Readers’ Corner, Nov. 2022: Gratitude

By Bonnie McCune & Kathleen Duhamel ~

In Breaking Night: from Homeless to Harvard, Liz Murray relates her fascinating memoir about life with substance-abusing parents, through an extended stretch of scraping up an existence on the streets, then finally to her successful transformation to Harvard student. When Liz’s mother dies of AIDS, she decides to take control of her own destiny and go back to high school. With good luck, brains, and determination, she learns to care for herself, meets adults who give her a helping hand, and stays focused. An inspiring story of a woman who refused to give up and allowed herself to listen to her own drummer.

A great combination of history with an unusual love story takes the reader on a trip to the island of Cyprus, home to Turkish and Greek families who struggle to preserve their own traditions while surviving the violence and madness accompanying opposing cultures. A boy and girl from the battling ethnicities fall in love. Over the years, torn apart, unsure if the other survives, they cherish memories, linked to a fig tree symbolizing life and love, in The Island of Missing Trees, from Turkish novelist Elif Shafak. A young girl, transplanted from the island’s rocky soil, becomes the symbol for life flourishing with diverse beliefs. 

The Three Weissmanns of Westport returns to author Cathleen Schine’s familiar beat, the populous East coast and families, whether these are natural or selected by chance and choice. Betty, mother of the tribe, has just been dumped by her husband of nearly fifty years. She loses her lovely New York apartment and takes refuge in a Connecticut beach cottage with her two middle-aged daughters. Comparisons to Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility abound, including humorous touches that reveal the growth of the characters and the pursuit of love. Money problems lurk, too, but with true optimism, very human characters give us hope about modern life.

Author Kathleen Duhamel ( writes humorous contemporary romance featuring “seasoned” characters. Her newest is Fed Up. Author Bonne McCune’s latest is Never Retreat, a suspenseful romance in Colorado’s wilderness.

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