Saturday, June 13, 2015

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

“It wasn’t too late to turn back. Driving through the fog at a quarter past midnight, Letty waited for the exit signs that appeared without warning, willing herself to swerve off the freeway and return the way she’d come. But at each split-second opportunity she wavered just a moment too long. The exits came and went, and she was left with nothing but a wall of fog and the tequila in her water bottle, pushing her forward - past San Jose and Los Banos and Coalinga and through the sour cloud of Harris Ranch, accelerating until even the short length of yellow line she’d been following for over two hundred miles transformed into a rush of white.”

It’s a grim beginning to We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, the author who brought to us the heart-warming, uplifting and delightful bestselling novel, The Language of Flowers, a book translated into forty languages worldwide, and which explores the nature of relationship through the story of a young girl who grew up through the foster care system.

In We Never Asked for Wings, Vanessa Diffenbaugh explores various human issues through the story of Letty Espinosa, 33, and her two children Alex, who is 15 and Luna, 6, and their grandparents Maria Elena and Enrique. Through the back story we are told how Letty had been a “teenage mother, despondent and suffering from a heartbreak she tried hard to drink away.” For fifteen long years Maria Elena and Enrique raised the two kids while Letty worked through three jobs. Things began to unravel when Enrique went to visit his ailing mother, and a worried Maria Elena went looking for him. This prompted Letty to leave behind her children and help her mother bring Enrique back. It set off a chain of events keeping one in suspense as to how the story will move forward.

We Never Asked for Wings is a worthy follow-up to The Language of Flowers. It has matched Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s debut novel in almost all departments. Though the premise is quite simple, Vanessa’s rich imagination turned it into an intricate and beautiful story, and was exquisitely complemented by her wonderful prose. One has little to complain about the characters as they are all finely developed, each playing a pivotal role in the whole scheme of things. Letty may seem irresponsible at one stage but her transformation is simply remarkable, and there’s no way you won’t root for her.

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a story that will capture your imagination and stay with you long after you turned the last page. As the book draws to a close, like the characters in the story, you will feel at home. “Like birds in flight, they were here, and they were home.”

#This review is from an uncorrected proof advance reader's copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Finders Keepers by Stephen King

After last year’s taut thriller Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King returns with its sequel as the unlikely team of ex-policeman Bill Hodges, Jerome Robinson and Holly Gibney tried to make sense of the City Center Massacre and also save the life of Pete Saubers from the clutches of a near-deranged Morris Bellamy. While the main thread of the story revolves around Pete and Bellamy, it also delves deep into the plot of Mr. Mercedes and the massacre which took the lives of eight innocent people, maimed three, seriously injured twelve and caused minor injuries to seventeen others.

Finders Keepers by Stephen King begins in the year 1978 with the murder of a novelist at his New Hampshire cabin by a die-hard admirer. The cloistered eighty-year-old novelist John Rothstein found himself awake when the privacy of his cabin was invaded by an obsessed fan Morris Bellamy and two accomplices. Not content with the cash available, Bellamy wants to make sure if the rumoured sell-out of his favorite character Jimmy Gold in the next Rothstein novel is true, and the ensuing melee proved disastrous.

Bellamy’s plans unravelled when he was arrested and sent to prison for thirty-five years, but not before he stashed the loot away. A high school student Pete Saubers, whose father Thomas Saubers was seriously injured in Mr. Mercedes, found the buried treasure and sent the money to his parents concealing his real identity while keeping the drafts of Rothstein’s novels. All hell break loose when Bellamy is released on parole in 2014 and discovered his treasures missing. It is upto King’s likeable trio - Bill Hodges, Jerome Robinson and Holly Gibney, to keep Pete from harm’s way and protect his family.

Finders Keepers by Stephen King is an ambitious and well-crafted hard-boiled thriller which can be read as a stand-alone though it is the middle book of a trilogy. Its masterful pacing and riveting plotting makes it a heart thumping read, intensely thrilling and absolutely gripping. Author Stephen King as is his wont, delivers a novel that has stunned me by its shrewdness and ability to sustain interest.