What’s the best thing to do when you wake up after a night of heavy drinking and discover you are in bed with a man who has been brutally murdered? Flight attendant Cassie Bowden doesn’t remember much about her night in the lavish Royal Phoenician hotel in Dubai, but even in a blackout, she can’t believe she could have slashed Alexander Sokolov’s throat. Head pounding, she has no time to think. In a moment of self-preservation, she follows her instinct to get out fast. Can she get back to New York before the maid service discovers Sokolov’s body? Will the authorities trace his death to Cassie?
In or out of the country, Cassie has big problems, ranging from years of drinking to the present problem of running from a murder scene in a foreign country. She may have believed Sokolov was just another friendly hookup, but there is much beneath the surface. Spies, international intrigue and a mysterious woman named Miranda enrich an already exciting plot. As the authorities zero in on her, Cassie’s reckless and drunken behavior only dig her deeper into trouble. Old friends, coworkers, family and new one-nighters keep the reader guessing who’s really on Cassie’s side and, as the bad characters emerge, one thing becomes clear: her life is in danger.
I thoroughly enjoyed this exciting and modern story about being in the wrong place at the wrong time and in which bad judgment gets mixed up with dangerous characters. In addition, readers will appreciate the way Bohjalian adds many references to literature, rounding out his characters and enhancing the story’s themes. Relationships gone bad is one of his primary themes, as Cassie tries to reconcile her father’s alcoholism and the mysterious Miranda struggles to understand her own father.
Careful reading at certain points is required for some of the more complicated plot developments, but the reader is always rewarded with helpful summaries.
The story drives through a nail-biting confrontation between its players and concludes with a satisfying wrap-up. I recommend The Flight Attendant to readers who enjoy suspense and studies of human relationships.
I received an ARC of The Flight Attendant from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Book: Watching the Daisies – Life Lessons on the Importance of Slow
Bio:Brigid was a natural medicines therapist and teacher for 20 years. She facilitated classes for community projects, prisons, and women’s groups in Scotland and Ireland, including self-healing classes for Stirling University Open Studies and Summer Schools from 1993 to 1999. In 1999, she relocated to Donegal, Ireland the home of her ancestors. Brigid succumbed to a mystery illness in 2003 that was eventually diagnosed as fibromyalgia. She retrained in organic horticulture and taught this subject in schools until recently.
Favorite thing about being a writer: I write about the topics I love, and hope to inspire others on their self-healing journey.
Biggest challenge as an indie author: Marketing and book promotion.
I can’t resist comparing a movie to the original book, can you? And this week I watched the 1993 adaptation of The Age of Innocence. Edith Wharton won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book, which was first published in 1920.
The movie, directed by Martin Scorsese, stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Newland Archer, Michelle Pfeiffer as Countess Ellen Olenska and Wynona Ryder as May Welland. Like the book, the movie portrays a period of time on the verge of change and in which the New York upper class clings to appearances, convention and the subtle, but highly important details that define them.
The story revolves around Newland Archer, his wife May Welland and May’s cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska, who has just returned from Europe after a disastrous marriage. 1870s sparks fly between Newland and Ellen and the families use their powerful influence to avoid scandal, thwart the romance and save May’s marriage. This is a world in which the power of wealth depends on appearances and good manners.
I enjoyed watching this movie, which has beautiful costumes. It’s no surprise that the film won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. Equally impressive is the great attention to detail inside these upper class New York homes: the paintings, décor and dainty food served on beautiful china, depicted in almost every scene.
While the movie is very true to the book and gives a great visual of the characters and elite society, I thought that the rest of the film was, uh, a bit slow. Muted and subtle dialogue may be out of style for modern movie goers, where instant gratification, special effects and constant excitement make up the formula for today’s films. That makes this movie a little dated.
On the up side, Wynona Ryder’s excellent portrayal of May Welland earned her a nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. It was well-deserved: I could see a knowing calculation in Ryder’s face in one of the most important scenes of the story, in which she reveals her pregnancy to Newland.
I recommend the film to fans of romantic period pieces, a nice movie for a rainy Sunday.
Did you know that today is National Read a Book Day? Well that’s good news because my reading binge is about to begin! I have three NetGalley books to read and two book club titles on the list. No need to procrastinate because they all look good to me!
Here’s what’s in line:
Bunny Mellon – The Life of an American Style Legend by Meryl Gordon –
“A new biography of Bunny Mellon, the style icon and American aristocrat who designed the White House Rose Garden for her friend JFK and served as a living witness to 20th Century American history, operating in the high-level arenas of politics, diplomacy, art and fashion.
Bunny Mellon, who died in 2014 at age 103, was press-shy during her lifetime. With the co-operation of Bunny Mellon’s family, author Meryl Gordon received access to thousands of pages of her letters, diaries and appointment calendars and has interviewed more than 175 people to capture the spirit of this talented American original.”
The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
Excerpts from NetGalley Description
“From the New York Times bestselling author of The Guest Room, a powerful story about the ways an entire life can change in one night: A flight attendant wakes up in the wrong hotel, in the wrong bed, with a dead man – and no idea what happened.
Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.”
The Surrogate by Louise Jensen
Excerpts from NetGalley Description
“Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.
But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.
And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.
As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…”
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain
September choice by my book club friend for this month’s literary gab fest!
Excerpt from Amazon description:
“Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. It was a belief that helped shape her own childhood and that of her brother. It shaped her view of her family and their dynamics. It influenced her entire life. Now, more than twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina, cleaning out his house when she finds evidence that what she has always believed is not the truth. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity…”
The Chessmen by Peter May
Book 3 of The Lewis Trilogy and September choice for my library mystery book club. Books 1 and 2 were great so I’m looking forward to this one!
