I have my last 3 reviews of the year (I guess you already saw that in the title of this post!). The 1st is French Lessons, by Ellen Sussman. Ellen is a local author, and this is her 2nd book. The 1st one, On a Night Like This, is one I will be reading in the next few months.
French Lessons takes place in Paris. The story revolves around 3 tutors at a language school - 2 men and 1 woman. Each tutor gets his or her own story. And each tutor has a private session with a member of the opposite gender. As you might expect, there is a lot of sexual (sex?) tension with each tutor and student. All 3 stories take place on the same day. So, not only do you have the individual stories for all 6 players in this drama, but you also have the intermingled relationship among the tutors themselves. I don't want to give away any of the story lines, but each one is interesting on its own.
I liked this book a lot. It's very well written and is a solid 3.0. I really got into each of the 3 stories as well as the relationship among the tutors. I also agree with Lolly Winston who wrote: "...Book clubs: bust out your calendars. This novel's going on your list." As you might imagine, there are moral and ethical questions that arise for each of the 3 tutors and their students. In fact, I would enjoy being a part of a book club discussion about this book. Can somebody let me know if that happens?
The 2nd book is Prosper In Love, by Deborah Michel, another local author (I love getting to know all of these locals). The star of this book is Lynn Prosper. She is a low-level museum curator living with her husband, Jamie, in the Los Angeles area. Lynn and Jamie have been married for 2.5 years and appear to be the ideal married couple - until an old college classmate of Lynn's, F.X. (Francis Xavier), makes an entrance. Between F.X.'s meddling and Lynn's constant battle with trying to satisfy Jamie's aristocratic family, things become a little less idyllic. Throw in divorce lawyers and an affair or 2, and you can see that things get a bit complicated. Do Lynn and Jamie weather the storm? The answer is...read it yourself!
I liked Prosper in Love but didn't love it. Unfortunately for Deborah, I have read 4 of my top 6 for the entire year just since November 26 (and although it didn't make my top 11, Ellen Sussman's French Lessons, which I have also read since November 26, is still in my top 25). It's just not fair for Prosper In Love to have to match up with the 4 listed below. Believe me, earlier in the year Deborah's book would have gotten more play. In the meantime, read it. You'll like it.
Follett - Winter of the World - #1
Zadoorian - The Leisure Seeker - #6
Waters - The Angels' Share - #3
Moehringer - The Tender Bar - #4
The 3rd, and last, review of the year is book 1 (of 5) of a children's series. It's called the Secret Series, and it's written by Pseudonymous Bosch (a pseudonym perhaps?). When we were down in LA a couple of months ago, Jason gave this to me to read. His daughter, Hannah, who is 9, reads the series. After I finished it, I realized that this is perfect for that age group. It's extremely clever with a fun premise and some mystery. Although it's written for young readers, it does not talk down to them. The author (who doesn't let anyone know his real name) uses adult words but will often define them. He does it in an interesting and contextual way and within the flow of the story. I won't be reading any more of them, but I strongly recommend the series for 8-12 year olds.
That's it. I'm done with 2012. On Tuesday morning, I will be posting all 71 books from 2012, along with ratings and a top 11. Plus, there will be a special literary community service award. AND, if you post your top book of the year, you will enter a drawing that nets the winner his or her choice of any one book on my list. How can you ignore that offer?