This captivating novel is based on the true story of Blanche and Claude Auzello, who ran the Ritz Paris during the Nazi occupation of WWII. A tale of love and loyalty, courage and survival, and the cost of long-held secrets set during a period of history that was glamorous as well as terrifying.
Magical and heartbreaking, this enchanting coming-of-age story takes place off the coast of British Columbia. How do certain scents evoke specific memories? Emmeline's unique talents will be challenged when her sheltered world falls apart and she must face the real world.
Julie Orringer is one of our finest young writers, and her latest book is further evidence of her talent. Her research of Varian Fry, a real life American who traveled to Marseille and managed to escort renowned writers and artists out of Nazi occupied France, is meticulous. She mixes facts of Fry's life with fiction to create a riveting historical novel encompassing espionage, love affairs, mystery, and incredible bravery.
Barely into the first chapter, I set aside everything else I was reading or listening to so I could read this all the way through. Smith’s well thought out plan to change or world for the better by changing how we grow and eat is so simple, it’s genius. Even before I finished it (and OMG it includes the recipes!), I was ready to start my own farm. I’m ordering several copies and will be giving them to everyone I know!
While these exquisite short stories are all grounded in the real world, they take the reader beyond the expected, into imaginatively off-kilter circumstances. Russell is a master of weaving together imagery and language into a remarkable tapestry, while delicately maintaining the fundamental relatability of her stories. A truly impressive and transfixing collection that pushes the boundaries of fiction in the most satisfying ways.
Ali Smith's Seasonal Quartet continues with another singular, timely installment. Masterfully intersecting seemingly disparate storylines, Smith comments on the current political landscape in Britain (and the world!) through the circumstances of her uniquely human characters. Humorous, heartfelt, full of biting commentary, and wonderfully written, there are no books better at thoughtfully capturing the times we live in today than Smith's.
Heartthrob First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz and the dashing Henry, Prince of Wales, are sworn enemies. Forced to pretend they are best buddies after an embarrassing incident involving an 8-tier cake at a royal wedding makes tabloid headlines, they bond, and they fall in love. This book is clever, sexy, and funny, yet so full of hope that I wanted to stand up and cheer!
For both longtime Maida Heatter fans and those new to her genius, this is a must-have baking book! Filled with a selection of her best recipes for cakes, cookies, tarts, pies, and more (even one for dog biscuits!), you'll find yourself referencing her tried and true treats again and again!
A delicious murder in the Hamptons is my idea of a beach read! Allen’s portrayal of the symbiotic relationship between the townies and wealthy summer residents is brilliantly infused with shared flaws and redeeming qualities. Not so much a who-done-it as a who-will-go-to-prison, which was a brilliant twist.
While studying in Florence, Tembi Locke - a black woman from East Texas - falls in love with a chef from Sicily. Facing many obstacles, their relationship is an incredible tale of family, belonging, compromise, resilience, undying love, and delicious cuisine. Check out the recipes in the back of the book. This is a beautiful memoir brimming with hope and inspiration - I look forward to her next book!
Bold, brave, and maybe a little mad, Lara may have been born to ride, but she’s obviously also born to write. With her lyrical and soothing style, she makes this very dangerous race seem like a ride in the park. It’s unbelievable that she won at the age of just 19 – the youngest and the first female to win. Hold on as the race begins!
Often times it's our families long held secrets that shape our future. The Guest Book is a sweeping family saga tucked with diamonds and pebbles that enchant and irritate. Captivating, absorbing - this is not only a great read, but it may change the way you think of your own family stories. I basically moved into the family's island home until i was finished and then stayed around in my imagination for a little longer.
Backman's humorous and insightful essays/advice on being a parent will delight and entertain all ages. He also shares many of his "fatherly flaws" and intriguing life experiences. Unconditional love at its best!
Furious Hours unravels the story of the trial and murder of Alabama serial killer Reverend Willie Maxwell, the lawyer who represented him, and Harper Lee’s inspiration for her book “The Reverend,” - a book she researched and obsessed about for years, but never completed.
A mesmerizing look into Lee’s life after To Kill A Mockingbird and her struggles to translate murder, courtroom drama, and racial politics in the 70’s into her version of a true-crime story.
