Posted in My Mom’s Monday Book Thoughts, True Crime

We Keep the Dead Close **My Mom’s Thoughts**

Happy Monday all!

Hope y’all had a wonderful weekend! Excited to share with you today my mom’s Review for this true crime book that I really need to read!

My Thoughts

WE KEEP THE DEAD CLOSE by Becky Cooper is the well documented journey of an investigative reporter hoping to solve the 50 year old murder of a Harvard coed(which rather ironically evolves around the anthropology department).

In short passages the author recounts the in person, email, phone, and letter interviews she had with the victim’s associates not only sharing her discoveries and suspicions but filling in the victim’s life story.

Cooper also includes news articles, grand jury testimony, and interviews with policemen past and present working the case.

A surprising conclusion as to who murdered Jane Britton is finally reached with the help of modern day police work but this book takes the reader on a long, often meandering, but always fascinating trip to get there!

About the Book

A Recommended Book from: 

  • New York Times 
  • Publisher’s Weekly 
  • Kirkus 
  • BookRiot 
  • Booklist 
  • Boston Globe 
  • Goodreads 
  • Town & Country 
  • Refinery29 
  • CrimeReads 

Glamour Dive into a “tour de force of investigative reporting” (Ron Chernow): a “searching, atmospheric and ultimately entrancing” (Patrick Radden Keefe) true crime narrative of an unsolved 1969 murder at Harvard and an “exhilarating and seductive” (Ariel Levy) narrative of obsession and love for a girl who dreamt of rising among men.

You have to remember, he reminded me, that Harvard is older than the U.S. government. You have to remember because Harvard doesn’t let you forget. 

1969: the height of counterculture and the year universities would seek to curb the unruly spectacle of student protest; the winter that Harvard University would begin the tumultuous process of merging with Radcliffe, its all-female sister school; and the year that Jane Britton, an ambitious 23-year-old graduate student in Harvard’s Anthropology Department and daughter of Radcliffe Vice President J. Boyd Britton, would be found bludgeoned to death in her Cambridge, Massachusetts apartment.   

Forty years later, Becky Cooper a curious undergrad, will hear the first whispers of the story. In the first telling the body was nameless. The story was this: a Harvard student had had an affair with her professor, and the professor had murdered her in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology because she’d threatened to talk about the affair. Though the rumor proves false, the story that unfolds, one that Cooper will follow for 10 years, is even more complex: a tale of gender inequality in academia, a ‘cowboy culture’ among empowered male elites, the silencing effect of institutions, and our compulsion to rewrite the stories of female victims. 

We Keep the Dead Close is a memoir of mirrors, misogyny, and murder. It is at once a rumination on the violence and oppression that rules our revered institutions, a ghost story reflecting one young woman’s past onto another’s present, and a love story for a girl who was lost to history. 

Have a wonderful day! XOXO Berit

Posted in My Mom’s Monday Book Thoughts

My Mom’s Monday Book Thoughts: Comfort Reads With Jenny Colgan

Happy Monday all!

Last month my mom read her very first Jenny Colgan book and was instantly charmed by her writing. The quirky characters, the delightful settings, all the whimsy and wonder. Four books later and Jenny Colligan has a new super fan!💕

My Mom’s Thoughts

Comfort food for the body. Comfort books for the mind. Discovering Jenny Colgan was an early comfort Christmas gift—four books so far: CHRISTMAS AT THE ISLAND HOTEL, 500 MILES FROM YOU, WEST END GIRLS, WHERE HAVE ALL THE BOYS GONE.

While one was set in London and two partly there, especially delightful were the wee Scottish towns. Even more than the captivating towns were the fascinating, quirky characters what made the books appealing. They were typically young women whose lives were at a crossroad. Nothing was going smoothly for them especially in their Love lives, small setbacks occurred, awkward situations developed.

Each book left me with a smile on my face! Love the British sense of humor! Time to check on the dinner pot roast!😊

Christmas at the Island Hotel

Another heartfelt and delightful Christmas tale from the beloved New York Times best-selling author of The Bookshopon the Corner and Christmas on the Island.

