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Topic: * Ahem* I would like to recommend a hidden gem!

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Subject: * Ahem* I would like to recommend a hidden gem!
Date Posted: 11/11/2008 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 9/4/2008
Posts: 92
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I LOVED this book "The Way the Crow Flies" by Anne-Marie McDonald. 


I highly recommend it.  I think the reviews on amazon are plenty, so I won't go on and on about it here....

Now, it is a bazillion pages long.  But so worth it!! 




Date Posted: 11/11/2008 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Amazon might say plenty, but it helps knowing why a member loves it.  What is so great about it that you took time to recommend it?

Date Posted: 11/11/2008 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 9/4/2008
Posts: 92
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For one thing, I loved the style of writing.  There were many passages that made me stop and reread them, savoring the words.

There are also many of my favorite themes in the book:  Redemption, choices, living with our choices, regret, shattered innocence, coping with that shattered innocence... rising above.  Learning to love yourself despite your flaws.    It's a disturbing portrait of how far people will go to protect their own interests at the expense of others..    It's a dark story told (mostly) through the eyes of an innocent (madeleine.) 

It's many stories in one. At the core of the book is a murder mystery, but the murder doesn't happen until quite a ways into the book.  It's the story of how this murder ripples through the community of families at the base.  The father in the story has to make a choice between what he knows is right, and duty to his country.....  and it's the story of the reprocussions of his choice.  

I will admit that the first 150 pages are kinda slow.  There is a ton of character setup and backstory that trickles in....  




Date Posted: 11/11/2008 6:56 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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I read this book a few years ago and I have to agree with you.  :)  My online book club chose another of her books, Fall On Your Knees, as our current selection.

Date Posted: 11/11/2008 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Now this gives me pause. I'm going to check this out further.



Date Posted: 11/11/2008 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 9/4/2008
Posts: 92
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After I read this one I picked up a copy of Fall on Your Knees.... I haven't read it yet.  I am interested to hear what you have to say about it when you're done. 



Date Posted: 11/11/2008 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2008
Posts: 115
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Here's another "hidden gem": Love Warps the Mind a Little by John DeFresne. 

Ok, I chose this book for the funny title but I was soon hooked by the story.  The main character, a struggling writer, is also struggling with life in general.  He has trouble leaving his failed marriage and trouble committing to a new relationship.  The book is full of quirky characters that remind me of those found in books by Anne Tyler or John Irving.  And like those characters, they're funny and eccentric, but also very human and complex.  I love a book that can both make me laugh and cry, and this one did.

Kat (polbio) -
Subject: Hidden Jem
Date Posted: 11/12/2008 8:38 AM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
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I got a box books on ebay a few months ago. It had 54 books almost all cozy mysteries with some thicker books. One book that caught my eye was a boook called The Glass Harmonica by Louise Marley. If you like spooky kind of historical mysteries this was really good. It went back and forth between the Future (2019) and the past (the time of Ben Franklin). A woman who played the glass harmonica was mysteriously connected with an orphan little girl who helped Ben Franklin invent his. It is very well written and keeps you  intriqued. 

From Amazon: Marley's genre-crossing tale of music and healing is built, literally, around the human bones found beneath Benjamin Franklin's London abode. Eilish Eam, an Irish orphan from Seven Dials, is saved from a life of squalor when Franklin hears her playing musical glasses on the street. Eilish is taken into Franklin's household to help tune, and then to play, his latest invention--the glass harmonica. But though Eilish is enamored of the instrument, enjoys the comfort of Franklin's house, and delights in a friendship with renowned harpsichordist Marianne Davies, she cannot divorce herself from her past or the handicapped child, Mackie, whom she left behind.

Complementing Eilish's tale is that of Erin Rushton. Erin is a musical prodigy, the greatest contemporary player of the glass harmonica--an instrument that, in 2018, has become fashionable again due to the wave of nostalgia sweeping the country. Erin's America is the product of civility laws run amok. Cities have been "reclaimed"--and very nearly turned into theme parks of the past--while the unsightly poor have been removed to vast tent cities.

Erin has recently been troubled by an apparition, first seen when she plays Franklin's original harmonica in Boston. To add to her stress, Erin's twin brother, stricken by a neurological disorder and wheelchair-bound since childhood, has recently begun an experimental and potentially dangerous therapy under the direction of Gene Berrick, a young doctor struggling to overcome the taint of his tent-city upbringing.

