Wildflower Hill

Friday, March 30, 2012

Title: Wildflower Hill
Author: Kimberley Freeman
Audio Narrated By: Caroline Lee
Pages: 544
Audio Time: 16 hours, 28 min.
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Touchstone (Simon & Schuster)
Audio Publisher: Bolinda Publishing
Pub. Date: August 23, 2011



I probably wouldn't have picked this book up if it hadn't been for all the great blogger reviews I read. I saw it on at least a few "best of 2011" lists. My super high expectations may have caused the subsequent disappointment I felt after reading (listening to) this. Looking back, I did enjoy Wildflower Hill and its listening experience, but I didn't love it.

Wildflower Hill simultaneously tells the story of modern day Emma and her grandmother, Beattie. Emma inherits her grandmother's property in Australia upon Beattie's passing. Emma then goes to Australia to recover from an injury that prevents her from her work as a ballerina. While cleaning up the house, she learns more about her grandmother's past and unearths some long buried family secrets.

Overall, I thought the story was nice. The plot itself wasn't that original, and I found there wasn't much specific about Emma for me to relate to or to like about her all that much. I did like Beattie and her story, but there were some things she did that I didn't like. There was one big plot point that was supposed to be this huge turning point for Beattie, but I really didn't like it. It saddened me, really. Her story, however, was definitely much more interesting as she experienced and overcame, or had to cope with, various struggles. We also get a glimpse into what life was like back then and all the judgments and stereotypes placed upon her and her situations.

I listened to the audio version and for the most part I think that was a good way to go. This was a long book but it seemed to go fast when listening to it. While the story didn't blow me away, I did like the audio production. It sort of reminded me of a tv movie that absorbs me for a couple hours. The narrator has an Australian accent which I loved, but she also did a great Irish accent.


Check out these other reviews for Wildflower Hill:
Write Meg
Raging Bibliomania
Mrs. Q: Book Addict

Cutting for Stone

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Title: Cutting for Stone
Author: Abraham Verghese
Pages: 658
Genre: Publisher
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday/Vintage (Random House)
Pub. Date: February 3, 2009


Somehow this book has been out for about three years now and I only recently really started hearing about it. But what I was hearing about it were great things and a lot of "it was my favorite read of the year" type things. So, despite it's length which is longer than what I usually read, I decided to read this with my sister who read it around the same time.

And I am so very glad I did. This book was epic, yes, and absolutely gorgeous. The writing was beautiful; the setting and atmosphere so beautifully evoked, and the characters (while not all as likeable) were so well brought to life. There were so many things I loved about this book (not to mention the shiny cover is gorgeous as well).

The majority of Cutting for Stone takes place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It starts before the birth of our main characters with their mother, (a nun!) Sister Mary Joseph Praise and their father, a British surgeon, Thomas Stone. No one even realizes Sister Mary Joseph Praise is pregnant, and their discovery is followed shortly thereafter by the birth of twin boys, Marion and Shiva Stone. But abandoned at birth, the boys are raised by others in the community and continue to be exposed to the lifestyle of medical practice that their biological parents both led.

It's hard to say exactly what this book is about because it encompasses so much. It's a lot about the practice of medicine, specifically how it was in Ethiopia from the 80's to current time and how this contrasts with the advanced practice of medicine in America. It's about the boys growing up without their biological parents but with such amazing "adoptive" parents and nannies. It's about the boys' life experiences and betrayals that drive a good portion of the plot. It's about the significant differences in their personalities despite their shared love and pursuit of medical practice. It's about their experiences during the Eritrean coup in Ethiopia during Eritrea's war for independence which they're further affected by due to their Eritrean nanny and her daughter. It's about the actions that lead to one of the brothers leaving for New York, his learning about the cultural divide in America, and another series of events that takes place there.

It's sort of long, and I do think it could have been cut shorter in some places, but overall this is the type of book that makes me enjoy being a reader. I was so immersed in the lives of the characters. I've read that some people were bored or uninterested in some of the medical aspects of the book. There were definitely a lot (the author is himself a practicing doctor), but I loved following along and learning about the characters' passions. It almost made me want to be a surgeon myself. (Almost, haha). Verghese's writing was gorgeous. The characters (even the ones that weren't the most likable) found their ways into my heart. There were amusing moments that made me laugh, and other moments that triggered exclamations or made me cry. Beautifully, beautifully done.

