How well do you know your neighbors? Or rather, how well do you know your girlfriends?
The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen takes place in the perfect-seeming neighborhood of Newport Cove, and centers on a group of friends who seem to have it all: Kellie Scott, a former cheerleader who married her high school boyfriend - a football player, of course; her best friend Susan Barrett, who runs a very successful business coordinating services for the elderly; Gigi Kennedy, whose husband Joe is running for Congress in the Democratic primary; and the new neighbor Tessa Campbell, whose kids are just the right ages to be friends with the kids of the other mothers.
In a culture where it's common to see women tearing one another down over the pettiest things (she really needs to lose a few pounds; her boobs must be fake; she's likely a gold digger and that's why she's married to him), it was nice to read a novel about four women--all mothers--who had their own personal struggles but had the support of one another to get them through the rough patches that life lobbed at them.
I used to watch a TV show that some people may remember called Desperate Housewives - and if you do remember it, you’ll know what I mean when I say that The Perfect Neighbors exudes Desperate Housewives vibes.
Check out The Color Purple (New Broadway Cast Recording (2016) on CD. This exceptional soundtrack is a fusion of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues, and the impressive cast includes the spectacular Jennifer Hudson as Shug Avery, and a fearless performance by Cynthia Erivo as Celie.
Erivo was recently awarded the Tony for Best Actress in a Musical, and one listen will tell you why. If you know the story, Celie begins her journey with a small voice, barely able to articulate her needs to anyone but her sister, Nettie. Their voices lift you with the sweetness, spirit and innocence they collectively possess. We hear Celie gather strength as her resolve and determination grow.
Good music is an indulgence for the ears, but this CD takes it a step further by artfully articulating Alice Walker’s story of courage and triumph.
This is how Aubrey Hamilton separates the most important years of her life. The seven years before she met Joshua Hamilton, the seventeen years they were together and the five years since his disappearance from her life.
Over a bachelor/bachelorette party weekend, her husband, Josh, disappears.
After a frantic search, blood is discovered all over Josh and Aubrey's house and the cops decide on foul play. Aubrey is ultimately tried for his death, but found innocent. We pick up the story right as the State of Tennessee has declared Josh legally dead, even though his body has never been found. Aubrey thinks she can finally move on, put the questions and grief behind her and start anew. But the appearance of a mysterious man who reminds Aubrey of her dead husband, and the upcoming legal battle she's in for with her mother-in-law over Josh's massive life insurance policy, mean that Aubrey is very far from putting the past behind her.
If you are looking for a book with lots of twists and turns that continually keeps you guessing you will find it in No One Knows by J.T. Ellison. It was one of those "one more chapter" books as I like to call them. You know...the ones where you promise yourself just one more chapter before putting it down and before you know it you are on the last page.
Have a listen to “Three Kids No Husband”: