Tag Archives: Marriage

Review: Henry, Himself

Henry, Himself
By Stewart O’Nan
Viking, 9780735223042, April 9, 2019, 384pp.

The Short of It:

Thoroughly enjoyed visiting with these characters again.

The Rest of It:

There are three books about the Maxwell family:

Wish You Were Here
Emily, Alone
and lastly, Henry, Himself

In the first book, we already know of Henry’s passing and witnessed its effect on the family he left behind. In the second book, we focus on Emily, Henry’s wife and how everything has changed and how she suddenly finds herself on her own. In Henry, Himself, we go back to Henry’s last time at the lake house, before Wish You Were Here.

Are you still with me?

In Henry, Himself, O’Nan makes it clear that Henry’s days are numbered which adds a layer of sadness to the story. In fact, even Henry is aware that the day is coming.

What you should know about these books is that they are day-in-the-life type reads. Henry and Emily go about their days making sandwiches, painting window trimming, taking Rufus for a walk. When a holiday weekend comes up, they pack it up and head for their house on Lake Chautauqua and all their adult kids and their kids descend upon the place for a few days. As with any family, there are family struggles to deal with and nothing brings them out like togetherness.

I have to tell you, even though there isn’t a lot of action to speak of, I adore these books. There is something comforting about routine. The whole process of packing up one house to go to your lake house and vice versa is so soothing. I’m not even sure why. Henry’s willingness to be the “yes” guy to all of Emily’s requests, although sometimes grudgingly, is sweet. But aging can be a beast too and O’Nan reminds us of that.

In summary, all of the books together tell the story of a family that has been through  many challenges but somehow manages to always come together when they need to. I’ve loved all of the books in this series and I have hope that Rufus (the dog) will get his own book soon.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Advertisements

Review: Tomorrow There Will Be Sun

Tomorrow There Will Be Sun

Tomorrow There Will Be Sun 
By Dana Reinhardt
Pamela Dorman Books, 9780525557968, March 2019, 288pp.

The Short of It:

Vacation Lit is a thing and I am a sucker for it.

The Rest of It:

Two families arrive in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Jenna has organized the trip to celebrate her husband’s fiftieth birthday–she’s been looking forward to it for months. She’s sure everything is going to be just perfect–and the margarita refills delivered by the house staff certainly don’t hurt, either. What could go wrong? – Indiebound

A lot, but not in the way you expect. I imagined a kidnapping or a murder or some psychotic episode but this vacation goes wrong in the way many vacations go wrong; small, subtle clues that all is not what you pictured and that life is about to get challenging. Annoying, perfect friends, a husband who spends too much time working even while on vacation, teens who go off to do their own thing only to leave their parents worrying about their whereabouts. And then in the midst of it all, a full staff of servants who become reluctant witnesses to it all falling apart.

I love vacation lit. I don’t travel much so when an author takes me to another country through her writing and keeps me turning those pages, then I consider it a win. I was entertained and the story was realistic in what could happen on a vacation like this one. I felt as if I got to know the characters pretty well and the pace felt right. If you enjoy vacation lit, give Tomorrow There Will Be Sun a try.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.