Review Room

Book reviews and miscellanous thoughts

Book Review : The Weaver Takes a Wife by Sheri South

Written By: amodini - Apr• 17•14

The Weaver Takes a WifeTitle : The Weaver Takes a Wife
Author : Sheri Cobb South
Genre : Romance
Publisher : Belgrave House
Pages: 268
Publish Date : January 2nd, 2014
Source : Netgalley / Publisher ARC
Rating : 3.5/5

The Weaver Takes A Wife is a romance of the Regency era. It features Lady Helen Radney, head-strong and sharp-tongued, and wealthy Ethan Brundy, the mill-owner who has come up in the world from humble, poverty-ridden beginnings. The two inhabit a very different social circle, but when Mr. Brundy happens to intrude into the society of the ton, courtesy his friend Lord David Markham, and sets eyes on the lovely Lady Helen, he is smitten.

His quick offer of marriage is cast away by the lady herself herself, but taken very seriously by her father, the impoverished Duke of Reddington, who sees advantages to having a wealthy son-in-law. Lady Helen grants an audience to Mr. Brundy to make him see the folly of his ways in wanting a spoilt, shrewish woman such as herself for a wife, but when he stands steadfast, she gives in and they are married.

While the book itself is predictable as are most books of this genre – this is a romance with a happy ending after all, I do like the way the author delineates her characters, and brings them together believably. Brundy is a hero of a different kind. He isn’t very good-looking, well-dressed, swashbuckling or mysterious. When he enters a room, heads do not turn. What makes him stand tall then, is his strength of character and goodness.

Haughty Lady Helen, a veritable spinster by Regency era standards, cannot abide fools and she seems to be surrounded by them. Her sharp tongue keeps most of them at bay, and even though she has paramours hanging around she cannot bring herself to accept any of them because they do not have the nameless quality she is looking for. In her marriage of convenience, she finds that she has, quite accidentally, found it.

I can see the influence of Georgette Heyer in South’s writing and enjoyed this as a quick, pleasant read.

Book Review : Honor’s Knight by Rachel Bach

Written By: amodini - Apr• 12•14

Honor's Knight (Paradox)Title : Honor’s Knight (Paradox #2)
Author : Rachel Aaron/Bach
Genre : Sci-Fi
Publisher : Orbit Books
Publish Date : February 25th 2014
Pages : 384
Source : Netgalley/Publisher ARC
Rating : 4/5

Bach continues her story from where she left off in the 1st book of the trilogy, Fortune’s Pawn. Devi has now almost recovered from the massive battle but doesn’t remember much of it. But she is still feeling the after effects – hallucinations featuring mysterious “bugs” and a dark skin stain which appears and disappears mysteriously and which she is trying valiantly to hide from the ship’s doctor Hyrek. The ship functions as before with the same crew. Even Ren, the captain’s mysteriously zoned out daughter is just the same. But Devi feels something amiss; even though Captain Brian Caldswell commands fierce loyalty from his longstanding crew, everything doesn’t seem to be on the up and up.

This is a good sequel to Fortune’s Pawn because it is just as action-packed and fast-paced. Devi delves deeper into the mystery of the ghostly creatures she is seeing, and Bach draws her with as much intelligence, courage and bluster as a gun-packing, slightly-reckless heroine needs. She is still a top-notch mercenary with orders to protect the Glorious Fool and its motley crew, and she takes that responsibility seriously, never mind the risk to her life. Aiding her this time is the new merc, Rashid, who has been hired to replace Cotter.

The romance angle that was started in the first book is a little stilted here with Devi’s revulsion towards the cook Rupert Charkov, and the missing pieces of her memory. Devi feels a connection to Rupert but cannot get beyond the instant dislike that springs up when he is near. His character is a little grey here too, with some light being shed on his inner conflicts, and his past dark deeds.

In this book, Bach introduces new characters and concepts to add to the plot of the story. I did like the fact that she brings philosophical questions into the story about the crimes that justify (if they do) the greater good.