Author Forum Schedule: 2012 UCF Book Fest

Friday, March 23, 2012

For those of you who are local and are still deciding whether or not to attend, the schedule of author forums is up. Here's the link:

http://education.ucf.edu/bookfest/authorForum.cfm

I'm super excited about them and pretty much have already decided which ones I want to go to! I'm thinking the Jeff Ashton one since I have his book and hope to read it soon, possibly the non-fiction one since I've really been getting into that lately, and the literary fiction one.

I'm going to try really hard to have at least one book from there reviewed for next week but we'll see how it goes. I've got a lot going on which means limited reading time, unfortunately.

Also, here is a link to those of us bloggers who will be there on the ucf website. =)

http://education.ucf.edu/bookfest/bloggers.cfm

And I wish I would have realized this before, but their site has a list of Florida book festivals (now all past) but I'll have to look at that in the future!

http://education.ucf.edu/bookfest/fl_festivals.cfm

Gossip by Beth Gutcheon

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Title: Gossip
Author: Beth Gutcheon
Pages: 278
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow (Harper Collins)
Pub. Date: March 20, 2012

Back before my blogging days, I read and thoroughly enjoyed Beth Gutcheon's The New Girls about four prep-school classmates from the 60's who reunite as adults. Some components of Gossip were similar to that which makes me wonder if this is a common theme coursing throughout multiple books of hers. Anyway, my enjoyment of The New Girls excited me when I saw she had a new book coming out; and it's set in NYC so, wa-la! Of course I had to read it.

Gossip is narrated by Loviah French who owns a dress shop on the upper east side of Manhattan where she is often patronized by the wealthiest and those of high society New York. She has two best friends from back in prep school who couldn't be more different than each other. There's Dinah Wainwright who is incredibly gregarious and writes gossip for a tabloid; and there's Avis Metcalf -- prim, proper, and naive.

This is really a look at high society life and the ways in which the people perpetuate gossip about each other and, in some ways, how this affects everyone involved. It's very subtle, though. The big title word, GOSSIP, gave me the impression this would be a fully scandalous read. But instead it was a lighter, though no less perceptive, look into their lives. For instance:
It is my observation that the people who enjoy money the most are the ones who weren't born with it. For the congenitally rich, money creates a kind of cage, a structure of manners and expectations they don't dare question, because if they do they might discover they don't know who they are. For our classmates at school it was the water they swam in, isolating them in ways they sometimes never understood. (p.179)
And this, more about people in general:
The men on the ferry who wished to declare themselves old Nantucket hands wore baseball hats or shorts in a color that looks weather-beaten even when new, called Nantucket red. The tourists would all have hats in this color by the tie they made the return trip. We all want either to belong somewhere or for others to think we do. (p.224)
Loviah is frequently placed in a situation, due in part to her job and in part to her social interactions, to hear gossip about various people she knows and sometimes about her friends. This places her in a position of deciding whether or not to share with her friends what's being said about them. Loviah even partakes in possibly gossip-able activity, though we don't really hear about it probably due to her being the narrator.

Other than these interactions, there doesn't seem to be a big event in the plot until the last quarter of the book. For the first while reading Gossip, I sort of wondered where it was going. But along the way I became involved with the characters, and when the climactic stuff did happen I was attached to the characters and was shocked. Jealousy was another gossip-related theme that played throughout the book.

Allow me one additional, somewhat off-topic, passage that hit home for me humorously:
You do, however, have to figure out the Brooklyn subways by yourself, and I made a hash of it and at first went the wrong way, deeper into Brooklyn instead of toward home. By the time I realized my mistake, I had to wait what felt like forever in a virtually empty station... I had no idea what sort of world was overhead, whether there was a bustling brightly lit street full of taxis, or a neighborhood as dark and quiet above as the station below, so I felt I had no choice but to stay where I was and hope that a train arrived before something unpleasant did. At last a Q train arrived, not a line I understood at all, but it was brightly lit and going toward Manhattan, neither of which you could say about the bench where I'd been sitting, so I got on... The subway is like that after hours. What had possessed me to go to an outer borough at night by myself? (p. 259-260)
I have done this a few, but too many, times (not alone, fortunately, but with my husband). My last visit (last week) involved walking around Brooklyn one night, with no one else in sight, searching for the subway to head back to Manhattan... not smart... need to plan better! And I totally understand the relief of the train arriving and it not mattering what train it is because it's headed in the direction of heavily populated areas!

