Barbara L's Book Reviews

Star Trek, the next generation

Star Trek, the next generation

(Written during the Spring 2020 Covid-19 crisis.) I have always been a Trekkie right from the get-go in the fall of 1966. I was already a sci-fi fan, and was blown away with how this TV show offered into a glimpse of the future. Granted the production was very much of its time–melodramatic acting, stereotypical […]


Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout

One of the most intriguing characters in contemporary literature is back! Olive Kitteridge, whom we first met in Strout’s eponymous novel of 2008, is not the most likable woman. She’s got a Down East bluntness and speaks her mind, often sharply. Her inner thoughts are often nasty but she doesn’t let them out. She has […]


The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman

The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman

With a nod to Hitchcock’s “Rear Window,” private detective Tess Monaghan is confined to her sofa during the final weeks of a high-risk pregnancy. Bored beyond belief, she mopes and watches with great envy the jolly collection of twice-a-day dog walkers she can easily see from her large picture window. As a trained observer of […]


Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynne Olson

Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynne Olson

Here is yet another tale of unsung heroism and the role of women being often discounted by both allies and enemies in times of war. Marie-Madeleine Fourcade was a beautiful Parisian socialite in her mid-20s at the start of World War II. She was a smart, independent minded person and was in the perfect position […]


The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine

The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine

I wonder if Jane herself would have chuckled at this modern adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility.” I know I did. The sparkling wit and sharp social commentary are intact and the feature characters are all nicely represented but done so with very clever variations. The two sisters, Annie and Miranda, are middle-aged. Mom–Betty–is in her […]


The Body: a guide for occupants by Bill Bryson

The Body: a guide for occupants by Bill Bryson

Everyone’s got one–a body, that is. Why not find out really interesting stuff about it: how it works, what this part does, what’s good for it, what’s not? That, I’m sure, is what Bill Bryson was thinking when he undertook to dissect (pardon the pun, couldn’t resist) the amazing container in which we all reside. […]


This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

There are four Vagabonds at the heart of this captivating tale–an odyssey of discovery, love and finding a home. Odie and his big brother Albert, Mose, a Sioux Indian boy who is mute, and Emmy, a loveable and wise 6-year old, all unfortunate orphans on the lam from a horrific institution–the Lincoln Indian Training School–run […]


Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon

Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon

This engrossing coming-of-age tale is set in the small town of Zephyr, Alabama in 1964. 13-year old Corey Mackenson, a budding writer with a vivid imagination, is our narrator. He hangs out with his three best friends, and as free-range kids, they have many adventures, some fun, some threatening, some downright dangerous. There are bullies […]


The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine

The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine

Laurel and Daphne Wolfe are identical twins, as close as two people can be without being physically joined at the hip. From infancy on they have shared a special “twin talk,” a private language that even their mom can barely grasp. They also share a deep fascination for words, regular ones that is, and would […]


The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I can’t quite put my finger on which Grimm fairly tale this wonderful new novel by Patchett reminds me of. Is it Cinderella? Maybe Hansel and Gretel. No matter, the key elements are there: a missing mother (perhaps evil), a definitely evil stepmother, a cold hearted father, step sisters, a magnificent though odd house (some […]


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