Ann's Blog
Ann McCauley is a Pennsylvania women's literature author, who wrote the books Runaway Grandma and Mother Love, both available for sale at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
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September 2020
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08/30/20
August Blog
Filed under: General
Posted by: Ann @ 4:23 pm
The nights are getting cooler, a few leaves have already started to show off their golden, red and orange colors. I love the change of season, and autumn is my favorite. Especially this year. Yes, we’re still socially distancing and wearing masks. Our church is still not open for services. Our family reunion was even canceled this year. We haven’t had a family gathering with the grandchildren since Christmas. And the list goes on

Even with all the lawn and gardening work this time of the year, with no where to go and no one to see, I have lots of time to read and write. My writing partners and I are still working hard on our writing project. The manuscript is coming along nicely. It can be a bit tricky writing dialogue when two of the characters are not there! But it is still a fun and challenging project.

Story Circle’s new website is up, (please check it out @ storycircle.org); new book reviews are being posted. You can read my review of Bells For Eli at https://www.storycircle.org/book_review/bells-for-eli/   It was author Susan Beckham Zurenda’s debut novel.

Maybe I’ve read too many books this month. It’s an eclectic list as usual. See what you think:
Toward That Which Is Beautiful by Marian O’Shea Wernicke, Fiction. 2020. Debut novel set in summer 1964 in the highlands of Peru. A young American novice nun flees the convent with no money or food, not even a jacket for the cool nights and no destination. She wanted to be anywhere but there. She had her faith and her shame of having fallen in love with a rebellious charismatic Irish priest who served at her mission. A coming of age story with a surprise ending. Very good story, you won’t forget. (*I rec’d an Advance Reader Copy, ARC, of the book from Story Circle to review.)

The Last Flight by Julie Clark. Fiction, 2020. This thriller has so many switch-backs that it made my head spin. A real page turner, very exciting. It was our book club choice for September’s meeting. A good read.

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. Fiction. 1990. “The author’s unique vision of the horror that was Vietnam. This powerful work presents an arc of fictional episodes that take place in the childhoods of the characters, in the jungles of Vietnam and back home in America two decades later. Each story echoes off the others to form an exhilarating nightmarish and passionate work.”–*Copied almost verbatim from back cover of the novel. **As a reader, I was continually shocked by the stories in this book, it was much more graphic and detailed than any books or the movies about Vietnam I’ve read or watched. I never served in the military. However, I knew many young men who did, I lived on a Marine base, was married to a Marine who had been there and came home changed. They all did. It was hideous unnecessary war.

The Other Side of Sanctuary by Cheryl Crabb. Fiction. 2019. This debut novel has a cast of well developed characters dealing with jealousy, romance, suspicions, secrets, and revenge. A seemingly ordinary family is pushed almost to the brink as extraordinary challenges nearly rip them apart. Plot twists set the pace, you never know quite what to expect. These characters stay with readers long after the last page. An excellent novel!

Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand. Fiction. 2017. This novel is set in the Winter Street Inn on Nantucket Island.If those walls could talk, oh the stories they would tell. But since walls don’t talk, Hilderbrand works her magic and creates an almost believable cast of characters who almost come alive on the pages. The patriarch of the family is in Hospice care, his wife, ex-wife, all their children and grandchildren gather around. The sparks fly and roller-coaster emotions keep the pages turning. It was on the light side but a very entertaining read.

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane. Fiction. 2017. A thriller with suspense, romance and tension and
insight. The protagonist suffers from PTSD as well as agoraphobia after experiencing great loss while working as a reporter from Haiti in the wake of the Earthquakes. She is haunted by nightmarish memories. But slowly overcomes her emotional collapse, only to find her own life has become a nightmare. Many twists and turns, good character development. Author Kristen Hannah states,  “… a master storyteller at the top of his game.” I totally agree.

Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg. Fiction. 2019. Berg has long been one of my favorite writers. This novel is full of empathy and hope, as are all of her stories. It is set in Mason, Missouri, about people forming familial bonds with those they come to love. Retired teacher Lucille Howard is in her upper 80’s and begins teaching small baking classes in her kitchen. (People, Book of the Week) states: “This story celebrates the nourishing comfort of community and provides a delightfully original take on the cycles of life.”

The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg. Fiction. 2019. This is a funny, heartwarming, and inspiring book. Readers will find friendship, community and kindness among the quirky well developed characters and the happy ending. It is definitely a feel good book. I loved it!

We’ve enjoyed two movies during the last month, both rented DVDs:

Military Wives, starring Kristen Scott Thomas was a current-timed setting of a small army base in England. When most of the men are sent on a tour of duty to Afganistan, the two ranking soldier’s wives are responsible for keeping up the morale of the other waiting wives. The two women mixed like oil and water. But after a rough beginning started the Military Wives Club Chorus. It was a feel good movie. I recommend it.

Alive Inside is another music movie, though entirely different. This is a documentary that follows social worker Dan Cohen as he uses music to unlock memory in nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s disease. He and his team downloaded music for patients, particular to their personal preferences derived from family or from documented family history. When they put the headsets on each patient and started the music, it was like a miracle. I highly recommend this movie too.

Till next time, keep reading my friends.

Later,
Ann

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