Signature of All Things
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker - a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction-into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. (Formats: Print; Large Print; e-book; Book-on-CD).
By Grady Hendrix
Picture a huge IKEA-type store (Scandinavian modern style furniture and accessories) in Northeast Ohio that suddenly goes amuck. Employees come to work in the morning and find broken bookshelves, shattered glassware, and graffiti in the restrooms. Nothing shows up on the security cameras. Store manager Basil enlists the aid of two employees to covertly work a dusk-to-dawn shift with him to figure out exactly what’s going on. This is a horror story but also a parody of big box stores and corporate work ethic that delivers laughter along with shudders. As the three intrepid workers roam the 220,000 square feet of maze-like department store, they quickly realize that double over-time might not be worth it when you’re up against the supernatural. (Format: Print).
First Impressions: a Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen
By Charlie Lovett
It’s a romance. It’s an historical mystery. It’s a lovely read about old books, people’s first impressions, and Jane Austen. At question is whether or not Jane Austen might have stolen the plot for Pride and Prejudice from another source. Sophie Collingwood is an Austen groupie and the notion seems ridiculous, until she begins investigating. A parallel to Sophie’s present-day London story features Jane Austen herself. She strikes up a friendship with an elderly clergyman, Richard Mansfield, who appreciates literature and encourages Jane’s talents as a writer. This novel is an excellent literary adventure story. (Formats: Print; Large Print; Book-on-CD).
The Front Seat Passenger
By Pascal Garnier
Fabien Delorme returns to Paris from an awkward visit with his elderly father, and learns that his wife Sylvie has been killed in a car accident. He also learns that Sylvie was with her lover who was also killed in the accident. Although he knew his marriage had become stagnant, the simultaneous news that he is a widower and a cuckold comes as a shock, and causes him to come a little unhinged. He begins to stalk the wife of his wife’s lover, contrives to meet her, and soon they are in a relationship. But the revelations are not over, and his life continues to spiral out of control. A short, darkly humorous domestic noir from a French author that may remind readers of Patricia Highsmith. (Format: Print)
We Are Not Ourselves
By Matthew Thomas
The Leary’s are a prosperous Irish-American family, living in Queens, NY in 1951: parents, Ed, a community college professor; and Eileen, a nurse; and their son, Connell, who is off to a “good” college, all trying to achieve the American Dream. But then things begin to change and the family’s lives begin to unravel. Ed, at 51, is becoming different, just simple things at first: some odd behaviors, repetitive words and thoughts, forgetfulness. The spoiler here is Alzheimer’s. The reader quickly becomes invested in the lives of the Leary’s as the family confronts Ed’s disease. They watch as Ed’s mental state slowly deteriorates. They are swept along when Eileen, a stalwart and stubbornly persistent woman, confronts medical professionals, negotiates with insurance companies and Medicare, and deals with caregivers, some her own family. And readers cheer as Eileen wins the smallest victory in Ed’s care. For those who have experienced Alzheimer’s in some way, they will see themselves in this novel. And for those who haven’t, the book serves as a stark reminder of what could happen. (Formats: Print; Large Print)
On the Rocks
By Erin Duffy
Chick-lit at its finest! This novel deals with the life of Abby Wilkes, engaged to be married and busily picking out her wedding dress. Until she learns (via Facebook) that she’s been dumped by her fiancée! Best friend Grace decides that Abby needs to abandon ice cream and her comfy sofa and take advantage of a rented cottage by the ocean. Perhaps there they can both sort out their man troubles. Abby is bitter and angry, and Grace is obsessing over her affair with a work colleague. Can either of them muster up the intestinal fortitude needed to straighten out their lives? (Formats: Print; e-book)
By Pierre Lemaitre
A surprising French thriller with a number of shocking twists and reversals. Alex is kidnapped off the streets of Paris by an unknown stranger. Luckily there is a witness who reports the incident to the police. Unfortunately all they know is that an unknown man with a white van kidnapped an unknown woman. Commandant Camille Verhoven is put on the case. This is his first case since his wife Irene was abducted four years earlier in similar fashion, and was eventually found dead. No one comes forward to report a missing girl, but clues begin to emerge to the identity of the kidnapper and the victim. It is a race against time to save the girl, but the “victim” Alex has some secrets of her own to reveal. Actually Book Two of the Commandant Camille Verhoven Trilogy, but can easily be read first or as a stand-alone. (Formats: Print; e-audiobook; e-book)
The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit
By Graham Joyce
David is a college student and decides to spend his summer vacation in Skegness, a small English beach community where his father passed away. His mother and stepfather are not keen on this arrangement. The run-down seaside town boasts an old-fashioned “family resort”, where David gets a job and is immediately part of a strange mix of individuals. There are mysterious occurrences, including an apparition of a man in a blue suit. There are torrid affairs, political rants, magic shows, and a plague of ladybugs. David becomes more nervous and jumpy. Has he placed himself in danger? Or was he meant to be in this place that seems vaguely familiar? This is a mesmerizing tale. (Formats: Print; e-audiobook)
By A.X. Ahmad
Disgraced former Indian Army Captain Ranjit Singh is a caretaker to wealthy clients on Martha’s Vineyard. When his furnace dies during a brutal winter, he decides to shelter his family in a wealthy senator’s house, where he foils what he believes to be a robbery. Soon after, the supposed thieves kidnap his family and force him to learn the secret of the doll his daughter accidentally kept when they fled the senator’s house. 1st in a series. (Formats: Print; Large Print)
By Sally Beauman
This is a coming-of-age story set amidst the excitement of the search for treasure in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. Lucy is sent abroad in the hopes that she will recover from the typhoid that killed her mother. She is swept up in the search for Tutankhamun’s tomb and is a first-hand witness to the events surrounding the dig. She befriends Frances, the daughter of an American archaeologist, and finds a sustaining friendship. The novel moves from the 1920’s to the present day and offers us strong characters involved in extraordinary times. (Format: Print)
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