Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Choice

The Choice was typical Nicholas Sparks fare—nothing to see/read here. I was tempted half way through to move on without finishing…didn’t care about the characters; saw the ending marching right down Main Street toward me, trumpets blaring; found the path to the ending tedious. I did, however, enjoy the dogs, Molly and Moby.

From Publisher’s Weekly:
In his 13th book, bestselling Sparks (At First Sight, etc.) limns the far-reaching implications of several seemingly ordinary choices made by Beaufort, N.C. veterinarian Travis Parker and his next-door neighbor Gabrielle Holland, a physician's assistant and recent arrival. After an inauspicious first meeting where Gabby accuses Travis's boxer of impregnating her purebred collie, the two fall hard for each other. Already dating someone else seriously, Gabby is faced with a dilemma: whether to stick with longtime boyfriend Kevin, or get involved with Travis. The first part of the tale paints a vivid picture of her decision-making process and its effects on Travis and Gabby's lives. That sets up Part II, which takes place 11 years later when Travis faces a life and death decision following a car accident.

My reading choices of late have all been in the category of literature lite. Personal circumstances have more or less dictated nothing too challenging—must keep the brain open to deal with life. However, Nicholas may have sparked in me the realization that I need a bit more.

2.5/5 (General Reading Scale)
Grand Central Publishing

288 pages

The Long Walk Home

The certainty of love doesn’t always arrive to hearts eagerly waiting. Whether rising out of the dust cloud kicked up by an old pick-up truck on a back road in Iowa or flashing by a window in a brief glimpse of backpack, the heart knows when love has arrived—uninvited perhaps, a bit unexpected—but nevertheless its arrival cannot be denied. So we find Fiona Edwards, a woman used to welcoming the unknown into her bed and breakfast, on the morning that will change her life.

The Long Walk Home by Will North tells not only the story of Fiona and Alex Hudson but also the story of a Welsh landscape—calm and serene one moment, harsh and unforgiving the next. Visit Will North’s website for a glimpse of what Alec saw and experienced on his trek from London to his appointed destination.

From Booklist:
New Yorker Alec Hudson is a man with a mission. Determined to fulfill his ex-wife's dying request to have her ashes scattered on a remote Welsh mountain, the site of one of their happiest times in life, Alec decides to work through the mourning process by walking from Heathrow to North Wales. There he meets Fiona Edwards, the proprietor of a quaint farmhouse bed-and-breakfast. Prevented from scaling the mountain by inclement weather, Alec is drawn into life on the farm, helping out with lambing season and falling into an easy companionship with the outgoing Fiona, whose reclusive husband is suffering the ill effects of poisoning from a cleansing agent used on the sheep. When Alec and Fiona finally recognize and act on their mutual attraction, lifelong notions of loyalty and duty endlessly complicate their relationship. With its exploration of love at midlife, this debut novel will remind readers of the megahit Bridges of Madison County. And, as with that novel, some will find the fervid declarations of love highly romantic; others will cringe.

This was, for me, a story to settle into and just travel along with. I didn’t ask The Long Walk Home to be more than it was—no quotes carefully copied, no Post-Its peeking out from multiple pages. Just good sit-down-with-a-cup-of-tea book…pleasant time spent with characters who asked you not to plumb their depths but to accept them for who they were.

3.75 of 5 (General Reading Scale)
Shaye Areheart Books

320 pages