The Book Mark

Books that make the grade.

Tag Archives: adoption

The Woman in the Photo


I have heard the saying many times that “life imitates art” but now I can actually relate to it . Last week my brother in law and his wife were here for a nice long visit. The beginning of the week we went the Nassau County Museum on the Frick’s Rosyln Estate. The next evening we discussed the fact that Lynn’s family is from Pennsylvania near Johnstown. Coincidentally I had begun to read Mary Hogan’s, The Woman in the Photo (A).

Presently, Lee has gotten a clue as to whom her birthmother might be. A photo found in her adoption papers features Clara Barton and an unidentified woman standing amongst the rubble of the Johnstown flood. The woman bears a striking resemblance to Lee.

1889 Johnstown, wealthy families like the Fricks, Carnegies and Mellons are nestling into their exclusive summer retreats on Lake Conemaugh overlooking Johnstown.

In alternating chapters, Lee searches for her biological roots while Elizabeth Haberlin begins to understand the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary life.

The author certainly did extensive research and each chapter about The South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club is headed with a photograph from the Johnstown Flood Museum. The photos drew me in as much as the narrative. Both Lee and Elizabeth’s story mesh together seamlessly making the book compelling. The details about the flood were gruesome and so powerful that I became anxious reading about it. Ultimately the novel was an exceptional read with tremendous historical value. It’s definitely one I’d recommend.

The Seven Sisters


I believe I have found a new author to add to my favorites, Lucinda Riley. What I particularly enjoy is that every book she pens is different than the one before. She definitely doesn’t get stuck writing about the same era, event or theme. The Seven Sisters (A) is my favorite thus far.

Maia is one of six girls who were adopted by a single Dad. As the book opens, the wealthy, loving father who raised them has died. He is buried at sea even before his daughters are notified of his death. As each one learns of his passing, they gather at their family home Atlantis in Geneva. Every daughter was named for a star in the Seven Sister Constellation. The seventh child was never adopted.

When Pa Salt’s will is read, the women learn that they will be well cared for but will be required to complete their own destinies while pursuing their own dreams and careers. A sculpture is revealed that bears the name of each of the girls along with a set of map coordinates that indicate their place of birth.

The author tells the story of Maia as her coordinates lead her to Rio where she discovers the mysteries and history of her birth family. What unfolds is an incredible story that is complicated and well thought out. It brings the reader right into Maia’s world allowing us to feel her confusion, distress and emotions. The story becomes two as the details of the lives of Maia and Izabella are told.

Not everything is spelled out and the reader is left to wonder about certain events and characters. I loved the way the clues are there in plain sight for the reader to detect. The fact that your suspicions are never confirmed only adds to the drama and intrigue. I definitely encourage you to read The Seven Sisters along with Riley’s other novels as each one is a treasure to be enjoyed.

The Silent Sister


What better to do on a cold winter weekend than curl up with a good book! This weekend, I read The Silent Sister (A) by Diane Chamberlain. As the chosen book for February, it will definitely provide my book club with plenty to discuss.

A promising young musician has committed a horrific murder and while waiting for her trail to begin, she takes her own life…. or does she? So begins a novel riddled with clues from the very first page. Riley, the youngest of three siblings, has arrived at her childhood home after her father’s death. What she believes will take two weeks to sort out turns into something much, much more. With each passing day she discovers unimaginable things about her parents and siblings. More importantly what she learns about herself is life changing.

Yes, the author laces each page with clues intensifying the mystery chapter by chapter. It didn’t take me long to come to some conclusions. It became pretty obvious what the outcome of the story was going to be. Nonetheless, the fact that I figured it all out didn’t stop me from reading fast and furiously. After all, I had to prove my theories.

I think that Chamberlain writes somewhat like Lisa Scottoline. Like Scottoline, once you get involved you can’t walk away until you’ve read every last word. This was the first of Chamberlain’s books that I’ve ever read and even though mysteries are not my go to “read” I certainly will pick up some of her other titles. The Silent Sister was fun on a winter weekend and would make a good beach read too. Either way, I invite you to explore this and other titles by Diane Chamberlain. I don’t think you will be disappointed.