It is 1976 and there is a heat wave in London. Robert Riordan left his house one morning to get the newspaper and never came back. His wife, confused and frightened by this event, calls her adult children to help her in this strange crisis. Each of her three children have significant dramas of their own and they all gather to solve this mystery.

O’Farrell does a great job of giving us really interesting characters in an unusual situation and then mixing it up with the horrendous heat, the troubled time of the 70’s (as the family is Irish) and the fact that there is no Internet to search for the father. This all works so well that you just keep turning page after page to find out more about these people and to see how the family drama is unraveled.

A really entertaining read. This is O’Farrell’s sixth book and the first one that I have read, it sure does make me want to read her others.


It has been at least ten years since I have read a Picoult book. I have not been interested in her previous books, but I am in the minority. Picoult is very popular and very successful around the world. At the library, once we knew that she had a new book out, we just automatically ordered a lot of copies. We did not need to know more than Picoult had a new book, it was just enough to know how much in demand her books were.

In her latest book, THE STORYTELLER, Picoult goes from current day to the second world war. The reviews were very impressive and I think they were the best of her career. I was intrigued by the praise and the plot, so I decided to check out. I got the book with some hesitancy, as I was not convinced that I would enjoy it. I am happy to say that I really loved this book.

Sage is a young woman with a scarred face and she has a life that supports her need for keeping hidden. She is a baker, so she works at night and has a very limited social life. She meets an older man, a respected retired teacher, and they form a unique bond. Their friendship leads Sage to start asking questions of her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, and a woman we get to know as the book then focuses on her experiences in Auschwitz. All of this places Sage in a the position of a moral dilemma and it forces her to come out of hiding, in many different ways.

I could not put this book down, the story is gripping and there are many emotional ups and downs. And you care about these characters and want to know how “they are going to turn out.” If you are a Picoult fan, then you do not need to be encourage to read this novel. If you are not familiar with her work, this might be worth a try. What have you got to lose?

Recommended viewing: I hope that all of you are enjoying BROADCHURCH on BBC America, that is one of my favorite series of the year. On September 8, on PBS (in the United States) there is a wonderful new six part series starting: LAST TANGO IN HALLIFAX. This is a fabulous, modern story about two families from opposite ends of England and it is also a great love story too. The series was a big hit in the UK, and it has already been renewed for a second season.    

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  • karyn  On September 4, 2013 at 6:23 am

    I have not been impressed with JP so will try this if somebody will lend it to me. Thanks for the heads up.

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