Gossip was a fairly short read that I was unsure about in the beginning but ultimately enjoyed. I would recommend for those interested in human nature, the life of the semi-famous and well-to-do, and of life in NYC.

The Lantern

Friday, March 16, 2012

Title: The Lantern
Author: Deborah Lawrenson
Pages: 383
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Harper (Harper Collins)
Pub. Date: August 9, 2011 (hardcover); February 28, 2012 (paperback)


The Lantern received many rave reviews from fellow bloggers when it first came out last August. I wanted to know what the big deal was so I jumped at being on the TLC tour for the paperback release. It took me a little while to read because of some life/work circumstances, so I don't think I was able to enjoy it as much as I would have otherwise. But I can certainly see how the gothic atmosphere, the descriptive writing, and the titillating mystery absorbed its readers. I will say that The Lantern would make GREAT atmospheric reading around October or Halloween because it also offered a ghost story - not too much of one for those who aren't into that, but just enough to spark a goose bump every now and then.

Compared to the classic, Rebecca, this book tells alternating stories about two families residing (or who resided in the past) at a home in France called Le Genevriers. The current day story is about Eve and Dom, a fairly new couple who have just bought the home. However, not too long into their stay there, things start to change. Eve starts learning that Dom may not be who he's presented himself to be, specifically as it relates to his past marriage. The secrets embroiled with his ex-wife cause discomfort and, sometimes, fear for Eve. This is the part that's compared to Rebecca. I can't really say since I never read that book, but I assume it's not the same since Eve, herself, compares her situation to that of the classic book. Each chapter alternates Eve and Dom's story with that of Benedicte, a woman who lived at Le Genevriers with her family over fifty years prior. So while we also learn about her life, we learn about the history of the home as well as why weird things have happened with the home for both Benedicte and Eve.

Two small things that I didn't care for... the first was that while I thought the mystery was suspenseful, I thought the tension and anticipation was purposely drawn out a little too much - a lot of foreshadowing early on that frustrated me in waiting for the resolution. And a little too much description of scenery and scents; I know that contributes to the atmosphere of the novel and most readers loved it, but for a while I felt a little too inundated with it and wanted to get to the meat of the story. But these two things are truly very minor compared to the rest of the book. It was a book I was easily absorbed with whenever I had a moment to read it. I'm usually not a ghost story person, but this was just right in that realm. I would definitely recommend this to almost everyone; it was a great book to curl up and escape into.

Follow the tour below:
Thursday, March 1st: Books and Movies
Wednesday, March 7th: Knitting and Sundries
Monday, March 12th: Stiletto Storytime
Tuesday, March 13th: Picky Girl
Thursday, March 15th: Kahakai Kitchen
Wednesday, March 21st: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, March 28th: The House of the Seven Tails
Friday, March 30th: Books, Books Everywhere!
TBD: Melody & Words
TBD: Reflections of a Bookaholic
TBD: Books, Books Everywhere!

2012 UCF Book Festival Authors & Reviews

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I had hoped to have a review or two ready for today for authors that will be there this year, but things happened and I wasn't able to get to it. So I thought I'd feature some of the authors (and their books) who will be there this year.

Daniel Palmer has written Delirious and Helpless, both of which have been reviewed here on my blog. I really enjoyed both and felt like Delirious was quite the ride!

Bio from bn.com: Daniel Palmer spent a decade as an e-commerce pioneer, helping to build first generation websites for Barnes & Noble and other popular brands. An experienced musician and songwriter, Daniel has recorded two CDs and licensed his songs for commercial use. A graduate of Boston University, Daniel lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two children. 

 His father, Michael Palmer, will be there as well. He has written many medical thrillers. I reviewed here The Last Surgeon. I read The First Patient as well, though that was before I was blogging regularly. I enjoy thrillers, but I typically like for them to have something different about them, so I love the medical aspect to his stories. I'm actually surprised to see that I've only read two. My parents are huge fans of him so I'm always looking out for his books for them, but looks like I need to catch up! I've got A Heartbeat Away sitting here to read as well! (The first book my parents read by him was Critical Judgment which they LOVED!!)

