Recently Read: Three Books, One Trilogy + Ratings

“Once you had put the pieces back together, even though you may look intact, you were never quite the same as you’d been before the fall.”

― Jodi Picoult

#1 Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

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Synopsis:

Number One bestselling author Jodi Picoult returns with her compulsive new novel – about the lengths we go to for those who have left us behind; about the staying power of love; and about how three broken souls might have just the right pieces to mend each other.
Jenna Metcalf was with her mother the night she disappeared in tragic and mysterious circumstances, but she remembers nothing.

Over ten years have passed, and still Jenna reads and rereads her mother’s journals, hoping to find some clue hidden there, in the meticulous recording of her scientific research with elephants.

Desperate for answers, Jenna uses all her savings to recruit the aid of a private detective – and a psychic.

Jenna knows her mother loved her. She knows she would not leave her. And she will not rest until she finds out what happened that night. In her most gripping mystery since House Rules, Jodi Picoult brings us a powerful story of a young girl’s determination to uncover the truth, however shocking and life-changing it might be.

Nederlandse omschrijving:

Alice, de moeder van Jenna Metcalf, verdween ruim tien jaar geleden onder mysterieuze omstandigheden, terwijl ze in New-England het gedrag van olifanten bestudeerde. Jenna kan niet geloven dat haar moeder haar als peuter zomaar in de steek heeft gelaten. Ze bestudeert dagelijks Alice haar aantekeningen in de hoop een aanwijzing te vinden. Ten slotte besluit Jenna de hulp in te roepen van Serenity, een in opspraak geraakte helderziende, en de cynische privédetective Virgil, die destijds betrokken was bij het politieonderzoek. Drie eenzame zielen die lastige vragen stellen en totaal niet voorbereid zijn op de verpletterende uitkomst van hun speurtocht.

My favorite quotes:

“When someone leaves you once, you expect it to happen again. Eventually you stop getting close enough to people to let them become important to you, because then you don’t notice when they drop out of your world.”

“I think grief is like a really ugly couch. It never goes away. You can decorate around it; you can slap a doily on top of it; you can push it to the corner of the room—but eventually, you learn to live with it.”

“The moral of this story is that sometimes, you can attempt to make all the difference in the world, and it still is like trying to stem the tide with a sieve. The moral of this story is that no matter how much we try, no matter how much we want it … some stories just don’t have a happy ending.”

“If you think about someone you’ve loved and lost, you are already with them. The rest is just details.”

“In the wild, an elephant mother and daughter stay in close proximity their whole lives; I hope I am that lucky.”

Rating:

4c-11-1 (1)

#2 The Invention Of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

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Synopsis:

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

Nederlandse omschrijving:

Charleston, South Carolina, begin 19e eeuw Voor haar elfde verjaardag krijgt Sarah het tienjarige slavenmeisje Hetty ‘Handful’ cadeau. Er ontstaat een gecompliceerde maar hechte vriendschap, die hun levens zal beïnvloeden. Gedurende vijfendertig jaar worden de meisjes gevolgd op hun levensweg. Ze worden geconfronteerd met verdriet, hoop, geschonden vertrouwen, onbeantwoorde liefde en haat. Hetty weet haar kracht en levenslust te behouden, terwijl Sarah de moed vindt om zich samen met haar jongere zus Angelina in te zetten voor de afschaffing van de slavernij en de rechten van de vrouw.

My favorite quotes:

“History is not just facts and events. History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another’s pain in the heart our own.”

“To remain silent in the face of evil is itself a form of evil.”

“My body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, it’s the other way round.”

“I didn’t know how to be in the world without her.”

“Their laughter would ring out abruptly, a sound Mother welcomed. “Our slaves are happy,” she would boast. It never occurred to her their gaiety wasn’t contentment, but survival.”

“There was a time in Africa the people could fly. Mauma told me this one night when I was ten years old. She said, “Handful, your granny-mauma saw it for herself. She say they flew over trees and clouds. She say they flew like blackbirds. When we came here, we left that magic behind.”

