Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman Review

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

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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