Bio from bn.com:
MICHAEL PALMER is the author of fourteen previous novels of medical suspense, all international bestsellers. In addition to his writing, Palmer is an associate director of the Massachusetts Medical Society Physician Health Services, devoted to helping physicians troubled by mental illness, physical illness, behavioral issues, and chemical dependency. He lives in eastern Massachusetts. 

Ellen Hopkins's books have been controversial because of the material. But their raw nature and honesty have gained many a fan. I loved Crank (which I believe was the first published book) and its sequel Glass. I didn't feel quite the same for Tricks which garnered a comment about me seeing the world through "frosty lenses". Ah well, I disagree, but she is super popular and will be there as well. 


Bio from bn.com: Ellen Hopkins has been writing poetry for many years. Her first novel, Crank, also written in verse, met with critical acclaim. She lives with her husband and son in Carson City, Nevada.

I've read two of Joshilyn Jackson's books (Gods in Alabama and The Girl Who Stopped Swimming) but both were prior to my blogging days. I thoroughly enjoyed both!  


Bio from bn.com: If Joshilyn Jackson knows one thing, that would have to be what it’s like to be southern. Born in Atlanta to a family of “wild fundamentalists,” Jackson writes smart, funny, dark works of the southern gothic sort. Her debut novel, Gods in Alabama, was a major success.


Make sure you plan on being there, March 31, 2012!

Book Spotlight: The Reeducation of Cherry Truong

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


The Reeducation of Cherry Truong by Aimee Phan
368 pages, Fiction
Published by St. Martin's Press (Macmillan)
on March 13, 2012

From bn.com:
Cherry Truong’s parents have exiled her wayward older brother from their Southern California home, sending him to Vietnam to live with distant relatives.  Determined to bring him back, twenty-one-year-old Cherry travels to their homeland and finds herself on a journey to uncover her family’s decades-old secrets—hidden loves, desperate choices, and lives ripped apart by the march of war and currents of history.

The Reeducation of Cherry Truong tells the story of two fierce and unforgettable families, the Truongs and the Vos: their harrowing escape from Vietnam after the war, the betrayal that divided them, and the stubborn memories that continue to bind them years later, even as they come to terms with their hidden sacrifices and bitter mistakes. Kim-Ly, Cherry’s grandmother, once wealthy and powerful in Vietnam, now struggles to survive in Little Saigon, California without English or a driver’s license. Cherry’s other grandmother Hoa, whose domineering husband has developed dementia, discovers a cache of letters from a woman she thought had been left behind. As Cherry pieces their stories together, she uncovers the burden of her family’s love and the consequences of their choices.

Set in Vietnam, France, and the United States, Aimee Phan’s sweeping debut novel reveals a family still yearning for reconciliation, redemption, and a place to call home.

I had an e-galley of this to read that I was super excited about. Unfortunately, there seemed to be some issues with being able to read it correctly on my nook which is the only reason there is not a review for this here. But, it sounds great, doesn't it?? Author, Aimee Phan, has also received acclaim for her writing in the past including for her book of short stories, We Should Never Meet.


Jen Lancaster Book Signing

Monday, March 12, 2012

I meant to post about this last week, but I got caught up getting ready for a short vacation. Then I was busy spending time in my favorite city. But anyway, last Wednesday (March 7th) I went back to the Vero Beach Book Center for a signing with Jen Lancaster, author of the hilarious memoirs starting with Bitter is the New Black and then most recently a novel, If You Were Here. We arrived about 10 minutes early and were surprised to see Jen sitting down already answering questions. She had apparently started informally interacting with everyone prior to the signing and then started "officially" at 6:00 pm which I thought was cool.

I've had such issues with memory lately, strangely, so... even though I've read every single one of her books (except for the most recent), I had trouble keeping up with all the "inside jokes" that other people kept mentioning or the references they were making. But it was still super fun. Jen is so funny, but she is also very nice. She read a chapter from her upcoming humorous memoir, Jeneration X, which comes out in May. I'm super excited to read that one!

