Saturday, March 25, 2017

Review - - Unstrung


Unstrung 
by Laura Spinella
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Reviewed by Maria Lokken
    



Olivia Klein is a world class violinist with the Boston Symphony.  She’s married to Rob Van Doren, a man who operates in the world of high finance and risky investments - one of those investments just lost Olivia her family’s home.  Olivia is so distraught at the loss she takes a baseball bat and destroys Rob’s beloved Porsche. Forced to do community service in lieu of jail time, Olivia ends up in the Dorchester section of Boston, helping kids in a school that has more police officers patrolling the halls than teachers, and metal detectors instead of instruments and music stands. 

Her choice of community service is the turning point which will affect everything and everyone in her life. As the reader gets deeper into the story they discover Olivia’s life appears to be one thing on the surface, but like a Russian nesting doll there are secrets hidden beneath the layers. Everyone in her life gets some version of the truth, and when her ex-husband comes to town to ask for forgiveness, her life begins to unravel like a knitting ball tossed to the floor by a playful kitten. 

This story is a multi-layered mosaic of how Olivia became Olivia and what moves her.  Ms. Spinella weaves a complex story, chapter by chapter.  In many respects the book plays out much like an episodic series on HBO with each chapter adding another revelation to the overall story arc.

Nothing is as it seems, and everything will be different when you finally reach the end of the book.  Will the reader get a happy ending?  Yes.  Will it be what you expected? I’m not the one to say. I can say I would certainly read another of Ms. Spinella’s books.  She has a terrific wit, and creates dialogue that sets the tone and gives breath to each character. 

I’m always amazed when I read a work of fiction where the author has created a world that comes to life, a living drama before my eyes.  Those are the best kinds of reads.  That’s what this author has accomplished with “Unstrung.” A work of fiction that’s come to life, beautifully and sometimes tragically played out, in a world I couldn’t stop ‘watching’.



In the last six months, what book have you read that kept you up late at night?

12 comments:

  1. The Whistler, by John Grisham, was a book I couldn't put down, I needed to know what was going to happen next!

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    1. Hey Laurel, I know the feeling. There were several Grisham books that kept me up past my bedtime.

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  2. Unfortunately, I am an "early-to-bed-early-to-rise" person and always have been. So, nothing keeps me up. However, I admit that I often wake up in the middle of the night and think about books I'm reading.

    I found "Unstrung" to be an fabulous book and would honestly love to see it made into a movie.

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    1. Hi Connie - I couldn't agree more.

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  3. "...but like a Russian nesting doll there are secrets hidden beneath the layers." Those might be my favorite words I've read regarding Unstrung. Thank you so much for reading, and posting such a thoughtful review. It's very much appreciated!

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  4. I loved reading your book. You were a-new-to-me author and I'm happy to have discovered you and your backlist.

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  5. WOW - this review blew me away. Thanks for the introduction to this author and this book.

    The last book which kept me up at night was Four Nights With The Duke by Eloisa James. That book just hit the spot for me.

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    1. Hi Annette - I think you will enjoy this book and this author.

      I'm a big Eloisa James fan, but haven't read this one. But I will. (She groaned, looking at her ready to topple over TBR pile:) )

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  6. Great review! Will have to check this book out. Last book that I've read that kept me up was Starlight Bridge by Debbie Mason.

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    1. Hi Pamela -

      Oh gosh - another book I'll have to check out:) So many books, so little time. In truth, 90% of what I read is based on recommendations, so I'm happy to hear about this book - thanks.

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    2. I love, love, loved Debbie Mason's Starlight Bridge! She's a auto-buy for me.

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  7. I added Unstrung to my wish list, Maria. It sounds fascinating.

    I loved Debbie Mason's Starlight Bridge too, but the most recent book I read that kept me up into the wee hours was an ARC of Emilie Richards's The Swallow's Nest--a women's fiction novel about three women who want the same little boy--the biological mother who gave him up, the wife of the child's father who loves the boy despite his being a living reminder of her husband's infidelity, and the boy's paternal grandmother who sees the boy as a way to correct the mistakes she made as a mother. It was riveting and wrenching, and I can't stop thinking about it. I'll probably read it again before I write the review.

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