Fans of Sarah Dunant (The Birth of Venus), will devour this fiction of Pope Alexander VI and his power plan to conquer the principalities of Italy. The Pope's illegitimate children, Lucrezia and Cesare, are vividly brought to life in this fascinating story of how they were used to ultimately create, and expand, the Borgia dynasty. Lucrezia and Cesare were bloody, ruthless, corrupt, passionate, cunning, and fiercely loyal. Niccolo Machiavelli, influenced and impressed by Cesare's political manipulating, used much of what he learned in writing The Prince.
I love historical fiction - especially when so well written!!
A page turner for sure!! Daphne du Maurier is a master at creating suspense. Is Cousin Rachel good or evil? Is Phillip capable of thinking clearly as an adult, or is he stuck with the infatuated thinking of a very young man? You will be enthralled all the way to the last page.
A gripping portrait of a roller coaster ride of a campaign.
For those still trying to get their heads around the outcome of the 2016 U.S. President Election, scholar Susan Bordo’s “The Destruction of Hillary Clinton” will provide both perspective and clarity. The noted media critic and cultural historian addresses head-on how Clinton, seen as a lock to win the general election, was upset by Donald Trump. Bordo examines not only how the Right, the Left, and the media impacted Clinton’s quest for the White House, but also other key forces, including James Comey, possible Russian influence, and the youth vote.
This haunting novel draws the reader into Nazi-occupied coastal France with a powerful story and masterful narrative. Emma, the baker's young apprentice, creates a network of stealthy endurance and remarkable ingenuity to help her community survive. With an evocative and compelling description of D-Day, we are reminded of the tremendous sacrifice that invasion encompassed. A true trifecta: Moving, Engaging and Powerful.
In her truly captivating and superbly crafted debut novel, Bryn Chancellor draws you in with her remarkable characters and the thoughtful and insightful details of their lives. As residents of Sycamore, Arizona, are faced again with a decades-old tragedy, they grapple with memories of past loves, betrayals, dreams, and losses. A thrilling plot lurks behind beautiful storytelling, laced with humanity, grace, and a compassionate complexity. The people of this desert community will linger in your thoughts long after the compelling and satisfying end.
Uh oh! Is the weatherman predicting a rainy weekend but you still want to feel like it's summer? The Book of Summer takes you to a historical Nantucket home and right into the lives of the strong women of Cliff House from 1914 to the current day. From great-grandmother Sarah to her granddaughter Bess, we learn the secrets, celebrations, and tragedies of life in a grand house. Historic snapshots are skillfully unveiled, clever twists and turns will keep you engaged, and the "swell" time period dialog will keep you entertained. A perfect rainy day read...even better at the beach!
Yes, THAT Mr. Rochester! For fans of Jane Eyre, this is the backstory of the dark, morose character Edward Fairfax Rochester. For those who have not read Jane Eyre, this is an entertaining character study straight out of the 19th century. Very enjoyable from either perspective, but especially yummy for fans of Jane Eyre.
I have Connecticut sensibilities: I'm not overly friendly, no one would ever describe me as laid-back, and living in La La land for me would be like living on the moon. So, naturally, the California lifestyle fascinates yet repels me. If you feel the same, you must check out Woman Number 17. It's quintessential SoCal - rich, arty lives perched in the Hollywood Hills and unique, dysfunctional lives that will grow on you. You may have to Google a few phrases - Hottentot Venus for example - but learning and reading go hand-in-hand! This novel is offbeat, smart and tender so, like, read it.
— Mary T
Thick with tension, this novel lets the relationships and secrets between its characters build slowly to a simmering intensity that mirrors the sultry heat of its Hollywood Hills setting. Lady Daniels and her newly hired nanny S form an unconventional and intense friendship as they both find themselves questioning their present circumstances. Filled with sharp ideas about art and LA, this novel is smart, brilliant, and frequently hilarious. Before you know it, you'll find yourself liking both complicated women, even as they make choices that beg you to turn your back on them.
The lake in the title is gorgeous Lake Como, in northern Italy, and the shadows emerge from a dark past when a body is discovered beneath a mountainside hut. This is the first in a translated Italian mystery series that entertains with its charming investigator, food, historical references, and its beguiling setting. Also, it doesn't hurt that there is a little romance in the air!
