Monthly Archives: March 2020

Saving Noah – Lucinda Berry

Saving Noah

Another gem written by Lucinda Berry. “We forgive murderers, not pedophiles.” With a tagline like that, who could resist the temptation to read this one?

Adrianne has the perfect life. A happy marriage, a talented and handsome son, a beautiful daughter, her dream home… Until with one confession, it all shatters.

When Adrianne’s fifteen-year-old son, Noah, begins acting strangely and suddenly quits his summer job as a swimming instructor for children, she had no idea that her world was about to change, and not for the better. Noah finally confesses to her that he has molested two of the seven-year-olds that he instructs. Noah’s parents immediately notify the families of the two girls, and attempt to talk it out rationally. Noah winds up in a juvenile sexual offender facility for eighteen months, where he is raped, tortured, and forced to endure electroshock therapy in order to “cure” his pedophilia. He is a model patient, almost too perfect, according to the head of the facility.

Once Noah’s release date approaches, Noah’s father refuses to let him move back in to the family home, since he has to protect their daughter from possibly facing the same fate as those little girls. Adrianne is forced to move into a tiny apartment with the bare essentials so that Noah will have a place to go. While Adrianne and her husband have an arrangement for family visits, Noah’s father wants nothing to do with him. Ultimately, Noah ends up in a psychiatric facility for twice attempting suicide.

Told in first person narrative by Adrianne, with the occasional Him (Then) flashback, this novel keeps you in suspense without you even knowing it, until the final Him (Now) chapter. Follow Adrianne’s battle to keep her family together, to keep Noah from hurting himself, and ultimately, her inner turmoil when Noah asks the unthinkable of her.

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Phantom Limb – Lucinda Berry

Phantom Limb

I have been on a bit of a psychological thriller bender, and Lucinda Berry is the queen of the psych thriller.

Emily and Elizabeth are twins who were born to a woman who never was meant to be a mother. There’s no father in the picture, however, the mother disappears for days at a time with men, and occasionally brings home her “special friends” who molest the girls.  When their mother is gone, they are locked in their bedrooms for the entire time. Most of the time when she is home, she still leaves the poor girls locked in their bedroom. At seven years old, Emily and Elizabeth subsist on baby formula and the occasional pizza that their mother brings home once in a blue moon.

The girls are finally taken to child services, and placed in foster care. The couple who adopts them are ill prepared for the specialized needs that the girls would have. Emily is free with affection and binge eats due to years of not having food, to the point that they have to install locks on the cabinets and refrigerator. Elizabeth is the opposite. She does not like to be held or touched, and barely eats. However, of the two, Elizabeth copes much better with the situation. Emily begins practicing self-harm at a young age, and this book follows the journey Elizabeth must embark on to find her sanity after Emily, in a fit of jealous rage over the fact that Elizabeth has a boyfriend, kills herself.

After finding her sister, Elizabeth is admitted to the psych ward for attempted suicide. She has no memories of anything after finding Emily in the bathroom, dead from a simultaneous overdose and slit wrists. Upon waking, Elizabeth asks to be released in order to attend Emily’s funeral, but is informed that Emily had died months ago, and the funeral had long since passed.

Follow Elizabeth through the twists and turns of learning about herself in the psych ward, the relationships that she has built with her boyfriend, her adopted family, and her therapist. Most importantly, what happened to Emily? How will Elizabeth shake herself out of the dissociative state and regain her memories?

Lucinda Berry brought her A-Game with this novel. The twist ending absolutely caught me off guard. If you’re looking for a read that will shock you again and again, this is the book for you!

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The Storyteller – Jodi Picoult

The Storyteller

I nearly made the decision to leave this blog alone and not write any more reviews. However, The Storyteller was amazing enough to bring me back from the brink. Having never read anything by Picoult before, I was unsure of what to expect. However, what I didn’t expect was a novel that I almost couldn’t put down. I read before bed each night, since I lack free time during the day, and most nights while reading this, I would fall asleep on my Kindle, not even putting it away for the night, but instead reading until I literally passed out.

Sage Singer is a baker who rides the fine line of being a recluse while still holding down a job. She is a young, lovely, sad character, with so many bad experiences that it’s no wonder she chooses to work the overnight shift, where she can be alone and bring her creations to life. Still reeling over the death of her mother, she joins a grief support group.

Josef Weber is, by all appearances, a lonely, elderly man who attends the same support group after losing his wife.

Despite the odds, Sage and Josef being a strange friendship when he begins to come in nearly every day to the diner where she works. The two become extremely close, and things get complicated.

What does one do when the best friend you’ve ever had confesses a secret that not only horrifies you, but you also find out that it directly affected your family? Was it by chance that the two met, or was it predetermined by Weber?

Once Weber confesses to Sage, he asks nothing of her but a favor and forgiveness. Should she grant him the favor, it will for ever change who she is as a person, and could also lead to legal consequences. Should she deny him, he must live out his days in misery.

Picoult weaves an intricate tale involving multiple story lines. That of Sage and Josef, Josef as a child and eventually an adult, Sage’s grandmother’s experience growing up and eventually winding up in Auschwitz, and a fairy tale that Sage’s grandmother wrote in order to get her through the difficult times.

As I stated at the beginning, I could not put this book down. It is extremely well written with more than a few gasp-worthy moments, and I won’t deny that I even shed a few tears at times.

If you’ve ever been fascinated by the Holocaust, or just love a good historical fiction, look no further, for this book is a treasure.


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