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Nancy's Notes - May 5, 2001

“Learning to Swim”, by Sara J. Henry, “Paris Wife” by Paula McLain, “Devious” by Lisa Jackson.

My first two books I am writing about this week were rated highly in several magazines. The first, “Learning to Swim”, was written by Sara J. Henry. When a small child tumbles from a ferry into Lake Champlain, Troy Chance dives in without thinking. As she bobs to the surface with the little boy, the ferry disappears into the distance. She then begins a grueling one mile swim to shore with a passenger on her back. Troy assumes the child’s frantic parents will be in touch with police. But what follows is silence, so she finds herself protecting her young charge.
    Paula McLain’s, “Paris Wife”, captures the love affair between Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley. This is historical fiction, so consider it a good read and maybe not take every word as absolute truth. The story begins in Chicago in 1920. Hadley Richardson, twenty-eight-years-old, has given up on love and happiness. Then she meets Ernest Hemingway and after a whirlwind courtship the two marry and sail for Paris. There they become the golden couple in a lively group that includes Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Though they are deeply in love, they are not prepared for the hard-drinking fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris with its non-traditional values. Ernest struggles to earn a place in history, pouring his intense lifestyle and that of his friends into a novel which will become “The Sun Also Rises”. Despite their bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage: a deception, that will lead to the unraveling of that for which they’ve fought so hard.
    Lisa Jackson is one of our more popular female mystery writers. Her latest is entitled, “Devious”. A novice nun named Sister Camille has been found in St. Marguerite’s cathedral, dressed in a yellowed bridal gown and strangled, her body covered with an altar cloth. Valerie Houston, is devastated by her sister’s death. She had begged Camille to leave St. Marguerite’s. But Camille had a knack for making bad choices and she joined the convent in part because she’d fallen for Val’s soon-to-be ex-husband. Convinced the police aren’t doing enough, Val begins to investigate. The deeper her inquiries go, the more twisted the case becomes.
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