Three Novels I Can’t Wait to Tell You About!

I read some interesting and thought-provoking books in September. In today’s blog post, I’ll share my reactions to three of the novels I read. I hope you’ll be inspired to add one or more of them to your reading list.

Dragonfly Escaping, Noor’s Story: Book One, by Raya Khedker

Dragonfly Escaping: Noor’s Story: Book One, by Raya Khedker

I learned about this novel through the Jennifer Tar Heel Reader book blog. After reading Jennifer’s review of the book, I went on Twitter to find out a little more about the author.

On Twitter I found a discussion about the book’s cover. I chimed in that I liked the cover, and the author and I enjoyed several days of messaging to one another about the struggles of writing and publishing.

The story immediately grabbed my attention and I knew I was hooked and would have to keep reading to find out what happened to Noor Zulfiker. Noor is bound in an arranged marriage to Rajat, an older man who is a physician and her parents think will be quite a catch for their daughter. But Noor is in love with a young man named Chirag Jagdev. Chirag isn’t rich and his financial future isn’t potentially as bright as the doctor’s.

There is physical abuse, so very soon the reader really starts pulling for the teenage Noor and hoping Rajat gets his comeuppance.

This book shines a light on the emotional and physical abuse the women in India are subjected to by men. Noor is abused from all directions and desperately wants to leave India. It is raw and unrelenting in this first novel of a planned series about Noor.

If you like exotic locations, Dragonfly Escaping takes place in New Dehli and Lima over a span of 1979 to 1992, with connections and references to Spain and Canada thrown in for interest.

If you aren’t put off by reading about an abusive relationship, I recommend this novel by Raya Khedker. It’s her debut novel and it was released in January 2022. Lo and behold, Dragonfly Hunting: Noor’s Story: Book Two, was released last week – on September 27 – so I’m already playing catch-up!

I look forward to whatever Raya Khedker and Noor have in store for us in Book Two.

Raya Khedker was born in India and currently lives in the United States.

In an Instant, by Suzanne Redfearn

In an Instant: A Novel, by Suzanne Redfearn

This novel is written through the eyes of Finn, a 16-year-old girl. Spoiler alert: She’s alive in the beginning of the book but is soon dead. Probably 95% of the book is told through Finn’s eyes and ears as she moves about at will and reports how everyone reacts to her death and the other related events. It is a clever format.

The story is compelling. It delves into each person’s reaction to the incident that takes Finn’s life. It’s about family dynamics, friendships, and how individuals react to a traumatic situation. Each of us knows how we think or hope we’d react in a given circumstance, but do we truly know how we’d react when push comes to shove?

On the negative side, I had to suspend disbelief throughout a sizeable segment of the book as, although all the characters were in a situation of total darkness, they were able to move about and see everything clearly.

Also, I think the author gave Fen a vocabulary and level of understanding that a typical 16-year-old doesn’t have. And, speaking of vocabulary, I find the overuse of expletives offensive and it cheapens the writing. This becomes especially noticeable when one is listening to a book. It was excessive and pulled me out of the story. John Grisham is a reasonably successful novelist even though it is his policy and practice to not use curse words or raunchy language in his books. If John Grisham can have a lucrative writing career without using foul language, perhaps others should follow his example.

I thought the Easter dinner scene was forced. Why would a family that showed absolutely no religious inclinations suddenly put a tremendous emphasis on a traditional Easter ham dinner?

All that said, I reiterate that In an Instant is a gripping story and the premise of a person’s spirit being able to continue to roam the earth and see and hear intimate conversations and activities of family and friends is a bit unsettling and gives much food for thought.

The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig

When Nora Seed “decides to die,” she finds herself in The Midnight Library. Her school librarian from long ago is there to explain to Nora that The Midnight Library isn’t exactly the afterlife. It’s an endless library of books – each one giving you the chance to undo your regrets and do something different. It’s between life and death. Disgusted at first to be there, Nora eventually appreciates the opportunities it provides.

The novel involves the theory or idea of parallel universes and allows Nora to move from one life to another and experience or re-experience an occupation or family situation.