As the tale progresses, Eilish and Erin glimpse each other more frequently, at first fearfully, and later affectionately, as they help each other understand the healing properties of their instrument.

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 8:40 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 25
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I enjoyed Fall on Your Knees by her.  Allie

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,986
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Fall on Your Knees kept me turning those pages and turning those pages.  A grand untaking of a novel.  However, it ranks right up there with House of Sand and Fog as one of the most depressing books I've read in my long life.  One where they made their own woes (but then, don't we all) and got what they deserved.

Yes, read it!

And thanks for coming back with your own thoughts on As the Crow Flies.  I am regretting I gave my own copy away without reading it.

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2006
Posts: 2,819
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Misty, you just named my all-time favorite novel (so far). It's such an amazing story.  And I loved Fall on Your Knees, too. 

Anyone know if Ms. McDonald has a new book planned?  I've tried googling to see what's up with her, but can't really find much.  Wish she had her own site.

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 4:54 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2008
Posts: 364
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I'll check back in once I read Fall On Your Knees.  I'll probably read it sometime next month because we're not having our discussion until after Christmas.  :)

Date Posted: 11/12/2008 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2007
Posts: 2,408
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I love Ann-Marie MacDonald! I read "The Way the Crow Flies" first and then went back and read "Fall On Your Knees". I found them to be very different novels but the writing is exquisite. I think she has a new one coming out soon? I hope so. I recommend Ann-Marie MacDonald a lot.
Date Posted: 11/18/2008 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 5/20/2007
Posts: 559
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Thanks for the recommendation.  I have had this book on my TBR list for awhile and have not gotten around to reading this one.  I am going to have to dig it out and read it. 

Date Posted: 11/19/2008 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,564
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It's funny.  I have read both of the Anne Marie McDonald books and cannot remember anything about them.  Huuuuummm.  I will have to revisit Fall on Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flys someday.

Last Edited on: 11/19/08 1:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/25/2008 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 47
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I remember Where the  Crow Flies much more so than Fall On Your Knees...perhaps because I read it more recently.  I thought the last hundred or so pages were dragging along....I know she was trying to wrap up the story several years later so you could see what became of the main character, but thought it could have taken much less time.  Otherwise I really enjoyed the story.  Can't remember if Fall On Your Knees was a good one...must not have been if I can't remember...I vaguely remember it was set in Cananda somewhere....but so was WTCF.......

Date Posted: 11/25/2008 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 830
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I have avoided 'The Way the Crow Flies' because I loathed 'Fall on Your Knees'.  Read the latter w/ book club and we all wondered what was so wonderful about it for Oprah to make a recommendation.  Quite the melodrama and just plain odd.  Like a bad soap opera that goes on too long.  Not one redeeming character in the whole book.  JMHO though.

Date Posted: 11/26/2008 1:00 AM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2007
Posts: 9,682
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Thanks for recommending Fall On Your Knees everyone, I just ordered it!

Date Posted: 1/9/2009 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2005
Posts: 147
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This book was a real slow starter for me... but once I got into it, I love it! 

I loved the voice of Madeline.  Even though I knew the general storyline, I was still surprised by certain things... and had that feeling of dread as I guessed other things that were about to happen.  It was engrossing.

 am in the wrapping up pages now, but consider this to be one of the best books I have read in the last 6 months or so!

Date Posted: 1/10/2009 12:42 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2006
Posts: 2,077
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It's one of the handful of books I've reviewed here. I will agree that it took a looooong time to get the story started. The scene setting in the beginning became tedious for me, although it was well-written. Once the story got rolling, though, it was hard to put down.

ETA--I just went to Amazon to read the reviews there. Many of the people who negatively reviewed it did not finish the book. I guess if it doesn't pass the 100 page test, it's an assumed loser. I understand that. However, this is one book you almost have to take beyond the 100 pages to be fair. I will agree wholeheartedly that this book could have used some judicious editing to cull the real gem of a story from the pages and pages of descriptive narrative. I really think if you are going to write a super-long novel, you'd better make damned sure every one of those pages is warranted.

Last Edited on: 1/10/09 12:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1