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Suzy's Picks

Book Cover for The Roses Meacham, Leila
The Roses

Think The Thornbirds. Think Gone with the Wind. Except instead of Australia, you are in Eastern Texas. Instead of dreamy Ashley Wilkes, you have lumber baron Percy Warwick. Mary Toliver will do anything to keep her family ranch, Somerset. This includes humiliating her own mother, alienating her brother, and working until she literally drops. It also includes giving up her chance at true love, marrying her brother's best friend, and perpetuating the “Toliver Curse.” Told from three different viewpoints, heroine Mary Toliver, her lost love Percy Warwick, and Mary’s young niece, Rachel, Roses opens with Mary’s final days, when she realizes she sold her soul for Somerset and in the process devastated everyone around her. After a lifetime of secrets, deceit, and family angst, Mary’s last efforts will protect her niece from the “Toliver Curse” and finally prove to Percy that she loved him, even more than Somerset. This sweeping saga won’t change your life, but it’s a perfect read for the beach.
Recommended July 2010

Book Cover for So Much for That Shriver, Lionel
So Much for That

Lionel Shriver writes a compelling book. Readers of We Need to Talk about Kevin will never forget the devastating last pages. Her newest effort, So Much for That, is compelling in a different way. Shep Knacker has spent his life planning his retirement in "The Afterlife" (a Third World tropical paradise). Merrill Lynch account overflowing from the sale of his business, suitcase packed to go, Shep is finally leaving, with or without his prickly wife Glynis. Except Glynis has a rare form of cancer. So begins an unforgettable and timely journey through the American health care system. Shep’s account dwindles as he becomes caretaker to his increasingly vindictive wife, money disappearing to rounds of chemo, specialists, and experimental drugs. Meanwhile, his best friend Jackson is going bankrupt caring for his own terminally ill daughter, Flicka, and making unwise decisions that leave him scarred—physically and emotionally. As Flicka longs to end her suffering and Glynis refuses to give up, Jackson makes one final shocking decision, and Shep makes a decision that will change all of their lives. The final pages are as appalling as they are uplifting. When you are finished, you will find yourself praying you never, ever get sick.
Recommended June 2010