— Mary T
Lucy meets Gabe for the first time on the momentous day of Sept. 11th. While viewing the smoke from the Towers, they vow to each other to make their lives meaningful. When fate brings them together again one year later, they quickly fall in love and it seems they will be together for ever, but both make choices that send them continents apart. Though they stay in touch, their lives could not be more different in their endeavors to stay true to their vow. Santopolo takes us on a journey through love, life choices, tragedy and eventually love again, right up until the unexpected ending that you will never forget. I couldn’t put it down!
Have you heard the the very unromantic notion that passionate love lasts but 6 months, maybe a year if you're lucky? Thank goodness for books and authors, like this one, who take a contrary approach and tell a contemporary story of an all consuming and powerful love that transcends all reason, time and place. This is perfect escapism for those who want a love story. Period. No apologies needed.
— Mary T
In a small, secretive English town, women have been killed in a section of the local river known as the "Drowning Pool" for generations- a place of obsession for its most recent victim. As her death ripples through the close-knit community, the relationships that run through town are challenged and years of lies threaten to be exposed. With a vibrant sense of folklore and an eerily tense setting explored through many points of view, this novel will keep you guessing until every long-held secret is revealed.
Can an IT guy and a beautiful actress make a go of it? Well, maybe not the first go 'round - despite the fact that they share the same passion for music. Set in Australia, Great Britain and France, this is a book about second chances, taking risks, exploring your feelings, and sexuality. If you love the Beatles, Joe Cocker, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins then you'll be singing along as you reminisce with Adam and Angelina. Oh, and there's a very twisty and satisfying ending!
This is stupendous stuff. A follow up to The Girl with all the Gifts , I enjoyed this book more than I can say. The boy of the title is a genius of the idiot savant type; and with courage, heart and gusto he takes on a worldwide apocalypse and does it with style. I put this book down but only reluctantly because I had to eat and sleep. Now it's your turn.
— Mary T
Beartown, a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching story, is definitely my favorite Fredrik Backman novel yet. In a small town where hockey is everything, the junior hockey team is about to play for the National Championship. However, when a tragic event happens, the community is divided by extreme loyalties. This could be any town where sports, politics, and good vs. evil are controversial and dangerous. Beartown begins and ends with a bang, and it’s one of the best books I've read in years -- seriously!
Once again, Elizabeth Strout proves herself a master! She takes us to a small town exposing the intricacies of lives crisscrossed in even the most remote ways. Each chapter, although an individual story in itself, reminds us that the past is extremely powerful and can result in different interpretations. Fans of Olive Kitteridge will enjoy a similar style book and once again, come out with favorites. Some tough stories, but well worth every moment spent reading this amazing book!
Women who didn’t conform to the most subservient, pious behavior in mid-1600’s England were in danger of being rounded up and tossed in jail, after all they must be witches! Matthew Hopkins was a real life self-appointed Witchmaster General. This chilling historical fiction shows Matthew’s obsession growing through the eyes of his widowed sister, who had little power to stop the inhumane imprisonments and ultimate executions. It is a devastating look into insular villages with strange belief systems involving witchcraft tests, forced confessions and devils imps.
Daphne du Maurier, the author of Rebecca with the famous first line "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again," was the sophisticated, urbane product of British wealth and position during the 20th century. Her position allowed her to indulge the inner voice (or "Boy" as she called him) that controlled her unwavering determination to create the environment and solitude she needed to WRITE. She was a prolific writer who preferred dark, grisly subjects to the more saleable happy endings. A fascinating read about a women of independent thinking and means-quite ahead of her time.
A must for anyone experiencing loss, whether by a death, illness, a relationship’s end, abuse, job change. In great, personal detail, Sheryl Sandberg, FaceBook’s COO (Lean In), shares what it has been like to suddenly become a widow with two young children. She also conveys her determination to find “flashes of joy,” her “Year of Firsts,” and the ways her deep grief have influenced her leadership role at the social media giant.
Ultimately, the book is a how-to guide for facing down crisis and moving forward. It’s co-written by Adam Grant, the Wharton School’s top-rated professor/psychologist (Originals), so it also is full of intriguing scholarly research, such as “the three P’s,” and other practical findings on building resilience.
Every once in a while a book comes along that pays kindness, love and gentleness forward. My heart opened and filled and, at the same time, grew in faith that something somewhere is giving us all what we need when we need it.
I always enjoy a story that unravels within a story!
Current day: In Sofia, Bulgaria, a young American woman has a chance meeting with a family at a taxi and ends up with an urn in an ornate box engraved with a name. With only this to use, she enlists the help of the taxi driver to get the urn to the rightful owners. Along the way, history reveals itself and actually involves them in some danger!
