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The Top 5 Books Of 2016

One of my great pleasures in life is reading. I’ve read many books this year. Some were excellent, some were good and some I wanted to throw at the wall, they were so bad.

The list below are the five best books from 2016.

 

  1. Karolina’s Twins: Lena Woodward is an elderly widow who survived the Nazi Holocaust. She approaches the husband and wife team of private investigator Liam Taggert and lawyer Catherine Lockhart. Her childhood best friend, Karolina died during the war, but not before asking Lena to ensure that her children survived.This book is a heartbreaking and heartwarming tale of faith, friendship and a dying mother’s last wish for the children she will never see grow up.
  2. The Princess Diarist: Hindsight is always 20/20. I finished reading this book just before Christmas. The heartbreaking loss of Carrie Fisher earlier this week adds a new level of poignancy to the experience. In revisiting her experience while making Episode 4 of Star Wars (and having a brief affair with Harrison Ford in process), the reader is taken not just back in time, but into the mind of one of the most brilliant performers and writers of recent memory.
  3. Victoria: Daisy Goodwin’s brilliant fictionalized tale of the first years of Queen Victoria’s reign is remarkable.  What kept me reading was not her status and her title, but that she was a human being and an 18-year-old girl who is starting to grow up and grow into the Queen Victoria we think of today.
  4. Modern Girls: Set in New York City in the 1930’s, it is the tale of a mother daughter duo who find themselves pregnant at the same time. Approaching her 40’s, Rose has had 5 children. She thinks her days bringing children into the world are over. Rose’s daughter, Dottie has it all. A solid career, a bright future and a boyfriend she is ready to marry. Then she gets pregnant and not by her boyfriend. If the sign of a good book is wanting a sequel, then this is a really good book.
  5. The Two Family House: The Berman brothers, Abe not only work together, but live in the same two family house. Their wives, Rose and Helen are as close as sisters. Then they get pregnant at the same time. After the babies are born, the relationship between Rose and Helen is never the same. Soon the rift between the women begins to affect the whole family.

Here’s to the good books from 2016 and the books to be read in 2017.

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Karolina’s Twins Book Review

War can cause us to do things that we might not do in times of peace.

In the new novel, Karolina’s Twins, by Ronald H. Balson, the married couple (and soon to be first time parents) private investigator Liam Taggart and lawyer Catherine Lockhart are presented with an intriguing case. Lena Woodward (née Scheinman) is an elderly Holocaust survivor with a decades old secret.

Lena needs Liam and Catherine to help her keep a promise to a dying friend. Before the war, Lena and Karolina were best friends. But the war and the invading Nazis changed everything. In the ghetto, Karolina finds herself pregnant and needs a way to ensure that her children will live. She does only what a mother in desperate times would do. With her dying breath, Karoline asked Lena to find her children. While Lena is telling her story, her son Arthur is trying to prove that his mother is senile and no longer able to take care of herself. Can Liam and Catherine prove that Karolina had children and if she did, are they still alive?

My initial reaction to this book is that the author immediately uses back story within the first couple of chapters. Using back story immediately is like walking a fine line. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not work. In this case it works. Mr. Balson also moves between the present and the past, a tactic that, like using back story immediately, may or may not work. What I enjoyed about the book was the mystery and the final twist.

I recommend it.

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