Review by Norma: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

CommonwealthCommonwealth by Ann Patchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Listened from March 19 to 26, 2017

Dysfunctional family drama * Dysfunctional formatting * Dysfunctional review

COMMONWEALTH by ANN PATCHETT is a literary fiction novel to cherish for its many different interwoven and blended stories of love, destiny, loyalty, loss, secrets, disappointments, betrayal, and mistakes creating a family bonded together by a common understanding of each other.

ANN PATCHETT delivers an interesting, complicated, and well-written read here but I did find it to be somewhat challenging at times to keep up with all the characters, the different timelines, and their points of view as each chapter would jump around from place and time so you had to really pay close attention.  It definitely made it an unusual and enjoyable read though.

There were a few scenes in this novel that I found extremely enjoyable and others where I cringed but what I actually really liked for the most part was that we got a good sense into how time changes and affects the lives of these characters.  How their lives evolved with the help and support from the people in their lives.

To sum it all up it was an entertaining, unusual, insightful, and a steady-paced read with a satisfying ending.  I found that the audiobook had an excellent narrator for another enjoyable listen!  Would recommend!!


Thoughts by Brenda:  The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneThe Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read March 23-26, 2017

From reading other reviews for The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane I was intrigued by the tea in this story as tea is my choice of beverage while reading. It used to be wine but I read too much for that.

I loved the quiet time reading and drinking my tea with this remarkable and intriguing book that drew me into a fascinating world of pu’er tea and culture. I partially listened to the audiobook and found it a good one to listen to as well.

The story is mostly told by only daughter Li-Yan called girl by her family who takes us from tea growing Chinese minority Akha who are strong on rules, customs and traditions, to a Chinese drug infested village and to glamorous Los Angeles.

From the vivid descriptions of the tea, background and processing it’s like the tea becomes a character in the story. At times I was overwhelmed by the chilling superstitions and customs of the Akha tribe and it did take a bit away from the drama of the story for me. I loved the powerful bond between Mother and daughter that was stronger than tradition. The excitement was the build up for me as I started to piece together the ending and I loved the way Lisa See wrapped up the ending.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane was an alluring escape that left me wanting to explore and taste fine tea (not my usual Tetley tea) and more of Lisa See’s books.

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