I will say here that I found the space creatures almost bordering on the fantastical, a little too flighty for me. And now that I have read the second book, Devi’s character feels a little young, but then her impulsive, head-strong nature is part of her charm. Bach maintains Devi’s core of goodness and selflessness, and that combined with her advanced degree in badassery, is enough to remind us why we like her so much.

Another fun romp of a space-opera, Honor’s Knight is a fitting sequel to Fortune’s Pawn. The final book in the trilogy, Heaven’s Queen, will be published later this month.

Book Review : Archetype by M. D. Waters

Written By: amodini - Apr• 07•14

ArchetypeTitle : Archetype
Author : M. D. Waters
Genre : Sci-fi, Dystopian
Publisher : Dutton
Pages: 384
Publish Date : February 4th, 2014
Source : Netgalley / Publisher ARC
Rating : 3.5/5

Emma Wade wakes up after an almost fatal accident in a top-notch medical facility, to the relief of her devoted husband Declan. Try as she might, she can’t remember much of her past, and more importantly how she got into the mess which landed her in intensive care. As she recovers, under the close, almost suffocating supervision of Dr. Travista, snatches of her past life come back to her. Only, in those faint memories she seems to be a very different person, with a very different life – and loving, handsome, powerful Declan doesn’t seem to be a part of it at all. There is only man who seems to matter in those dreams – Noah, who’s probably a figment of her very fragile and twisted imagination. When Emma meets Noah in real life, her life comes crashing down. What is real and what is imagination?

The premise of this book is very interesting: a full-fledged functioning adult wakes from a deep slumber, with zero memories of her past. She is told who she is by a group of concerned and attentive people. Her mind wants to believe in the current reality, but her heart demurs. The book is creatively plotted around the issues of identity, and knowledge of oneself – after all, we always know who we really are, right?

Emma’s handy spell of amnesia lets the author introduce intrigue beautifully; we know there’s something wrong with the picture, but we don’t know what it is. Waters rachets up the tension gradually with the oddities about Emma’s surrounding and the medical personnel who keep her so closely under guard, like she’s a precious commodity. Which brings me to the other focus of this story – the use of women as commodities (a la Margaret Atwood). This story is set sometime in the future, where fertile women are few and greatly prized for their child-bearing capacities. Emma is one of the few fertile women, and Declan makes no secret of the fact that he wants a child, and soon.

My high expectations for this book were brought to heel by the fact that this book read like a Young Adult novel, language-wise – not quite what I was expecting from a Dutton publication (note that this was a galley so final print versions might have gone through further editing). This dystopian novel also has an element of romance, but the romance feels like the giddy-headed throes of passion a youngster might suffer from, rather than the more refined emotion of an able and confident adult. Noah and Emma’s characters also felt a little juvenile. The book started well, but the plot frayed a little at the edges as it became clearer what was going on.

Despite the problems, this was an interesting, fast-paced thriller of a book, and I read it in one quick sitting.

Book Review : Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

Written By: amodini - Apr• 01•14

Dark Eden: A NovelTitle : Dark Eden
Author : Chris Beckett
Genre : Sci-fi
Publisher : Broadway Books (Crown Publishing)
Pages: 448
Publish Date : April 1st, 2014
Source : Netgalley / Publisher ARC
Rating : 4/5

Dark Eden reminded me of Shaman. But while Shaman was of evolution on earth, Dark Eden is about the evolution of human life on another planet Eden. The 532 humans on Eden have descended from Tommy and Angela, earth people who landed on Eden in their “Landing Veekle” and couldn’t get back home. The Family has been divided into groups – Blueside, Batwing, Brooklyn, London etc. and all of them come together on “Any Virsry” to mark the day Tommy and Angela landed, remembering the planet they all supposedly came from with it’s “lecky-trickity” and it’s “telly visions” and it’s glorious, warm sun.

It has been 163 years since Tommy and Angela came to Eden, but the Family still lives close to the spot where the “Veekle” landed, afraid to move away and spread out in case earthmen come back to the original spot and miss them. They have evolved into hunters and foragers, trying to make do, in the hopes of rescue. Their society is primal and un-evolved, spending time and effort mostly to survive (food, shelter and procreation); there is time for little else. And thus it continues, year after year, until John Redlantern rebels against the traditional order.

