Neshama’s Choices for December 5th

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Flying Solo

A cozy Rom-Com that actually celebrates a woman’s wish to enjoy an uncoupled life-- kind of. Laurie called off her incipient wedding and is happily single in Seattle.  But when her beloved, eccentric Aunt Dot dies back in the small Maine Village where she grew up, she’s charged with the task of sorting out the contents of Dot’s big house. High school boyfriend Nick, a librarian, is now divorced and the spark reignites. There’s a mysterious decoy duck buried in a trunk. Could it be valuable? A nutty caper emerges from that discovery. A fun read.   

A River Enchanted 

A fantasy in Scotland.  On this island there’s a split. One half is prosperous, the other less fortunate.  This leads to constant skirmishes.  Jack, a music teacher on the mainland, is summoned by his island family.  Girls are disappearing.  A convoluted tale with lots of secrets ensues.  As a bard, Jack can summons the spirits, but that power comes at considerable cost.  Can the current laird, Adaira, bring peace to the island?  Unlikely, but there’s a glimmer of hope.  Magic spells, revelations, complex romances.  Highland atmosphere. Heady!  


Subtitled Losing my Way and Finding My Voice 1967-1975. A rich immersion into the folk revival/ innovative music-making of that era in Britain. First with Fairport Convention. Then after a terrible accident, he broke away from the group. Worked with Sandy Denny and then with Linda who became his wife. Along the line he became a Sufi to fill the spiritual emptiness that had initially driven him to drink. They had two kids; the marriage eventually failed. What I loved about the book: an intimate dive into the creative process. He tells how inspiration came to him, song by song. Discovered his far-ranging, eclectic, surprising musical background, as well as the literature and history that played into the songs. I skimmed some of the details, but boy, this book really took me there!

The Dazzling Truth

Murtagh and Maeve met at Trinity College. He was studying pottery; she was a would-be actress who’d been “sick”— spells of paralyzing mental illness.  Murtagh apprentices with a potter on a tiny island where they end up settling.  4 children later, Maeve walks into the sea, her pockets loaded with stones.  Her motivation: to free herself and her family from the weight of illness before it got worse.  But it leaves the family in shambles. Three-plus decades later there’s healing. The metaphor: the Japanese technique of mending broken pottery with veins of precious metal that increases its beauty. Atmospheric, vivid, heart-rending.