State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny
State of Terror

I love Penny's Three Pines books with the wonderful Armand Gamache, and when I picked up this Louise Penny/Hillary Clinton book I have to admit to feeling a bit reticent about it as I'm not really that interested in Clinton and I was puzzled why Penny had shared a book with her as Penny has had more than enough success on her own, I felt she didn't need anyone else's name. But I quickly felt that the book seemed (to me, anyway) to be very clearly written by Penny with many of her recognisable styles, so I was heartened by that and decided I would just think of this in my own mind as a Penny book and ignore Clinton's name on the front, not meaning to be unfair to Clinton but just because I really want to read a Penny book while I wait for the next Gamache book to come out!

State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny available on Amazon
 Kindle  Hardback
 Paperback  Audiobook

I love Penny’s Three Pines books with the wonderful Armand Gamache, and when I picked up this Louise Penny/Hillary Clinton book I have to admit to feeling a bit reticent about it as I’m not really that interested in Clinton and I was puzzled why Penny had shared a book with her as Penny has had more than enough success on her own, I felt she didn’t need anyone else’s name. But I quickly felt that the book seemed (to me, anyway) to be very clearly written by Penny with many of her recognisable styles, so I was heartened by that and decided I would just think of this in my own mind as a Penny book and ignore Clinton’s name on the front, not meaning to be unfair to Clinton but just because I really want to read a Penny book while I wait for the next Gamache book to come out!

Further into the book, I am finding it very gripping but I am still mostly thinking about who wrote what. My feeling so far is that this is totally Penny’s writing, the writing style seems completely like hers, with her trademark short sentences and gently teasing humorous observations of people, it doesn’t seem to me like she wrote the first chapter and then Clinton wrote the next chapter, as I thought might be the case with a shared book, the whole writing feels solely Penny. This made me wonder if Clinton just wanted a vehicle, ie this book via the reading public, to alert the world to the terrible damage she feels that Trump did (as the character Dunn is very obviously Trump), and what damage could still be done by his remaining supporters and if he ever got back into power. I am guessing that perhaps Penny agrees with Clinton about the terrible danger of having Trump in power, so they perhaps decided to do this book together as a way to have their views and fears voiced, perhaps thinking that if Clinton stood up and said these things directly to the media and public she would be dismissed or get into trouble, whereas to say it behind the facade of fictional characters is probably safer and yet still gets the message across as it is so blatant who the book is about. And I don’t mind them doing that, and if Trump actually made things as dangerous for us all as Clinton and Penny seem to be making out, then we should be warned. However, I’m alarmed it could actually really be as bad as they make out, I’m reading it and actually feeling quite terrified that this is all really happening behind the scenes at the White House and there are these conspiracy plots involving nuclear weapons and relationships with unstable countries and assassination plots! 

I am enjoying this book, it is certainly gripping and tense, but this action style isn’t really the usual type of book I read, so I find I’m not really fully investing in it. I also feel the action and high tension is making me race through the pages and means I’m often not paying full attention to scenes and possible clues, as I am quickly reading on and on in order to find out what is going to happen, rather than savouring the scenes and characters and writing. I do admire the way they rack up the tension and introduce so much action, but personally I am finding it quite exhausting to read as there is just so much going on I feel I can’t process it all. 

Oooh, a huge lovely surprise, Ruth Zardo’s book is mentioned (she is a character from the Three Pines series)!!! And eeek, the President’s aide has a German Shepherd dog given to him from a friend who lives in Three Pines!!! Then the journalist with the information is living with Myrna at the bookstore in Three Pines!!!! And double eeek, the wonderful Gamache is asked to speak to this journalist!!!!! My mind is blown, I never really thought Penny would bring Three Pines into this book! And I wonder how far into the life of Three Pines she is going to go. I can’t believe how excited I am at the mentions of, and links to, Three Pines. I do love the books, but I didn’t until now realise just how much I passionately care about the place and the people there and how important they are to me, and I am surprised at my sheer joy just to see their names on the page, just having her mention these people and places makes me long for them, they feel like loved relatives I’ve not seen for a while. I do have mixed feelings about Three Pines being brought into this book though, I am delighted to see them, but I am also urging her to be cautious with introducing them, urging her to not mess with them and how precious they are, and not to sully them with this association with the White House. 

Hmmm, I’m struggling to decide how I feel about the book now I’ve finished it, my overriding thoughts are just of Three Pines being mentioned, so I feel I have failed to take note of the main plot because of this and also because of the action writing style that made it hard for me to take things in. And now that I’ve finished the book, I do feel there was really no need to bring Three Pines into this story, and it felt a bit contrived as it really made no difference to the plot. As well as not really enjoying this action style, I did also miss the thoughtful insights and life lessons and beautiful poetry quotes and character depth that are usually part of Penny’s Three Pines books, which I love to mull over and savour and try to instil into my behaviour and actions. Although, Penny’s acknowledgements at the end of each of her books always choke me up especially whenever she talks about her husband Michael, but in this book she mentions her friend Betsy too which made me fill up, Penny certainly knows how to tug at your heartstrings! And it will be no surprise that I am straight away going to immerse myself into the Three Pines, beginning with the first book that I’ve read and re-read many times Still Life, my other favourites from this series are Bury Your Dead, and All The Devils Are Here, and How The Light Gets In. They should keep me going for a while and give me a lovely dose of Three Pines!

State of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny available on Amazon
 Kindle  Hardback
 Paperback  Audiobook

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