Jane, a bookseller and endless fount of good recommendations in the Kids/ Young Adult department, will gladly participate in a conversation about anything and everything.
Jane, a bookseller and endless fount of good recommendations in the Kids/ Young Adult department, will gladly participate in a conversation about anything and everything.
This novel opens with Sibitri in Bengal, India, writing to the American granddaughter she doesn't know, Tara. Asked by Bela, her daughter, to convince Tara to stay in school, Sibitri reminisces about her family history, wrought by life's silences and omissions. Written in exquisite prose, this complicated family saga brings a full circle effect to its unfortunate characters, three strong women, bringing understanding to the enigmas of the past.
Beginning in 1939, "Andy" Wyeth, peassionate about painting, spends summers practicing his art at a Maine farmhouse, where 46 year-old Christina Olson and her brother, Al, have always lived. Christina, mostly a recluse due to her crippled body, looks forawrd to these summers and doesn't see Andy's taking over her house as an intrusion. A story of Christina's determination to lead a normal life, this details the setbacks of her disappointments, as well as the conquering of her greatest challenges. Her familiar face in the famous Wyeth paintings finally has a back story, which makes those gorgeous portraits only richer!
1948, post-war Australia, finds Anikka Lachlan living happily with her husband, Mac, and 10 year-old daughter, Isabel. An accident changes all of that, and Anikka becomes the town librarian to support her smaller family. War-damaged veterans, Roy McKinnon, a poet, and Frank Draper, a medical doctor, return home to piece together their lives. A love story, a story of healing, this tale alternates between strong characters to relate both the tragic and the resilient sides of the human condition. With poetic prose, Ashley Hay paints this quiet drama of heartbreak and joy.
Florence Fein, a recent college graduate, defies expectations and takes a job in Moscow in 1930's. Florence's story is picked up her son, Julian, and his son, Lenny. Traversing the 1930's to the 1950' to 2008, switching between New York city and Moscow, this brilliantly executed tale brims with indelible characters living as Americans in Moscow during the Cold War and its aftermath. The power of propaganda and Florence's determination, in spite of a 7-year prison term, doesn't weaken her commitment to stay in Moscow. Even when forced as an elderly woman to join her family in the U.S., Florence never sacrifices her ideals, never criticizes the Soviet Union!
Always an outcast, born an albino into a family and township of dark-skinned people, Memory recalls from her childhood the day she was sold to a white man, Lloyd. Now, convicted of Lloyd's murder, she sits on death row in a maximum security prison in Zimbabwe. It is this book, which her lawyer encourages her to write, that keeps her sane and leads her to a truth that shifts the fabric of her remembered life. With an even voice and eloquent simplicity, Memory peels the layers of detail away to reveal a very startling truth!
No two could be more different: Libby Strout, an obese girl who had to be cut out of her house a couple years ago, and Jack Masselin, who has face blindness, never able to recognize even family members without special "indicators". No one can not notice Libby's challenge, while no one knows about Jack, who is a skilled pretender. Because of a cruel prank in the high school cafeteria, punches are thrown, and both Libby and Jack are forced into community service. This is where each starts seeing beyond the other's facade, and a relationship is born. With Niven's spot-on, realistic dialogues and spellbinding, language, readers will love these two outstanding kids. Spirits lift, as Libby and Jack learn to be themselves!
The Sewell mansion, the height of elegance in 1928 New York City, conceals many mysteries. Rose Sewell, locked in her rooms upstairs, is consumed by art and said to be crazy. Twelve-year-old Martha, outspoken with the nuns one time too many and expelled from school, now works for the Sewells as a chambermaid. Who locks his wife up and pretends everything is normal? Overwhelmed by curiousity about Rose and Mr. Sewell, who is the model of success in the newspaper world, Martha pops the bubble of secrecy and cleverly exposes the truths of the wealthy and powerful.
Following the tragedy of her oldest grandson, Hossam, Ehsam has traveled to New Jersey from Egypt to help heal her broken family. A year has passed since Hossam shot his girlfriend, Natalie, and then himself, and her family is having a memorial service for her. Shamed, Samir, a successful physician, and his remaining family face daily scorn and prejudice, challenging their Muslim roots. Against the pleas of his family, Samir is determined to not only attend the service, but to speak. The despair felt by his Muslim family surfaces through the powerful stories of its chief players.
