Quick Thoughts: Moloka’i, The Obituary Writer, & Indiscretion

Young Rachel Kalama, growing up in idyllic Honolulu in the 1890s, is part of a big, loving Hawaiian family, and dreams of seeing the far-off lands that her father, a merchant seaman, often visits. But at the age of seven, Rachel and her dreams are shattered by the discovery that she has leprosy. Forcibly removed from her family, she is sent to Kalaupapa, the isolated leper colony on the island of Moloka’i.

Quick Thoughts:
This is one of those epic, sweeping, and long tales that you don’t want to end. Stunningly beautiful, stunningly sad. Don’t fret! It’s also full of hope and redemption. 
On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, a young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless but secure marriage or to follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. 

Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. 

Quick Thoughts:
I enjoyed both of the stories contained in this book. Moving back and forth from 1919 to the 1960’s worked very well. It could be because I dig both of those time frames. It could be because the writing was crisp and moving. Short, sweet and full of great historical details. Fab read!
Harry and Madeleine Winslow have been blessed with talent, money, and charm. Harry is a National Book Award–winning author on the cusp of greatness. Madeleine is a woman of sublime beauty and grace whose elemental goodness and serenity belie a privileged upbringing. Bonded by deep devotion, they share a love that is both envied and admired. The Winslows play host to a coterie of close friends and acolytes eager to bask in their golden radiance, whether they are in their bucolic East Hampton cottage, abroad in Rome thanks to Harry’s writing grant, or in their comfortable Manhattan brownstone.

One weekend at the start of the summer season, Harry and Maddy, who are in their early forties, meet Claire and cannot help but be enchanted by her winsome youth, quiet intelligence, and disarming naivete. Drawn by the Winslows’ inscrutable magnetism, Claire eagerly falls into their welcoming orbit. But over the course of the summer, her reverence transforms into a dangerous desire. By Labor Day, it is no longer enough to remain one of their hangers-on.

Quick Thoughts:
Whoa ho ho! What a read! So much glamour, money, and good food. So many horrible decisions! I ate this baby up in a single day. I’ll admit to having a few teary moments along the way. I also have to admit that I wanted to punch one of these characters in the throat. If you want to read a book that makes you FEEL you can’t go wrong with this one.
Have you read any of these? Do you plan on it? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

20 thoughts on “Quick Thoughts: Moloka’i, The Obituary Writer, & Indiscretion

  1. The cover on Moloka'i is stunning! It sounds like something I'd enjoy. I've seen some rave reviews of Indiscretion online. I may have to pick it up myself.Happy weeekend 🙂


  2. Thankyou for reviewing the Obituary Writer. I have seen it mentioned in several literary blogs…I always rely on your honest reviews..so think I will read it next! Thanks!!


  3. I had \”The Obituary Writer\” and \”Indiscretion\” marked as to-read on my Goodreads account already, but \”Moloka'i\” looks really great, too. Marked TBR now!


  4. Molokai has been on my list for sometime due to my Hawaii obsession. I think I will savor it over the summer.So glad you liked Indiscretion. It's not my usual, but completely surprised me.


  5. Guess I better look for a copy of Moloka'i then – I decided I'd go with your opinion 🙂 The Obituary Writer stories, are they completely separate (if back-and-forth) or do they blend together somewhere?


  6. Okay…both of these have just gone on my list! What I'm going to love about The Obituary Writer: you hooked me at the character's obsession with Jackie…and that back and forth kind of story telling. And what's not to like about Indiscretion? Thanks for reminding me that I must read these!


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