Rating:

5c1-1-1 (1)

#3 The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

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Synopsis:

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office-leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist-an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand-and fear-the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Enchanting, beautiful, and exquisitely suspenseful, The Miniaturist is a magnificent story of love and obsession, betrayal and retribution, appearance and truth.

Nederlandse omschrijving:

Nella Oortman komt aan de prestigieuze Herengracht wonen, als jonge bruid van de bekende rijke VOC-koopman Johannes Brandt. Ze is niet bepaald wereldwijs en ze begrijpt niets van het huishouden waar ze in terechtgekomen is. Haar ongetrouwde vrijgevochten schoonzus Maren, de zwarte bediende Otto en het brutale dienstmeisje Cornelia maken er de dienst uit. Haar echtgenoot Johannes is meestal op reis en raakt haar met geen vinger aan.
Dan krijgt ze van hem een bijzonder cadeau: een poppenhuis. Het is net hun eigen herenhuis aan de gracht – maar dan in miniatuur. Vanaf dat moment ontvangt Nella mysterieuze pakketjes voor haar poppenhuis. Algauw krijgt het verhaal een dramatische wending en lijkt het lot van alle mensen om haar heen bezegeld.

My favorite quotes:

“Every woman is the architect of her own fortune.”

“In suffering we find our truest selves.”

“Pity, unlike hate, can be boxed and put away.”

“Growing older does not seem to make you more certain, Nella thinks. It simply presents you with more reasons for doubt.”

“The surface of Amsterdam thrives on these mutual acts of surveillance, the neighborly smothering of a person’s spirit.”

“Marin believes love is better in the chase than caught.”

Rating:

4c-11-1 (1)

#4 The Selection Trilogy (#1 The Selection, #2 The Elite, #3 The One) by Kiera Cass

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Synopsis:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself–and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Nederlandse omschrijving:

Voor 35 meisjes is de selectie dé kans op een beter leven. Zo kunnen ze ontsnappen aan een armoedig caste-leven en opgenomen worden in een wereld vol glamour. De selectie biedt de mogelijkheid om in het paleis te wonen en te strijden om het hart van prins Maxon.
America Singer vindt het echter een nachtmerrie. Ze moet haar geheime liefde opgeven en haar thuis verlaten voor een strijd om een kroon die ze niet wil. Ze moet in een paleis wonen dat continu wordt aangevallen door rebellen. Dan ontmoet ze prins Maxon en twijfelt ze aan alles. America realiseert zich dat het leven waar ze altijd van gedroomd had in het niet valt bij de toekomst die ze nooit voor mogelijk had gehouden.

Edit: Over deze trilogie schreef ik eerder al eens. Ik heb deze boeken allemaal een flinke tijd geleden al gelezen, er waren op dat moment echter nog geen Nederlandse vertalingen beschikbaar. Omdat ik hier veel vragen over heb gehad én omdat er inmiddels een vierde deel is uitgekomen heb ik de boeken opnieuw gelezen en wil ik wederom aandacht schenken aan deze serie. Hou je van het Dystopische genre (zoals bijvoorbeeld The Hunger Games serie), maar mag er van jou ook wel een beetje romantiek in voorkomen? Dan zit je met deze trilogie helemaal goed.
Deel vier, The Heir, kwam uit in mei 2015. Totaal onverwacht overigens, want de serie zou eigenlijk al helemaal klaar zijn! De Selection serie is hier in Nederland inmiddels zó populair, dat de vertaling dit keer vast niet lang op zich laat wachten. I will keep you posted!

Kleine preview, de cover van deel 4, The Heir:

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My favorite quotes:

“True love is usually the most inconvenient kind.”

“No, I’m not choosing him or you. I’m choosing me.”

“If you don’t want me to be in love with you, you’re going to have to stop looking so lovely. First thing tomorrow I’m having your maids sew some potato sacks together for you.”

“It’s always the fear of looking stupid that stops you from being awesome.”

“Love is beautiful fear”

“The best people all have some kind of scar.”

“Maxon: “To be clear, no one agrees with you.”
America: “To be clear, I don’t care.”

Rating:

5c1-1-1 (1)

Happy reading!

Liefs,

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