Remember How I Told You I Loved You?
By Gillian Linden. (Little A, 109 pages, $14.95, paperback.)
Gillian Linden neatly captures post-college angst as her characters drift through disappointing jobs and even more disappointing relationships in this slim collection of loosely connected short stories.
Karen and Lizzie meet during freshman year and bond over a shared love of limoncello in “Common Rooms,” which follows them through boyfriends, heartache and graduation. The title story explores the demise of an obviously ill-fated relationship between Dennis and Daphne, who have found that the secret to appearing competent is “showing up on time and staying a little late, and, if anything went wrong … not telling anyone about it.” In “Pests,” Karen deals with a possibly imaginary rodent infestation, an aggressive puppy and insecurity in her marriage.
Linden’s characters, though sparely drawn, invite identification and sympathy as they stumble toward adulthood.
By Michael Robotham. (Mullholland Books, 432 pages, $26.)
Marnie Logan’s life is on hold. Her husband has been missing for more than a year, leaving Marnie alone with her young ailing son and rebellious teenage daughter. Bills are coming due, along with gambling debts Marnie knew nothing about. She sells her TV and computer to buy food. There is money, but she can’t get access to it unless her journalist husband, Daniel, is declared dead.
Sorting through a box of items Daniel kept at work, Marnie finds a memory book he was working on as a gift to her. Investigators looking into his disappearance find that Daniel had done a series of interviews with people from Marnie’s past. A disturbing picture emerged: Anybody who had ever hurt or mistreated Marnie has suffered serious consequences. A high school boyfriend who broke off their relationship had his application to art school spoiled. The girl he dated after Marnie had her wedding ruined years later when someone canceled the reception, honeymoon, flowers and all the other carefully made plans. Marnie denies knowing anything about any of these incidents, but investigators are not convinced. Why is there a trail of vengeance in Marnie Logan’s wake? With lots of suspense and a few surprising twists, this novel is a quick and rewarding read.
Judy Romanowich Smith