Great setting! Great read!
Anne Lamott's latest book shows us how to make mercy a constant part of our lives; and, in effect, her words teach how having empathy and being kind to others can set us free. Lamott is at her best in Hallelujah Anyway, writing as candidly and openly as ever about her failings and her uphill battles, as well as how her experiences and family history have shaped her. Ultimately, it is a book to return to again and again, during challenging times, when resentment or detachment seem the only response.
This is a lovely and versatile cookbook for home cooks that features a huge variety of recipes for every occasion- from a small breakfast for yourself to larger gatherings with family and friends. The book happens to be largely gluten-free, but the focus remains on modern, wholesome and delicious dishes that can be useful any day of the year.
Of the course the names have been changed to protect the innocent, but this novel brings to light how the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme of the 90's could have happened. The Widow of Wall Street explores the workings behind a "legitimate" brokerage house, and the shandy under doing of the 37th floor private "Club" that was exclusive to only those who had money to invest and were too naive to ask about double digits on their investments.....until the bottom dropped out! The book shows the ramifications of this "Club" on family members, and close friends. Jake may have thought he had the brilliant mind, but it was his loving, ever faithful wife that took the brunt of the fall. A very interesting read that sheds light and details on how these illegal schemes come about.
— Jan B
Tess and Gus first cross paths in Florence, as 18-year-olds with their futures stretching ahead of them. Back in England, they live their lives oblivious to all the near misses and chances they have to encounter one another again. The meandering way their lives circle each other is charming rather than frustrating, but the heart of this book lies in the choices Tess and Gus each make as their lives unfold in ways neither anticipated.
Exceptionally poignant and filled with relatable and deeply human characters, this is a thoughtful book about how you can never quite guess what life has in store for you, and maybe that's for the best.
Told in alternating points of view, Brimstone is the story of Alice, a young clairvoyant moving to a town of clairvoyants in Cassadaga, Florida to learn, and Tomas, a solider home from WW 1 only to find his wife has died of the flu while he was away. Dreams of fire, and actual fires, connect the two until they meet and must fight in a battle of good vs. evil together with the town of Cassadaga.
There is something about Cherie Priest’s writing that immediately pulls me in, every single time. From the moment I was introduced to insecure, but brave, Alice and depressed, but determined, Tomas… I had no trouble flying through the book to find out the rest of their story. Simple, but beautifully written, I loved this book. Cherie presents the small town in bursts of color and character. I could see Cassadaga and its residents just as clearly as I could see Alice and Tomas and Felipe (how could I forget the adorable dog Felipe?)!
Sarat is the ultimate rebel, loyal and dedicated to the Southern territories in the U.S. Second Civil War. Set just 60 years in the future, the North and the South battle over outlawed oil. From caretaker of family after the slaughter of their refugee camp, to prisoner of war, and finally, martyr, Sarat is a Southern rebel soldier thru and thru. The idea that this extraordinary – and plausible! - debut novel is set only 60-years in the future is terrifying.
Do you want to sit down and laugh out loud while you read a tale that offers mystery, romance and familial craziness? Lipman's dialog will pull you right in. Stuck in a boring job in a private school, Faith is engaged to a bizarre loser, buys a fixer upper that harbors a possible murder mystery, and finds a potential new love all the while her parents marriage is falling apart. Every conversation and observation is hilarious.
What an engaging little book with a big story! On New Year's Eve in 1984, eighty-four-year-old Lillian decides to take a walk within the Manhattan haunts of her past career as the highest paid female advertising writer in the USA in the 1930's and 40's. Her memories flood back as she walks and her life as a mother, a wife and a poet is told. Lillian is acerbic, brilliant and heartfelt in her journey. A lovely book.
This is a triumphant book about human kindness and forgiveness. The story follows three amazing German women – all with very different backgrounds – who share secrets about their involvement in the resistance during World War II. If you love historical novels as much as I do, this heart-wrenching story will keep you caring about the women in this castle long after you’ve read the last page.
Lola is the battle-weary secret leader of a South Central gang capable of being both vicious and loving, as circumstances dictate, particularly when it comes to family and a little girl whose mother pimps her out for drugs. When she becomes entangled in an impossible situation with the cartel, rival dealers, a corrupt prosecutor and police after attempting a major drug deal rip-off, will she survive and live to fight another day?