A complicated web of characters is fractured when tragedy turns life upside-down, and a drug-addled teenager, Silas, holds information which could clear murky waters. Narrated by eleven alternating voices, this tale gradually spins into focus in small town Wells, Connecticut, where Lolly and Will's wedding was to have happened. The intricacies of the beginnnings, the misunderstandings and the missteps of these distinct people span the country, all the way to a motel in Moclips, Washington. When truths surface in this character-centered structure, one realizes that there may be ground on which to step forward, to go on living!
Five generations of mothers and daughters emerge in a brilliant non-linear narrative of their eras. In 1914, starving herself to death for the suffragette cause in Wardsbury, England, Dorothy Trevor Townsend doesn't even notice her 13-year-old daughter watching. Each descendant of Dorothy takes her own path in richly peopled vignettes, as the world reflects tumultuous changes, all the way into the 21st century! This remarkable tale sports eloquent, unique language, so mastered by Kate Walbert!
Two stories converge on Orcas Island, when a beautifully embroidered sleeve is discovered beneath a step during an estate renovation. Inara, owner of this future boutique hotel, feels compelled to learn the history carried by the sleeve. Mei Lien's story surfaces from her swimming for her life toward Orcas in 1886, due to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1862. In this wonderfully woven debut novel, Inara's story uncovers shameful family secrets, while Mei Lien's story is one of love and courage. Two women and a sleeve become the beginning to righting the wrongs of the past!
Stepping into the 1946 hotbed of Revere, Mississippi, New York NAACP lawyer, Regina, investigates the murder of a black World War II hero, Joe Howard Wilson, who courageously survived everything but his hometown. After a grand jury deems his death "an unfortunate accident," eccentric author of The Secret of Magic, M.P. Calhoun, calls upon Thurgood Marshall for support to honor her lifelong employee and friend, Joe's father. Stories swirl from Calhoun's book, more truth than fiction, woven in and out of the lives of beloved, tragic characters!
Based loosely upon the highly imagined, quirky lives of 3 real people, this novel tracks their independent paths, each having passed through the rail station in Zurich on a day in November, 1924. Laura, beautiful and fluent in several languages, is executed for espionage in Italy by the Fascist government during World War II. Felix, a brilliant physicist obsessed with neutrons, is part of Oppenheimer's team developing the atomic bomb in Los Alamos. Emile, a master art forger, recreates artifacts and buildings from the Minoan Civilization. Each pays the price of expertise!
Hollywood, 1937, presents F. Scott Fitzgerald, deeply in debt and desperate to succeed in screen writing. O'Nan spotlights a man determined to stay sober and work around the clock, a man forever devoted to the love of his life, Zelda, and their daughter, Scottie. Sheila Graham, famed gossip columnist, genuinely loves and looks out for his big-hearted, complex man. Project after project is canceled by Hollywood bosses, and Scott's health is failing him. His heart is not strong enough to stretch in so many directions, while the glamor and lifestyle of his years of fame haunt him. O'Nan brilliantly recreates the aura of this gifted writer!
Angelica and Pietro have a stillborn baby, coincidentally, on the same day that Juliet is born to Lord and Lady Cappelletto, who have been unsuccessful in birthing a son. Hired as the milk mother to Juliet, Angelica falls in love with the baby, continuing to stay on long after she is weaned. Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, adores both Juliet and Pietro, who teaches him the art of bees and honey. Full of colorful, dialogue, this tale is yet another slant on "Romeo and Juliet," brimming with joys and sorrows!
Basel, a peaceful Swiss Village, finds itself in the midst of a bank robbery/murder scandal during the winter of 1933-1934. The police are scouring the area for two well-dressed men. Kurt Sandway and Waldemar Velte casually take a room in Basel and, essentially, hide in plain sight. The two befriend the shop girl, Dorly, and neither she nor anyone else has a clue about the true intentions of these two gentlemen. However, casualties pile up, when clues lead to the boarding house, and the two in question are on the run. With quirky, multi-layered characters and a bit of bumbling suspense, Capus cleverly presents the opposing traits of these uncommon criminals!