Beckett’s story is about evolution – how people survive on a sunless planet, evolving and changing and finally questioning. Dark Eden traces through the life of the Family, from the “Oldest” who believe that life on Eden is an endless wait for rescue, to the snippy, rebellious “newhairs” who have accepted the fact that their saviors are never coming.

Beckett writes in a very stylized voice, with his “hmmmph hmmmph hmmmph went the trees” and his curious use of double adjectives : “she was pretty pretty . . . she knew it well well”. The language gets pretty basic (and graphic) but it sets the tone of the novel very well and brings an aura of authenticity, pulling us into this rudimentary, unsophisticated world. His characters ring true – John RedLantern, Tina Spiketree and all the others are very well drawn; one might easily believe that this is how evolution happened. Along the way, Beckett makes a fine point about the equality of the genders, and the fight for control and power.

Dark Eden is a very interesting read for lovers of hard sci-fi; recommended.

Book Review : A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante

Written By: amodini - Mar• 26•14

A Circle of WivesTitle : A Circle of Wives
Author : Alice LaPlante
Genre : Mystery
Publisher : Atlantic Monthly Press (Grove Atlantic)
Pages: 325
Publish Date : March 4th, 2014
Source : Netgalley / Publisher ARC
Rating : 4.2/5

That title had me going. Circle here is a collective noun, so that should pique your interest. The book starts off with a funeral. Good-hearted, skilled plastic surgeon Dr. John Taylor has succumbed to a heart attack in a hotel room. Commanding the funeral is Deborah, his stoic wife of thirty-four years. Then a strange woman shows up to pay her respects. And another. Turns out they’re all wives of the deceased, only they were completely in the dark about the polygamy. Also hovering close by are the police; there is reason to believe that Dr. Taylor’s passing was not from natural causes.

So the good doctor had three wives but he is not quite the villain we want to picture in our heads. He was in his 60s, out of shape, and a philanthropist to boot, performing pro-bono surgeries on deformed children. The three women in his life: society matron Deborah Taylor, accountant M.J. Taylor and pediatric oncologist Dr. Helen Richter are very different people, but it is of no doubt that they all loved him in their own way, and as weird as it sounds, he them. Of course, given the curious situation, the police consider all three women prime suspects.

Twenty-eight year old detective Samantha Adams is a full-blown character in this book, with time devoted to understanding her personal and professional life. She lives with boyfriend, “academic wannabe” Peter and they’ve been having problems connecting lately. She has a hard time being taken seriously, given her young looks, but will have to dig deep to uncover the slippery truth about Dr. Taylor’s life.

LaPlante tells the story in first person, from the point of view of each character, one chapter at a time. Each of the characters speaks about their life and relationship to the dead doctor. I loved this because it defines a character via varied points of view, each point of view embellishing a different facet. I get a deep-down portrait of the narrator, but then I also get a portrait of the other characters from the narrator’s point of view. So I know what Deborah is thinking, and then, I also know what Deborah thinks of MJ and Helen and Samantha. And this back and forth between different points of view is so skillfully done that it all fuses together seamlessly, like one big fantastic tale.

I haven’t read LaPlante before, so am quite blown away by her writing. It is not that she winds her sentences a special way, or uses big words; she just has a way of getting to the heart of the matter, of baring her characters to us, by the way they walk and talk, the way they wear their hair, or obsessively mop up spills. A cardinal rule of story-telling is “to show” and not “to tell”. And I have to say, LaPlante excels at “showing”.

Given the tabloid-y nature of the subject, this book could have gone south in the hands of a less accomplished author. With LaPlante’s considerable skill though, “A Circle of Wives” is a hard-to-put-down read.

Book Review : The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

Written By: amodini - Mar• 19•14

The Weight of Blood: A NovelTitle : The Weight of Blood
Author : Laura McHugh
Genre : Mystery
Publisher : Spiegel & Grau (Random House)
Pages: 320
Publish Date : March 11th, 2014
Source : Netgalley / Publisher ARC
Rating : 4.5/5

Lucy Dane has grown up in the small rural town of Henbane, in the shadow of the Ozarks. When Lucy is 17, her 18 year old mentally disabled friend Cheri goes missing. Searches are launched for her, but when she is found, Cheri is literally in pieces.

