Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars
This anxiety-inducing book was A LOT of fun to read. It’s gotten major buzz since it’s a Reese’s Book Club pick. There were 200 holds for it at my library, but I noticed ONE copy was available on the Limited Loan shelf at the branch across town. Of course, I’m there when they opened that morning to elbow my way to the top. I had to know what’s in the water!!
The opening chapter starts with a bang. You’re left wondering, how in the heck did it come to that?? The set-up: A honeymooning couple make a shocking discovery on their trip to Bora Bora. OK, so after the stunning opening, the pacing was very slow until about the 30% mark. I think I was just TOO impatient – waiting, waiting, waiting – to find out what was in the water. And then, thunk thunk thunk…
SOMETHING IN THE WATER was such an entertaining book, but also made me very nervous! Some of the decisions the characters made (especially Erin) made me STOP to blink my eyes repeatedly. What were you thinking??
After the big discovery, the author did a fantastic job keeping the suspense going and the pages turning. I can’t think of a more perfect “beach” thriller to read this summer. This is Catherine Steadman’s debut novel (wow!), and I’m looking forward to reading more from her in the future.
The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a sweet and enchanting love story! Etta runs a very special shop where she sells dresses stitched with a wee bit of magic to help her customers’ wishes come true.
One person Etta longs to help is her granddaughter, Cora. Cora’s parents died when she was young, and for most of her life, she’s hidden herself away doing research as a scientist. She’s oblivious to the fact that her lifelong friend, Walt, is madly in love with her.
Worried that Cora will lose Walt, Etta does a little magical meddling with the best intentions. But, of course, things don’t always go as planned…
This book is a lovely blend of mystery, romance, and magical realism. Many characters are introduced, each with a compelling backstory to share. There are four separate romances happening in this book, and some overlap, but each one remains unique.
I would like to have learned more about Etta’s magical gift and where it originated, but I guess that will remain a mystery.
If you’re in need of a whimsical and uplifting novel, I’d definitely recommend THE DRESS SHOP OF DREAMS. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ― Roald Dahl