Tag Archives: family

Book Review: Swan by Frances Mayes


The Masons are a prominent but now fragmented family who have lived for generations in Swan, an edenic, hidebound small town in Georgia. As Swan opens, a bizarre crime pulls Ginger Mason home from her life as an archeologist in Italy: The body of her mother, Catherine, a suicide nineteen years before, has been mysteriously exhumed. Reunited on new terms with her troubled, isolated brother J.J., who has never ventured far from Swan, the Mason children grapple with the profound effects of their mother’s life and death on their own lives. When a new explanation for Catherine’s death emerges, and other closely guarded family secrets rise to the surface as well, Ginger and J.J. are confronted with startling truths about their family, a particular ordeal in a family and a town that wants to keep the past buried.

The feeling I got from reading this book was like having warm butter melting in my mouth.

I know that sounds a bit flowery but where there is a tragic event that scarred a family, I’m all in, eager to know what happened, when it happened and more so how the family talk about it.

Now, here with Catherine Mason gone- her husband in a nursing home unaware of his surroundings, there are her children: Ginger, an Architect, and J.J. well…he’s the one who loves his time alone in the woods.

It’s a beautiful tale of two children who are grieving their mother, their childhood and most of all…a family that’s looking to deal with a tragedy they never saw coming.

I loved the insights on the characters. They are as complex as they are unraveled but you can’t help but enjoy how crisp the author brings this to light.

Lily had opinions but refused to examine them. p.136

The events in the story take place in 7 days or so from July 7, 1975 to July 14.

I could relate to J.J at some point when he said:

“You know how a fish sounds when it leaps out of water? If I could write that in a word, I’d know how to be a Writer. Or like the bee, that sizzling sound when it goes back to the swarm. Words are all you have to write with and most things don’t go into words.”

I’d give this heartheartheartheart

However, a dramatic part of me wished for a different ending, but all’s well that ends well.

You can buy a copy of this book on: Amazon




How far would you go to protect your own?

All the way.

Ryan, the heroine, in Healing Sands by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn would tell you this without flinching and in reading this book, you too would back her.


I bought this book from one of my favorite book vendors here in Nairobi and once I started reading, I could not put it down.

Aside from the 61 five-star reviews, this is what amazon has to say about the book: Her life was spinning out of control. A mix of anger and emptiness defined her. Desperate for true peace, she headed to a place of rest–the healing sands.

Ryan Coe’s marriage is over, her husband-Dan- got custody of their two sons because they told the court they would rather live with him than her. She’s not working at the level of the photojournalist she is and to top it all, she arrives at the scene of a crime to take pictures only to find her son behind the wheel of the car and suddenly her frustration sees her losing every ounce of control and going at everyone and everything.

She turns to Sullivan Crisp for help and though his methods and his faith is something she’s struggling with, but from their first talk, she slowly unravels.

This book made me feel helpless as well as powerful. I felt Ryan’s rage, her pain, conviction and that’s what made me enjoy this book.

It’s not just her struggles but as a character, what resonated with me was that I could see myself in every reaction she had and that moved me deeply.

Verdict: 26152615261526152615

If you’d love to check it out: visit amazon


Before We Say Goodbye by Louise Candlish

Olivia and Dean’s mom, Maggie, was the one who’d up and leave without a word and return when she felt like it. What started out as a weekend turned into weeks, months and a year, so much so that they named her “The Deserter.

The story begins with Maggie’s demise and she leaves behind an address for her daughter Olivia. The address belongs to Richie, her one true love. Olivia leaves behind her husband and two sons in search of Richie hoping to make peace with a past she’s never forgotten.

What the author succeeds in is depicting Olivia and Dean’s reluctance to forgive their mother for deserting them. In their dialogues, you get rage from Dean and confusion from Olivia,and for someone who is depicted as manipulative, Maggie’s decision to share Richie’s address with Olivia serves her best in showing that obsessing about the past can destroy the present.

I do wonder what path the story would have taken had Maggie lived to see Olivia seek out Richie.