New York Times best-selling author Jenny Colgan returns to the setting of Christmas on the Island and Endless Beach for a heartwarming new novel celebrating the season and Scotland.

On the tiny, beautiful, and remote island of Mure, halfway between Scotland and Norway, a new hotel opening is a big event. New mother Flora MacKenzie and her brother, Fintan, are working themselves half to death to get it ready in time for Christmas.

The new hotel’s impressive kitchens throw together two unlikely new friends: Isla Gregor is the hardworking young girl who has been a waitress in the island’s cafe, dreaming of a bigger, better life now that she’s at a proper fancy hotel. Konstantin Pederson is working his way up in the hotel’s kitchens, too…but he is also, secretly, the only son of the duke of Utsire. Konstantin has been sent to learn what it is to work hard for a living before receiving his inheritance. Although he’s initially resentful, the place grows on him; he has never met anyone quite like Isla and her fellow Murians before.

As the island’s residents and special VIP guests gather for the hotel’s grand opening gala, Christmas is in the air. But so are more than a few small-town secrets….

Where Have All the Boys Gone?

From New York Times best-selling author Jenny Colgan comes this hilarious romance about a woman who trades in the comforts of city life in hopes of finding love in a small Scottish town in the middle of nowhere. 

Faced with the harsh reality that there are 25,000 more women than men in London, Katie’s dating prospects are at an all-time low. While she’s glad it’s not a man’s world anymore, it wouldn’t hurt if there were more eligible bachelors. 

More likely to get murdered than married, according to gleeful media reports, Katie resigns herself to the fact that there’s no sex in the city for her and decides to head for the hills – or the Scottish Highlands to be exact. Despite the fact she’s never been one for muddy rain boats – and Fairlish is in the middle of nowhere – the tiny town does have one major draw: men. Lots of them! 

But while Katie relishes the chance to do battle with armies of admirers, she’s not excited about going head to head with her shady new boss, Harry. At least there’s the local eye-candy to distract her, including gorgeous newshound Iain. But he is at loggerheads with Harry, and she can’t afford to get on Harry’s bad side any more than she already has. 

Life in the country might not be one big roll in the hay, but now that Katie has taken the plunge, can she ever turn her back on the delights of Fairlish and return to city life…?

Westend Girls

New York Times best-selling author of 500 Miles from You tells the hilarious and heartwarming story of twin sisters who set out to London in hopes of leaving their mark on the world, in this “gorgeous, glorious, uplifting” novel (Marian Keyes). 

They may be twins, but Lizzie and Penny Berry are complete opposites. Penny is the life of the party – loud and outrageous, while quiet and thoughtful Lizzy is often left out of the crowd. The one trait they do share is a longing to do something spectacular with their lives, and as far as these two are concerned, there’s no better place to make their dreams come true than London. 

Presented with a once-in-a-lifetime house-sit at their grandmother’s home in a very desirable London neighborhood, it finally seems like Lizzie and Penny are a step closer to the exciting cosmopolitan life they’ve always wanted. But the more time they spend in the big city, they quickly discover it’s nothing like they expected. They may have to dream new dreams…but are they up to the challenge? 

500 Miles From You

 best-selling author Jenny Colgan returns to the beloved Scottish Highland town of Kirrinfief, which listeners first met in The Bookshop on the Shore, and adds a dash of London’s bustling urban landscape. 

Lissie is a nurse in a gritty, hectic London neighborhood. Always terribly competent and good at keeping it all together, she’s been suffering quietly with PTSD after helping to save the victim of a shocking crime. Her supervisor quietly arranges for Lissie to spend a few months doing a much less demanding job in the little town of Kirrinfeif in Scottish Highlands, hoping that the change of scenery will help her heal. Lissie will be swapping places with Cormack, an Army veteran who’s Kirrinfeif’s easygoing nurse/paramedic/all-purpose medical man. Lissie’s never experienced small-town life, and Cormack’s never spent more than a day in a big city, but it seems like a swap that would do them both some good.

In London, the gentle Cormack is a fish out of the water; in Kirrinfief, the dynamic Lissie finds it hard to adjust to the quiet. But these two strangers are now in constant contact, taking over each other’s patients, endlessly emailing about anything and everything. Lissie and Cormack discover a new depth of feeling…for their profession and for each other.

