This is my 200th post for the blog. WordPress tells me that in 2013 people from 104 countries, at some point, found my blog. I have NO idea who they are, but they are all welcome here.  I thought it was perfect that this post was all about books. Perfect books for winter. I have been on a lucky streak, I have enjoyed all of these books so much. They may not all appeal to you, but perhaps one or two will.  Except for one, I have read all of these writer’s books and was so happy to read their new book. Even though Deborah Moggach has been writing for quite a while, I have never read her before and now I am a fan.


If you enjoyed Ford’s first novel, HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, then you will certainly enjoy this one. This novel takes place in Depression era Seattle. Twelve year old William lives in an orphanage, but he believes that his mother is still alive. He thinks he has spotted her on the big screen, and that she is a Chinese American actress and singer. The novel tells us his mother’s story and also William’s, with the backdrop of the Depression and the years right before.


Fourteen year old Lorca cuts herself and has an unhappy home life. She is determined to make her chef mother happy so she is looking for the recipe of an obscure Iraqi dish that her mother once loved. This is how Lorca meets Victoria, an elderly widow who teaches her how to cook. The two become friends and find an unspoken bond.  I loved this book for so many reasons. This friendship is so well realized and it is painful and beautiful at the same time.

THE SILVER STAR by Jeannette Walls

It is 1970 and two sisters, Bean and Liz, are left alone as their mother decides to find herself once again. The girls, age 12 and 15, take a bus to rural Virginia to stay with their uncle. This is their mother’s hometown and they find out many things about the family. But they also have a new stable life. Bean is the center of this story and readers will be charmed by her.  Fans of Walls previous books, will be happy to have a new story to enjoy. This was a fast read for me.

HEARTBREAK HOTEL by Deborah Moggach

Moggach has written many novels, including THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL and TULIP FEVER, and I confess that I have not read her before.  This book was so much fun to read and you can already see that a film will be made.  Retired actor Buffy inherits a bed and breakfast in Wales. He leaves London and decides to run the bed and breakfast and have a theme—a place for divorced people to stay and recover and maybe learn something as well.  The novel has an original group of characters and is just a lot of fun to read.

THE ORPHAN TRAIN by Christina Baker Kline

Molly is aging out of the foster care system in Connecticut. She has to do some community service and this leads her to Vivian, an elderly woman who needs help sorting through her old papers. The book goes back and forth to modern day Molly and to the amazing life that Vivian led as a young girl on an orphan train. Trains that went from New York City to the Midwest, filled with children who needed homes. This is so gripping and so entertaining.

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  • krunn7  On January 10, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I loved the Marigold movie so will give Heartbreak Hotel a go. Right now I am finishing off Malala’s bio.

  • Sandra  On January 10, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Congratulations and thank you, Jane. You are a good and thoughtful writer and reader.

  • LadyGregory  On January 10, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Excellent suggestions and some new directions for me as a reader. Thank you!

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