CURL UP WITH “THE FUTURES”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s featured book is The Futures, by Anna Pitoniak, is a dazzling debut novel about love and betrayal, in which a young couple moves to New York City in search of success-only to learn that the lives they dream of may come with dangerous strings attached.

 

 

 

Intro: (Prologue – Julia)

It was a story that made sense.  An old story, but one that felt truer for it.  Young love goes stale and slackens.  You change, and you shed what you no longer need.  It’s just part of growing up.

I thought I had understood.  It seemed so simple at the time.

We moved in on a humid morning in June.  Our suitcases bumped and scuffed the walls as we climbed three flights of stairs, the rest of the boxes and furniture waiting unguarded in the foyer.  The locks were clunky and finicky, resistant on the first few attempts.  Sunlight streamed through the smudged windows, and the floorboards creaked beneath our weight.  The apartment looked smaller than it had before, on the day we signed our lease.  “I’m going down for some boxes,” Evan said, holding the door open with one foot.  “You coming?”

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Teaser:  I was silent.  I waited for him to look up at me, but he wouldn’t.  He kept his palms pressed up against his eyes, like a child willing a monster to disappear.  After a minute, he said it again.  “Julia.  What should I do?”

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Synopsis:  Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, a scholarship student from a rural Canadian town, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia–blond, beautiful, and rich–fits perfectly into the future he’s envisioned for himself. After graduation, and on the eve of the great financial meltdown of 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan lands a job at a hedge fund. But Julia, whose privileged upbringing grants her an easy but wholly unsatisfying job with a nonprofit, feels increasingly shut out of Evan’s secretive world.

With the market crashing and banks failing, Evan becomes involved in a high-stakes deal at work–a deal that, despite the assurances of his Machiavellian boss, begins to seem more than slightly suspicious. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who offers a glimpse of a different kind of live. As the economy craters, and as Evan and Julia spin into their separate orbits, they each find that they are capable of much more–good and bad–than they’d ever imagined.

Rich in suspense and insight, Anna Pitoniak’s gripping debut reveals the fragile yet enduring nature of our connections: to one another and to ourselves. THE FUTURES is a glittering story of a couple coming of age, and a searing portrait of what it’s like to be young and full of hope in New York City, a place that so often seems determined to break us down–but ultimately may be the very thing that saves us.

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What do you think?  Do the excerpts make you want to keep reading?

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REVIEW: THE BOOKSTORE, BY DEBORAH MEYLER

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When Esme Garland leaves England for a Ph.D. scholarship at Columbia, in New York, her life is mapped out before her.What she doesn’t count on is how her life is thrown into chaos after she meets Mitchell, a professor at a private school, and a member of a wealthy family. Then when she becomes pregnant, and when Mitchell walks out on her, I said to myself: “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”

She finds a part-time job at The Owl, a neighborhood bookstore, and soon becomes immersed in the life of the staff, the customers, and the neighborhood. It is a small, untidy place chock full of books that almost topple, but lend their own special ambience to the place. George is the owner, and Luke is a laconic assistant who slowly becomes a good friend. It is a neighborhood place for homeless people and other eccentric individuals who frequent it, not necessarily to buy books, but to linger.

Just as Esme starts to find her own niche, and has settled into her routines, Mitchell wants back into her life.

But can she trust him, since he left before by saying he didn’t want her? Is he playing some kind of game that has more to do with his family than her? How will his demands on her change her plan for her life? And how will she resolve these issues?

I found it difficult to put up with Esme’s inability to see through Mitchell, and I especially could not stand him, his behavior, or his attitudes. There were so many red flags that I, the reader, could see…but naturally, the characters have their own perspective. The fact that they were all “people” at whom I could yell when they did not do as I thought they should, and the fact that I regularly tried to “warn” them of pitfalls, was definitely a testament to the strength of the characters. Even when I didn’t like what they were doing, I could not stop reading.

I liked how the true importance of the shop in the lives of the people who entered its doors stood out as a reminder that, despite the transitory nature of bookstores in this day and age, this particular shop was precious to those who loved it.

I liked how the story ended, and even though The Bookstore was more about the relationships of the people that came through the place, sometimes settling in for a bit, it was also a backdrop for their lives and their friendships. 4.0 stars.

A QUEST, A MYSTERY, & FAMILY CONNECTIONS — A REVIEW

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From a cottage in the English countryside in the year 1803, to a manor house in England in the 1940s, a rare and unique camellia takes center stage in a mystery and a journey. And in New York at the New Millennium, a botanist named Addison Sinclair finds herself on her own journey to learn more about the gardens in that same manor house now belonging to her husband’s family.

The Last Camellia: A Novel sweeps across the years to tell the story and to introduce the reader to the families whose gardens feature the exquisite flower. And despite the lovely rare blooms, or sometimes because of them, we also see the sadness, the loss, and the betrayals that surround them all. Narrated in the first person voice of Flora, in 1940, and Addison, in 2000, the shifting perspective brought out each woman’s story very effectively.

What lengths would flower thieves go to in order to obtain a rare camellia called the Middlebury Pink? How does a woman named Flora, trying to save her parents in New York, become mixed up in a plot to steal the flower? And how will love and family connections change the course of her life? Will she be one of a group of women who mysteriously disappears and never returns?

There were a number of curious incidences and unanswered questions that finally came together near the end of the story. Some seemingly isolated threads converged to bring out a mystical connection between the characters. An unforgettable story that I enjoyed thoroughly, although there were a few extraneous episodes that seemed unnecessary. Therefore, four stars.