Books and Gifts

If you have a mystery lover on your holiday gift list who likes a touch of the literary in the reading, consider sending them a gift certificate to purchase All That is Mine I Carry With Me by William Landay. The novel releases March 7, 2023, and it is well worth the wait.

**** ABOUT THE BOOK ****

Book cover image with old frame house.

One afternoon in November 1975, ten-year-old Miranda Larkin comes home from school to find her house eerily quiet. Her mother is missing. Nothing else is out of place. There is no sign of struggle. Her mom’s pocketbook remains in the front hall, in its usual spot.

So begins a mystery that will span a lifetime. What happened to Jane Larkin?

Investigators suspect Jane’s husband. A criminal defense attorney, Dan Larkin would surely be an expert in outfoxing the police.

But no evidence is found linking him to a crime, and the case fades from the public’s memory, a simmering, unresolved riddle. Jane’s three children—Alex, Jeff, and Miranda—are left to be raised by the man who may have murdered their mother.

Two decades later, the remains of Jane Larkin are found. The investigation is awakened. The children, now grown, are forced to choose sides. With their father or against him? Guilty or innocent? And what happens if they are wrong?

A tale about family—family secrets and vengeance, but also family love—All That Is Mine I Carry With Me masterfully grapples with a primal question: When does loyalty reach its limit?

**** REVIEW ****

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book from the publisher and I’m so glad I did. The book is terrific, told from several points of view: the three children left motherless when Mom disappears, the father who is suspected of killing her, the detective relentlessly pursuing the investigation, the writer commissioned to write the story, and the “lost” mother herself.

My summation hardly does the story justice, but this is one of the most compelling books I’ve read this year. The truth of what happened to Jane is so cleverly hidden that we don’t know that truth until the very end of the book.

And what a jaw-dropping ending that is. Totally unexpected, as is what happens in the last few chapters leading up to that final moment.

In between the first and last chapters, Landay skillfully plays with the theme of family loyalty, teasing the characters as much as the reader. Each of the children are perfect in their roles, and under the outward behaviors, one can see how damaged they are by the way they were raised. Dan Larkin is not a nurturing father and the not knowing about whether Mom just left them – how could she? – tears them apart at times.

The only problem with reading a book by an author who has taken such pains with every plot point, every character, every dramatic moment, every word of dialogue, is that the read ruins me for other books. Not that the others aren’t good. They most often are. Some are even excellent for their genre. But books like this that burst out of the “norms” of a genre are literary wonders.


Book Cover featuring a black and white puppy and a group of wrapped presents.

As with most of my short stories, this one for Christmas came to me in one session of writing without a whole lot of editing and rewriting. I seem to struggle more with the writing of novels, but my muse is much more generous with the “gift” of a short story.

The Gift, which is featured at The Kindle Book Review today, was first published a few years ago, but it continues to be a Holiday favorite. And I just love, love, love, this review from a happy reader. Glenda, the reviewer, really got to the heart of the story and shares just enough to peak a reader’s interest.

The Gift is a gift for all readers who need a bit of heartwarming joy to brighten the day.

“Stacey had been putting up Christmas decorations and asked her husband to go shopping with her. Ralph simply replied, “What for?”

“Trying to help Ralph come out of a depression, she wasn’t having too much success…

“Many people do not understand that a depressed person cannot just snap out of it. Stacey realized that she needed to step in since her husband wouldn’t seek help… You may think that the picture of the cute puppy was the answer, but you’ll be wrong.

“What really happens is a tiny little miracle that could not have been anticipated… That makes this story all the more heartwarming. Read it and give it to a friend…”

The Gift is free for Kindle Unlimited or only .99 otherwise, and it does make a great gift. 🙂

Do you give books to family and friends at Holiday time or other? Most of my family members are avid readers, so books do make wonderful gifts that they appreciate a lot. Some prefer paperback, but others are reading more and more on electronic devices, and it’s easy to send digital copies from bookstores.

That’s all from me for today. I’m finishing up some decorating that started over the weekend, and also fitting some writing time in there, too. What do you have planned for the week? How are preparations going at your house for holiday celebrations?

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