Reads and Reviews – December 2021

A History of Wild Places

A History of Wild Places

This novel starts from the perspective of Travis Wren, a man who has been hired to search for Maggie St. James. His search leads him to a reclusive commune called the pastoral.

A History of Wild Places is not about any history, instead, it's more of a contemporary dystopia. This book had a timeless quality. It could have taken place in the 1950s or the current day. The story follows the path of three characters as they become lost within the the world of a reclusive commune. Without giving away the plot, I would note that the novel really explores conceptions of reality - and how that conception can be so blurred by invasive ideas. I do wish that the author had explored some of the more details that are embedded along the way. Still, this novel was very engrossing and I was finished read it with a few days.

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The Lost Apothecary

The Lost Apothecary

When Caroline Parcewell discovers that her husband has cheated on her after 10 years of marriage, she decided to go on their anniversary trip alone - to London. In an attempt to explore the historical researcher side of her life that she had left behind years before, she decides to go along on a little historical adventure that involves finding objects that have appeared from the historical muck of the city. Her discovery leads her towards a path of intriguing historical research and self-discovery.

Although it's probably technically classified as historical fiction, half of the book takes place within a historical era and half of the book takes place in the modern day. This book is probably the closest I might get to reading a "romance" novel. It's actually about the rejection of romance, and finding one's self - independent of any romantic partner. (I'm not sure what that says about me.) My only criticism of this book is that it is a very "tidy" story. Caroline is able to uncover all the secrets through her research. I wish historical research worked this way, but often times, that's just not the case. At one point she finds an abandoned location that had not been touch for over 100 years - in London! Given the value of London real estate these days, I found that particular plot point rather unlikely. However, if you have dreams of spending your days immersed in historical research, this book is a cozy read.

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Nobody, Somebody, Anybody

Nobody, Somebody, Anybody

Amy Hanley first appears as a regular 20 something women. A bit lonely, but exited about her plans to become a EMT and dedicated in that pursuit. Still, as the story unfolds, clues about Amy's mental well being gradually reveal a deeply depressed and isolated woman. I could throw many labels towards Amy relating to any number of afflictions - still, her story was really about unresolved and unrecognized grief. She's a frustrating and unreliable narrator, but ultimately I only felt sympathy for her circumstances. If you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, you will definitely appreciate this story.

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