March Book Club Reads

Both book club reads were worth reading this month, but I did enjoy one over the other.  Our in-person group read the Secret Life of Sunflowers by Marta Molnar

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and our online group read The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield,

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which was my favorite of the two.  Sunflowers came in with an overall rating of 3.25 (everyone gave it a 3, except one reader who gave it a 4.5).  Homecoming got an overall 4 rating with the lowest a 3.5 and the highest a 4.5.

                The Secret Life of Sunflowers had two storylines, like so many books these days—one in the present, and one in the past.  I did not enjoy the more current story line, but some did.   The older story line was the story of Vincent Van Gohs sister-in-law Johanna.  It describes her journey from young woman, to married to Van Gogh’s brother Theo, early married life, motherhood and then widowhood.  It shows her tenaciousness to bring Vincent Van Gogh’s work to the world.  The other story line is about Emsley Wilson and her famous grandmother, and a discovered old diary which turns out to be from Johanna.  I thought the more modern story was too much of a romance, and the older one a bit dramatic, but  I did learn a lot about the Van Gogh brothers, and not all that favorable information.  I wasn’t all that enamored with any of the characters. Ann also made a spectacular  high teas for us.

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The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is a coming-of-age story set in Columbia County, Arkansas in the 1950’s.  It is the story of good versus evil, family ties, family values,  and connections.  I loved so many characters, and particularly liked the young heroine and star of the book, Swan Lake.  But I also loved her mother Willadee, Uncle Troy, and Samuel.  Swam reminded me of Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird.  There are some evil characters, and parts of the book can be a bit tough to read,

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but I thought the author wove the story together in such a nice way.  Some of our members struggled with the dark parts.  It is Wingfield’s only novel to-date, but she is the screenwriter of a movie The Man in the Moon.    I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As always, we had great fun, with lively discussions with good friends.  

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