Fans of Harper Lee and Truman Capote alike will devour this captivating story!
In condensed, often poetic prose, short story master Amy Hempel has produced a striking collection. She takes her relatable, painfully human characters—who are filled with as many flaws as anyone you might know—and brings them to life. With precision, she manages to omit all the right details, leaving enough gaps for mystery, truth, and allure. This collection is uniquely human and challenging. I was left thinking about the characters, who I swear I know somehow.
McEwan looks at what makes us human by analyzing the depth of humanity of a robot. Charlie buys an Adam, a robot that not only can think and make money, but also love Charlie’s girlfriend, Miranda. Adam, while partially developed by Charlie and Miranda, can also think for himself and he does what he thinks is right…and disaster occurs. An interesting perspective on humanity, government, and what we do for love.
A great gift for the educated art lover. If you haven't been to the Studio Museum yourself, consider a NYC train trip to this cultural gem. Let this selection of spectacular works convince you. And make special note of the cover image by CT's recently passed painting legend, Barkley Hendricks.
To say much of anything is to ruin the beautiful nature of this amazing book. But, imagine if you could bind, into a book and out of your head, a memory. Then, imagine that you are approached by a stranger who seems to know you and you begin to wonder if you are missing something valuable, that you simply can’t remember. I don’t think I’ve ever turned pages so fast! Beautiful writing, wonderful characters, I fell into this story so quickly... then I both couldn’t wait to see what happened and never wanted it to end.
When it comes to exploring the complicated nature of human relationships, there is no better writer than Sally Rooney. Able to perceptively reveal brutal truths about love, pain, growth, and the things we do for appearances, her novel Normal People is a sharp and transfixing look at the evolving relationship between Marianne and Connell, two students who can't seem to want to disentangle their lives through years of shifting circumstances. Rooney writes with a particularly visceral intimacy between her characters, and she has left me with what is sure to be my favorite book of the year.
Laugh out loud funny! Philpott’s inner dialog is not only inspirational, but everything we think but are afraid to say. A book for the unique among us who haven’t always felt they fit in, but now will understand that we’re not meant to. I’ll definitely read this one again!
A new love story for a new age. You can’t help but fall in love with both Annika and Jonathan and what they won’t do for the ones that mean the most in their lives.
This incredible novel, based on true (and truly horrifying) events, has taken a nuanced and thoughtful look at the complex aspects of women's lives that they weigh as they make decisions about how to balance their responsibilities- to themselves, to the safety of their children, to their community, and to their faith. While the writing is superb, what is truly impressive about this work is the humor and humanity amid tragedy that Toews lends to her characters and their discussions. You'll be left contemplating the many facets of both justice and love long after you've finished reading.
Who is Lee Miller? Delve into this highly anticipated, delightful, steamy historical novel, and follow Lee's transformation from Vogue model to photographer, war correspondent, and chef. But even with her incredible creative talent, this early feminist had to fight being overshadowed by her older, famous lover, Man Ray. Paris in the 1920s is a prominent character as you travel through opium dens, salons and glamorous parties. This book sparked a bidding war between 14 publishers, and is a great read!
When their marriage becomes boring, Millicent and her husband create a very different date night. With dark humor, reminiscent of a Coen Brothers’ film, this novel of murder and psychological suspense has so many twists and turns that you will not be able to put it down!
Struggling author James Smale is thrilled when his semi-autobiographical novel is sold to a major publisher, and stunned when his editor is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis! As she guides him in telling his story, some of her own stories emerge as they form a friendship. Warm, and at times hilarious, this is a book about family, mothers and sons, and secrets kept.
Inspired by true events, this prequel to Lilac Girls definitely stands on its own. In 1914, from St. Petersburg to Southampton, NY - Three remarkable women, and their ability to survive revolutions, help immigrants, and stand up for justice, make this a heartbreaking and riveting story of perseverance and love.
I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel about a seemingly idyllic D.C. suburb threatened when a monstrosity of a house, “the White Elephant," is constructed and a neighbor’s beloved maple tree is cut down on purpose. Feuds, protests, and more felled trees ensue as the inhabitants of this charming neighborhood join forces (or not) to preserve it. You’ll find yourself cheering for all of the dysfunctional, dynamic and relatable characters in this story. I did!