In a small town in upstate New York, 1930s, two women are judged harshly by their community. Laura, giving birth out of wedlock, is openly shunned. The famous poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, is known as a witch, capable of sexual manipulation and sins of the flesh. When their paths cross, commonalities surface in this unlikely pairing. The charismatic Millay shines through this book, as well as her cruel streaks. Who knew what lay behind her exquisite poetry?
Inspired by a true story from Oregon, 1840, Phillip Margolin fast forwards to 1860, where slaves Worthy and his daugher, Roxanna, live at the mercy of Caleb Barbour, refusing to give them their freedom. Young lawyer Matt Penny and gold digger Sharon Hill connect the stories of three important trials in this newly formed state of Oregon. With twists, legal suspense, and well-chiseled characters typical of Margolin's typical mysteries, this tale dives into the realm of historical fiction, a project three decades in the making!
Robert Louis Stevenson touches our lives 100+ years later with his well-known Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, and A Child's Garden of Verses and many other titles. This saga covers Louis's life-long battle for health and the many moves his friend and wife, Fanny, mad, always searching for a better climate for his weak lungs. Incurably cheerful and working passionately at his craft, Louis finds Samoa to be the best place. Charming the Samoans and advocating for their rights, Louis and Fanny are revered in their hearts!
Caren, director of events and tours for Belle Vie, and antebellum Louisiana plantation, makes a grisly discovery early one morning.The body of a female cane worker surfaces in a ditch, and a murder investigation is underway. With the sale of the plantation looking, everyone watns this tragedy swept under the table, and a man is arrested... the wrong man! Sometimes seemingly minor characters have a major role in a story, and that is the case in The Cutting Season, when an overlooked person proves capable of violence!
It's 1845 in New York Ciy, and Edgar Allen Poe is the rage, having just published "The Raven." Poe crosses paths with a poet, Frances Osgood, and the sparked friendship becomes an affair. Poe's very frail wife and her overprotective mother are his responsibility. The focus of vicious gossip, Poe is forced into abject poverty and illness by those who once supported him. Wishing escape and a new start fo the soul-mates, Frances and Poe, the reader experiences Poe's torment of unfulfilled dreams and the horror of his mother-in-law's plan!
Prohibition, bootlegging, murder, and an orphaned baby figure prominently in this story of Hobnob, Mississippi, 1927. Federal agent Ingersoll delivers an orphaned baby to Dixie Clay and is charmed by the young woman. Little does he realize he's falling in love with a bootlegger and a married one, at that. As a great flood looms, saboteurs are dynamiting the levees, saving New Orleans but leaving Hobnob under water. The boundless power of raging water escalates, and everyone struggles to survive in this amazing story of the courage and grit of the complex, color characters in desperate times!
Living uneasily in debt with her three children, Asta is lured for six months vie letters from Mr. Pierson, a successful buisnessman. Asta is only to willing to marry this fine gentleman and leave Chicago, 1930, for a promising life in Quiet Dell, West Virginia. Based upon a true story, Quiet Dell details the horrific end of Asta and her children, all at the hands of a serial killer. When the trial begins, Quiet Dell is anything but quiet, as news flies of the crimes of this monster. Gripping until the end, this tales sends up red flags around anything too good to be true!
Josephine: a literate maid at the Bell household, Lynnhurst, Virginia, 1852, a self-taught artist who paints for her ailing Missus.
Lina: a young lawyer taking on a slave reparations case in New York City, 2004.
The lives of the two above women collide, when a controversy in the art world becomes center to Lina's case. Brilliantly paced, the tragedy and resolve of both Josephine and Lina swirls in layers of mystery!
With willingness to overlook the risks of their worship, residents of Asheville, North Carolina, are caught in the snare of Carson Chambliss' ministry. Through three distinctive voices (81 year-old Adalaide Lyle, 9 year-old Jess Hall, and Sheriff Clem Barefield), murder behind the newspapered windows of the "the church" casts unnatural light upon the small town saints and sinners. Southern dynamics and intrigue pepper this well-told tale of challenging faiths.
