New Books of October 2012

All Things New
Lynn Austin
In the aftermath of the Civil War, Josephine Weatherly and her mother, Eugenia, struggle to pick up the pieces of their lives when they return to their Virginia plantation. But the bitter realities of life after the war cannot be denied: their home and land are but shells of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken. The privileged childhood Josephine enjoyed now seems like a long-ago dream. And the God who failed to answer any of her prayers during the war is lost to her as well. Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival–and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine’s mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak…but a bitter hatred fuels her.

Block 11
Piero Degli Antoni
When three prisoners escape from Auschwitz, 10 others are selected for execution. The commandant gives them an impossible choice. Choose from among themselves a single sacrifice to be killed, and the other nine will live. He gives them 24 hours to decide which one of them shall be shot. Disease and desperation whittle their numbers, before being bolstered by new prisoners. Then he shortens the time the prisoners have to reach a decision. The prisoners continue to argue on their own behalf, until settling upon an audacious solution. Who will live and who will die in this untenable situation?

The Giving Quilt
Jennifer Chiaverini
Post-Thanksgiving at Elm Creek Manor, aspiring -quilters are enjoying a special winter session of quilt camp. When Sylvia asks the participants in Quiltsgiving, a post-Thanksgiving weeklong get-together, why they quilt and why they give, their answers point to personal tragedies and triumphs, reminding readers of the powers of generosity and friendship. From widowhood, to library closures, or physical injuries, each woman has her own challenges. Despite the particulars of each obstacle or victory, these women find encouragement in one another, and as they quilt, they stitch together their strengths to cope with individual struggles.

The Racketeer
John Grisham
Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered. Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five. Malcolm Bannister, also known as the Racketeer, former attorney and current prison inmate, knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied. What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .

The Round House
Louise Erdrich
One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends to get some answers on his own.

Little Star
John Ajvide Lindqvist
A man finds a baby in the woods, left for dead. He brings the baby home, and he and his wife raise the girl in their basement. When a shocking and catastrophic incident occurs, the couple’s son Jerry whisks the girl away to Stockholm to start a new life. There, he enters her in a nationwide singing competition. Another young girl who’s never fit in sees the performance on TV, and a spark is struck that will ignite the most terrifying duo in modern fiction.


New Books of September 2012

Band of Sisters
Cathy Gohlke
Maureen O’Reilly and her younger sister flee Ireland in hope of claiming the life promised to their father over twenty years before. After surviving the rigors of Ellis Island, Maureen learns that their benefactor, Colonel Wakefield, has died. His family, refusing to own his Civil War debt, casts her out. Alone, impoverished, and in danger of deportation, Maureen connives to obtain employment in a prominent department store. Despite her family’s disapproval, Olivia Wakefield determines to honor her father’s debt but can’t find Maureen. Unexpected help comes from a local businessman, whom Olivia begins to see as more than an ally, even as she fears the secrets he’s hiding. As women begin disappearing from the store, Olivia rallies influential ladies in her circle to help Maureen take a stand against injustice and fight for the lives of their growing band of sisters.

The Accomplice
Charles Robbins
When Henry Hatten wangles a job as communications director for Nebraska SenatorTom Peele’s presidential campaign, he breathes a huge sigh of relief. Smarting over a recent gubernatorial campaign in which his pulling a political punch may have cost his boss the race, he’s thrilled to be back in action. This time around, Henry is determined to shuck his ethical qualms. But he soon finds he’s facing more than he imagined. The new gig turns out to be rife with scandal and corruption just the kind of politics Henry so fervently sought to banish. But when someone close to the campaign is murdered, Henry can no longer turn a blind eye. As he conducts his own covert investigation, still more secrets emerge. So deeply entrenched in the politics and manipulation, Henry must face a staggering reality in which his values are no longer his own.

The Forgetting Tree
Tatjana Soli
When Claire Nagy marries Forster Baumsarg, the only son of prominent California citrus ranchers, she knows she’s consenting to a life of hard work, long days, and worry-fraught nights. She embraces the life of the ranch, succumbing to its intoxicating rhythms and bounty until her love of the land becomes a part of her. Not even the tragic, senseless death of her son Joshua at kidnappers’ hands, her alienation from her two daughters, or the dissolution of her once-devoted marriage can pull her from the ranch she’s devoted her life to preserving. But despite having survived the most terrible of tragedies, Claire is about to face her greatest struggle: an illness that threatens not only to rip her from her land but take her very life.

