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Welcome to Books R Us, a recommended reading blog from InfoSoup librarians and users and home to A Year of Listening Dangerously, the 2014 InfoSoup Reading Challenge! Find a great book to read next, add your own reviews, and check out our book related resources such as NoveList and BookLetters.

betrayal

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Author: Lisa Barr

This book was a saga of sorts. We follow the protagonist, Yakov/Julian, from childhood to middle age. He is a passionate painter with the drive to paint flowing through his veins. In attempts to become who he is he moves to New York from Chicago; to Paris from New York; to Germany from Paris. He is in Paris when Hitler is rising to power in Germany. Julian becomes friends with a close knit group of people who include Charlotte, Adrienne, Rene, and Felix (who is German).

Julian is always cast as the mediator or the go-between. He has strong values about painting and art as well as being loyal to friendship and honesty. For these reasons, he ends up embarking on a series of perilous and unfruitful journeys in the name of his friends and art.

It is not until many years later that Julian's methodology, determination and persistence finally pay off to see justice served.

There is surprise after surprise in this book and we learn a lot about the art world before, during, and after World War II. It was fascinating.

I liked how the author had the sins of the characters catch up with them because I think that is very realistic. I also liked how she did not sanitize the cruel acts that people did and she was clear about the myriad of betrayals that happen in a power struggle web of fear and retaliation.

Thanks to Kim Leisgang for recommending this book to me!

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Author: Kate Chopin

The Awakening takes place in the late nineteenth century in Louisiana. The story starts with Edna Pontellier, who is the main character, her husband, and their children are vacationing at a resort in Grand Isle. While there, Edna falls in love with a man named Robert Lebrun, who spends a significant amount of time with Edna when her husband is on long business trips. When Edna and her family return to New Orleans she becomes a whole new person. When The Awakening was published in April 1899 it was not a best seller and had many negative reviews from its male readers. However, I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to today's modern independent woman.