Friday, April 5, 2013

The Clover House, The Drowning House, Girls in Trucks

I read three books this week so far, and all of them have a similar feel.  There is a main character, a woman with a career, who is unhappy in their relationship for one reason or another. They go somewhere else, that used to be home or like home or not like home at all.  They are not faithful to their man. They realize their mother has a secret, in some cases one that shapes their own life and destiny.  They wander around searching for this secret most of the book.  I felt I might have OD'd on this them; I probably would have liked all these books better, had I not read them all the same week.  The settings are all gorgeous, that in itself is worth a lot to me.

First up, first read: The Clover House by Henriette Lazardis Power:

This book was written from two points of view, present day Callie, and her mother Clio's, during WWII.

Clio's story: Clio grew up in Greece within a wealthy family during the war.  The family had a prospering business, a city house, and a farm. At some point the farm and business are lost, and Clio becomes alienated from her siblings. Her story is fascinating, a tale of bravery and shame.  

Callie's story: Callie and her mother were never close. Her mother always seemed to be longing for something more. Now as an adult, Callie seems to be the one longing for something more. With an esteemed career and a lawyer fiancee, Callie is left feeling unhappy. In Greece, she seems annoying, self pitying, and reckless.  And unfaithful.  I have a hard time with cheating characters - I can't really care about them.

However, the end of the story was hopeful. I liked this book, I just didn't go crazy over it.  I also tried to google what a clover house would look like, and I couldn't find anything. That part, with the clover house, was the best in the book.  

The Drowning House by Elizabeth Black

Clare returns home to Galveston after a personal tragedy. She and her husband, who is a lawyer, are not recovering from this tragedy well together. When she gets a call beckoning her back home, she goes. 

I loved the imagery in this book - languid, yet wild, like water.  Clare spends much of her time researching a local legend about Stella, who is said to have died during the big Hurricane, and whose house she lives next to.  She spends the rest of her time searching for her old boyfriend Patrick.  I was pretty bored with this book for most of it - you seem to be seeing the characters from underwater, there is a feeling of disconnection to them all.

The end was interesting for a second - it was a good secret her mom was keeping. I guess Clare always felt kept at a distance from her mom, just as Callie did in The Clover House. There was also a hint of abuse from Clare's father, that was very disturbing, especially since it was never stopped. All in all, this book was  my least favorite of the three.  

Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch

If The Drowning House was my least favorite, this book was my absolute favorite. I won it from the Introverted Reader Southern Reading Challenge, and I will definitely read more books by Crouch.  

 A reader emailed Crouch asking about the cover, is the girl walking away  or moving toward something? Crouch replied that it was a good question, and that it summed up her whole book.  

Sarah is always hop skipping around, never landing.  The book itself is written in this way - hop skipping forward in time, from one moment to another, just like Sarah. The reader gets these small windows of what Sarah is like. Confused, lost, unable to stay in a committed relationship, and when she does stay, she chooses bad men to stay with.  

The end, like Clover House, is hopeful. I liked the book, although I didn't always agree with Sarah's choices. But unlike the other two women, I felt like Sarah tried to keep in a relationship and wanted love, where the other two threw it away. This book is reminiscent of Pam Houston, whose books I love.  


  1. It seems to me that a lot of books recently have followed this basic premise. I've wondered just what mother doesn't have secrets, intentional or not, from her daughter?

    I can't abide infidelity either, so that can really colour my perception of a character.

    1. Yes, I am so judgy about cheaters, but I can't help, and I don't feel bad. I can't relate to them, and I really don't like them.

      Very true about the secrets and mothers - and honestly, everyone has secrets. No one knows every single thing about a person.

  2. My review for The Clover House will be coming up soon. I felt very similarly about it. I liked it, didn't love it. I wish the characters had been a bit more fleshed out.

    Girls in Trucks sounds like a good read though!

    1. Yeah....I really didn't like Callie! She ruined that story for me, so selfish. I liked every other character, except maybe Nikos. That part was odd too - do you think that is true?

      I really liked Girls in Trucks, although Sarah is a mess! I had hope for her though.


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