In Between Days
Andrew Porter
The Harding family is teetering on the brink. Elson-once one of Houston’s most promising architects-is recently divorced from his wife of thirty years, Cadence. Their grown son, Richard, is still living at home: driving his mother’s minivan, working at a local coffee shop, resisting the career as a writer that beckons him. But when Chloe Harding gets kicked out of her East Coast college, for reasons she can’t explain to either her parents or her older brother, and returns to Houston, the Hardings’ lives begin to unravel.

John Saturnall’s Feast
Lawrence Norfolk
John Saturnall was tutored by his mother, an herbalist believed to be a witch, to assist her and understand the subtleties of the kitchen. Upon her death, John is dispatched to the estate of Sir William Fremantle, where his mother once worked. As he rises in the ranks from scullery boy to assistant master cook, he catches the eye of Sir William’s feisty daughter, Lucretia. When she is promised in marriage to the loathsome Piers Callock, whose family’s close connection will ensure the estate’s inheritance, she launches a hunger strike in protest. John is presented with the challenge of creating food that will persuade her to eat. The two fall in love, but the English Civil War ensues, and Lucretia is already promised in marriage.

Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures
Emma Straub
In 1920, Elsa Emerson is born in idyllic Door County, Wisconsin. Her family owns the Cherry County Playhouse, and more than anything, Elsa relishes appearing onstage. But when tragedy strikes her family, her acting becomes more than a child’s game of pretend. While still in her teens, Elsa marries and flees to Los Angeles. There she is discovered by Irving Green, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, who refashions her as a serious, exotic brunette and renames her Laura Lamont. Irving becomes Laura’s great love; she becomes an Academy Award-winning actress-and a genuine movie star. And she experiences all the glamour and extravagance of the heady pinnacle of stardom in the studio-system era, but ultimately her story is a timeless one of a woman trying to balance career, family, and personal happiness, all while remaining true to herself.

New Books of August

Bride of New France
Suzanne Desrochers
Laure Beausejour has been taken from her destitute family and raised in an infamous orphanage to be trained as a lace maker. Striking and willful, she dreams of becoming a seamstress and catching the eye of a nobleman. But after complaining about her living conditions, she is sent to Canada as a fille du roi, expected to marry a French farmer there. Laure is shocked by the primitive state of the colony and the mingling of the settlers with the native tribes. When her ill-matched husband leaves her alone in their derelict hut for the winter, she must rely on her wits and her clandestine relationship with an Iroquois man for survival.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
Matthew Dicks
Budo is lucky as imaginary friends go. He’s been alive for more than five years, which is positively ancient in the world of imaginary friends. But Budo feels his age, and thinks constantly of the day when eight-year-old Max Delaney will stop believing in him. When that happens, Budo will disappear. Budo, who loves Max and is charged with protecting him from the class bully, from awkward situations in the cafeteria, and even in the bathroom stalls. But he can’t protect Max from Mrs. Patterson, the woman who works with Max in the Learning Center and who believes that she alone is qualified to care for this young boy. When Mrs. Patterson does the unthinkable and kidnaps Max, it is up to Budo and a team of imaginary friends to save him – and Budo must ultimately decide which is more important: Max’s happiness or Budo’s very existence.

By Starlight
Dorothy Garlock
In early 1930s Montana, in the small town of Colton, Maddy Aldridge struggles to make ends meet during the Great Depression. Jeffers Grimm comes to her with a proposition too great for her to turn down: open an illegal speakeasy in the mercantile’s basement, defy Prohibition, and make enough money to make her worries disappear. But, unbeknownst to Maddy, Jeffers has also made a deal with the mob to bring huge quantities of alcohol across the Canadian border and store it in the mercantile. He wants to get rich, regardless of who stands in his way. Jack Rucker used to live in Colton and had been in love with Maddy before he moved away to become an agent for the Bureau of Prohibition. Now, after hearing rumors of a bootleg operation, the Bureau wants him to go back and hide in plain sight. What will Jack do when he finds out what Maddy is up to? Can he and Maddy rekindle the love they once knew? If Jeffers discovers Jack is a federal agent, to what ends will he go to silence him forever?

Goodbye for Now
Laurie Frankel
Sam Elling is a brilliant software engineer, so brilliant that he develops an algorithm to allow grieving people to communicate with their dead loved ones. Initially created to help his soul mate, Meredith, when her beloved grandmother, Livvie, dies; and using previous electronic communication between Meredith and Livvie, he sets up “dead mail” between them. Soon Sam, Meredith, and her cousin establish RePose. Ethical and religious issues arise (as when parents of terminally ill children spend time videotaping rather than living in the moment), and Sam has qualms about how helpful his service really is until he needs it himself.

