I was hoping that I would enjoy this book—and I did.  It was well written and I liked the topic of a woman trying to find her calling in a sport that is traditionally and primarily dominated by men.  It is especially tested when said female insists on taking a stand during times of civil unrest and war.

This novel explores the topic of two sisters in modern-day Nigeria as they grow up in their village.  It is a coming-of-age story but also a book about being able to confront your demons and express your hardships to others so they can help carry the weight of your burdens.  It is the confessions shared among the women in the family that keep them strong.

I found this novel very interesting because it involved mixing the past with the future, by balancing rare books with technology.
Who would think that both could be featured seamlessly in the novel together?  It takes place before, during, and after September 11, 2001.  Many issues are brought up in the story that weave their way around two sisters, Emily and Jess, who lost their mother at a very young age.

In a quiet town of Britain, Louisa Clark is twenty-six and has just found out that she is out of a job.  She still lives with her parents, as she is the main person who is supposed to support them.  Finding a new job is quite vital but her skills and qualifications are close to nil.  In the household, Lou must sacrifice her bigger room to her younger sister, Treena because she went ahead and got knocked up and now needs the room for both her and her son.

Growing up on a secluded island of Croatia, sisters Magdalena and Jadranka have learned from their grandfather, the importance of swimming.  The first rule is to make sure you can stay afloat.  In life, they try very hard to do just that, when family secrets find their way back to haunt them after they have grown into young women.  One of the biggest challenges is accepting the fact that they are only half-sisters; Magdalena is the eldest and when she finds out that Jadranka has a different father, she tries to keep this news hidden from her for as long as she can.

I was always intrigued by Helen Keller's life and so I was definitely curious when I found out from this novel that she actually did have a love interest.
Unfortunately for her, it really did not last long and she ended up alone with no children.  To be fair, the book is fictionalized but if there is any truth as to why she never got together with her temporary secretary (Peter Fagen), this story certainly may have an answer.

No loving mother would want to see her children in a difficult situation or having a condition that was detrimental to their quality of life.
Olivia is faced with grief every day from her autistic boy's death and wonders what his purpose in life was if he spent it on earth with a disability - only to pass away at an early age.
She wants to know why he existed at all, since he caused so much pain in her heart and tore apart her marriage with her now ex-husband, David.  The answers do not come quick enough (despite trying to consult the town priest), but they do come eventually.

I was always fascinated by the story of the Titanic and her tragic fate ever since I was a little girl.
When I heard about this novel, I thought it might give me an idea of how things could have went down, even though it is fictionalized. This book is not only about the Titanic but about the well known British fashion designer, Lady Lucile Duff Gordon, who actually survived the sinking of the ship. The more unfortunate reality of the situation is that she had apparently saved her skin but did not allow others to join her rather empty raft, which carried her husband and several other passengers.  Alcott's novel focuses on what happens to Lucy Gordon and her secretary (or in this case, her maid and later seamstress) once they are safely on American soil.

This novel is great for group discussions.  Maynard has the skill to write about family issues right where it hurts.  The story revolves around two girls who were born in the same town, on the same night and in the same hospital.  They happen to be neighbours and are forever known as the "Birthday Sisters".

There was a time when virgin women were considered the cure for a man who was afflicted with syphilis or “the pox”.  It was an unfortunate myth that put many innocent young ladies at risk for their own health and lives.  The Virgin Cure is set during that period in history (1871 New York), where we are introduced to Moth Fenwick.  She lives with her mother, who seems to be making a living from fortune telling.  When we meet Moth (an only child and fatherless), she is twelve and on the verge of being given away for a price.  We get the feeling that there is no love lost on her mother’s part, but Moth imagines that she will one day return home.

The Peach KeeperI have to hand it to Sarah Addison Allen.  What a heartfelt and “feel good” book to read!  The Peach Keeper is uplifting, it made me laugh out loud, and cry like no tomorrow.  There is no stronger message in this book than the importance of true friendship.  Add to it some superstitions and a town ghost—and you have the makings for a wonderful story.

A novel as magical as this, should not go unnoticed.  Do you want to feel like a child again?  Did you always love the circus, even though you may never have gone to one?  After reading this story, did you consider yourself a rêveur?  I know I did.  I would like to dress like one and see if anyone notices!  I loved this book so much because it played with your mind and dreams—it is not an ordinary circus with clowns and ringmasters, it is one that involves magic.