Reliving the Past

The Summerhouse
Jude Deveraux
Reviewed by Donna Pierce

When three 20-year-old girls meet at the Department of Motor Vehicles while getting their driver’s licenses renewed, little do they know that an afternoon of friendship will lead to an important reunion 20 years later.

As a young girl, Ellie Abbott had planned to become an artist in New York. Beautiful Madison Appleby, dumped by her rich fiancé, had packed up and moved to New York in hopes of becoming a successful model. Leslie Headrick had jilted her longtime boyfriend and moved to New York hoping to become a dancer.

Twenty years later, Ellie is in a deep depression and through the urging of her therapist invites the other two women to a summerhouse in Maine. When they reunite at age 40, they find out that their lives have taken different paths than previously planned and are surprised at each other’s life choices.

Ellie became a best-selling romance novelist and has been taken to the cleaners by her ex-husband. Madison left her modeling career and returned home to her philandering fiancé, became his wife and nursed him back to health. Leslie returned home to marry her boyfriend and is ignoring rumors of an alleged affair between her husband and his assistant.

One afternoon, they venture into town and meet Madame Zoya. They each choose a three-week period in their past to relive, and then must decide if they want to change their fates.

Female readers can empathize with the characters in Summerhouse and will begin to think about their own lives and the choices made. The novel is thought-provoking and entertaining, with bright, vivid characters.
Grade: A-

Be Quick, But Don’t Hurry
Andrew Hill and John Wooden
Reviewed by Candice Hartman
Frenchtown, Mont.

Listening Time: 4.5 hours

Retail: $25

Genre: Nonfiction

Basics: Andrew Hill tells of his experiences playing basketball at UCLA with John Wooden. He realized later in his life how much he had learned from Coach Wooden, and in this story tells how he reestablished his relationship with him. Hill also reviews how many lessons Coach Wooden taught him that guided him in his life and career.

Main characters: Andrew Hill, the narrator, was a superstar high school basketball player who dreamed of playing for John Wooden. When the chance arrived, it did not live up to his dreams. He spent many years after feeling resentful, until he realized how much he had really learned from Coach Wooden. Although Wooden and Hill’s relationship had been tense in the past, he decided to contact Coach Wooden and overcome his feelings of resentment.

John Wooden was the coach of UCLA for many years. He was a great coach but very strict, and often was not the “father figure” his players were looking for. He wanted not only good players; he also wanted them to be good people.

What’s best (or not)?: I am a basketball fan, and enjoyed hearing the stories about the UCLA team and players. I also found it interesting to learn what it was like behind the scenes with John Wooden.

The rules of success that are discussed in the book are very good, but some pertain much more to someone who is a manager and oversees a number of people. That part I did not find pertinent to my life.

Would you recommend?: Yes, if you’re a basketball fan or manage a company. I don’t feel it would be of interest to any other person.

Narrator’s style: I felt he did a good job. His voice was pleasing to listen to, and he had emotion, but not exaggerated. He kept the talk flowing along at a pleasant pace. John Wooden also had a few small speaking parts. Wooden’s voice had a very comforting, grandfatherly tone.

Grade: B


Black Hawk Down
Mark Bowden

Ninety-nine elite American soldiers are trapped in the middle of a hostile city. As night falls, they are surrounded by thousands of enemy gunmen. Their wounded are bleeding to death. Their ammunition and supplies are dwindling. This is the story of how they got there – and how they fought their way out. This is the story of war.

Black Hawk Down drops you into a crowded marketplace in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia, with the U.S. Special Forces. You are in the middle of the most intense firefight American soldiers have fought since the Vietnam War.

Late in the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 3, 1993, the soldiers of Task Force Ranger were sent on a mission to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and return to base. It was supposed to take them about an hour. Instead, they were pinned down through a long and terrible night, locked in a desperate struggle, their fate to kill or be killed.
Black Hawk Down
5 hours
Retail: $32
Simon & Schuster Audio

War Letters
Andrew Carroll

In 1998, Andrew Carroll founded the Legacy Project with the goal of remembering Americans who have served this nation, and preserving their letters for posterity. Since then, more than 50,000 war letters discovered in basements, attics, scrapbooks and old trunks have poured in from around the country. The best of these letters are assembled in this extraordinary collection, offering unprecedented insight into the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Vietnam, Korea, the Cold War, the Persian Gulf and even the fighting in Somalia and the Balkans. These historic letters capture the full fury and intensity of warfare, and they reveal in vivid detail what the servicemen and women of this nation have experienced and sacrificed on the front lines.
War Letters
6.5 hours
Retail: $26
Simon & Schuster Audio

Truckers News Associate Editor Donna Pierce has a novel out on CD (for computer) titled “A Secret Of Color,” about a bigoted district attorney who frames a woman for murder. From Page Free Publishing, this virtual CD includes photos and other enhancements and can be read on a computer screen.

Audiobook Sources
If there is no toll-free number at the end of the review, that book may be purchased or rented from the following sources:
(800) 551-6692, for 14-day rental of most major titles.
BOOKS NOW, (800) 266-5766, for purchase.