It’s Friday! Hooray! This week Friday means I just have to survive one more day of a full week of snow days and then tomorrow I am off to a work event all day. Where I will get to mingle with adults. Real adults. I might be a little excited to get out of the house! With all of this snow and the snow days that followed I’ve spent many nights reading as well as many hours on the treadmill reading, so I’ve got two awesome books to tell you about this week for my book report- The Night Sister & In Falling Snow.
Let’s start with The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon.
I couldn’t wait to dive into this book! You might recall I had read The Winter People by McMahon recently and adored its dark, creepy, mysterious story. The Night Sister sounded like it was going to be interesting and creepy as well. As children in the 80’s Piper and Amy were best friends, playing in the old run down Tower Motel in London, Vermont that Amy’s grandfather originally built and modeled after the Tower of London. Piper’s younger sister always tagged along, and the three girls were inseparable until one fateful summer, when something dark happened that changed their world forever.
Now as an adult, Piper returns to the town she grew up in after Amy is found dead; it appears that she has shot killed her entire family (minus her daughter who escaped) and then turned the gun on herself. Piper and Margo are certain this heinous crime has something to do with the dark mysteries they started to uncover as children at the hotel, when they discovered a suitcase belonging to Sylvie Slater, one of the original two sisters who grew up there and Amy’s aunt who was believed to have run off to Hollywood. As Piper and Margo investigate further, the story of Sylvie, her sister Rose, and a dark family secret which may have something to do with Amy’s death unfolds.
The Night Sister was a page-turner for me! I read it in just a few days, much like I had with The Winter People. I didn’t think it was as good as The Winter People… the dark mystery was a little more far-fetched and I definitely practiced my willing suspension of disbelief. But it was well written, and intriguing and dark and creepy! So it was all of those things I loved about The Winter People, but I think because I read it just a couple weeks after that one, my view was a little tainted.
So now changing gears completely, let’s talk about In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose MacColl. Have any of you read this yet? It’s an international best seller, so I would imagine so. I hadn’t heard about it until Jennifer McMahon’s agent sent it to me with The Night Sister.
I could NOT put this book down! It was so good that even after I had already run or worked out, I would get back on the treadmill just to walk and read. In Falling Snow tells the story of Iris Crane, a now elderly woman who is invited back to a celebratory event at Royaumont, a wartime hospital she helped establish with a team of women only in an old abbey. Iris’ story begins when she was a young girl who set out to France to find her younger fifteen year old brother who had joined the war efforts; her father wishes her to bring his son home safely. Instead of finding her brother right away, Iris meets Frances Ivens and goes with her to set up and run the hospital at Royaumont. There she meets Violet Heron, a friend who will change her life forever. However, since the war ended, Iris has not stayed in touch with Violet, ignoring all correspondences until the invitation arrived.
We also see Iris as she is now, an old woman whose health is failing… we catch glimpses of the flashbacks and hallucinations that come to her. Her granddaughter, Grace, is worried about Iris traveling to Royaumont and after failing to discourage her travel, decides to accompany Iris. Grace is a doctor, and also has her own problems to worry about, like her son’s development, which doesn’t seem to be on par. In In Falling Snow, these two strong and smart women’s stories are woven beautifully, and we see that the bonds of parental love are much stronger than blood. I feel I am not doing this book justice at all, but gosh it’s hard to set a book up without giving things away! So I will just end by saying I loved it and strongly recommend In Falling Snow!
After being home all week with kids and having a cough, I think I may just hide in bed with another book this weekend!