family drama

Hate to Want You

By Alisha Rai
5
Rated by Hebah A.H.
Jun 29, 2018

I think I would have come around to romance novels years earlier if I had only realized how much angst could precede the genre's requisite happy endings. Hate To Want You nailed both angst and satisfaction.


This steamy tale follows Livvy and Nicholas, once-lovers separated by family disapproval and time, who find that years of miscommunications and misunderstandings loom as large as ever . . . but so does the sizzling chemistry between them. I started out feeling somewhat lukewarm toward the characters but had heard enough praise of Alisha Rai's books to keep me going. I was a little afraid

Behold the Dreamers

By Mbue, Imbolo
5
Rated by Kari E.
Apr 5, 2018

Behold the Dreamers tells the story of two different families who were brought together by the Lehman Brothers collapse. Jende and Neni Jonga emigrate from Cameroon, Africa to New York City with their young son, Liomi. Jende is a loyal chauffeur who does not talk about what he hears his boss say in the car. Jende is proud of the car he drives and his ability to support his family. Coming to America is everything Neni dreams of and more. The Edwards family give Neni a job helping out during the summer at their home in the Hamptons. Cindy Edwards is a socialite, nutritionist, and mother who says

Manchester by the Sea (DVD)

By Kenneth Lonergan
5
Rated by Sheida B.
Oct 10, 2017

Love. Pain. Death.  Family.  These are the main themes of this excellent Amazon production. 


Set among the cold and beautiful New England scenery, the story follows Lee (played by Casey Affleck) as he goes back to his hometown to take charge of his teenage nephew, Patrick (played by Lucas Hedges) after the death of Lee’s brother.   


From the start, it is obvious that something more than grief is going on.  Lee is very reluctant to go back.  There are nudges and whispers by the townspeople at the sight of him.  Why does everyone treat him with kid gloves, and why is Lee such a jerk to

This Is Us (DVD)

By Dan Fogelman
4
Rated by Edward R.
Sep 27, 2017

This Is Us is a dangerously addictive show about a family over multiple generations and the extreme challenges they face. The pilot episode hooks you into a compelling drama by intertwining the lives of all the characters in a unique way. The story continues with complexities that match real life and yet what we see seems more surreal than reality.


This show is emotional. Not the setup/payoff kind of emotion but rather suffocating you with emotions until they find the right string to pull that will choke you up. This approach works in two ways: it pulled me in and then pushed me out. The

I Will Send Rain

By Rae Meadows
5
Rated by Kari E.
Feb 25, 2017

I Will Send Rain is both bleak and hopeful. You will feel a lot of things while reading this perfectly crafted, emotional story of an Oklahoma farm family living through the Dust Bowl.


Samuel and Annie Bell move from Kansas to Oklahoma, set up a home, and have two children Birdie and Fred. The Bell family clings to their land and hope rain will save their crops. The pacing brings the reader into the Dust Bowl slowly and the way Meadow’s develops each character pulls you into a world where each day is a struggle to survive. Samuel, Annie, and Birdie plod along, secretly hoping to escape

You Will Be My Son (DVD)

By Gilles Legrand
4
Rated by Sarah A.
Aug 4, 2016

Paul de Marseul is the head of an esteemed family-owned winery in Saint-Emilion, France. He is an extremely overbearing father to his son Martin, who everyone assumes will take over the business one day from his father. But of course things get really interesting when the son of his estate manager returns the golden boy from his time in the Napa Valley.


