The Widows of Malabar Hill

The Widows of Malabar Hill (Perveen Mistry Mystery #1) by Sujata Massey

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I read book two first, and NEEDED to read the first book.

Plot Synopsis:

Perveen Mistry is the only female Indian lawyer. She works for her father and has just been given her first big case. Her father has represented Muslim mill owner Farid for years, and with his death some documents about his three wives’ inheritance comes across Perveen’s desk. All the women are practicing Purdah, and can only be around men related to them and women.

Muslim inheritance law is a little different from other law, so Perveen refreshes her knowledge of it, but something about the paperwork seems off. All the women want to give up their inheritance to the wakf-which is troubling but does happen-but even more so what bothers her is that one woman who is illiterate and on a previous document signed an “X”, while on this one wrote out her name.

Razia is the first wife, an arranged marriage. Sakina came next-beautiful and chosen for love/lust-and the only one to have a son. Mumtaz was the last wife, married right before Farid died. Mumtaz was met on one of the trips to the pleasure district, a musician, and the literate wife.

She goes to meet the women and is even more troubled. Their man who takes care of the estate, and them (a cousin of Sakin) is Mr. Mukri who seems to be taking liberties with his controlling of the finances and isolating the women. He is very abusive in his manner and treats Perveen like garbage.

The situation with the three wives is also extremely distressing. The second wife acts like the first wife, none know how much money they have, the third wife is treated horribly, and all think they have only one option-to put their money in the wakf. None know what Mukri spends their money on or what he plans to do with their inheritance.

Hmm…

Amina is the eldest daughter, born to the first wife and she is adorable and precocious. She’s always listening, sneaking around, and watching everything. She tries to warn Perveen about something but Perveen excuses Amina so she can speak to Mumtaz alone.

They get interrupted by Mr. Mukri who yells at Perveen and threatens her, bringing back old memories of her ex-husband. When Mukri gets distracted she leaves, but realizes she forgot her briefcase of important papers. She can’t leave it there, as it is highly confidential, so she sneaks in though the women’s entrance and finds Mr. Mukri DEAD.

As the widows are still observing purdah, the only one who can question them is Perveen. She needs to find out who the killer is before they strike again.

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was amazing. A fantastic read that I could not put down.

Not only do we have this great mystery, but also a view of Hindu, Zoroastrianism, and Muslim law-all very distinct in their law and customs.

Perveen also has her best friend move from England, Alice, and we see a view of the Indian and English relationship in 1921 India. This too was really interesting as you can see that some like the British Colonialism, some have just learned how to live with it, and others are talking about removing it.

We also get a look into Perveen’s history with her husband, and boy it was a sad one and one heck of a doozy. Poor Perveen.

I definitely recommend this!

For more lawyer mysteries, go to My Husband’s Wife

For more mysteries, go to Motive v. Opportunity

On a sad note, given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

 

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty

I remember when this book first came out but for whatever reason it really didn’t catch my eye. Now of course when they started doing the TV show, I saw trailers EVERYWHERE! I then decided to check out what the book was about and was extremely intrigued.

I wanted to read it, but when I was prepared to check it out from the library, someone else did before me! Darn! Now I had to wait 28 days until they returned it.

But then they renewed it, so it was another 28 days.

Finally it was returned and I snatched it up like that. That night I went home and started reading it, and stayed up all night to finish it. I couldn’t put it down!

Pirriwee Public Elementary School is having their Parent’s Trivia Fundraiser Night, the theme being Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley. All parents are supposed to dress as Audrey or Elvis- from any film or point in their lives. When I read that I was like Heck ya, super cool! I would love to go to a party like that. Usually the parties are all the same-parent’s drink, answer trivia games, donate money, etc. But this time someone was murdered.

The police are trying to interview everyone but it is mess with the backbiting, gossip, etc-trying to figure out what really happened.

At the end of chapter one I was hooked, and every chapter had the same feel-I had to keep reading and I had to know who was murdered! Yes not only are you trying to figure out the killer but the murder victim as well.

The story goes back and forth between the police questioning what happened that night and the events from the beginning of the year to all that lead up to that fateful night.

