Friday, January 23, 2015

When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett

When the Night Comes: A Novel by Favel…

This is a charming book told from the perspectives of a young girl, Isla, and a Danish sailor, Bo.  Isla lives a lonely life with her mother and younger brother in the small town of Hobart in Tasmania.  When her mother brings home Bo, he opens up an entire world that she never knew existed.  He describes the voyages on his ship, the Nella Gay, to Antartica.  His descriptions allow Isla and the reader to see, feel, hear, and sometimes taste the experiences of travelling to one of the most forbidding and beautiful places on earth.

Their friendship ends when the Nella Gay is wrecked and scrapped, meaning Bo will not be returning to the port of Hobart, but their time together has allowed Isla to envision a future for herself far from the tiny world she knows.  It is a novel about friendship, dreams, and possibility.

I would recommend this novel for secondary students or adults.  Younger students would, I believe, be confused and put off by the less than clear transition between narrators, times, and places.
Lies that Bind (Maeve Conlon Novels) by Maggie Barbieri

Lies That Bind (Maeve Conlon Novels) by…

Maeve is dealing with the death of her father and mysterious, unsettling occurrences at her bakery, when she gets shattering news - she may have a sister.  She enlists the help of an old friend of her father's, a hunky detective she has recently met, her best friend, and even her ex-husband as she tries to discover the truth.  She gets into a number of dangerous situations, and battles to remain in control of her business and family while obsessed with the mystery of a missing sister.
Overall, the story line was engaging and the characters believable.  I did get tired of Maeve hauling her unregistered gun around and fantasizing about using it.  This mystery has the makings of a cozy, but is trying too hard to be hard-boiled.  I also got tired of references to a mysterious murder in Maeve's past and to the abuse she suffered as a child.  One of two mentions would have definitely sufficed.