From award-winning director Gilles Legrand, You Will Be My Son is a very emotionally charged and sympathetic film, with amazingly beautiful scenery of the Bordeaux region of France. The film stars French actor, Niels Arestrup (War Horse, Sar

A Hundred Summers

By Beatriz Williams
4
Rated by Heather B.
Oct 15, 2015

In 1931, Lily Dane is dragged along to a college football game by her best friend Budgie Byrne, where Lily instantly becomes smitten with Nick Greenwald. Despite the fact that Budgie is generally the popular one, Nick quickly falls for Lily as well. There is one major stumbling block to their happily-ever-after, however--Nick is Jewish, and while Budgie warns Lily that this will be unacceptable to their high society friends and family, Lily refuses to believe it. She concedes that her mother might be a problem, but Lily is convinced that even she can eventually be brought around. It is

Wildest Dreams

By Robyn Carr
4
Rated by Lisa J.
Oct 3, 2015

Fourteen year old Charlie Simmons is enjoying the summer before starting at a new school in Thunder Point. His very protective mom, Lin Su, is working in Thunder Point as a home nurse for Winnie who has ALS. This is the best job Lin Su has had in a long time and it gives Charlie the opportunity to change schools and get away from the bullies that had been taunting him at his old school. Winnie and Charlie have become good friends as he has been spending a lot of time there over the summer. And now there is new next door neighbor Blake Smiley. Blake is a professional tri-athlete and

Sep 25, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed the early 2000s TV show, Alias, starring Jennifer Garner. And I’ve been missing it ever since – I mean, what actor since has shown such facility for multiple identities and costume changes? I have found the answer: Tatiana Maslany, the star of Orphan Black. Maslany plays Sarah, a woman thrown into the midst of a bizarre conspiracy, and who, despite battling her own demons, finds herself having to take on the trials and hang-ups of many other characters as well. But in recompense, she is privileged (and sometimes haunted) by the unique answers to “what ifs”

Sep 23, 2015

Nicki Price has just arrived in the Big Easy with her newly minted private detective's license and the desire to get to work right away, hopefully with her cousin Nate Price who has his own detective agency. Nicki plans to use her investigative skills to not only help Nate and make some money but to solve her father's murder from years ago. Nate tries to put Nicki off but she won't be deterred and follows Nate to a client meeting and manages to insinuate herself into the investigation of a recent murder.


Hunter Galen has a big problem. His business partner and friend has been found murdered

Those Girls

By Chevy Stevens
4
Rated by Lisa J.
Sep 3, 2015

Growing up in a rural British Columbia is difficult enough for Jess, Courtney and Dani Campbell before their mother dies.  But after their mother passes things really get difficult. One night things get really bad; Jess grabs the shotgun and accidentally shoots and kills their dad.  Afraid of what will happen, the girls hide the body and take off for Vancouver before anyone can realize what has happened. When the truck breaks down in the middle of nowhere they reluctantly accept help from two young men who are passing by and things go unbelievably downhill from there.  Because they fear a

A Small Indiscretion

By Jan Ellison
2
Rated by Helen H.
Aug 18, 2015

I’m not sure Ellison’s family drama with its slow reveal shouldn’t be called A Series of Significant Indiscretions, as there are so many. Both past and present. The true title, A Small Indiscretion, leads a reader to believe that our protagonist, Annie Black’s happiness is at risk by the revelation of a past mistake. But really, she and her family might have overcome any part of her past, if only she will behave as the adult she’s grown into instead of the nineteen year old self she fled from twenty years ago.


When we first meet Annie she is a young, single American working in a London

The Rules for Disappearing

By Ashley Elston
4
Rated by Lisa J.
Aug 2, 2015

Not knowing how her family has landed in witness protection is driving seventeen year old "Meg" crazy. But she knows the two rules of being in witness protection... be invisible and don't make friends.  Easier said than done, and after six placements in the last year she is bound and determined to make this placement stick as the constant moving and stress of learning new identities and back stories is tearing her family apart. Meg is determined to figure out what landed her family in this situation and she'll do whatever she can to fix it so they can just go home and everything can go back to

The Returned (DVD)

By Fabrice Gobert
4
Rated by Heather B.
Jul 13, 2015

One day, fifteen year old teenager Camille walks back up the winding mountain road and into her house, shocking her family. What seems like it should be a completely mundane act most patently is not; Camille died in a bus accident four years earlier. Camille has no memory of that event and no apparent understanding that she has died. As far as she knows, it's the day of the bus accident. But her family, while still grieving, has moved on. Her parents have split up, and most strikingly, her twin sister Léna is now several years older than Camille. The family member's responses to her return