I just had to know what happened, at one point when reading I found myself yelling at the book-“Who died!!! Who was killed?!!!” Moriarty was amazing at the suspense and keeping you going-and having you at a loss at which person was murdered.

So the book takes place in Australia, a fact I had to look up after I was confused with their slang. It actually reminded me of these books I read as a kid that I had the same reaction to, their slang was nothing like what we were saying. In fact the writing styles kind of remind me of this, they were The Year of Secret Assignments and The Murder of Bindy MackenzieI can’t remember who wrote them, it was Jaclyn M…Moriarty. Hey she’s an Australian writer with the same last name, I wonder of they are related (probably not but I’m going to look it up anyway). Oh my gosh, they are sisters! Wow…how funny! (To read more about them click here).

Okay, let’s get back to the review. Sorry for my little rabbit trail off to nowhere.

So all the events start off six months earlier, on the first day of school. Madeline MacKenzie is turning forty today. The day that her youngest daughter is starting school. The day that her ex-husbands’ daughter is starting school, the same school as her youngest daughter.

Madeline is loud, adorable, protective, and sweet. She may be blunt but if you are her friend she will mama bear protect you the same as her own children.

Her ex-husband, Nathan Carlson, left her when their daughter Abigail was just a baby. He refused to see her and send money, leaving Madeline to have to take care of everything, struggling as a single mom. She later met Fred MacKenzie and the two have two kids-Fred and Chloe, Chloe being the one starting school. Fred and Madeline do well, she works in a theater and he is a newspaper reporter. Everything was fine until Nathan came back into her life, remarried to crunchy-granola Bonnie and wanting to be “Dad” to Abigail. That isn’t even the worst part, Abigail loves being with her dad and loves Bonnie’s “green”, yoga lifestyle.

When Madeline is dropping her daughter off she gets involved in a skirmish with another person, yelling at them for almost causing an accident and trips on her brand new heels hurting her ankle. As she sits on the curb, a young mother helps her-Jane.

Jane Chapman is in her mid-twenties. She was going to college when her boyfriend she was mad about dumped her. Heartbroken, she went out with friends and had a one-night stand. She ended up getting pregnant in the encounter and dropped out of school to raise her son, Ziggy. She helps Madeline, who instantly befriends her-seeing in Jane what she went through in her own past, and invites Jane to join her and her friend Celeste for breakfast.

Celeste White is in her 30s, and has two twin boys also starting school. Celeste is breathtakingly beautiful, has an adoring husband, two perfect looking children, is extremely wealthy and has the perfect instagram life. She also immediately becomes Jane’s friend, not knowing why, but finding herself drawn to her.

Events are put into motion when they pick up their kids one girl accuses Ziggy of bullying. Immediately Madeline defends Jane and Ziggy and the grade becomes split between those that back the girl’s mom, Renata, and those that are backing Madeline.

But in this book the surface is not all that it seems. Who is father of Ziggy? Is Celeste’s life really perfect? Is there more to Bonnie than her mother earth mumbo jumbo? And is Ziggy really bullying other children, or is it someone else?

Hmm…

***Spoilers***

I LOVED this book. I just could not stop reading it it was sooooooooo good.

I loved how she dealt with abuse. So often people ask why doesn’t a person leave, and it isn’t as easy as one would think it is. There is a lot of damage being done to their psyche and they start to doubt themselves-I’m not as bad as those women or what about the kids? There is a lot more to it.

And how Jane was with the emotional abuse? After I left my husband and was dealing with the abuse he put on me her description could have been me right down the the high, tight, ponytail.

The only thing I didn’t like was when Abigail wants to sell her virginity in order to raise money/awareness for child prostitution, all the money going to Amnesty-and Celeste pretends to be an old man gifting an amount so large to keep her from actually doing it. I thought would have been more powerful if they had written to Amnesty and they wrote a letter back telling Abigail how stupid she was being. But I know why they did it, as it was a catalyst for the rocking ending.

The end was amazing! I didn’t see it coming. Just fantastic!

For more stand alone mysteries, go to He’s Gone

For more books with abuse themes, go to The Glass Forest

 

On a sad note, given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.