The lesson this novel teaches is that every decision we make has an outcome. A different decision at any given time could have changed the course of our lives.

I didn’t know what to expect when I checked out the book on CD. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it to see what Nora’s next experience would be and how it was all going to turn out for her.

The only irritation I felt in listening to the book was the fact that the British reader pronounced “library” the way the English do, turning this three-syllable word into a two-syllable word.” It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. If you’re too young to understood the analogy, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

Since my last blog post

Here in the southern piedmont of North Carolina, it rained sideways all day on Friday and felt more like winter than autumn as what was left of Hurricane Ian passed through after making its third landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina. We came through it unscathed, though, and for that I’m relieved and thankful.

I’ve been working on my genealogy. I knew that three of my 16 g-g-g-grandmothers were Neelys. Last week I found their father’s will and discovered they were sisters. I guess that means I’m my own cousin. Small gene pool here in the 1700s!

Until my next blog post

My heart goes out to all the people severely affected by Hurricane Ian in Cuba, all over Florida, and the east coast of the US.

Today I’m excited to begin taking a three-day online workshop about writing a book series. It’s sure to help me as I continue to work on The Heirloom and its sequel, The Doubloon.

I hope you have a good book to read this week.

Don’t forget the brave people of Ukraine.


15 thoughts on “Three Novels I Can’t Wait to Tell You About!

  1. Well Janet I am so glad to know your area was saved from damages. This was a horrific storm and I feel very bad for those who were left totally devastated. Those books sound quite interesting but I’ve no time to read. Thank small book written by Dalí that I started reading in March is unfinished… wishing you all the best and a great day to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Francis. I can only imagine you have no time to read books because you’re sharing so much art history daily on your blog. It’s not that you aren’t reading, you just aren’t reading novels at the moment because you’re time is consumed with producing art and also educating your readers about various artists and the various styles and nuances of art. I mean that in the kindest way possible. It’s what you’re called to do and you’re doing it exceptionally well. All the best from a still cloudy but dry southern piedmont of North Carolina. – Janet

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well thank God that it is dry, albeit cloudy, in your area Janet. God help those that are still wet and suffering. I went through Hurricane Andrew in Miami in 1992 and I will never forget it, and at least that hurricane was a rather dry one… Yes, I spend most of my time researching and investigating as well as preparing and actually painting, as well as doing a little bit of writing, more or less every day, for my poetry book. I’ve many projects on the desktop but somehow they never advance… I admire your dedication and your discipline, reading and writing and preparing your manuscript, which is something very important that I am sure all your readers, we, are looking forward to. All the best from Valencia, where the weather is finally getting nice and cool but still blue skies and sunny days. All the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m drawn to Dragonfly Escaping and The Midnight Library (not li’bry?)–In an Instant, not so much. The description reminds me of The Lovely Bones, which I found disappointing. It started out very strong, and at about the halfway point just started petering out. Right now, I’m just finishing The Marriage of Anna Maye Potts by DeWitt Henry, which I highly recommend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I felt like Dragonfly Escaping threw too many characters at me in the first quarter of the book, but I just had to know what Noor was going to do. She had everything working against her. The pronunciation of li-bry on that Midnight Library CD drove me up the wall. My sister is a retired librarian and it has been drilled into me all my life that it’s li-bra-ry. LOL! I never read The Lovely Bones. I’ll look into The Marriage of Anna Maye Potts on your recommendation. It sounded vaguely familiar. I checked, and it’s not available in either library system I use. I’ll have to look for a used copy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for visiting my site it gave me the nudge to go to my reader and catch up. I read the Midnight Library and enjoyed it except that it started to feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day each time she selected another life. Reading Donna Tart’s Secret Mystery now. I loved The Goldfinch. This has the same feel. I do love her writing style. Thanks for the other reading suggestions. The list is long…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great to hear from you, Alison! Love your Groundhog Day analogy. Maybe if there’s an actual library in the afterlife, I’ll get my TBR knocked out. Your message reminds me to add Secret Mystery to my list.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.