Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday Talk-Time - What are you Reading?

Welcome to What Are You Reading Thursday, and our first post in the topic is by Kate Hewitt! Kate's reading Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen...

It seemed like everyone was talking about this book awhile back, and I have to admit that kind of buzz usually makes me a little sceptical--probably because I’m nervous the book in question could never live up to the expectations surrounding it. And when I have read the book everyone is buzzing about, it occasionally leads to disappointment. Not in this case, though.

Water For Elephants is set in the world of travelling circuses in 1930s Depression-era America. Now this is a world I knew absolutely nothing about prior to reading the book, and total ignorance also makes me a little skittish. What if there is too much dry exposition about topics I really don’t care about? What if it’s hard to follow? If I sound like a hard-to-please reader, than it’s probably because that’s what I’ve become after over 30 years of reading everything and anything (don’t try to figure out my age, please!). I wish I wasn’t so hard to please, I wish there were more books out there that I could lose myself in, because really, is there any better feeling than looking up mid-book and blinking in surprise that you’re not actually living and breathing in the world created in those pages? I don’t think so, and I was fully immersed in the world of Water For Elephants.

The book alternates between the 1930s, when, numb with grief and despair, orphaned vet student Jacob Janowski jumps on a circus train and ends up staying, and current day when, now in his nineties, he’s in a nursing home recalling the events of a certain fateful summer working for the circus, dealing with the dangerous politics of the Big Top and a certain wayward but hugely (no pun intended!) lovable elephant. I don’t want to give away the plot because it’s so enthralling to read, but I will tell you there is adventure, romance, drama, and even tragedy. Yup, this book has it all! And it’s not always easy reading. By that I mean some pretty awful and sad things happen, and that is not everyone’s cup of tea when selecting a book to read. It happens to be mine--as sadistic as it may sound, I like to have to work for my happy ending (and I make my readers work for it too!), and this book delivers.

So, if you’re looking for a strong narrative (the book begins with the fantastic line, ‘I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other’, a compelling plot, a wonderful romance, and best of all, a happy ending on two counts (sorry if that’s a spoiler!), check out this book.

And you can check out mine too--post a comment and I’ll draw a winner for a copy of my February Harlequin Presents release, The Italian’s Bought Bride--another book where you’ll have to work for your happy ending, but it’s worth it!

Now back to writing the current work-in-progress while nursing my newest addition, two month old Anna. I’ve become quite adept at writing one-handed!


  1. Just finished reading India Grey's Taken for Revenge, Bedded for Pleasure and it was incredible.

    On the TBR pile, Kate Walker's Cordero's Force Bride, then Sabrina Philips Valenti's One-Month Mistress. Also Feruary and March releases for Natalie Anderson's Pleasured in the Playboy's Penthouse and Mistress Under Contract. WOW, a lot of reading.

  2. Kate, that sounds like a really good read - thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Kate,

    Sounds like a good read - I always like to expand my reading repetoir - thanks!

  4. That sounds like a great TBR pile, Marilyn. Hope you enjoy Water For Elephants, Kate and Nina.


  5. Hi all,

    Nina, my daughter picked your name! Send me your address at and I'll get it off to you! Happy reading, Kate

  6. Kate I absolutely adored Water for Elephants. I read it on a tropical island in Queensland last year and couldn't put it down. It was so full of pathos, so very moving and captivating. Wasn't Rosie great?!
    Happy reading and writing,
    Melanie Milburne