Book Review: Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde

About the Book:

Say Goodbye for Now

On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.

When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.

With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.

My Thoughts:

The phrase, ‘Say goodbye for now’, also the title of the book, is a recurring point throughout the book. It is a wonderful thing that the title of a book has been incorporated throughout the plot and brings out the overall theme or point of the story.

I picked up this book after reading ‘Ask Him Why’. I really enjoyed the author’s style of writing and couldn’t wait to read more. I was most surprised when upon starting this story, I found that the style of writing, the tone and pace of the story were different! This made me enjoy the book all the more apart from the wonderful plot.

The story focuses on two young boys, in their early teens, who meet by chance and decide that due to their way of thinking, that they should be friends. It was rather unfortunate that the times they lived in frowned upon friendship between them. With a town set against the newly arrived African American father and son duo, a lady doctor who cares for abandoned and hurt animals, and a young American boy who seeks her out when he finds a hurt wolf-dog lying by the side of the highway, there is a lot that can happen when we bring these four people together.

The author takes her time to bring out the personalities of each of these principal characters, as well as their backgrounds. She helps us understand what makes them tick and how they became the way they are in the present time. The author elaborates a little on the town and it’s mindset and perception of these main characters. Nothing is simple in the lives of these four people and the author takes her time in making things right. The story is told alternatively from the points of view of Pete and Dr. Lucy. The reader will get to know them very well and will feel as though even they are friends with them. As pleasing and simple as they are, they are not perfect and have their dark moments.

Pete is thoughtful and advanced in the way his mind thinks and instead of being shushed by the adults he comes to know, they encourage and nurture his inquisitive mind. His relationship with all the characters and his thoughts and feelings help to shape the direction the story moves in. Justin though different, understand Pete and plays his part in this story to perfection. The simple chemistry between Dr. Lucy and Calvin is shown with understated simplicity. It just happens, and there is no confusion or apology. The characters take all situations in their stride, including the fact that a time will come when they can be together and until then, they just have to keep living on.

The simple tones and calm manner in which things are dealt with make this story all that more pleasing. This was a wonderful read and I fell in love with every aspect of this story. The title, used extensively as demanded by the plot, will help the reader see that there is no need to end a relationship of any kind, there are times when it can just be postponed, with some understanding, care and love.

Just say Goodbye for Now!

Book Review: The Black Witch of Mexico by Colin Falconer

About the Book:

The Black Witch of Mexico

Would you sell your soul to have anything you wanted?

Adam Prescott has everything; he’s earning big money as an emergency specialist at one of Boston’s biggest hospitals, he has a fancy apartment in Beacon Hill, everything is working out fine.

But when his girlfriend dumps him, it hits him harder than he expected, and he lets himself spiral. On the advice of his boss he takes a sabbatical in rural Mexico – a place where they still believe in magic – and in witches.

A mysterious figure called the Black Crow tells him he can cast a spell and give him anything – anything – he wants … and though he doesn’t really believe in any of it, Adam is tempted.

Anything at all?

Okay, he says. Okay get me my girlfriend back.

And that’s when the nightmare starts.

From the witch markets of Mexico City to the ancient valleys along the Guatemalan border, places still haunted by the statues and ruins of the Olmecs, he is drawn deeper into a world he doesn’t understand and comes to question everything he once believed.

Are witches just superstitious nonsense? Or is there such a thing as real evil in the world?

The Black Witch of Mexico is a chilling psychological thriller where nothing is quite what it seems.

So be careful what you wish for – you might just get it.

My Thoughts:

“Be careful what you wish for – you might just get it.”

That’s how the synopsis of the story ends and this is an apt way to describe the plot of this book.

The protagonist, an emergency specialist at one of Boston’s biggest hospitals spirals down after his girlfriend dumps him. On the advice of his boss, he takes a sabbatical and moves to Mexico. Here he lives in a village where the people still believe in magic and the existence of witches. What follows is a series of events that form the entirety of the plot.

When the doctor encounters a witch, who offers to give him anything he wants, he asks for his girlfriend back. Thus all hell breaks lose and leads to the beginning of a series of nightmares. Playing on the psyche of the character, the author has written an interesting book. The author’s style of writing is captivating and will ensure that the reader is hooked.

The story is well written and is quite different from most books I have read. However I must say that I did not understand the ending and I feel a little let down by that. The story was built up really well up until that point, but the ending confused me. In spite of this, I thought that this was a good read and would still like to recommend it even though it left me a little confused.