Books in Brief, December 2010


By Linda Sargent

“A Chesapeake Shores Christmas”

A Chesapeake Shores Christmasby Sherryl Woods, Harlequin Publishing ($12.99)


Megan and Mick O’Brien have been divorced for years, and although they have always loved each other, Megan began to feel like she was Mick’s property rather than his wife due to his controlling nature. When she left her children with her husband and left for New York, she tried to keep connected, but again Mick’s possessiveness interfered.


Now, Meagan has returned home for the holidays and realizes that she and Mick are still very much in love, and they make plans to remarry. She is looking forward to all their children participating in the nuptials. Conner, the youngest, is the only holdout. A divorce lawyer who has seen the ugly side of divorce and dealing with the issues of a mother who abandoned the family, he has no desire to give the couple his blessing. Megan refuses to go through the ceremony until the entire family is on board.


Mick is determined to have a New Year’s wedding, and he has to work hard at reining in his temper, sometimes unsuccessfully, toward both Conner and Megan. It seems as if his efforts are in vain until an unexpected event on Thanksgiving throws the entire family for a loop.


Woods has written a wonderful Christmas miracle story just in time for the holiday season.



“American Assassin”

American Assassinby Vince Flynn, Simon and Schuster Publishing, ($27.99)


Mitch Rapp is Flynn’s CIA super agent who does all the dirty work below the radar that the politicians won’t admit to endorsing. This is the prequel to all of Rapp’s escapades, and begins before he became a one-man army against terrorism.


When Rapp’s fiancée, and the love of his life, was killed in the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack, he wanted revenge. He was an outstanding college athlete without a care in the world, and the most important thing to him was his fiancée. He wanted to make those responsible pay, and he didn’t want to put on a uniform to do it.


The CIA Operations Director knows that the war on terrorism is coming, and he is determined to position the country to do something about it. When Irene Kennedy tells him that she has found someone who meets their specifications, Rapp is sent off to train for clandestine operations. Rapp, who exceeds everyone’s expectations, soon finds himself in a situation where he has to rescue two men – he respects them both, but he has mixed feelings about them.


Flynn has written another thriller telling the beginning story of the clandestine operative.



“Painted Ladies”

Painted Ladiesby Robert Parker, Penguin Group ($26.95)


If you are a Spenser fan, Robert Parker is true to his style of dialogue and the city of Boston. This book was written about one year before Parker passed away, so you will definitely want to get this if you are a collector of his books.


When Spenser is approached by art scholar Ashton Prince, he is between jobs and readily accepts Prince’s request to act as his bodyguard. Prince has been told to bring money to a drop-off spot as payment of a ransom for a stolen painting. He is afraid and out of his comfort zone. Although Spenser has been hired to protect him, Prince is killed in the exchange.


Spenser is not used to failing, and is determined to find out who killed his client.  He soon discovers that the theft was not as straightforward as Prince had led him to believe, and that family history connects Prince to the stolen painting in a way that Spenser could never imagine.


Despite threats to his personal safety, Spenser is unwavering in his resolve to get to the bottom of the theft.




Pricelessby Nicole Richie, Simon and Schuster Publishing ($24.99)


Charlotte Williams is rich, beautiful, a talented singer, well-traveled and smart.  Her mother died when she was young, so she was raised by a nanny who eventually left to care for her own family. Charlotte’s world revolves around her father and her elitist friends.


When Jacob Williams is arrested on charges of fraud, the family’s bank accounts are frozen by the SEC. Charlotte finds herself broke; she is further devastated when her father confesses his guilt to her. To make matters worse, he has many angry clients who have lost their life savings. One of his clients is determined to get even by taking an “eye-for-an-eye” – since Jacob Williams took everything away from his family, he would take the most valuable thing away from Jacob … his daughter.


With no money, Charlotte discovers that her “friends” have disappeared. She needs to rebuild her life in safety, so she flees to New Orleans to the home of her former nanny.


Charlotte is quick to fall in love with the “Big Easy” and its people. She finds a job as a dishwasher in a local restaurant; before long, her singing talent is revealed.


Just when a sense of normalcy seems to be returning to her life, with a future doing what she loves to do musically, her stalker catches up with her and the threats begin all over again. It becomes a game of cat and mouse in a race to expose the culprit.



“The Glass Castle”

The Glass Castleby Jeannette Walls, Simon and Schuster Publishing ($30.00)


Jeannette Walls’ father always told her that when he became rich, he would build a glass castle where the sun could shine in during the day and the moon at night. She and her three siblings had an unconventional upbringing. Her mother and father lived like nomads, moving from one place to another as the bill collectors closed in. Her father would come home and tell everyone to gather their things … it was time to skedaddle.


When Jeannette was 4, she was standing on a chair cooking hot dogs when her dress caught on fire and she was burned. Her father snuck her out of the hospital as she was improving, and they took off again before the child welfare officials closed in.


As her father’s dreams continually collapsed and he began drinking, they lived in squalor and filth, without heat or indoor plumbing. Fending for themselves, the kids grew up and eventually escaped their circumstances. Jeannette moved to New York City and now has a successful career as a writer and regular contributor to MSNBC.


One day while being driven to a luncheon, she glanced out the car window as they stopped in traffic – there was her mother, rummaging through trashcans. She was so afraid her mother would see her that she slumped down in her seat and asked the driver to take her back home.


Despite the type of childhood she had, Walls learned to become a strong and self-sufficient person, and eventually found the strength to reconnect with her parents. She describes her parents with deep affection and generosity of spirit in this true story of unconditional love.


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