The Nest

One can never have too many books in my opinion.  That is why my “to be read” pile keeps growing faster than I can read things!  With that in mind I recently joined the “Book of the Month” Club.  It was advertised on my Facebook, so I finally buckled down and checked it out.  Each month, you get a choice of new release hardcover books (ranging from fiction, biography, nonfiction, etc).  Once you pick your book, you can add other books on for an additional fee, or just choose to get the one you want.

This past month, I chose the novel “The Nest”

51LOMFLbcvL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

This is about a supremely dysfunctional family, their relationship to each other, and the inheritance their father put together for them known as “The Nest”.  Like nest egg, get it?  Four adult children, Melody, Jack, Beatrice, and Leo are granted to access the money as soon as the youngest of them, Melody, turns 40.  Before they can get to that point though, the money is put into jeopardy when one of the four does some bad decision making.  The story is then framed around how the rest of the family copes with possibly not getting the money they were desperately counting on.  There isn’t a happy ending for everyone, but at the same time, the family becomes closer than ever.  Or, at least most of the family does anyway.  **Dramatic keyboard music**

Once the book got going, it was hard to put down.  While I didn’t love all the story lines, they at least seemed somewhat realistic.  It showed how one person in a family can directly change and influence the other family members even without knowing it fully.  Also, the family member who jeopardizes tall the money is a huge jerkface.  Nothing remotely redeemable.  I know that’s a sign of a good book when I actually hate one of the characters.  Strong feelings are always a good sign.  Good drama and good comedy, definitely worth a read.

 

The Madwoman Upstairs

So, I’m a horrible English major apparently.  It took me until my 30’s to read any of the Bronte novels.  I finally read Charlotte Bronte “Jane Eyre” a few years ago, and was not too excited about it.  To me, the book was strongest in the early stages and then kind of went off the rails towards the end.  But I get it.  It’s a classic.

Then, this past year I read Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”.   I hated this book. HATED IT.  It was right up there with “Gone Girl” for me.  (A book that I actually threw across the room when I finished reading it).  I don’t like unsatisfying books, and both of these novels just felt wrong to me.  I thought “Wuthering Heights” was supposed to be this grand romance, but I did not see it.  I just saw abuse and control.  Not something I associate with romantic feelings.

Which leads me to a book that I recently finished,

51+2AcOllFL

The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell

The novel follows a young woman, Samantha Whipple, who is a direct descendant of Patrick Bronte (the Bronte sisters father).  The mystery of the book centers on a mysterious inheritance of the Bronte family that was supposedly passed down to Samantha from her father after his recent death.  She attends Oxford to study literature, and meets several characters with a deep interest in the Bronte family and legacy.  This includes her father’s “nemesis”, her father’s former mistress, the local school newspaper, and even her own grad school tutor.  For those that don’t know (and don’t mind being spoiled), the title is a play on one of the characters from “Jane Eyre”.   SPOILER ALERT—–in the novel, the Madwoman was Rochester’s wife who has been locked upstairs for almost the entirety of their marriage.

Parallel to this, Samantha is placed in a tower for her living situation whilst at Oxford which does not help her mental state much.  Following clues left for her by her father, clues in the Bronte sisters books, and help from her tutor, she hopes to find the truth behind her legacy.  Part mystery novel, part treasure hunt, this book was almost impossible to put down.  For English majors who love the idea that classic novels hold clues into modern life, this book is greatly enjoyable.

So…..even though I’m not a HUGE Bronte fan, this book puts a new spin on the novels and the lives of the sisters.  It is leading me to read more about the Bronte sisters, including a new book about Charlotte Bronte recently out.  But it’ll definitely be a library check out.