Hand Me Down, by Michelle Holman (HarperCollins, RRP $25):
Waikato author Michelle Holman’s latest book features bad girl April Ritchie, who returns home to Pisa after a nine-year absence.
April was a bit of a spoilt brat who never made a lot of friends in the town and her speedy departure from Pisa on her 17th birthday left plenty of unanswered questions.
The locals aren’t particularly pleased to see her return but they do get a bit of enjoyment seeing the former spoilt brat reduced to working at a kiss-o-gram girl – complete with a red rubber dress – to earn a living.
Tarn Elliott has more reason to dislike her than most: April unfairly ruined Tarn’s reputation before she left town.
Of course, April isn’t as cold-hearted as everyone believes and it’s just a matter of waiting to see if Tarn and the rest of the residents of Pisa can see past her wisecracks and embrace the real April.
Given that this book falls into the chick-lit category and I’m more of a action novel fan, it’s fair to say this isn’t the type of book I normally go for. However, I surprised myself by enjoying what ended up being a lot of fun.
The Moment, by Douglas Kennedy (Hutchinson, RRP $35):
Divorced American writer Thomas Nesbitt is is living quietly in Maine – in touch only with his daughter and still licking his wounds at the end of a long marriage that he knew was in trouble from the very beginning.
The arrival of a box from Berlin, from someone by the name of Dussmann, unsettles him, bringing back memories of an intense love affair more than a quarter of a century before at a time when the country was split in two and allegiances were haunted by the Cold War.
He lost his heart to Petra Dussman but she was a refugee from a police state and someone who lived with sorrow.
This is author Douglas Kennedy’s 10th novel and he has managed to make a love story morally complex, tragic and surprisingly gripping.