Lucy is particularly touched by this tragedy, because of her friendship with Cheri, and because of the familiar refrains; Lucy’s mother Lila also went missing soon after giving birth to Lucy. She was never found. When Lucy happens to find Cheri’s necklace (which Lucy had given her) cleaning up a trailer belonging to her uncle Crete, she realizes that Crete and her father Carl know more about Cheri’s disappearance than they are telling. That doesn’t stop her from launching her very own secret search for Cheri.

The book runs in two parallel tracks – one has Lucy trying to find Cheri, and the other is about Lucy’s mother Lila, as a fragile and beautiful young woman, freshly aged out of the foster system and newly arrived in Henbane as an employee of Crete Dane. The book is told in the first person, with each chapter from the point of view of a different character.

The book starts off with Cheri’s disappearance as remembered by Lucy. Slowly we are introduced to the entire cast of characters as they relate to Lucy – her father Carl who works in construction and is away many days at a time, Carl’s protective elder brother Crete who owns the local store and restaurant, her friend Bess and her mother Gabby who live in a ramshackle trailer some distance away, and Birdie, the aged local midwife who keeps a parental eye on Lucy. Lila, who’s story is told in parallel, also has a few familiars who weigh in – Ransome, the wiry farm-hand who works with her, Ray Walker, the local lawyer who wants to help Lila, and Gabby, the closest thing Lila has for a friend.

The Weight of Blood is an atmospheric mystery, because the author melds the people with the setting, letting the story steep in the rural mindset and superstition of rural Missouri. Henbane is another name for nightshade, and Henbane with it’s peculiarly named landmarks, she tells us in Lucy’s words, has the devil’s anatomy “worked into the landscape”. The people, reserved and close-minded don’t take to strangers; many of the townspeople shy away from exotic looking outsider Lila and even her Henbane-born daughter Lucy, believing Lila a witch. Homes are miles apart from each other, guns are plentiful and locking doors is scoffed at, because as Birdie puts it “If the wolf wants in, he’ll find a way”.

McHugh makes a splendid debut with this novel. Her writing is effortless and fluid, her characters unforgettable and her settings redolent with the flavor of the Ozarks. I do not exaggerate when I say that the book is mesmerizing; it draws you in – all gorgeous, voluptuous prose and sinister hints. You go where McHugh leads you; the winding road and the bucolic landscape slowly giving way to throbbing evil.

The Weight of Blood is a sumptuous read, and not to be missed.

Book Review : The Martian by Andy Weir

Written By: amodini - Mar• 12•14

The Martian: A NovelTitle : The Martian
Author : Andy Weir
Genre : Sci-fi
Publisher : Crown (Random House)
Pages: 385
Publish Date : February 11th, 2014
Source : Netgalley / Publisher ARC
Rating : 5/5

From the book blurb :

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. When I picked up my kindle to read this book, it fused to my hand. I went about and did all my chores one-handed. When I had to leave for work, I had to pry the kindle out of my hand with a screwdriver. And since you are wondering, yes, there was blood (the screwdriver was sharp) and yes, the kindle is undamaged.

If you’ve seen Gravity, you are familiar with the alone in space predicament. If you have watched Moon, you have already met the lone man on the moon. If you’ve read John Nance’s Orbit, you know what “stuck in orbit” means. “The Martian” might seem like one of these books/movies, but while superficially similar, this is a very different book.

The narration starts with the log entry for “Sol 6”, Sol being the equivalent of an earth day. High speed winds cause a mission abort 6 days in. En route to the escape vehicle, astronaut Mark Watney is hit by debris, knocked out, and mistaken for dead, when his body-suit computer drops off the grid. His body is lost in the dust-storm and Mission Commander Lewis, after making many attempts to find him, decides to leave. Watney wakes up much after the ship has departed, utterly alone on a harsh planet.

So that’s the situation. I’m stranded on Mars. I have no way to communicate with Hermes or earth. Everyone thinks I’m dead. I’m in a Hab designed to last thirty-one days.

