamental truths about her family were in fact lies. This was interesting, and the story certainly didn’t lack in terms of twists and turns, with the reader genuinely not knowing what was going to happen one chapter to the next.
I found the pace of the book largely successful, and enjoyed the changing between third and first person. I would of preferred it to pick up a little bit towards the end, as it was consistently paced from start to finish without much of a build up to the end which didn’t do anything to add to the suspense.
The characters were very well conceptualised and lovingly created by Lippman. The constant personal details, down to Lu’s choice of salad without dressing, and heel hight of her boots meant that the reader really got to know the characters intimately. This therefore allowed you to become invested in the story, both in analysing what is happening with the trial, and discovering the truths about the family. Lu is a tough, very flawed and therefore very real main character. Her struggles with feminism, and living in the shadows of her father and brother are just part of her every day life, and therefore we come to sympathise with her quite soon into the book. This along with the fact that she wears her flaws on her sleeve make her very ordinary and likeable as a character.
I liked the transition between third and first person as I found it added a very real element and allowed the reader to get further into the story than an entire third person narrative would of allowed. This complimented the way the trial linked in so many ways to Lu’s family and personal life, and gave the reader an intimate opening into the entire workings of a family.
My one main gripe with the story was that I didn’t find the death of AJ to be convincing, and having got to know the characters well enough throughout the book I felt this wasn’t a believable ending for him. I thought that Lippman was trying too hard to create the usual dramatic crime ending, when in fact a resolution in another more subtle way would of been more beneficial.
I really enjoyed Wilde Lake, and look forward to discussing it over on the Cup Of Coffee Book Club or in the comments below.

Do you agree/disagree with my points above?

Discussion Questions:

  1. The novel is told from Lu’s perspective, but changes from first person to third person. How effective was this storytelling style ? Why did you think Laura Lippman chose to tell the story this way?
  2. Which character did you enjoy the most and which character did you find more successful?
  3. Would you say this book was more suitably classed as a crime fiction or a family drama and why?
  4. AJ Brant was very much the good boy as a child, who developed into a successful adult. What did you make of Lippmans treatment with him in the way she threw him into a midlife crisis and divorce, and in his ultimate death?Do you think these two events in AJ’s life suited his character? Why do you think she chose this path for him? Do you think his death was successful?
  5. What do you think Lippman is telling us about motherhood throughout the book? Why did she choose for Lu to be a mother to children who aren’t biologically hers, and for Lu’s mother to be clinically insane? Do you think these choices are significant in any way?

 

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March’s Book Club Review

Book Club

Hello fellow book lovers!

If any of you are following the book club via my blogon Goodreads, or are just passing by looking for some reading inspiration, for our March book of the month we read Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott and it was a fantastic read.

Julianna Baggott

Harriet Wolf’s seventh novel has disappeared. The characters are on an unintentional sudden quest to find it. As more truths about themselves are unearthed along the way, they discover the book was a lot closer than they thought.

Firstly I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the book. I found it very easy to read due to the very well devised, complex characters. Each were immensely flawed, and therefore you were racing to the end to see how these jagged pieces of a jigsaw fit together as a family.

There was an extremely tender and raw storyline running throughout, in that the whole family was healing from their break up and from Harriet’s death. They had come unravelled as a family and seemed to be incapable of putting themselves back together in any new form. The three women were left rather blindly trying to navigate through their lives, and were much in need of finding the book if anything for the connection to the ‘leader’ and strong force over their family.

I really enjoyed the fantastical elements to the novel (did anyone else see so many references to harry potter! – Tilton was extremely like the HP character Luna – ‘pale golden skin and luminous hair – silken girl’. Also the references to her being ‘a piece of my own soul being returned to me’ reminded me of the horcruxes which are pieces of Voldemorts soul – anyway, just putting this out there!

I am not usually a fan of several narrators – as we discussed about Where’d You Go, Bernadette for February’s book of the month, but I must say this worked SO well. In fact i think this was the reason that the book was so addictive, you were so ready to devour whatever the new narrator had to say – you didn’t want to miss a trick.

I thought the structure was really interesting – leaving so many things hidden, yet revealing new things continually, and always leaving the audience and the characters in the dark in someway so as to keep everyone guessing.

We are discussing the book over on the book club now, so do join in!

April’s book of the month is American Housewife: Stories, by Helen Ellis. I am really looking forward to reading and discussing short stories next, so due grab a copy and join the conversation!

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Until next time,
Emily xox
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Weekly Witterings – 2nd Edition

Book Club, Life, Uncategorized, Weekly Witterings

To Witter: to chatter or babble pointlessly or at unnecessary length. n. pointless chat; chatter.

