Nancy's Reviews

After working in several word-related fields: copy writing, editing, freelance voice talent and theatre--followed by a long career as a stay-at-home mom I started working at the bookstore almost nineteen years ago, and was fortunate enough to be the manager for eighteen years. From my first day at work I had a sense of being home among the books and fellow book-junkies and that feeling only grew with the ensuing years.

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a terrific team of booksellers and customers, and I am especially indebted to my fantastic family who supported my choice of jobs despite work hours that were definitely not conducive to family and social activities. I'm just now learning what all the fuss about weekends is all about!

My thanks to all of you who supported the store, who mourned its closing, and who asked us to establish this forum so that we can continue our tradition of exchanging opinions and ideas about books.

Dangerous Man                                  

 Author:  Robert Crais                      Fiction                 

With her day beginning in such a mundane way, Isabel Roland has no way of knowing just how dramatically her life is about to change. So far, at least, this morning is a carbon copy of pretty much all her work days: worrying about how to pay for repairs on the little house she's inherited from her mother, dealing with the repetitiveness of her customers at the bank, happy to see Joe Pike even though, with the crush she has on him it's hard not to blush as they talk. Just a completely ordinary day until Isabel leaves the bank for an early lunch, not noticing the gray SUV at the curb, not seeing Pike in his truck across the street. Pike, though, notices Isabel as a man from the SUV approaches her before pushing her into the vehicle as its driver speeds away. It isn't a professional kidnapping, making it easy for Joe to catch the vehicle at a red light and, breaking the window, taking down the kidnappers, rescue Isabel, which should have ended it. And it does, for three days, until the bodies of the kidnappers are found and Joe understands that Isabel is still in danger.

As always, Pike and his partner Elvis Cole provide plenty of action; as always, a great read!



 Author:  Margaret Atwood                              Fiction       

In Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's classic story of a futuristic America, all but a small fraction of the country has become Gilead, a repressive state in which women and others have had their rights stripped, and democracy has been replaced by totalitarianism. Now, thirty-five years after the publication of Handmaid's Tale, Atwood’s sequel begins several years after the semi-cliffhanger ending of the first novel, with this story being told from the perspective of three women: Agnes Jemima, the privileged daughter of a powerful Commander and his wife, one of the fortunate girls allowed to attend school where she learns the necessary skills needed to fulfill her already decided future as a wife (needlework, flower arranging, passivity, table setting, but no forbidden reading or numbers); Aunt Vidala, who has schemed and manipulated her way to the rare and coveted position of a woman with power in Gilead, a woman who reads and writes and whose secret journals are capable of bringing down an already foundering society; and Daisy, sixteen, raised not in Gilead but in Canada where she lives with her parents Melanie and Neil, goes to school, and is mostly interested in getting her driver's license and participating in a rally for Baby Nicole, an infant successfully smuggled out of Gilead to save her from future oppression.

Testaments lives up to the hype preceding its release, detailing both the rise and collapse of a government formed to protect the authority of one group while enslaving the rest of the population. My advice is that you be sure to read these two books in order; they are not just a series but a diptych.


Fifth Column                                         

 Author:  Andrew Gross                     Fiction                           

It's 1939, and Charlie Mossman’s once perfect life has all but vanished. His hopes of finishing his dissertation are gone with the hire of a new department head, whose dislike of Charlie may be based on Charlie's Jewishness; America has not yet entered the war abroad and such sentiments are still accepted in the U.S. Worse, though, is the mess he's made of his family: his beautiful four year-old daughter's eyes when he staggers home, again, having had too much to drink. His once adoring wife covering for him as she averts her eyes to hide the pain his drinking and his affair cause her. Charlie thinks he's lost everything, but he hasn’t, yet. Losing everything comes on the night of the Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden, the night Charlie's rage and loss come together to create the biggest mistake of his life, a mistake that sends him to prison. Two years without seeing his wife, his daughter, and when he returns home, he finds that they have formed a new life without him, a life that includes a bond with the grandparent-like couple across the hall. While Charlie recognizes that part of his suspicion about the couple may be jealousy, he also knows that there are too many unanswered questions about their mysterious visitors and seemingly perfect life to be believable. As America churns toward becoming involved in the war, Charlie finds himself caught up in a ring of spies, trying to separate the good guys from the bad.

A quick, moderately entertaining but completely predictable spy novel, Fifth Column suffers from a far-fetched plot and equally shallow characters. Meh.