Anyway, I had nothing smart to say to Jen when I met her, which is pretty common for me. And what I thought was funny after the fact was that she asked me if we'd met before (like at a previous signing, I guess) and I hesitated before answering. Like I would with anyone else who asked... It was funny in retrospect to me since I'm completely sure we haven't met before, but I stopped and thought for a second, haha. Anyway, I can't believe I haven't read her latest book yet. I think it being fiction sort of threw me off and worried me, but it sounds hilarious too!

Mini-Reviews: Lightning People, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me, The Good Psychologist, Silent Mercy

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm behind on some reviews for books I read last year, but it's been so long since I read them that I don't remember enough to write very much of a review! I didn't want to have to group them together because this could have been four separate posts, but it's just not going to happen unless I just do it this way!


Title: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Author: Mindy Kaling
Pages: 219
Genre: Memoir, Humor
Publisher: Crown Archtype (Random House)
Pub. Date: November 1, 2011


Mindy Kaling is a writer for the television show, The Office, and plays a character on the show as well. She cracks me up on the show because she's a little ridiculous. I was looking forward to this memoir since I didn't know much about her as a comedienne. Unfortunately, while I found some parts of this funny, I found a lot of it just okay. It wasn't as funny as I was hoping, and I was surprised at some of her narcissism. Worth a read if you're a fan of her or the show, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you already are a fan.


Title: Lightning People
Author: Christopher Bollen
Pages: 404
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Soft Skull Press (Counterpoint)
Pub. Date: September 6, 2011


I saw this book in the "Discover Great New Writers" section at Barnes and Noble. It's about four 20-something adults living in New York City andadjusting to the changes in life there as opposed to where they came from, which sounded perfect to me. I won't go into detail about what "Lightning People" means but it's what the mid-west transplants to New York are called. The plot revolves around Joseph, trying to make it as an actor, who marries his friend to help her with a visa situation. It's about a few of their friends, too, and it's one of those where they all end up being connected to each other in some way without realizing it. I was surprised by a really suddenly tragic event that happens fairly early on in the book and then found that the whole book had a really melancholy tone to it. I thought this was just okay and was sad that I didn't love it.


Title: The Good Psychologist
Author: Noam Schpancer
Pages: 238
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Henry, Holt, & Co. (Macmillan)
Pub. Date: August 3, 2010


This one is about a psychologist who takes on a new client with whom the professional boundaries become a little blurred. I truly don't remember much about this except that it looks like a super short book, but it is dense and the story is heavy! It is not a good book to sit down and plan to breeze through or to just enjoy a good story. I read this for the read-a-thon in April last year.. bad choice. That being said, it felt like in each chapter there was a lesson or moral to think about on a deep or psychological level. So for that reason I figured I'd return to this one day and use it as a way to test my brain a little and think, but I wouldn't recommend it otherwise.


Title: Silent Mercy
Series: Alexandra Cooper #13
Author: Linda Fairstein
Pages: 384
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Pub. Date: March 8, 2011


This is the 13th book in the series, but I'd heard good things about it so I decided to pick this one up. I remember feeling a little distracted with life stuff when I read this, so I may have enjoyed it more if I'd been more focused. Regardless, I still enjoyed it and plan on reading more in the series. Alexandra Cooper is the prosecutor in the sex crimes unit in Manhattan... if you know me then this is a "duh" that I'd be interested in this series. Silent Mercy starts out with people who are being murdered and found near churches. It's believed to be a result of hate crimes. I don't remember much else except that the ending was one of those like "wow, how did we get there??" kind of things. The next book in the series, Night Watch, comes out in July.

February in Review

Saturday, March 3, 2012

F E B R U A R Y

Reading and Reviews
Here are the books I reviewed in the month of February:
  1. Faith by Jennifer Haigh
  2. The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
  3. Home Front by Kristin Hannah
  4. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
  5. The Darlings by Cristina Alger
  6. Drifting House by Krys Lee
  7. Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd  
 Books I read this month but not reviewed:
  1. Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale by Lynda Rutledge  (review coming in April)
  2. Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung (okay I did review this one but it was in the month of March, haha)

Comments
So, this is funny. I've had this blog for 3 1/2 years and JUST the other day realized how to personally reply to people in e-mail. I noticed other bloggers do it and I'd try to figure it out every once in a while. Not sure why I never just asked! Then one day I was reading a reply in my inbox and decided to just hit "reply" and see what happened (rather than replying in the comments section of my blog). And it worked. It was that simple. I'm ridiculous! So if you've noticed these types of replies that's why! I don't reply to everything, though. Just where I have something specific to say in reply!


