Capital Region Living Magazine
 




Book Review - February 2013


By Susan Taylor

Happy February!

A month to celebrate love in all its many forms; this month’s novels can all be considered love stories of one sort or another.

First, we have a talented new local author to welcome to the bookshelves! Troy resident Dennis Mahoney’s first novel is out this month, and it is terrific. Fellow Mortals is the story of what happens after a devastating neighborhood tragedy and the struggle to rebuild lives after irreplaceable loss. In one careless moment, mail carrier Henry Cooper precipitated a fatal fire. He was officially cleared of wrong-doing and no charges were brought, but he couldn’t forgive himself, which is why, weeks afterward, he and his wife have two elderly women living with them (their house burned down) and he is trying desperately to make amends to the rest of the neighbors. Ava, his wife, understands his impulse for atonement, but also understands that some people might not take kindly to Henry’s further interference in their lives, even if his intentions are good. By delving into the back stories of the characters and their reasons for accepting Henry’s ministrations or not, Mahoney builds a picture of a typical neighborhood and its slow path toward rebuilding community. Fellow Mortals is heartwarming, compassionate and filled with characters you will remember fondly. Dennis Mahoney will be at Market Block Books on Thursday, February 7 at 7pm for a book release party and signing.

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin is a fictionalized account of the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh. I enjoyed Alice I Have Been, Benjamin’s first novel, which was a recreation of the life of Alice Liddell, the real-life model for Alice in Wonderland, and I enjoyed this one even more, since Anne Morrow Lindbergh had a much more exciting life to draw from. Starting in 1974, just before Lindbergh’s death, and going back to their first meeting in 1927, when Lucky Lindy was fresh back from his transatlantic triumph, Melanie Benjamin traces the story of a marriage and the growth of a woman who was often overshadowed and dominated by her famous husband. When they first married, Anne was her husband’s crew—she became a pilot and his navigator through many of his flights of exploration and wrote books about their adventures. When her life became more circumscribed after having children, he still flew, leaving her to cope with the household on her own. All the historical moments are covered: the kidnapping of their first child, Lindbergh’s America First stance before World War II, his role as a hero to the American space program, and Anne’ ultimate emergence as a best-selling author. The Aviator’s Wife is historical fiction that is well-written, well-researched, and well worth reading.

Insane City by Dave Barry is the story of a destination wedding gone horribly wrong. You don’t need many details of this book: it takes place in Miami and if there is anything funnier than Barry writing about the peculiarities of his home state, I don’t know what is. This is the perfect book for traveling, unless you mind laughing out loud in public places; the unlikely plot races along with enough twists, turns and humor to keep the reader entertained until the end. A sure-fire cure for the winter blues!

Susan Taylor has been in the book business since 1982.
 

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