In Last Night in Montreal, the debut novel by Emily St. John Mandel, Lilia Albert’s entire life has been a series of appearances and disappearances since she was abducted by her father when she was a young girl. By growing up this way, it is no surprise that she continues to weave in and out of other’s lives as an adult. During a short stay in New York City, she meets Eli and swifty moves in with him. Early one morning after telling Eli she is going for coffee, she fails to return and after looking everywhere for her resigns himself to the fact that she has disappeared. Some time later, he receives a postcard stating that she is now living in Montreal and he leaves on a quest to find her which leads him on a strange and unexpected journey. St. John Mandel threads the past and present together with an ethereal quality and tells the story of Lilia and those she has left behind throughout her life. I really loved Mandel’s writing and characters, but I have to admit the ending left me with more questions than answers. St. John Mandel has proven to be a gifted writer and I have just started her second novel, The Singer’s Gun, which I hope to blog about soon.
If the title doesn’t grab you, the story will. In a style similar to Jodi Picoult’s, author Amy Bourret takes a controversial subject and somehow manages to sympathetically portray both sides of the issue in Mothers and Other Liars.
Ruby was only 19 when she discovered an abandoned infant in a trash can at an Oklahoma rest stop. She raises the baby girl as her own. After nine years they have settled into a comfortable and happy life in Sante Fe, New Mexico, with a “family” of very supportive friends. Then one day she happens to read a magazine article about a baby who was unintentionally kidnapped by car-jackers. Ruby realizes that life as she knows it is over. Will she choose to move to Mexico and live a life on the run? Or will she present herself to the authorities and suffer the consequences? Her choice is further complicated by that fact that she is pregnant by her boyfriend of 3 years.
As a Yale Law School graduate who practiced included child advocacy law, author Bourret brings real-life experience to the tale. The courtroom scenes seem particularly dramatic. However, the real kicker comes at the end of the story. Sorry — but you’ll need to read it to find out what happens!