Review Books and Netgalley
I have been doing well with review books lately (staying on top of, etc.) and have been utilizing netgalley as well more than in the past. In the past I requested tons of books but never got around to opening/downloading them to read. So I was surprised recently when I went to download a recently approved one (for a book that doesn't even come out until April) and the publisher had already archived it! So that was a surprise... I didn't realize that would happen. Quick question for fellow bloggers who might know, if I put a review in and send and then archive my review immediately after, can the publisher still access it? I've also been keeping up with maintaining communication with the publishers when I post reviews, etc. which is great because that was a blogging resolution for this year!


Fict Fact
I recently joined this site called Fict Fact which was recommended by Michelle. It's a fun way to keep track of series books! Definitely check it out!

Drifting House Giveaway Winner!
The winner of the giveaway for Drifting House is...


Hope everyone has a fantastic March. I've got some super fun things planned for myself this month! 

Forgotten Country

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Title: Forgotten Country
Author: Catherine Chung
Pages: 293
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Riverhead Books (Penguin)
Pub. Date: March 1, 2012


I read the advanced praise Forgotten Country received and knew it was heart breaking, but wow, I did not expect just how intense and heartrending it turned out to be! Forgotten Country is a beautifully written novel, nonetheless, about a Korean family dealing with a crisis. It explores the very complex dynamics within that family, especially the fairly enmeshed nature of it and their intricate history.
"In college I'd taken a class on knot theory, and learned that sometimes a knot is impossible to unravel without cutting it apart. Sometimes it can't be undone. For my whole life my family had been so tightly bound that we had stifled each other just trying to breathe, just trying to go our own ways. I had worried I would never get free." (p.292) 
Before I say anything else, let me point out that this book is not about a missing sister and very little about one sister trying to find another. Yes, that happens, but it isn't the focus of the plot as some of the plot synopses seem to say. The story is narrated by the older of two sisters, Janie, who prior to moving to the U.S. at the age of eight was called Jeehyun. She reflects on her relationship with her parents (enmeshed) and the difference of that from how her sister, Hannah (previously Haejin), manages the parent/child relationship -- Hannah, who takes questionable and insensitive measures to escape from feelings of control and gain independence.
"One word about Hannah was enough to make my mother dissolve into tears for at least an hour. 'Dissolve' was not too strong a word. When my mother wept, the whole world vanished. My father and I cased to exist, and even Hannah's shadowy figure was obscured. This could happen anywhere, at any time -- even in public. At first I wondered how my mother could sustain such anxiety, how one body could hold it all." (p.3). 
Janie reflects on Korean folk stories she has been told throughout her childhood. The novel is full of these stories that have been passed down through the generations, and combined with the history provided as well, Forgotten Country provides a glimpses into the Korean culture. And Janie reflects on the impact of the family's life after moving to the U.S.

Now, in Janie's late twenties, a situation leads the family to move back to Korea despite the fact that Hannah, who has made herself disappear and not maintain contact with the family, won't necessarily be able to go with them. Janie does go to seek out her sister, but their fragile relationship has been negatively affected as well by Hannah's selfish whims. I found myself relating a little to each of the sisters and also being frustrated with each sister as well.
"I stopped pacing and faced her. I wanted to say something, but I felt what she said was true. Too many years had passed, and too much distance had accumulated between us. So we stood there in the darkness together, and I was quiet. I stood beside her and watched the moonlight skim over the water, silencing each question that was no longer my right to ask." (p.217)
A little bit of Korean history is provided too, as Janie learns more about her parents and what the real reason was for their abruptly leaving Korea. The dynamics within the extended family are also complex and is another contentious factor within the family relationships.

Forgotten Country is really about the interaction of all these factors and dynamics on one family that is struggling with life issues. It's about belonging, family, what might have been, heritage, love, and loss. Though devastating at times and more of a character study, Forgotten Country is so beautifully rendered and emotionally provoking that I found myself flipping through the pages and finishing the book in one day! Highly recommended, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Forgotten Country continue to receive high accolades.