Mini-reviews: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld; The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty; and Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

sisterlandTitle: Sisterland
Author: Curtis Sittenfeld
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Random House Audio
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Audiobook from the public library
Audiobook reader: Rebecca Lowman
Audiobook length: 14 hours and 59 minutes
First line: The first earthquake wasn’t the strongest – that would come later, in February 1812 – but it must have been the most astonishing.

Goodreads blurb: From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister and to face truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.

I can’t remember which blogger’s review of Sisterland convinced me to give it a try, even though I wasn’t initially drawn to the story. To whoever you are: thank you! I thoroughly enjoyed Sittenfeld’s exploration of twin-ness, sisterhood, marriage, and psychic powers. I found the ending fascinating, and not what I expected, but in a good way. Rebecca Lowman was a perfect choice to narrate Kate’s story, and I’m glad I chose audio with this one.

husbandssecretTitle: The Husband’s Secret
Author: Liane Moriarty
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: It was all because of the Berlin Wall.

Goodreads blurb: Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Wow. I can now see why everyone raves about Liane Moriarty’s work. This book packs a powerful punch, and will just about rip your heart out. I don’t really want to say too much, because any spoilers would ruin the experience for you, but this is definitely a book that will stay with you for a long time.

johnnytremainTitle: Johnny Tremain
Author: Esther Forbes
Genre: YA historical fiction
Publisher: Yearling
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library
First line: On rocky islands gulls woke.

Goodreads blurb: Johnny Tremain, a young apprentice silversmith, is caught up in the danger and excitement of 1775 Boston, just before the Revolutionary War. But even more gripping than living through the drama of Revolutionary Boston is the important discovery Johnny makes in his own life.

I remember reading this as a kid, and when I assigned it to Jonathan for literature this year, I knew I would read it, too. I wanted to revisit it, as well as show Jonathan that I didn’t just assign him books that I wouldn’t enjoy reading myself. Also, it fit into the War Through the Generations Challenge. Anyway, I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it as much as I remembered as a kid. Jonathan liked it a lot more than I did, so maybe it’s an age thing. I listened to another YA historical for the challenge, Gary Paulsen’s Woods Runner, and I thought his writing was much stronger.

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12 Responses to Mini-reviews: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld; The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty; and Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

  1. JoAnn @Lakeside Musing
    Twitter: lakesidemusing
    says:

    The Husband’s Secret sounds great! Amy Einhorn publishes some great titles.

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    If you liked The Husband’s Secret, you absolutely have to read What Alice Forgot. So so good. And I think the person that convinced me to get Sisterland was Florinda. I have it loaded and will get to it soon.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I’m off to see if the library has What Alice Forgot on audio. Otherwise, it will have to wait a couple months, but I will definitely get to it!

  3. irene says:

    Thank you for your thoughts, sometimes when a blogger recommends a book, one are hesitant, especially since you have a wack of books to read, and then BAM you love it. I always felt that way, don’t ask your kids to read something that you wouldn’t. Great stuff.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Irene – I know – sometimes I wonder why I wait so long when everyone’s raving!

  4. Vasilly
    Twitter: Vasilly
    says:

    I keep reading positive things about The Husband’s Secret. I may add it to my tbr list.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      V – it is definitely a page-turner. I also loved that it was set in Australia, which is a setting I don’t come across very often.

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    I loved The Husband’s Secret. It’ll probably end up on my favorites list!

  6. Beth F
    Twitter: BethFishReads
    says:

    I loved Sisterland!!! And The Husband’s Secret. I haven’t read Johnny Tremain since I was in elementary school, but I still remember it. It must have made a big impression on me — especially his hand. I think I’ll pass on the reread and just remember that I liked it. 🙂

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Candace -yes, the hand thing was brutal. It really stuck in Jonathan’s mind, too.