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Book Nook - 03-09-2018

Monday, September 03, 2018

There are Lit Fests taking place all over the country, but the community of readers is dwindling. Still, passionate book lovers would like to know what others like themselves are reading. This Book Nook suggests some books, but would also like to connect with serious readers, or even casual airport book browsers. Do write in about books you have loved or hated and why. The best entries will be shared on this page. Please send your recommendations to

The Imperfect Love Story
Bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand has set her latest novel The Perfect Couple on the beautiful island of Nantucket, where she lives. The breathtaking beachfront has palatial properties of the rich and famous, but the island is also small enough for everyone to know everyone’s secrets.

Celeste Otis, the quiet, intelligent and loving daughter of the close-knit, middle-class Otis family, is thrown into this world of luxury when she is wooed by Benjamin Winbury, the younger son of banker Tag and celebrity writer of mystery books, Greer Garrison.

Their wedding is fixed, and entirely paid for by the Winburys, who may have their own internal problems, but  are nothing but gracious and kind to the somewhat wide-eyed Celeste and her parents, Bruce and Karen. Preparations for the lavish wedding are on, when Celeste’s best friend and maid-of-honour, Merritt Monaco is found on the beach, dead by drowning. The groom’s buddy and best man Shooter Uxley, first vanishes and then reappears as abruptly, with no alibi to explain his absence.

The book alternates between the romance between Benji and Celeste and the investigation into Merritt’s death by the local cops. Benji introduces her to a high-flying life that she, with her salary as an official at a zoo, could never have dreamt of.  He is charmed by her innocence, and she by his sheer kindness; unlike many other wealthy, trust fund guys, he is down to earth and even slightly embarrassed by his swish lifestyle. The outgoing Merritt with her partying ways, is the exact opposite of Celeste, which is perhaps what gets them to love and trust each other like sisters.

The two families and their closest friends gather at, Summerland, the splendid Winbury property on Nantucket, where things seem calm on the surface, but secrets are bubbling underneath. All of them, including Benji’s brother Thomas and his wife Abbie and a flamboyant but broke “friend of the family” Featherleigh Dale, have had either a reason or an opportunity to murder Merritt.

When the police chief Ed Kapenash and detective Nick “The Greek”  Diamantopoulos (with his film star good looks) start their questioning, they uncover a tangled web that leaves them baffled.

The book, first of all, shows that there is no such thing as a perfect couple. Celeste’s mother Karen, dying of cancer, believed her marriage of thirty years was perfect, but overhears her husband reveal his sordid secret. Tag and Thomas are anything but perfect husbands.

It may have the structure of a whodunit, but the novel also looks at class differences, broken families and rootless young people in their social media bubble. The intricate jigsaw puzzle that Hilderbrand lays out with her back-and-forth timeline, does not actually fit together, which is the best part of the novel.  The Perfect Couple is a quite satisfying, one-sitting read.

The Perfect Couple
By Elin Hilderbrand
Published by: Little Brown & Co
Pages: 480

Mending The Heart
Debbie Macomber has based Cottage By The Sea, on a real incident in 2014, when a landslide in near Oso, Washington, took with it forty-nine homes and killed all the residents.

In the book, Annie Marlow, who drops out of going home for Thanksgiving to hang out with her friends in California, finds the next day that her entire family has been wiped out. How does anyone cope with a tragedy of this magnitude? Annie has a loving aunt and a cousin Gabby to help her, but the depth of her grief is too much to bear.

She decides to go to the happy place she remembers as a child, the pretty beach town of Oceanside, where the family used to spend vacations. By a stroke of fortune she gets a job as a physician’s assistant in the local clinic and with the intervention of a man called Keaton, manages to rent the very cottage of her memories.

Keaton was abused as a child and has grown up to be a silent, taciturn man, who is more of a misfit because of his size—he is huge! His only friend are school mate Preston, and the severely agoraphobic Mellie, who is the owner of the cottage Annie rents. She does not remember him, but Keaton had seen her as a teenager and fallen in love with her. He becomes her main pillar of support as she tries to put the tragedy behind her and build her life afresh.

Macomber has written it in a simple, no-frills style—the little joys and sorrows of a small town, where Annie tries to belong. There are speed bumps in her tender relationship with Keaton and the stormy friendship with Mellie, but it all works out in the story that is basically a modern-day fairytale. A good holiday read.