But what will happen when Lissie and Cormack finally meet?

Have a lovely day! XOXO Berit💛

Posted in My Mom’s Monday Book Thoughts

My Mom’s Monday Book Thoughts: The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little & The Wright Sister by Patty Dann **Book Review**

Happy Monday!

Back to real life today! A brand new year! And a brand new weekly post!

I have been posting MY MOM’S MONDAY BOOK THOUGHTS on Instagram for the past few months so I thought I’d bring them to the blog as well. I’m going to try a more structured schedule this year to keep my posting more consistent and to keep me on task. There will be more consistency between my blog and Instagram posts going forward. hopefully! 😂

My Mom’s Thoughts

THE CHANEL SISTERS by Judithe Little and THE WRIGHT SISTER by Patty Dann are both historical fiction stories told in first person and/or through letters and diary by the younger sister of a famous sibling.

Although the story’s focus was on Antoinette Chanel or Katharine Wright much was included about Coco Chanel or Orville Wright.

THE CHANEL SISTERS covered 1897 to 1921, and THE WRIGHT SISTER started in 1926 although both mentioned the use of planes in WWI. The Chanels were in France and the Wrights in the USA although all spent some time in Paris.

What was the most striking difference between the two families was the Chanel’s obsessively, selfish desire to rise from poverty to wealth and fame while the Wrights were happier to remain middle class humanitarians.

*** Big thank you to the publishers for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my mom’s own. ***

About The Chanel Sisters

A novel of survival, love, loss, triumph – and the sisters who changed fashion forever.

Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel know they’re destined for something better. Abandoned by their family at a young age, they’ve grown up under the guidance of nuns preparing them for simple lives as the wives of tradesmen or shopkeepers. At night, their secret stash of romantic novels and magazine cutouts beneath the floorboards are all they have to keep their dreams of the future alive.

The walls of the convent can’t shield them forever, and when they’re finally of age, the Chanel sisters set out together with a fierce determination to prove themselves worthy to a society that has never accepted them. Their journey propels them out of poverty and to the stylish cafés of Moulins, the dazzling performance halls of Vichy – and to a small hat shop on the rue Cambon in Paris, where a boutique business takes hold and expands to the glamorous French resort towns. But the sisters’ lives are again thrown into turmoil when World War I breaks out, forcing them to make irrevocable choices, and they’ll have to gather the courage to fashion their own places in the world, even if apart from each other.

The Chanel Sisters explores with care the timeless need for belonging, purpose, and love, and the heart’s relentless pursuit of these despite daunting odds. Beautifully told to the last page.” (Susan Meissner, best-selling author of The Last Year of the War)

About the The Wright Sister

An epistolary novel of historical fiction that imagines the life of Katharine Wright and her relationship with her famous brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the world’s first airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, establishing the Wright Brothers as world-renowned pioneers of flight. Known to far fewer people was their whip-smart and well-educated sister Katharine, a suffragette and early feminist.

After Wilbur passed away, Katharine lived with and took care of her increasingly reclusive brother Orville, who often turned to his more confident and supportive sister to help him through fame and fortune. But when Katharine became engaged to their mutual friend, Harry Haskell, Orville felt abandoned and betrayed. He smashed a pitcher of flowers against a wall and refused to attend the wedding or speak to Katharine or Harry. As the years went on, the siblings grew further and further apart. In The Wright Sister, Patty Dann wonderfully imagines the blossoming of Katharine, revealed in her “Marriage Diary” – in which she emerges as a frank, vibrant, intellectually and socially engaged, sexually active woman coming into her own – and her one-sided correspondence with her estranged brother as she hopes to repair their fractured relationship. Even though she pictures “Orv” throwing her letters away, Katharine cannot contain her joie de vivre, her love of married life, her strong advocacy of the suffragette cause, or her abiding affection for her stubborn sibling as she fondly recalls their shared life.

An inspiring and poignant chronicle of feminism, family, and forgiveness, The Wright Sister is an unforgettable portrait of a woman, a sister of inventors, who found a way to reinvent herself. 



Tune in next Monday for more of my mom’s thoughts!