City of Women
David R Gillham
Berlin 1943, in the midst of war, offers little comfort for the women left behind. Sigrid, a seemingly dutiful wife to a husband serving on the Russian front, copes with a tedious job, a hostile mother-in-law, rationed food, air raids, and the fear of stepping out of line. There is always someone eager to denounce a neighbor for an unguarded moment or outburst. Sigrid has her secrets but holds them close: a Jewish lover from the recent past, and a random event that draws her into a chain of people hiding and protecting Jews. Even though her naïveté takes her to dangerous places, she is wise enough to be cautious. Life becomes more fraught when Sigrid’s wounded husband returns.

Trickster’s Point
William Kent Krueger
Cork O’Connor and Jubal Little are deep in the Minnesota wilderness bowhunting, a long-standing tradition among these two friends, when the unthinkable happens. Little is killed by a stray arrow that turns out to have been O’Connor’s, and he becomes the primary suspect in the murder. He understands full well that he’s been set up. As he works to clear his name and track the real killer, he remembers his long, complex relationship with the tough kid who would grow up to become a professional football player, a populist politician, and the lover of the first woman to whom Cork ever gave his heart. Jubal was known by many for his passion, his loyalty, and his ambition. Only Cork knows that he was capable of murder.

PageTurners Read “The Language of Flowers”

The Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

The PageTurners Book Club met on Thursday, June 7, at 6 pm in the Bottom Shelf Room at the Rice Lake Public Library. Six people attended the discussion. The average score awarded to this book was  3.83 out of 5 books; the lowest score was a 2.5 / 5 and the highest score 4.5 / 5.

Click on the book graphic below to see a full recap of book club members’ opinions.


The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is available at the Rice Lake Public Library. There over ten copies of this book in the MORE System. Please visit the card catalog website or call us at 234-4861 to reserve a copy today.

New Books of June 2012

The Cottage at Glass Beach
By Heather Doran Barbieri
Married to the youngest attorney general in Massachusetts state history, Nora Cunningham is a picture-perfect political wife and a doting mother. But her carefully constructed life falls to pieces when she, along with the rest of the world, learns of the infidelity of her husband, Malcolm. Humiliated and hounded by the press, Nora packs up her daughters, Annie, seven; and Ella, twelve, and takes refuge on Burke’s Island, a craggy spit of land off the coast of Maine. Just as she begins to regain her balance, her daughters embark on a reckless odyssey of their own, a journey that will force Nora to find the courage to chart her own course and finally face the truth about her marriage, and her long-buried past.

Far Side of the Sky
By Daniel Kalla
The Japanese Imperial Army rampages through China in 1938 and tightens its stranglehold on Shanghai, a city that becomes the last haven for thousands of desperate European Jews. Dr. Franz Adler, a renowned surgeon, is swept up in the wave of anti-Semitic violence and flees to Shanghai with his daughter. At a refugee hospital, Franz meets an enigmatic nurse, Soon Yi “Sunny” Mah. The chemistry between them is intense and immediate, but Sunny’s life is shattered when a drunken Japanese sailor murders her father. The danger escalates for Shanghai’s Jews as the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Facing starvation and disease, Franz struggles to keep the refugee hospital open and protect his family from a terrible fate.

The Infinite Tides
By Christian Kiefer
Capt. Keith Corcoran, “genius” mathematician, engineer, and astronaut working aboard the International Space Station, discovers during his deployment that his 16-year-old daughter has died in a car wreck and his wife, embroiled in an affair, wants a divorce. Once back on the ground, Keith takes an indefinite vacation from NASA while battling recurring migraines and his sudden solitude, and hanging out at the local Starbucks, where he befriends Peter Kovalenko, an impetuous Ukrainian former astronomer presently working at Target. The two alienated men soon bond and share their various misfortunes while smoking pot, drinking beer, and stargazing through Peter’s telescope in an abandoned suburban lot. Keith’s stasis and confusion stem, in part, from his uncertain job status, but his newfound relationships enable him to strive toward a self that will persevere and survive his losses.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story
By Liane Moriarty
Ellen O’Farrell is a successful hypnotherapist with a thriving practice; a new boyfriend, Patrick; and a newly found emotional distance from her unconventional upbringing. Content for the first time in recent memory, Ellen realizes how tenuous her happiness is when Patrick lets her know that his ex-girlfriend, Saskia, has been stalking him ever since they broke up. As a mental-health professional, Ellen realizes that Saskia isn’t a violent stalker who needs a restraining order but a jilted former lover who probably just needs a listening ear. But when Saskia’s methods of surveillance become more extreme, Ellen has to decide how much longer she’s willing to put up with Patrick’s former life if she wants to be a part of his future.