Cottage By The Sea
By Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine
Pages: 352

Excerpt of Cottage By The Sea
Keaton had noticed the beautiful teenage girl on the beach earlier in the week. Once he saw her playing volleyball with a group of other teens, he hadn’t been able to take his eyes off her. Her family had rented the Munson cottage and arrived Saturday morning. As soon as the car was unpacked, the girl and her older brother had made their way to the beach. They’d been there every day, laughing, swimming, and making friends. The girl was vivacious and full of life, and her laugh carried with the wind and made him smile every time he heard it. She couldn’t be more than fourteen or fifteen years old, and her brother was a year or two older. Keaton noticed how people were naturally drawn to her and wanted to be around her. He felt it himself, even though he watched from afar.

Oceanside was a small, out-of-the-way town, but when summer arrived all the hotel rooms and rentals were filled. The shops were busy with tourists, eager to spend their vacation dollars. The scent of the ocean mingled with that of fried clams and fish and chips. Children jockeyed at the window of the candy shop for a view to watch Mr. Buster pull saltwater taffy or pour fudge onto large cookie sheets. The kite shop was a favorite to both the locals and tourists. The sky was filled with every imaginable shape, with children and adults alike running up and down the beach. It was like this every summer.

The beach was crowded, bustling with activity, and yet this one girl had caught Keaton’s attention to the point he found himself looking for even a glimpse of her.

From the moment she arrived in Oceanside, Keaton found it hard not to think about her. He liked her hair, which was auburn, tinted by the sun, and long. She wore it in a single braid that bounced against her back as she raced down the beach, her bare feet kicking up the sand. She didn’t lack for attention, he noticed; he could tell plenty of boys were interested in her. Keaton couldn’t blame them.

More than anything, he wanted to talk to her. The problem was that he didn’t know how to approach her, or what to say when he did. He didn’t know how to tell her that he thought she was pretty. On the best of days, he rarely spoke. Girls left him tongue-tied and red in the face. His heart pounded so hard he felt his pulse in his head every time he thought about approaching the girl on the beach. For the first time in his life, Keaton thought about ways to overcome his aversion to speaking just so he could talk to her. He never had been good with words, and being naturally shy worked against him. Preston, his best friend, encouraged him to try to meet this girl who had taken up so much of his thoughts.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Preston had advised. Keaton wanted to throw those words right back at him; after all, Preston had had a thing for Mellie Johnson all through high school, and despite being nearly lovesick over the girl, Preston hadn’t done more than greet her in the halls for four years. Not that it would have done him any good—Mellie had run off with some guy she’d met in Aberdeen the day after graduation. No one had seen or heard from her since.

That didn’t stop Preston from hounding Keaton about the beach girl, though. It took Keaton nearly the entire week to find the nerve to approach her. It was now or never, but still, he fretted and stewed. His inability to carry a conversation was one problem, but then there was another bigger problem.
His size.

Keaton’s biggest fear was that she’d be intimidated or frightened by him the way most people were. The girls in school had avoided him because he came across as aggressive and mean. He didn’t intend to appear that way; it was simply the way he’d always looked, because he rarely smiled. The truth was there was little in Keaton’s life to smile about. If he had his way, he’d have been invisible, but his height and size made that impossible. He’d grown to six-six while a junior, and another two inches his senior year. His shoulders were broad to the point that he barely made it through a doorway. His hands and feet were huge. He’d become used to the names people called him, making fun of his size.

Luke Coutinho’s The Dry Fasting Miracle, “is dedicated to every human being in the world with the love and hope that they may understand the miracle of life and the intelligence and immense power of the human body and its ability to heal and prevent. Many people’s faith will be shaken and destroyed when death or disease or suffering happens, and we lose faith in the human body’s intelligence and miracles. I hope that somehow we can get inspired to slowly align back with nature and use the body alongside whatever alternative method of treatment we choose to prevent and heal. In no way has this book been written to condemn anyone or any system of medicine or put down doctors of medicine. It is considered to be ‘magic’ that we can all use in our lives when it comes to healing, prevention and possibly curing disease, especially when medicine gives up on disease. Imagine, just imagine the beauty if it can all work together – medicine when required and fasting, an integrative beautiful powerful prevention and healing system. From cancer to well-being, explore the miracle of dry fasting.”
The Dry Fasting Miracle: From Deprive To Thrive
By Luke Coutinho
Pages: 122
Aarti Arsani’s Reborn: Universal Secret Of Your Energy Revealed is a “synthesis of stories of real people who, with the help of the processes mentioned in this book, awakened to the universal truth of energy, consciously choose to change their frequency, and created a life they desired…In this book, you will learn: Harmonize with invisible energies, daily attune to the energetic language of the universe, the ask and receive process, eliminate energy deflators, create money, have joyful relationships, improve your health, become the energy of happiness.”
Reborn: Universal Secret Of Your Energy Revealed
By Aarti Asrani
Adhyyan Books
Pages: 133

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