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The Silent Wife by award winning writer Karin Slaughter is the 20th, and most recent, book in her “Atlanta” series. Her earlier, “Grant County” series is connected to the second series through several characters and incidents. Though not absolutely necessary to enjoying the books, whichever series you choose, I recommend reading the books of that series in order. I didn’t know I would want to do that originally and wound up going back to earlier books because I wanted to know what had happened.
The two main characters in The Silent Wife are Will Trent, a Georgia Bureau of Investigations officer, and Dr. Sara Linton, a pediatrician and part-time coroner, are rich and very well written. I would call Will a true overachiever. He is an excellent detective who had to overcome a psychologically and physically abusive childhood as well as an abusive (almost-ex) wife. He is dyslexic, but was never diagnosed as a child. Sara is a widowed rape survivor who was betrayed by her deceased husband. Will and Sara’s relationship has grown into one of genuine love with all the good and bad, ups and downs, that that entails. The secondary characters are also well crafted. They include Will’s boss, Amanda Wagner, and his partner at work, Faith Mitchell. Equally well drawn were two characters I found unlikeable; namely, Sheriff Jeffrey Tolliver (Sara’s husband) and his deputy Lena Adams. They both seemed willing to lie, cut moral corners, and betray.
This book is the most unifying of any in either series, in that both the characters and the events are viewed from past to present day. Also, the venues include both Heartsdale in Grant County, Ga. and Atlanta. The plot concerns a prisoner who is murdered in a penitentiary and Darryl Nesbitt, another prisoner, who claims to have information about a recent, unsolved crime. The recent crime is virtually identical to the series of brutal rapes and murders Darryl is suspected of having committed a decade earlier. He has always maintained his innocence and hopes to have the matters reopened to gain some advantage on his sentence. Will and Sara’s connection to the old and new cases forms the core of the plot. The details of the crimes can be gory and that might put some off. I won’t spoil the book by revealing exactly what happened in each of the crimes, or who committed them. I can only say I had to keep reading to find out the answers.
Review by Gaye G.
ICCA finals season is here and the Barden University’s acapella groups, both men and women’s, are in the final competition at Lincoln Center. On their final performance, a nervous member, Aubrey Posen ends up vomiting into the audience thus ruining their chances of winning.
Months later, during senior year, Aubrey and co-leader of the group Chloe Beale must find new replacement singers to their group at a college activity fair. They are struggling to find young women to sign up due to their embarrassing showing at the last performance and also due to the very conservative approach to the group in general. They are approached by several young women who don’t fit the profile of the young women that have joined in the past, that being hot young women who are all uniform looking. One of these young women is Beca Mitchell. She really doesn’t wish to be in a group or become involved in extra-curricular activity at all. She doesn’t wish to even go to college, she just wishes to become a music director and get her music out into the mainstream. It is her father, who is a professor who works at the college, who has given her an ultimatum to find an activity that she likes and stay in school…but if she can’t after giving it her best shot, he will help pay for her to go to L.A. and live the life that she is wishing to.
She then decides to try out for the Barden Bella group, after Chloe had approached her in the showers once having heard her sing in there. Beca, along with a bunch of other young women are accepted into the group. They do NOT fit the previous mold well! Individually, each woman has something/talent(s) to contribute they just aren’t cohesive as a group. Hilarity ensues as exasperated Aubrey and Chloe try to find their “sound,” and make it back to the ICCA finals without being made out to be the laughing stock of the acapella world.
During the show, there is co-mingling with other groups and individuals. For example, Beca and another character find themselves in relationships with young men from a rival acapella group at their school even though this is against Aubrey’s strict rules. Throughout, Beca, and the others feel that the older more traditional rules and expectations of the group can be changed to modernize the group in general; this however goes against what a well-meaning Aubrey thinks is best. Aubrey comes from a very strict military-type family who believes that the way things have always been done is still the right way to do things and proves very difficult to change.
Beca, is a bit of a loose cannon and initially fights her new found relationships as well as her father throughout the movie. She had always kept people at a distance in order from getting hurt but she soon discovers that that may not be the best. The group eventually becomes more cohesive and find that they have a strong chance of making it back to the ICCA finals but with warring opinions, even in their own group, that maybe difficult to do.
Throughout the movie Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins play acapella commentators.
This was a cute and entertaining movie. My husband and I particularly enjoyed the music. Elizabeth Banks (co-producer) and John Michael Higgins were the HILARIOUS commentator duo throughout the movie! It was nice to see how the characters matured and grew throughout. The cast was made up of talented Broadway actors, comedians, and singers that helped round out this movie.
Directed by Jason Moore
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins
Review by Julie C.
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This is the sixth book in the Camulod Chronicles. The story takes us back to Camulod where war is brewing on two fronts. Ambrose takes one force (and Arthur) in one direction, while Merlyn takes another force in the opposite direction. Ambrose learns that things are still well with Vortigern and the following Autumn, Merlyn goes to accompany Bishop Germanus to Verulamium as in one of the previous books, for the Pelagian heresy had been completely rooted out. Things go awry and Merlyn returns home in a hurry and on the journey loses his wife and many of his men. He blames Peter Ironhair for all this and undergoes his metamorphosis, into that sorcerer we know him best as. This is out of revenge, which he does not attain in full, for Ironhair is killed by another’s hand. He is also gravely injured on this quest, and the leprosy he feared seems to be real, although his old friend Lucanus had assured him this was not so.
I have complained before about how in the previous books so much seems to go so well for the people of Camulod and Merlyn in particular, with a few large exceptions. It seems Whyte was saving all his bad mojo for this book, where Merlyn loses not only his wife, but his brother, and for a time, his sanity. He goes down a dark path and even by the end of the book, he does not truly come back into the light. Perhaps he never will.
The draw for me in Arthurian Legend is Arthur himself. Not Lancelot or Guenivere or even Merlyn. In this series we have seen precious little of Arthur. And that’s fine: This isn’t his story. It’s that of Camulod, told by those who knew it best, Publius Varrus and Merlyn. So, when this book reached it’s end with Arthur being proclaimed High King and pulling the sword from the stone three times, my heart filled with the happy. This was familiar territory and a hint that the next selections in the series may have a bit more of my favorite character, I hope.
On the whole, I enjoyed this book and recommend the series to any who enjoy Arthurian Legend. This series puts it in an almost plausible historical setting, subtracting the magic and miracles from the legend. One can imagine that if Arthur and Merlyn really lived, that this may have been how it could have happened.
Review by Jessica A.