I'm still way ahead on movies over books! Yeah, lazy.
The Vow was the Valentine's Day date movie. I expected it to be more like a Nicholas Sparks movie, but somehow it lacked heart, somehow. And there were not a lot of men in the theater. That ought to have told me something. The plot is a guy falls in love with a girl who has left her wealthy upbringing behind and they're massively in love. They are in a car accident and she can't remember him, or anything about the new life she forged before meeting him. It's purportedly based on true events and even shows a picture of the couple at the end of the film. There are some good surprises, but the overall effect left me glad mostly about the jumbo popcorn we shared. (Note: I didn't pick the movie.)
The Woodlanders was a Netflix streaming movie I watched while folding an enormous mountain of kids' clothes. It starred Rufus Sewell, who has been a favorite actor of mine since I saw him in Uncorked about 12 years ago. The story, based on a Thomas Hardy novel, surrounds a girl who returns to her native woodlands after leaving to receive an education. Her father believes her education (and his wealth) now make her too good for the life she'd previously expected to have: to marry Rufus Sewell. Instead she is introduced to the local doctor. Things complicate, and regrets are incurred. It was a little sadder than Return of the Native and The Mayor of Casterbridge, two of my preferred Hardy stories. Meh. (But the cinematography was great!)
This Means War. Two spies who are work partners both accidentally fall for the same darling Reese Witherspoon girl. Who will ultimately win her heart? The dashing Brit separated from his wife (who saw her first), or the dashing American playboy? Ugh. It had a fun premise, yeah, but there were a LOT of jokes in it that crossed the line for me. Plus, you'd think there would be chemistry! Not so much. I wish I could rewind my life and give this one a miss.
The Lucky One. I read this Nicholas Sparks romance for Valentine's week. News flash! No one in the story dies of cancer! (I've only read a couple of Sparks' novels, but I kind of thought someone dies of cancer in every book. Not so!) It was a straightforward love story between a soldier come home from Iraq and a single mom in North Carolina whom he seeks out because he found a photo of her in a sand dune while he was serving. She has a son, and he has a faithful dog. There's a villainous, conniving ex-husband to contend with. The end scene is quite exciting. Overall, a good, fluffy read.
The Braid. Okay, I'm mad at everyone I know for not telling me about this excellent book before now. It's so wonderful! The author had an ancestor who immigrated from the islands of Scotland to the Canadian coast, and that is the topic of this YA story written all in verse. Yes, verse! It's poetry, but the story is so accessible! I love it! Two sisters learn they must leave their impoverished island. One will go with her family to Canada, the other sneaks off to stay behind. They braid their hair together into one braid, snip it and each takes half. They expect (with good reason) to never see one another again. The sisters' journeys are treacherous. Hunger and danger and death ensue. The topic of teen pregnancy is handled gently but with realism. It's a touching, ingenious book. I wish my mom were still teaching high school English. I know she could use this as a marvelous text. It's only about 90 pages, but the depth of the characters the author achieves is wondrous. I love this book.