The Red House
By Mark Haddon
Shortly after their mother’s death, wealthy doctor Richard invites his estranged sister and her family to accompany him on holiday in the Welsh countryside with his new wife and teenage stepdaughter. Angela, a teacher grieving in a much less clinical fashion than her brother, convinces her husband and their three children to come on the premise that it’s the best, or only, vacation they can afford, and so begins the novel’s seven-day drama—each relative descending on the country manse with an obligation either to invite another or to attend on another’s behalf.

The Summer House
By Marcia Willett
Matt has always felt that there was something missing in his life. His mother kept all his childhood memories in a small inlaid wooden box, along with many photos of Matt as a child. But something about these photos has always puzzled Matt. Why doesn’t he remember those clothes? The toys? And where, in the photos, is his sister Imogen? Imogen and her husband, a country vet, are living in a rented cottage with their gorgeous baby but must soon move on. Since her childhood, Milo has assumed the role of honorary father. Knowing how she loves it, he offers to sell them the Summer House, a charming folly in the grounds of his beautiful ancient house on Exmoor, but Imogen’s marriage is threatened when her husband refuses to live so far from his practice. Meanwhile, Matt begins to discover the strange and tragic secret which has affected his whole life.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a national holiday created to honor those men and woman who sacrificed their lives in service and protection of our country. It was first celebrated informally by cities across the nation to honor Civil War soldiers. It was officially proclaimed in 1868 by General John Logan, but was not followed by southern states until after World War I, at which time it became a remembrance of all American soldiers who fought and died in any military engagement. The National Holiday Act of 1971 proclaimed that the last Monday in May would henceforth be the official day of remembrance.

Many people celebrate this holiday by gathering with friends and family to enjoy the freedom brought about by the sacrifices of our soldiers, while others visit cemeteries to place wreaths and flags by soldiers’ gravestones. The following books are about soldiers and their sacrifices. Some are fictional and others are true stories. Check them out and remember our soldiers!

PageTurners Read “Hart’s War”

Hart’s War
by John Katzenbach
World War II was racially segregated, the lowliest jobs going to African American GIs. A distinguished few called the Tuskegee Airmen, however, became officers in the U.S. Air Force, escorting bombers in their lethal new longrange Mustang fighters. When proud, defiant First Lieutenant Lincoln Scott arrives at Stalag Luft Thirteen, he is subjected to hostile treatment by bigoted airmen who refuse to acknowledge that any black man can equal them in skill and courage. Scott’s persistent tormentor, Captain Vincent Befford, is soon found murdered. Honor, courage, and sacrifice are revealed in unexpected ways as a ranking U.S. prisoner in a Nazi POW camp is joined in December 1944 by a law-student lieutenant who’d been captured despite his father’s powerful military connections. When First Lieutenant Lincoln Scott is falsely accused of murdering fellow prisoner, Captain Vincent Befford, Second Lieutenant Tommy Hart, the only prisoner with any legal training, is appointed to defend him in a formal military trial observed by top- ranking German officers, who will furnish the firing squad when the defendant is almost certainly convicted.

The PageTurners Book Club met on Thursday, May 3, at 6 pm in the Bottom Shelf Room at the Rice Lake Public Library. Six people attended the discussion. The general consensus about the book was that it started slow but became more enjoyable once the mystery began. Several participants watched the movie in lieu of reading the book; it was agreed that the movie differed substantially from the book. The average score awarded to this book was  3.75 out of 5 books; the lowest score was a 3.5 / 5 and the highest score 4 / 5.

Click on the book graphic below to see a full recap of book club members’ opinions.


Hart’s War by John Katzenbach is available at the Rice Lake Public Library. There over ten copies of this book in the MORE System. Please visit the card catalog website or call us at 234-4861 to reserve a copy today.

New Books of May 2012

A Dog’s Journey
W. Bruce Cameron
Buddy is a good dog. After searching for his purpose through several eventful lives, Buddy is sure that he has found and fulfilled it. Yet as he watches curious baby Clarity get into dangerous mischief, he is certain that this little girl is very much in need of a dog of her own. When Buddy is reborn, he realizes that he has a new destiny. He’s overjoyed when he is adopted by Clarity, now a vibrant but troubled teenager. When they are suddenly separated, Buddy despairs – who will take care of his girl?

