Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Lace Makers Of Glenmara

I've been reading a lot of vampire books lately and watching a lot of it on television (I think I'm the only person in America to have never seen Buffy The Vampire Slayer until two months ago) so when the chance to review The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri came along, I jumped at the chance. It would make a nice change of pace from all the biting.

The Lace Makers of Glenmara is a lovely read. It's the story of Kate, a 26 year-old woman fleeing a broken relationship in Seattle, traveling to Ireland to keep a promise she made to her mother to visit her homeland. She winds up in Glenmara and meets several women there who are lace makers, holding up the tradition of home-made Irish lace in the face of cheap knockoffs and foreign competition.

One of the women, Bernie, takes Kate in and brings Kate into her circle of lace makers. As Kate is accepted by these women, she learns their stories while being taught their art. She discovers that friendship can come in many guises and that lessons can be learned from even the most prickly of characters.

Of course there is a love angle to this story but what really spoke to me was the stories of friendship between each woman, how essential that is to all of us, how those friendships satisfy a need we all have. This book illustrated that beatifully and while the love story is fun and well-crafted, it is the women who move the book along and have the most interesting story lines.

This is a MotherTalk book review. To read more reviews of this and other books, please visit the MotherTalk website.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Meeting Mr. Wrong

Meeting Mr. Wrong, The Romantic Misadventures of a Southern Belle, by Stephanie Snowe is a highly entertaining account of one Southern woman's attempts at dating after a divorce. It is one of those books that makes you snort with amusement. We've all done the dating thing (well, I'm assuming we've all done it) and it can be hell, but Stephanie tells her tales with a lot of humour and wry wit.

Even before giving birth to twins, Stephanie's husband informs her that he wants a divorce and she is immediately thrust into a world of diapers and daycare. Dating is far from her mind initially, but once she does take the plunge, she does it via the Yahoo personals page. The dates she gets from this venture range from the odd to the slightly scary.

There's Denny, who lived in a trailer park and had a velvet Elvis picture on his wood-paneled wall. Denny, who had six of his workmates follow them on their date to the Golden Corral. Denny who peed with the bathroom door open.

Then there was Juan, who gave Stephanie a rating (average to slightly above average) as they were sitting down to dinner on their first date and then proceeded to ask the waitress for her phone number. This one called her back, even after she ran screaming up her walkway, yelling that he should never call her again.

Or Brian, who still lived with his mother and did everything with her, including let her listen in on his phone conversations. George, who turned out to be married and Ben, who got completely drunk and puked at her feet (and still wanted to kiss her after that).

The stories continue on, interwoven with conversations with her mother (which are hilarious) and talks with advice-filled friends. It's a quick, fun read that will leave you wincing in sympathy while laughing out loud.

This is a MotherTalk book review. For more reviews of this and other books, please visit MotherTalk.