 

The Glass Forest

The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson

So I work at the library and I process the incoming books, getting them ready to go out on the shelves. I did this one and was so interested in it, but decided to wait until it came off the New Shelf.

The book starts in 1960 with Angie Glass, but flashes between her, Ruby in 1960, and Silja Glass in 1942-1960. The three stories intertwining.

Angie Glass has grown up Catholic in a large family, never leaving her hometown in Wisconsin. There she met the handsome, older, bartender and painter-Paul Glass. The two begin dating, and then when she is pregnant-get married.

Angie has never met Paul’s family-his mother and father being dead, and his only sibling-older brother Henry, wife Silja, and daughter Ruby-all live in Stonekill, NY.

At the wedding Angie felt a sort of jealousy about Ruby and Paul’s close relationship, but knows it is just because she feels left out. Henry and Silja barely speak to her.

A few months later, their baby Paul Jr., P.J. for short was born and the three have been leaving an idyllic life. That is until Ruby calls and tells them that her mother is gone and her father is dead.

The three fly out to Stonekill and to the amazing, modern, glass house built by Silja. Angie tries to be there for Ruby, but she is a strange bit of a thing that wants to stay mostly by herself. Paul deals with the police, funeral arrangements, etc. Angie spends most of her time in the house.

While cleaning, she starts to wonder at Silja’s “disappearance”, questioning her leaving behind her daughter and items necessary for running away. As she continues to search she discovers that she might not know the man she married.

Silja is a young girl in college, living in a Swedish commune in Brooklyn. She meets handsome Army private, Henry Glass, and falls so deeply in love. They are married, have one night together, and he is gone. He finds some time to come back, but all they do is meet in hotel rooms until he is shipped off to fight in WWII.

Silja gets pregnant and her mom helps her-encouraging her to stay in school and study, just in case Henry doesn’t come back. Ruby is born and Silja studies, while dreaming of when she will be a stay at home mother and wife and three will live all together, more children following.

Henry returns from war having been wounded “down there”. Things should have gotten better but Henry refuses to do anything. No more contact just sleeping in bed next to each other. He also refuses to work, with Silja having to pick up the slack.

This continues in their lives as they move to Stonekill, with Silja having to travel every day to work to provide for them and spend her nights alone as Ruby is usually heading to bed and Henry is off doing his thing. Henry does “projects” sometimes cooking, cleaning, repair work but nothing to help the household.

Instead he abuses her-financially by trying to control all her money, verbally, mentally, constantly being jealous. Silja enjoys her work as it allows her to be free from her husband. She tries to figure out a way to divorce, but Henry won’t let her go and if she tried going to court he would end up with the money and their child. What to do? Did she decide running away was the only answer? Would she leave her daughter to be with that demented man?

Ruby is blonde like her mother but takes after her father in her thin body and dark eyes. She spends a lot of time alone, not having any friends. She sneaks out every night and roams the woods, meeting up with a much older man by the name of Shepherd. Ruby knows more than what she is telling about what happened to her father and mother-but what happened?

Thoughts after reading

I loved it. I couldn’t put it down as I had to turn the page each one to find out what happened next.

I strongly recommend, read it!

Read it today!

For more Not in a Series Mysteries, go to He’s Gone

For more abusive relationships, go to The Wife Between Us

On a sad note, given the context of this book I wanted to add this:

Are you being abused?

It’s abuse when someone who should care about you does or says things that hurt you or make you feel afraid, helpless or worthless. Here are only a few examples:

  • Slapping, hitting, punching, choking, grabbing, shoving, kicking you or your kids, your pets
  • Threatening you, your kids, friends, family or pets
  • Hitting, kicking, slamming walls, doors, furniture, possessions
  • Forcing you to have sex
  • Calling you names, swearing at you, yelling
  • Controlling all the money, even money you earn
  • Blaming you or your kids for everything
  • Putting you down, making you feel like nothing you do is ever good enough
  • Treating you like a servant or slave
  • Controlling where you go, what you do, what you wear
  • Controlling who you see, who you talk to
  • Humiliating you in front of other people
  • Refusing to let you leave the relationship

If you are in danger call 911, a local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224.