Four year-old Mary, born into slavery, nearly lands her mama on the whipping post. The Van Leuws think that Mary has been taught to read, when, in fact, she remembers word for word everything she hears. Mistress Van Leuw's grown daughter, Bet, sees that Mary actually learns to read and write, buys her freedom and sends her to school in Philadelphia. After this schooling, Mary gives up her freedom for slavery. Returning to Richmond, Virginia, she works in the Gray House of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Mary plays the part of an ignorant slave, while relaying information about Civial War strategy to a Unionist spy network. With rich characters and many close calls, Leveen crafts this Civil War tale deftly, revealing the story of the real Mary Bowser and her efforts to abolish slavery... too late for her parents but perhaps in time for her own children.
Opening and closing in 1961, this novel enticingly portrays Ernest Hemingway on the Florida Keys during the 1930s through the eyes of a beautiful 19 year-old woman, Mariella. Seasoned with his love of writing, boxing, and the sea, this book features his second wife, Pauline, who loves Hemingway but disdains almost everyone else. This warm tale of romance, friendship, and adventure adds to the mystique of Hemingway lore!
On the first page, Catherine Rozier admits that she has killed Nic, a "friend" at one time. Brilliant, yet socially awkward, "Cathy" tells her story from Guernsey Island, 1985, while studying her dad's 1965 records of the severe impact of the WWII German Occupation. The quest for truth obsesses both Cathy and her dad each reaching conclusions highly unpopular with others. High-spirited and crazy, Cathy's voice relays enduring extreme bullying, longs for acceptance and wants to confess her crime. One person's truth is another's lie, as this intriguing and quickly paced tale focuses upon a historically forgotten people and a devastated, lonely girl!
Hoo-doo, voo-doo... there IS a difference, Alex learns while entering Savannah's lifestyle. A year following her mother's death, Alex is leaving the only home she knows, a California commune. Grandmother, Lee, is Queen of the Magnolia League and is determined that Alex join the ranks of Savannah's most elite social set. The transition from dreads to coiffure, from earth-toned homespun fabrics to silks, is rough. Alex is drawn into the Savannah scene with the help of hoo-doo potions and practices. Wanting only to return to her previous life, Alex, nevertheless, becomes a Magnolia but realizes she can't tell what's real from what's part of the spell. Her decision to stay and secretly change the Magnolia League begs for more story!
Frequently taunted and called "Donkeyface," Zulaikha is a young Afghan girl with a cleft palate The Taliban has forbidden girls to attend school, so Zulaikha secretly meets with Meena to learn to read. Hope is born, when American forces come to Zulaikha's village. Construction sites for new schools and public buildings pop up, and army doctors offer surgery to fix Zulaikha's face. Author Trent Reedy, inspired to write this story based on real experiences, served in Afghanistan from 2004-2005!
Harrison Shepherd's story follows his lifetime of keeping notebooks, recording everything from the behavior of fish to his fortune-seeking mother's escapades to the volatile marriage of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the trials of Levi Trotsky. From Mexico to Washington, D.C. and, finally, North Carolina, Shepherd is amazed to be famous because of his two best-selling novels. Shunning this popularity, Shepherd relies upon Violet Brown to type his work and insulate him from fans and surfacing F.B.I. interrogations linking him to Trotsky. Rich in the most unique characters and pointed, as it exposes the McCarthy era, "The Lacuna" artfully uncovers that gap between truth and presumption, the missing piece of the story, as only Kingsolver can do. A masterpiece!
Illiterate and speaking only Yiddish, Raisa travels from her small polish village to New York city in search of her older sister, Hendra, and a new life. Raisa "adopts" a younger girl, Brina, whose mother dies on the rough voyage. Penniless in NYC, 1910, Raisa and Brina live with the Kamensky family, while Raisa works as a seamstress at the triangle Shirtwaist Factory and, surprising herself, falls in love with Gavriel Kamensky and learning to read. The Asch building (housing the triangle Shirtwaist Factory burns in March of 1911. 146 of the locked in workers die, and bereaved families lives are turned upside down. All are enraged by the "not guilty" verdict in the trail of the building owners. Months of searching for the missing Gavriel and Hendra nearly destroys Raisa's spirit, until a lucky break turns the tables toward realized dreams!
