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Alicia, single, works for the same NYC prep school she attended. Not a particularly fulfilling life. Her father Leonard is dying. He’s the author of a one-hit sci fi wonder about time traveling brothers that made him rich. He brought her up on his own. Then on her 40th birthday she wakes up totally disoriented after a hard-drinking night, purse and phone missing. And realizes she’ s been transported back in time with all her current knowledge in her 14-year-old body. A fascinating set-up well played out with an exploration of ultimate “what ifs…”
I grew up with the films of Ingmar Bergman, still indelible after all these years. This book is his daughter’s autobiographical novel which took me behind the scenes, as it were. Her mother Liv (one of his five wives) starred in many of his movies. Linn spent every summer with him in Sweden, the rest of the time with self-involved, peripatetic Liv, mostly tended by nannies. Intimate, candid, and haunting.
On the beach in Rhode Island a flirtation gone wrong turns two mob families into mortal enemies. It's the Murphys against the Morettis. Thoughtless Liam sets it off and his older brother Danny tries to keep things together as their aging father is losing his grip. Skirmishes, strategies, and deals keep crashing and it's looking grim all around. Especially when Danny's wife Terri gets mortally ill. Is there honor among thieves? Not exactly but Danny, who is essentially principled, does what needs to be done to survive. Rich characterizations and wild action make for a very compelling tale.
In this historical novel, we get Margaret's point of view. She works for--yes, that Emily, aka The Myth of Amherst. Margaret arrived from Ireland around 1860. Emily is tickled by Margaret's old-county vernacular and culture, and they become as close as a died-in-the wool introvert and a servant who knows her place can be. Alternate chapters move to 1916, after Emily's death. That's how we learn how Margaret preserved Emily's poems for posterity despite being ordered to burn them. Another dimension: the struggles for Irish independence; Margaret's would-be suitor is involved with the Fenians. I went on a tour of Emily Dickinson's house in Amherst and have always loved her poetry. This book brought it all home, as it were.