The Life List

By Lori Nelson Spielman
4
Rated by Colleen O.
Aug 22, 2014

Brett Bohlinger is devastated. Not only has her beloved mother passed away, but she is shocked to learn she won't become president of the family's cosmetics firm. To make matters worse, her sister-in-law is appointed president in the will, and Brett is fired from the company. While Brett's two brothers receive millions from their mother, Brett cannot receive an inheritance until she completes a 'life list' she composed when she was 14... and she needs to complete all items in only a year! She doesn't see any way she can finish the list since it includes items like buy a horse, have a baby

Something Real

By Heather Demetrios
4
Rated by Diane H.
Mar 31, 2014

Something Real gives us a deliciously inside look at the truth behind “reality” shows. It reminded me of The Truman Show, except that the people being filmed are aware that millions are watching their private lives unfold. So many people in today’s world seek out their 15 minutes of fame. Would so many desire fame if that fame came with a price—everyone you meet knows every embarrassing, bumbling, horrifying experience of your life?


The story rests on “Baker’s Dozen,"  a highly popular family reality television show that was canceled a few years ago. Bonnie Baker, the eldest child, has

The Husband's Secret

By Liane Moriarty
4
Rated by Diane H.
Dec 23, 2013

In The Husband's Secret the lives of three Australian women are intertwined in ways they would never have thought possible. For years, the tragedy of a teenage daughter’s death has haunted one of the women and unknowingly affected another. The third woman, faced with a marital earthquake, takes her young son to her hometown of Sydney. There, the three women interact, bringing the past into the present and altering all their lives forever.


Moriarty brings humor and wit to the drama and trauma these middle-aged and elderly women are living through. Fans of Maeve Binchy will likely enjoy the

May 7, 2013

Though sometimes classified as Young Adult, Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews hits on several very adult, very controversial topics. At the age of 12, Cathy Dollanganger finds her life forever altered when her father is killed in an automobile accident, and her mother is forced to move the family—consisting of Cathy, her mother; her 14-year-old brother, Chris; and her 5-year-old twin siblings, Cory and Carrie—back to her wealthy parents’ estate. At first all four children seem pleased at the prospect of living in a lavish mansion, but their excitement is quickly stifled when they are told

Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand

0
Rated by Jen L.M.
Mar 10, 2013

Summerland takes place on Nantucket beginning on graduation day.  Four high school juniors—twins, Penny and Hobby; Jake, Penny’s boyfriend, and longtime friend Demeter—have been celebrating the graduation of their classmates.  And yes, included in the celebration was underage drinking.  As they leave the party, Penny is driving Jake’s jeep as she is the only one that has not been drinking, but never-the-less the four are involved in a single-car wreck leaving Penny dead and her brother seriously injured.  The ultimate question is who said what to set Penny off and cause the wreck, and then to

Defending Jacob by William Landay

0
Rated by Chris F.
Sep 29, 2012

I’m not a usual reader of mystery thrillers, but when a patron raved about Defending Jacob I gave it a try.  A start is all you need to get hooked.   The writing is fast-paced in that hard-boiled detective style.  But Andy Barber isn’t a detective, he’s the district attorney for Newton, Mass.—or was until his son Jacob becomes the prime suspect in the murder of a 14-year-old classmate.  Here’s a crime in the heart of suburbia with all the nuances of the comfortable life facing the grit of human violence.  As Andy and his wife, Laurie, descend into unbelief, doubt and anger to defend their son

Nov 1, 2010

Juliet by Anne FortierJuliet is both a modern and historical retelling of Shakespeare’s classic tale, “Romeo and Juliet”. The story weaves back and forth between a present-day Juliet searching for a family inheritance in Italy and a 14th-century Giulietta defying a family feud to be with her Romeo. The later is supposed to be the real inspiration for Shakespeare’s classic story, set in Siena instead of Verona. You don’t have to be a fan of Shakespeare to enjoy this debut novel; a love story, historical fiction, tragedy, mystery, and thriller all rolled into one enjoyable novel.