Samuel Hawley has been shot twelve times over the course of his life as a criminal. Alternating between the stories behind each of those twelve bullets and Samuel’s present day life as a father raising a teenage daughter, Hannah Tinti tells a story that is both tender and intense. This is an excellent literary thriller with a relentlessly-paced plot, complicated characters you can’t help but root for, and a dynamite ending.
Two young boys' journey that begins as a supposed new start in life and quickly becomes a premature coming of age as the brothers face the emotional and physical abuse of their father. A dark, emotional, concise yet elegantly crafted page-turner that offers haunting perspectives of family, addiction, macsculinity, and identity of both the abuser and the abused.
This slim volume delivers a message meant to be both personal and universal. With practical suggestions and relatable examples for raising a daughter to be feminist in today's world, the author speaks also to anyone looking to foster a greater sense of gender equality every day. Wonderfully written with a great sense of wit and a tone that is ultimately hopeful, this is a great read for feminists of any age!
I can’t rave enough about this magnificent debut novel. The author deftly drew me into Mulderrig, an insular rural Irish village in the 1970’s. Mahoney (himself), left orphaned as a babe in the woods, comes back from Dublin to find out what happened to his teen mother. The village and forest are filled with secrets and hints, even some from the dead. Mahoney is an appealing and unforgettable character, and in addition the characters in the village are both captivating and repellant.
I was mesmerized by the luminous prose, with just the right touches of magic realism, and will anxiously await Ms. Kidd’s future work.
Andrea finds herself making her way through her 30's, surrounded by people who want different things for her than she wants for herself. As she deals with her lost dreams of being an artist and her painful family history, she finds herself in a variety of messy, honest and frequently hilarious situations. Told in vignettes through over a decade of Andrea's reluctant adulthood, Jami Attenberg's newest work is smart, insightful and relatably rough around the edges.
With her original, quirky humor and beautiful drawings, Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) has created a completely original, wonderful book. It is a coloring book, a self-help book, a humor book and more. Seek the messages hidden in the drawings, color the pages, take the book apart (perforated pages!), draw your own designs at the end, or read it and leave it as is. This book is yours. You Are Here.
Relevant, profound, and exquisitely written, Exit West is the story of two young students who fall in love in an unnamed city on the brink of civil war. It's a timeless and powerful epic that takes the form of a page-turner, centered around two intoxicating and immensely relatable characters. Their story is beautiful, haunting, subtly forceful and will remain with you as a very human story reflective of circumstances we've seen, experienced, have yet to experience and those we hope to avoid.
Want to know what really goes on at Boy Scout camp? Apparently a fair amount of bullying and other antics that aren't so innocent. Thank goodness there are real heroes in this story and wonderful depictions of lives and generations that intersect deep in the woods of Wisconsin. Camp Chippewa builds character, changes the course of lives and sets many on a path that will lead them back to camp time and again for adventure and heartbreak.
— Mary T
You’re going to be shocked when you find out what’s happening beneath the surface of our Great Lakes (hint: it’s not good), and by the time you finish this book you’ll want to join the scientists currently racing to engineer a solution to save the most important bodies of freshwater on the planet.
All manner of invasive species have wreaked havoc on the lakes’ ecosystems for decades; two centuries of poorly regulated American industry are responsible for a staggering amount of pollution; and don’t even get me started on the toxic algae. Dan Egan has given us a vitally important book—and one whose warning we would be wise to heed…before it’s too late.
This dark, mesmerizing crime novel is chock full of psychological suspense and puzzling characters. Spinning round and round in the spiral of dread is Dustin, a psychologist who once testified against his own adopted brother, a brother who was accused of murdering four relatives. Complicating Dustin's life even further, a patient with a theory about a serial killer- a killer who seems to draw ever closer to Dustin and his family.
— Mary T
I had to laugh when I turned the last page - the author really got me good! I don't think Hitchcock himself could have concocted a better twist. Now that being said, DON'T peak at the ending of this mystery. It's so much better to let the author play her little game and use you as a pawn.
— Mary T
How would insomniacs classify the hours when the rest of their time zone is sleeping; late hours or early hours? When Bill Hayes moved from California to NYC, he took to roaming the streets when he couldn’t sleep. He observed, photographed, and wrote about others he encountered during these times which is part of this new book. Bill then took one step deeper into his personal life and shared details about his relationship with Oliver Sacks. What an intimate glimpse into both of these worlds. I felt the city, with all its personality, as I read each word of this beautiful memoir.