Jeju Island is home to the legendary haenyeo - female divers who harvest the bounty of the sea and are the providers for their families. This multi-generational tale explores the fascinating diving culture, a touching friendship marred by conflict, and the tragedies that come from the occupations of the island. Lisa See gives us first rate storytelling as always!
What if, in 1967, four women from different scientific disciplines had invented time travel? The effects on themselves and society start small, then multiply, forever changing how people experience friendship, family, love, morality, life, death, and even murder. An intriguing and quick-paced read.
Excellent (standalone) epic fantasy with a Queendom, dragons, good storytelling, and interesting, diverse characters. Perhaps because of the light Arthurian feeling to Virtuedom, and the strong-willed female characters, this reminded me occasionally of The Mists of Avalon. I had trouble putting it down, despite the immense size, and spent much of one day reading the second half because I needed to know how it ended!
Never underestimate the power of a woman who wants to protect her sister, who runs from an arranged marriage, or who follows her heart. Woman 99 is a historical thriller that challenges the reader to know who is sane and who isn’t in Goldengrove Asylum.
Is it a ghost story laced with past and present mysteries, or a whodunnit with supernatural elements? Changing narrators, diaries, letters, and an embedded "literary classic" create a layered experience that will pull you in and keep you guessing until the very last page.
Infused with the ethereal magic of a classic fairy tale, Gingerbread skates the line between fantasy and reality with charming agility. Oyeyemi is a superbly talented storyteller, and she has crafted a darkly comic and modern work out of familiar and traditional influences, expanding a family saga into a playful and strange tale of identity. Like the gingerbread that the Lee women bake from a generations-old family recipe, this novel will fill you with everything you need from it, even if you have no idea quite what that is.
Poldi's lust for life and Commissario Montana takes her back to investigating two murders while the murderers are out to get her. A sexy romp through Sicily's vineyards!
This absolutely awesome book will inspire you to try making your own dumplings- among many other dishes- immediately! With thoughtful anecdotes and helpful tips for executing the recipes flawlessly, this is a great book for home cooks of any level of experience looking to introduce more Chinese flavor to their kitchen. I was especially delighted by the local twist the Boston-based authors included by using ingredients that are quintessentially New England for a unique fusion of cultures.
A neat and tidy mystery set in the south of France with a hugely likable main character, Penelope. Serena Kent’s writing style has a musical quality with just the right amount of description that placed me in the story. I felt the heat of the sun and smelled the ripening fruits, the bakery, the rose’—yum! I was well and truly there. And of course, Penelope’s humor helping her through the bumpy parts of life is something we can all relate to. All in all, so much fun to read!
A fascinating novel based on the untold story of the women who were recruited to be Hitler’s food tasters. Rosa Sauer and nine other women are forced to eat three meals a day in Hitler’s secret headquarters (known as The Wolf’s Lair, or Wolfsschanze) to ensure the food intended for him hasn’t been poisoned. A sisterhood forms among the women as they fight to prove their loyalty to Hitler and to survive their next meal — a meal that could kill them! Already an international bestseller, At The Wolf’s Table is Rosella Postorino’s first English-translated novel and I can’t wait for her next one!
Bowlaway may be one of the strangest books I've ever read. Very much in the mode of John Irving's The World According to Garp. I was, frankly, riveted.
Sophie Kinsella infuses her books with quirk and charm and has a special knack for making the problems of her characters seem surmountable with a combined effort of wit and heart — but don't worry, there's also just enough snark to keep things realistic. I Owe You One is no exception, and I was thrilled to meet a new batch of lovable but infuriating British characters whose relationships develop with Kinsella's trademark farcical humor and intelligence.
This is a book I will have on my bookshelf forever — to go back and infuse my spirit with, to lend out to my favorite people, to indulge my poetic cravings. It reminds me of the greatness of friendship, the bravery in facing our own mortality, and the infinite life of the creative spirit. Like Patti Smith's memoir, Just Kids, this book captures the magic of artist friendships that will undoubtedly inspire and enrich the reader's life.