Jonathon spirals downward on a snowy night in Seattle. Losing touch with reality, he dives off a bridge, a 20-foot fall which could have killed him. Surrounded by his “thicks” (best friends), Jonathon still teeters and may be giving up. The loss of his twin brother, Telly, is too much. About to flunk his Junior year from repeated absenses, Jonathon is offered a “deal” which could send him on to his Senior year. Jonathon is a brilliant poet and musician, and this “deal” will force him to tap all of his genius. Full of raw emotion, eloquent poetry, raging music and Seattle ambiance, Adios, Nirvana is a new release you won’t want to miss!
Abilene, dropped off by her father, Gideon, in the small, immigrant town of Manifest, Kansas, steps into a world of mystery. Two girls become friends and compatriots with Abilene, as the book flips between 1936 and 1918. In pursuit of a “spy,” the girls brush shoulders with the town's most eccentric residents, including Miss Sadie and her Divining Parlor. Abilene works off a debt to Miss Sadie and is the audience for her strange stories, which amazingly parallel the news clippings and objects which Abilene has found beneath the loose floorboards of her room at Shady's Tavern (and church!) Only really wanting to find out about her father's roots in this town, looking for him in every piece of evidence and detail, hoping he will return for her one day, Abilene uncovers a story which no one in Manifest has ever been able to tell!
Everything is decided: what to eat, what to learn, who to marry, when to die. The officials monitor every movement of the Society, a world faction of survivors. Cassia, her friends and family rely upon the Hundred Best Songs, Poems, Books, all selected with the belief that past generations weakened because of too much choice. The opening scene takes the reader to the Match Banquet, where 18 year olds like Cassia meet their mates for life. Unexpectedly, Cassia’s match is someone she knows, her friend, Xander. At the same time, another local boy, Ky, tempts her with unlisted poetry and learning to write. Falling in love with Ky, still loving Xander, Cassia lives the “prisoner’s dilemma,” risking the consequences of an Infaction, questioning the very basis of the Society. Nothing’s ever perfect!
Winner of the 2010 National Book Award! Struggling with basic situations, 5th grader, Caitlin has Asperger’s Syndrome. Her older brother, Devon, who was her close friend, has recently died in a horrific school shooting. Neither Caitlin nor her dad have a clue as to how to reach the CLOSURE everyone sees as important, until Devon’s unfinished Eagle Scott project diverts their grief. “To Kill a Mockingbird” was Caitlin and Devon’s favorite movie. Devon saw himself as Jem and Caitlin as Scout, but Devon became the Mockingbird, an innocent being who would harm no one.
Two brothers, buried in treasures and trash, end up dying in the once-elegant 4-story Harlem mansion. Told simply by the younger, blind brother, Homer, this tale is based on the true story of the Collyer brothers whose hoarding generates their descent into despair. Paranoia overwhelms Langley, who loves his brother but has lost any resemblance to common sense. Heart-ripping sentiment surfaces in the reader for these two very strange men, who actually had money to live in style. Overcome by possessions, unable to remember lives with function and purpose, Homer and Langley charm the reader amidst the quagmire of their home!
What might have utterly destroyed Leo King's 8 year-old soul nearly did. Following years of psychiatric treatment, Leo finds himself expelled from one high school and entering Peninsula High for his senior year. Football bonds Leo with eight other fragmented lives, and he tells this story of Charleston, 1969, alternately with the 1989 events which cement the spirits of these successful, talented individuals. Pat Conroy reveals the key characters' stories in a natural unveiling of once unshared secrets. Master of characters, Conroy colorfully imprints the triumphs and tragedies of Leo, Molly, Chad, Sheba, Trevor, Niles, Starla, and Fraser. I will remember them forever from this book I never wanted to end!