A good 'woman in peril' novel in the tradition of The Girl on the Train and the author's own I Let You Go. Mysterious adverts with pictures of anonymous women appear to be related to crimes against these same women all over London. I See You has a creepy, paranoid atmosphere and a plot line that really keeps you guessing to the end. Makes you wonder about the strangers you meet every day, and the possibility that they may know more about you than you think. A bit chilling from start to finish.
— Mary T
With a sly adjustment of a pin on a Pachinko table, the gambler's fate is changed. And so Min Jin Lee plays with the fates of her deeply felt characters as we follow them through generations in Korea, north and south, to Japan. Epic yet intimate, sweeping yet close to home.
The tales of gods you may know – Odin, Thor, Loki – and gods and goddesses you may not yet know – Freya, Baldor, Tyr – are all gloriously told by master storyteller Neil Gaiman in an accessible, fun, sad, beautiful way.
Each story is roughly 10 pages or less, making this a quick read that can be devoured, or read more slowly if you prefer. This book is fascinating, entertaining and a great start to learning more about Norse gods and goddesses. Also a great book to read before diving into (or re-reading) Gaiman’s American Gods!
Sometimes you just need a book like this. Sometimes you need to escape and lose yourself in the twists and turns of a clever novel set in another time and place. The British tale is told through letters and diary entries, and covers the first seven months of WWII in the charming village of Chilbury. A veritable soap opera of spies, intrigue, love affairs and the first bombs to fall on Britain, this is a book to cozy up with and let every other care just fall away, enjoy every entertaining moment!
A vivid work of historical fiction, bringing to life the stories of two real, strong, remarkable women. Adele Bloch-Bauer was a friend, rumored lover and important patron of Gustav Klimt, and vibrant 1900s Vienna sets a thrilling backdrop to her position in both society and the modern art movement blossoming in Austria.
Decades later, her niece Maria Altmann will be forced to flee the same city, leaving a priceless portrait of her aunt (and one of Klimt's most important works) behind in the hands of Nazis. Both women fight through heartbreaking struggles, but never give up on fighting for themselves or for each other.
Imagine that the Future we dreamed up in the 1950’s came true. Flying cars, clothing that can change with the press of a button… that’s the world that Tom lives in. At least until he enters his father’s new invention: a time machine. Things go so wrong in the past that when he comes back, Tom is now in OUR 2016 instead of his and has to figure out a way to fix his mistake.
The slightly slow build-up is worth it for a couple great reveals and a fantastic second half. A coming-of-age story for a 30 something who floated through life and a wonderful love story, mixed with fun science fiction and leaves you pondering “what would I do.”
Contemplative and mesmerizing, this novel somehow manages to be both quickly flowing and slowly burning. At times, the narrator seems unsettlingly removed form the circumstances that have brought her to Greece to seek out her estranged husband, but she maintains a sharp sense of observation and imagination throughout. Her many digressions infuse the story with insight, enriching her thoughts on intimacy, infidelity, the nature of relationships, and her crumbling marriage. The smooth, seamless prose will enchant you, until you feel as though you are experiencing events firsthand.
If you're looking for something a bit cerebral, try this travel writer's sublime new work of fiction. He conjures up a smoldering fire in the basement of an apartment building which houses an eclectic group of tenants. In the haze and heat, each tenant's memories are examined and while some converge and others barely intersect, each is fascinating in its own right.
— Mary T
Surpassing the descriptor of "dreamlike," Emily Ruskovich's Idaho feels more akin to the sensation of having recently woken from a nightmare. The reader is reminded of those brief moments in which one lies confused, awash in sweat, struggling to separate the events of the dream from reality. This disjointed narrative invites the reader to not only witness the rapid deterioration of the principal character’s mental state, but to viscerally experience it. The stark landscape of rural Idaho, coupled with prose that is both dark and poetic, lends a sense of true isolation to this "Western Gothic."
Well written, very readable story of one of histories most impactful women. Victoria ascended the throne as a 5ft tall girl of 18 and spent her life learning to govern with compassion and intelligence. She married the love of her life (unusual for a queen), had 9 children and virtually populated the ruling houses of Europe with her descendants.
Most fascinating is the story of Victoria, the woman, and how she handled her duties as monarch while also living the separate life of a human being. Fascinating insight - maybe being a Queen is harder than we think. Loved it!
It makes me feel good that there are still completely unexplored regions of the world that contain the ruins of ancient, incredible cities. Join the team of intrepid explorers as they as they uncover the mythical lost city, braving venomous snakes, crippling disease, biting insects, and jaguars. This is real life Indiana Jones.