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?

 

If you enjoyed this post please feel free to sign up to my latest posts and don’t forget to check out my travel blog: luxurybackpack.com (You can sign up via the homepage!)

You can also follow me on facebook, twitter, instagram & bloglovin‘. Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Book Club + Giveaway

Book Club

Welcome to the Cup of Coffee Book Club. A book club for travellers around the world to share their current read and exchange recommendations.

I am book obsessed.

One of my favourite things to do is rummaging through thrift stores and book swaps around the world and picking up some well read, battered books for my next read!

Before the days of Kindle, I would only ever take one book with me when I travelled, and once finished I would swap it out at a hostel book swap (most have them) and then do it again and again. I usually ended up taking home an old, coverless book which smelt funny!

But I also love to talk about books. I studied English at uni, and from then I loved talking to my friends about what we were reading and swapping recommendations. That is why I started my online book club early this year on Goodreads so that I could meet and chat to other travellers around the world about whatever book I was reading that month.

This is your official invitation to join!

Invite to CoC book club

About the Cup of Coffee Book Club

Firstly, Cup Of Coffee Book Club is an informal online discussion about whatever we are reading. You can opt in and out, and it is just a nice way of having a book chosen for you! I download most of the books on Kindle when I’m travelling, but sometimes I do a giveaway and we get to read a brand new book before it has even hit the shelves.

How it works

I select a book each month to read, and we talk about it the following month. You can send suggestions, and participate in the discussion as much or as little as you like. Some of the members just enjoy reading that months suggestion, whereas others love to get involved with the discussions.

It Is Easy To Join

You just need to have a Goodreads profile – either the app or using the website, and then join the Cup Of Coffee Book Club!

What we read

Everything! I love travel books, however often I pick a book which is something that you might just enjoy reading whilst on your travels, vacation, or tucked up in your own bed at night. I usually choose something that will spark an interesting discussion, and am always open to suggestions from active members.

For this months read I am doing a giveaway!

The book in question doesn’t come out until this week in stores and it is Wilde Lake by New York Times bestseller Laura Lippman. A suspenseful family thriller, it is the perfect travel read, great for a vacation or long plane journey.

I have 6 first edition hardback copies to give away, and it is super easy to enter. All you have to do is join the Cup of Coffee Book Club on Goodreads, and once you have done this you can enter below!

Please note that you must have joined the book club to be able to enter, but once you have done you can enter! This giveaway is only open to US residents only – sorry to all you none-americans. I will try my best to do a worldwide giveaway next time so that everyone can enter. 

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Cup Of Coffee Book Club

The winners will be drawn on Tuesday 17th May

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions – emily@luxurybackpack.com

Thank you to William Morrow for supplying the complimentary books for this months read. If you are a winner of the giveaway please be sure to write your review of the book once you have read it on Goodreads!

If you enjoyed this post please feel free to sign up to my latest posts and don’t forget to check out my travel blog: luxurybackpack.com (You can sign up via the homepage!)

You can also follow me on facebook, twitter, instagram & bloglovin‘. Thanks for reading!

February’s Book Club Review

Book Club, Uncategorized

Hi All,

As you know, for our February book of the month we have been reading Where’d you Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. It’s not quite the end of the month if you are still reading, but here is my review to get us started on the discussion. I have tried not to include any spoilers, but you might not want to read on if you are still not finished with your copy!

shutterstock_314936252

When I finished this book I was left with very mixed feelings. Firstly, happiness; because I could rest assured the characters were going to be okay, and because finally I knew what had become of Bernadette; and lastly, a great sadness, because I was no longer in the throngs of an exciting journey in Antarctica. Compelling, entertaining, and satirical brilliance; this novel was both heart-warming and witty.

I am a great lover of character over plot line: I would read five hundred pages about paint drying if the characters watching it dry were well composed, and in this novel the characters do not disappoint. Bee is our main narrator, a sweet “Grade-S” student, who we see teeter on the edge of stroppy pre-teen and childlike innocence over the course of the novel, giving her an edge to accompany her sharp wit.

Her narration is cut  between the varying correspondence between the other characters. It is through these letters and emails that both Bee and the reader piece together the events that lead to the disappearance of Bernadette. The letter-writing style took me a while to get my teeth into, I must admit, but what begins with a lengthy introduction to our characters through short snippets of correspondence becomes a complex, interwoven storyline. Just after half way through the book you enter cannot-put-down territory, and the reader begins to assemble all of the emails and a story is built from the fragments.

In using varying narrators through the form of transcripts, the entire novel is a tapestry of voices and tone. The techy-intellectual narrations of Elgie and Soo-Lin (I want to slap her) and the youthful tone of Bee are cut by the dazzling, intellectual narration of Bernadette. When her dialogue comes it is refreshing, and leaves you with beautiful phrases that linger long after she has one again disappeared. She talks about Seattle with great dislike, and refers the other parents as “gnats”. A recluse, who only leaves the house in dark shades and a headscarf, she appears rather crazy from the start. However, as we learn of her more obscure actions and it transpires that she may well actually be so, you are left believing, along with Bee, quite the opposite. Whether she be present in the novel, assumed to be dead, crazy, or sane, Bernadette has the strongest presence throughout the book, and one that is most welcome.

The satirical nature of this book means that it is crushingly funny, and yet despite tongue in cheek approach, Semple’s characters are exceedingly intelligent, and the jokes are sharp witted and well devised. It is clear from the prose that the writer, Maria Semple, is a television writer (“Arrested Development” and “Mad About You”), and this brings us something that is probably different from anything you have ever read, and this is a very good thing!

So lets get started with some discussion!

shutterstock_308584682

Head over to Cup of Coffee book club on Goodreads to join the conversation, or comment below!

 1. Which character did you feel developed the most over the course of the novel?

2. Do you think the structure worked well? Have you read any other novels that used a similar correspondence-driven narration?

3. Bernadette’s journey and disappearance was both literal and metaphorical. Which do you feel was the most significant for her?

4. Which did you think were the most significant relationships in the novel?

5. What did you make of the roles the “gnats” Angela and Soo-Lin played in the story? How did they affect the family relationship between Bernadette, Elgin, and Bee?

6. What do you think Maria Semple is trying to convey about human nature?

Happy discussion! And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott for our March review!

Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book Of Wonders

Book Club, Uncategorized

The book for March has been chosen, and it is Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book Of Wonders: A Novel by Julianna Baggott.

Baggott, who also writes under the pen names N.E. Bode and Bridget Asher, has written 18 books, with her novel Pure being her most notable to date. She lives in Florida which is the place I now call home (for myself this is exciting but probably irrelevant to you). Read all about the author here.

She also writes a really great blog; introducing new writers and discussing her own writing techniques. It’s a good read for aspiring writers out there!

Julianna Baggott

About the book

It appeared on New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2015 and they described it as an ‘intricate, tenderhearted novel’. The story spans the twentieth century, and combines the stories of a mother, her daughter, and her two granddaughters. One of the granddaughters is the only person who knows where the final ‘Seventh’ book is, which holds the truths of Harriet’s life. A story of love, motherhood, and secrets, I cannot wait to start turning the pages of this novel.

So read along with me, and we will be reviewing this book in April. Don’t forget to read this month’s book which is Where’d You Go, Bernadette which we will be reviewing in March. The ‘Cup of Coffee Book Club’ can be found on Goodreads, but I will also be posting the review and welcoming conversation and comments right here as well.

I hope you enjoy March’s read, and that you can answer the question on everybody’s lips: Was Harriet Wolf a real person, or is she a fictional character created by our author Julianna Baggott?

Enjoy!

Emily