Excerpt from Amazon description:
“Living again of the Isle of Lewis, ex-Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is working as a security officer for a local landowner. While investigating illegal activity on the estate Fin encounters the elusive poacher and former childhood friend, and bandmate, Whistler Macaskill.
When Fin catches up with Whistler among the windswept hills of the estate, the two witness a freak natural phenomenon–a bog burst–which drains a loch of all its water in a flash, revealing a mud-encased light aircraft with a sickeningly familiar moniker on its side…”
Will you be reading a book tonight? What’s on your September reading list?
Books: Turning Point – A Pathway out of the Fog of Alzheimer’s, The Hitchhiker, The Unknown Stories, The Green Book
Bio: I did not start writing stories until I became ill with Alzheimer’s disease. I am not sure what it was, a need to write my memoirs or just the way the disease struck me, but I was on fire writing stories and ended up writing about 70 short stories. The stories were mostly about childhood and then, as things changed, I was writing more adult until I wrote Turning Point – A Pathway out of the Fog of Alzheimer’s, my next to last book. I am grateful and feel blessed. I have had one doctor hold up my book stating that it is a “must read,” and another doctor verified I’ve beaten the disease!
Favorite thing about being a writer: I have expressed myself in many ways music, art, designing of costume jewelry and clothing and now writing. I fully enjoy the freedom of expression that writing offers.
Biggest challenge as an indie author: As an indie author trying to get the word out about your newest book can be a daunting task. Marketing is the make or break it for any indie author.
Favorite books: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Moby Dick by Herman Melville
1919: The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
1918: His Family by Ernest Poole
To reward you for making it to the bottom of this list, here are a few facts about the Pulitzer Prizes!
The Pulitzer prizes were established in 1917 to recognize outstanding journalism, photography, literature, history, poetry, music and drama.
There are twenty-one award categories. Only United States citizens are eligible to apply for the prize in Letters, Drama and Music, except for the History category of Letters, in which the book must be about the United States, but the author may be of any nationality.
John F. Kennedy has been the only President to receive the Pulitzer Prize. He was awarded the prize in 1957 for his biography, Profiles in Courage.
And for all those self-published and indie authors: Self-published books are eligible for the prize, but they must be available in print!
Click here to visit an earlier post with interesting facts about the man behind it all, famous newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer.
Schools are back in session, summer is nearly over, but I’m still working on my library’s Summer Reading Challenge. Thank goodness I have another week before I have to turn in my log! I’m looking forward to squeezing in another book and a movie. I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped, but I was glad to do the challenge because it forced me to read genres I don’t often visit. How did your summer reading go?
It’s time to plan my summer reading list and, like last year, I’m all signed up for our library’s Adult Summer Reading Challenge. This year, it’s a BINGO board. I’m hoping to fill in all of the squares so I can win some prizes. I already have my eye on a couple of the baskets on display!
One of the challenges is to listen to an audio book. I’ve never done that so I will be forced to try something new. It gets busy at my house in the summer and I’m hoping I won’t fall behind. How do you feel about summer reading challenges? Do they stress you out or do they motivate you?
Look for this logo on my posts and follow along with my challenge.
Newland Archer appears to have it all, wealth, class and every imaginable comfort. Life is not difficult for any in his New York circle. In 1870, appearances are everything to high society and marrying the lovely May Welland will make Archer’s life complete. So complete that he can see exactly how his life will play out, every detail, day after day. Despite a vague malaise, he’s resigned to this future until May’s cousin, Countess Ellen Olenska, returns to New York, on the run from a disastrous European marriage. That’s when Archer’s internal torment begins.
Eccentric and free-thinking, Ellen does what she wants. And although the powerful Mingotts and Mansons welcome her return to the family, they expect conformity, not scandal. At the helm is Mrs. Manson Mingott, Ellen’s grandmother, who does what she must to keep the family on course.
I highly recommend this 1920 classic which was initially published in four parts in the Pictorial Review magazine. The Age of Innocence won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and portrays a period of time on the verge of change and in which the New York upper class clings to appearances, convention and the subtle, but highly important details that define them. Like all classics, there is plenty of analysis and you can find some of it here on SparkNotes.
Wharton was born in 1862 and grew up in the New York upper class. Her writing style is full of detail, subtle ironic humor and commentary on a way of life she knew well. I particularly enjoyed reading about the different players in Archer’s world and how they plotted behind the scenes. Fashion, interior décor, dinner parties, the opera, winters in St. Augustine and summers in Newport, Wharton’s characters live in an insulated world, but are nevertheless vulnerable to unhappiness. Women especially had few rights or freedoms. They had to conform or be cast out, as Wharton shows in both May and Ellen. I liked Archer because he’s aware of the problem and is surprisingly modern in his thoughts. Wharton also shows how her characters are uncomfortable mingling with the creative bohemian writers and artists in New York, a world which Ellen Olenksa represents. I also enjoyed reading about the newly rich outsiders in the story. Julius Beaufort is a successful banker and host to many New York galas, where Archer and his aristocracy flock, but they quickly distance themselves when he faces financial ruin.
The big questions are if Archer and Ellen can resist their passion and whether May and her family can keep the two apart. Some satisfying confrontations underscore how binding their situations are and, to today’s reader, point to solutions their world was not ready for.
The book finishes with a jump to the future in which Archer contemplates his decisions and how his New York society and the larger world has changed. Perhaps this is where Archer belonged all the while.
I’m all set to watch the 1993 movie version of this classic, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder. My work friend Mary tells me the movie is very true to the book, something I love to see!
For more about Edith Wharton, check out this 2009 article from The New Yorker.