If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of these things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah. I’m fucked.

The book continues via log entries for each Sol, in which Watney records his attempts at survival. He tells us first of the Mars Missions, explains the logistics of each mission, and gives us the lowdown on the food-air-water situation needed for survival. Then he gets to work attempting to better his chances.

Astronaut Mark Watney is a remarkable character – a mechanical engineer/botanist, with great courage, resourcefulness, ingenuity, and to top it all – a sense of humor. His sunny disposition is one of the reasons he is on this trip to Mars. He is faced with insurmountable odds – food and water supplies are limited, he has no communication with earth, and he might just go insane from the loneliness. Hopelessness looms. Still he perseveres, prodding himself into survival mode with wry humor; his words made me laugh out loud and go teary-eyed at the same time.

This book has only one character for many, many chapters (this Korean film comes to mind). We have a few other characters, with mission engineers at NASA, Houston but for the most part it’s just Mark Watney, all by his lonesome self on Mars, writing his log entries. You’d think it’d get boring. You’d be wrong. This is a wonderfully gripping novel. There’s Mark in a bit of tough spot, spilling his technical guts in his log entries. And here are we, the readers, hanging onto his every word, hoping that he makes it. He’s just that kind of guy. And it’s just that kind of book.

If you read one sci-fi book this year, let it be this one.

P.S. : In this book the Director of Mars Operations is one Venkat Kapoor. Now while Kapoor is one smart cookie, “Venkat Kapoor” is an unlikely Indian name (email me and I’ll tell you why). I’m wondering how Andy Weir came up with this name – did he just piece together an Indian first name and last name that he was familiar with? Does he actually know a Venkat Kapoor? And can I meet him too?

Book Review : Golden State by Michelle Richmond

Written By: amodini - Mar• 05•14

Golden State: A NovelTitle : Golden State
Author : Michelle Richmond
Genre : Contemporary
Publisher : Bantam
Pages: 304
Publish Date : February 4th, 2014
Source : Netgalley / Publisher ARC
Rating : 4.2/5

Dr. Julie Walker is in a tough situation. She needs to get to the VA hospital where her sister Heather has gone into labor. The city is erupting in violence, as California (the Golden State) decides whether it will be seceding from the United States. There is also a hostage situation at the VA hospital. Dr. Walker’s ex-lover, depressed war veteran Dennis, nursing his resentment towards Julie has holed up with a gun, 2 nurses Betty and Eleanor, and resident Rajiv, threatening fatalities unless Julie does what he says.

The novel’s story unfolds flashback-fashion as Julie attempts to talk Dennis out of the hostage situation by recounting her life’s memories on his demand. It all comes out then : her poverty-ridden childhood and the desire to get away from it, her attachments and subsequent marriage to upbeat, handsome radio jockey Tom, and her ties to her mother and sister, which ultimately cost her the most important thing in her life. As she speaks to Dennis, she lays it out bare: she is a 40 something woman, an automaton of a doctor who goes out on her job mechanically, with a looming divorce, an estranged sister, and very little happiness in life. Life looks bleak.

I haven’t read Michelle Richmond before but going by this book she is indeed the author to look out for. This book recounts events of just a single day. The storyline tracks backward: we are in the thick of it right at the beginning, and as the book progresses we get filled in on the who, the what and the why. The “filling-out”, so to speak, is done very skillfully. Richmond seamlessly segue-ways  from the present day to long-forgotten, festering memories. It seems natural, this detailed introspection, and we are with Julie as she traverses the life she has lived. Along the way we get to know her, and we feel for her as Richmond movingly details out the play-by-play of Julie’s almost accidentally happy days. The fact that we know that heartbreak is coming makes it all the more poignant when Julie faces irrecoverable loss.

This book is told from an empathetic view-point, and Julie and her life seem very close at hand, like I could bump into her around a random corner. Even the negative characters here aren’t just evil, but flecked with human imperfections, the kind all of us have. I have to credit Richmond’s skill with words that she got me heavily invested in Julie’s life and future; I wished her happiness and peace and an escape from the grievous heartbreak.

