Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Night Swimmer by Matt Bondurant

Thankfully, I read this novel well after our summer trip to Ireland where we met nothing but warm and inviting locals.  I got this book from the library after reading that the premise was based on an actual "win an Irish pub" contest sponsored by the people at Guinness back in 1998.  In Bondurant's fictional version, the winners are Fred and Elly, a Vermont couple whose prize is a pub in the tiny town of Baltimore on the southern coast of Ireland.  Once there, they encounter all sorts of obstacles - ghosts, goats and Gaelic superstitions - and plenty of not-so warm and inviting locals.  Elly is a swimmer who assumes she can swim from Clear Island to the mystery enshrouded Fastnet Lighthouse.  One look at photos of the light house online convinced me she was crazy, even without the threats of the locals.  I liked the Gothic mystery of the novel, but I finished it with lots of unanswered questions and disappointment over the evil Irishmen that this book introduced me to.

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer

This one was just for fun! The available man of the title is recently widowed Edward Schuyler, whose kids think should be ready to date again. They place a personal ad for him in The New York Review of Books and the letters from the ladies begin to arrive. He gets a little more than he bargained for when a past love shows up at his door. It all works out in the end for this shy, science teacher who was a pretty appealing character. Guilty pleasure romance reading for Valentines week