Presenting my weekly roundup in order to spread the love and keep you updated with my adventures. This is a way of sharing my inspiration, music, books, and thoughts that have been a part of my week in addition to my blog posts. Think of it as a coffee and a quick natter with an old pal.

Website of the Week

I have to be biased here, because this week I have been working really hard on a new blog that I have created, Luxury Backpack. Its a BRAND NEW concept that I dreamed up whilst on my road trip around Florida as a way of sharing my travel hints, tips and tricks (I’ve got thousands!) which make a budget trip feel more luxurious. Read all about it here, and of course follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Insty.

Enough plugging, but on the same theme of budget luxury travel, I found this great website Budget Traveller which is a great website for finding the best experiences for your buck; such as alternative budget travel experiences, cheap eats, and money saving tips from the experts. Highly recommended!

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Song of the Week

This week brought us The Grammy’s, and exhausted from our day of travelling, our first night in Miami was spend eating sushi and watching the whole ceremony. So after watching it I couldn’t get James Bay out of my head. Have a listen to Let It Go here.

Book of the Week

It’s been such a busy week on our road trip that I have hardly had time for reading, and am still gripped by Valley of the Dolls (nearly at the end now). I have just completed my review of the book I have been reading for my Cup of Coffee Book Club on Goodreads which you can read here. The next book for March is Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders which I can’t wait to start! On my travels I found the cutest book which I am dying to get started on called Chomp by Carl Hiaasen which is set right here in Florida. It is about Wahoo Cray and his father, Mickey Cray, both professional animal wranglers, who are hired to assist with the latest episode of a reality series titled Expedition Survival! Mickey is injured by an iguana falling on his head (only in Florida!) and so Wahoo takes it upon himself to accept for both of them. I’ll review it once I’m finished!

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Food of the Week

We found the most amazing little farm shop style food markets on the road, where we bought local honey, bee pollen (which I’m now raving on about to anyone who will listen!), and fresh fruit and veg which I’ve been whizzing up in my blender.

 

Working Out this Week

This week we didn’t have too much time to work out, but we spent a lot of time wandering around Miami beach and watching everyone else doing active things! I did have a few minutes of my day that weren’t jam packed, so I’ve been doing 7 minute ab work outs. I call it the Miami Beach Workout! 1 minute of each ab work out back to back for 7 minutes:

Sit ups – flutter kicks -bicycle kicks – crunches – scissors – leg ups – plank

Now tell me you don’t have 7 minutes to spare?

Film of the Week

I recently watched the comedy Trainwreck. I wasn’t looking forward to it as I really can’t stand these stupid American comedies, but it was pretty funny, and now I finally get the whole Amy Schumer girl crush everyone has got going… she’s basically me and every girl friend I have ever had rolled in to one!

Adventure of the Week

This week I’ve been to Miami, the Florida Keys, and through the Everglades. The Everglades were so intriguing, and learning all about the history and wildlife there was really interesting. I couldn’t get over the colour in Miami. So many candy colours, from the buildings to the ocean to the sky. I really haven’t seen anything like it before. Have a look on my Instagram for lots more pictures from my road trip.

 

Shopping of the Week

Please Santa, I know it’s early, but I would LOVE something from this beautiful marble crafter Allegra Stone. I am in love with her designs, especially the trays. Check out images of her pieces here.

allegra Stone

Love, Emily  x

Quit your job and follow your dream. 

Life, Travel, Uncategorized

It’s January and so the title of my post probably seems a little overdone lately, what with all the resolutions mantras and self-help jargon flying around on the web. But in this case it is necessary, because, I have just done the above. I have quit my job and I have left London. Why? To move to Florida and become a writer. I have always wanted to write books, for as long as I remember, but always wanted life and work experience before dedicating myself to it, and now, for many reasons, it is the right time to go for it. The main reason being that ‘the American’ is ready to go back over the pond and this time the long distance thing isn’t going to work, frankly because we are fed up of it. So, I am uprooting once again, as I always seem to do, but this time with a plan, and a man, and a final destination (sort of).


I think it is unrealistic to think that you will completely LOVE every minute of your workday, as even a ‘dream’ job has its tough points. If you have a hobby or interest which fulfills you in your spare time, yet your line of work is completely different, that’s great. Your passion doesn’t have to be your life’s work. I do however believe that if every ounce of your being is calling for you to do something, and that something happens to be a kind of career, then plan wisely and go for it! Of course it will take a lot of work to dive into a creative career, and there is always a risk. Personally, I am not thinking about the worst case scenario, as sometimes you have to dive in head first and know in your heart when the water looks good enough to do so.

My journey is not just about a career change either. It is a culture change, a life change, and a weather change (which is the best bit!) and I am so ready for this next chapter.


Follow me on my journey!

Emily