This beautifully written book gives me hope, in more ways than one. Highly recommended.

Wordless Wednesdays #28

Written By: amodini - Feb• 26•14

Illa de la Discòrdia, Barcelona, Spain

Audiobook Review : Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Written By: amodini - Feb• 19•14

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A NovelTitle : Where’s You Go Bernadette
Author : Maria Semple
Genre : Contemporary
Narrators : Kathleen Wilhoite
Publisher : Hachette Audio
Listening Length : 9 hrs 39 min
Source : Library
Rating : 4/5

Where’d You Go Bernadette (WYGB here onwards) is an epistolary novel – i.e.; instead of following the regular narrative structure, it is narrated via a series of documents – in this case via emails, letters, notes, text messages, journals and magazine articles. The omniscient “narrator” who threads everything together for our consumption is Bee Branch, 15 year old precocious daughter of fed-up Seattle housewife Bernadette Fox and Microsoft rock star Elgin Branch. The three live-in a rambling, worn-down, schoolhouse-turned-home on a hill, overlooking the sea.

Bernadette has major anxiety issues, can’t stand being hemmed in by people, and has an aversion to the annoying moms (gnats she calls them) who clog the neighborhood. There is a mysterious past hinted at (a really bad thing she says it was), but for now Bernadette has her hands full just anticipating a planned trip to Antartica, where she will be cooped in with a ship-ful of people, and subject to massive motion sickness. Happy-go-lucky Bee, who’s really named BalaKrishna because she was a little blue baby when she was born, is looking forward to graduating from her current school Galer Street, and and continuing on to her chosen, elite school Choate Rosemary. Bee’s dad, Elgin, meanwhile is super-busy with the new Samantha2 project at Microsoft and barely ever home, and when he is, doesn’t seem too happy with Bernadette’s seemingly erratic behavior. Things come to a head when Bernadette goes missing. Rumor has it that she either committed suicide or accidentally drowned, but Bee knows that her loving mom couldn’t have left her, could she?

Now my last audiobook, Gone Girl, had a missing wife too, but these two books are very different in genre. Where Gone Girl was a psychological thriller, WYGB is a “relationship” book – the story of a modern family of smart, intelligent people subject to the wear and tear of this overbearing world. The story is told in seemingly disjointed snippets : Bernadette’s emails to her virtual assistant Manjula Kapoor in India, letters from Bee’s future boarding school to Elgin Branch, and emails between two Galer Street moms Audrey Griffin and Soo-Lin Lee-Segal. So the information is delivered in little pieces and filtered through other people’s point of views; it is up to reader to put them all together and make up his/her mind.

This is a many textured story with varied, far-flung characters – from Bernadette’s pushy neighbor and her “blackberry abatement specialist”, to various Aussie/Nordic characters on the Antartica-bound ship, to intervention-staging psychiatrists and various members of the police/FBI. It is to Semple’s credit that she manages to paint in all these people in just the right hues, not too little and not too much, just enough to keep us interested. Bernadette herself comes across as an eccentric genius, someone so smart that she is a little incomprehensible to the ordinary people around her. Her character has her faults, but is imbued with sharp, wry humor and the ability to laugh at herself. I liked both her and Bee and loved the way Semple developed their loving mother-daughter bond. Elgin’s character seemed a little inconsistent or maybe that’s just me being naive.

Bernadette didn’t seem the easiest person to get along with but narrator Wilhoite gives her good grace and humor. She also managed to convey the beautiful relationship between the irascible Bernadette and the smart, quirky Bee. Wilhoite delivers Bee to us in childish breathy tones, tones it down for Elgin Branch, and make it believably high-pitchy-sarcastically-irate for Bernadette in one of her moods. And then there are the accents – the British, the Kiwi, the Nordic etc. – all very well done. This book is Semple’s baby but I have to say it enjoyed it all the more because of the fabulous narrator.

WYGB is funny and moving and a little poignant. It details out all the little ways we are so fragile that we grasp at the small happinesses and never want to let go, not wanting to believe that we’ll get any more, or even that we deserve them. This was a lovely book; I highly recommend it.