The Lower River
Paul Theroux
Ellis Hock loved teaching in Malawi for the Peace Corps, but that experience was cut short when he had to return to take over the family business. Thirty-five years later, the store and his marriage have failed, and he returns to Malawi for a nostalgia-induced vacation. He’s warned on arrival that people are hungry and only want money, but he heads into the bush with a bagful of it. Malabo, the remote riverbank village where he’s remembered as the mzungu (white man) who helped build the school and clinic, gives him a warm welcome, but Hock’s disillusion sets in fast. The school is a ruin; the visiting doctor is a quack; AIDS is rampant; requests for money are constant. The villagers keep him under surveillance at the direction of the headman Manyenga, who is all smiles and lies. He makes three escape attempts. All his escapes are foiled by the formidable Manyenga. This novel will have you on the edge of your seat wondering whether he will escape, and what will happen to the villagers.

Magic Words
Gerald Kolpan
Young Jewish immigrant Julius comes of age surrounded by the wild world of 1867 Nebraska. While traveling in the American West, he is captured by the Ponca Indian tribe. Living as a slave, Julius meets the noble chief Standing Bear and his young daughter, Prairie Flower, with whom he falls in love. Becoming the tribe’s interpreter-its speaker-his life seems safe and settled. But Julius has reckoned without the arrival of his older cousin, Alexander-who, as the Great Herrmann, is the most famous young magician in America. Filled with adventure, humor, and colorful characters, Magic Words is a riveting adventure about the nature of prejudice, the horror of genocide, and a courageous young man who straddles two worlds to fight for love and freedom.

A Gift for My Sister
Ann Pearlman
Sky and Tara share the same mother but different fathers. Sky is cautious, dutiful, marrying the perfect man, practicing her dream career as a lawyer, and raising their daughter, Rachel. Music is all Tara cares about until Aaron, a black rapper with a juvenile record, comes along. Tara gets pregnant in high school and runs away with Aaron and his rap crew. About the time Tara and Aaron’s music takes off and they are on their way to stardom, Sky’s life crashes. Tara attempts to step in and help only to be met with anger and jealousy. The two sisters, along with an interesting collection of other characters, spend the time on the road, and between gigs, trying to understand what it’s like to be the other sister and just what love and family mean.

Toni Morrison
Frank Money is an angry, self-loathing veteran of the Korean War who, after traumatic experiences on the front lines, finds himself back in racist America with more than just physical scars. His home may seem alien to him, but he is shocked out of his crippling apathy by the need to rescue his medically abused younger sister and take her back to the small Georgia town they come from and that he’s hated all his life. As Frank revisits his memories from childhood and the war that have left him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he had thought he could never possess again.

Objects of My Affection
Jill Smolinski
Lucy Bloom is broke, freshly dumped by her boyfriend, and forced to sell her house to send her nineteen-year-old son to drug rehab. So when she’s offered a high-paying gig helping clear the clutter from the home of reclusive and eccentric painter Marva Meier Rios, Lucy grabs it. Fueled by a burning desire to get her life back on track, Lucy rolls up her sleeves to take on the mess that fills every room of Marva’s huge home. Lucy soon learns that the real challenge may be taking on Marva, who seems to love the objects in her home too much to let go of any of them. Lucy discovers that Marva isn’t just hoarding, she is also hiding a big secret. The two form an unlikely bond, as each learns from the other that there are those things in life we keep, those we need to let go but it’s not always easy to know the difference.

PageTurners Read “The Samurai’s Garden”

The Samurai’s Garden
Gail Tsukiyama
The daughter of a Chinese mother and a Japanese father, Tsukiyama uses the Japanese invasion of China during the late 1930s as a somber backdrop for her unusual story about a 20-year-old Chinese painter named Stephen who is sent to his family’s summer home in a Japanese coastal village to recover from a bout with tuberculosis. Here he is cared for by Matsu, a reticent housekeeper and a master gardener. Over the course of a remarkable year, Stephen learns Matsu’s secret and gains not only physical strength, but also profound spiritual insight. Matsu is a samurai of the soul, a man devoted to doing good and finding beauty in a cruel and arbitrary world, and Stephen is a noble student, learning to appreciate Matsu’s generous and nurturing way of life and to love Matsu’s soulmate, gentle Sachi, a woman afflicted with leprosy.

The PageTurners Book Club met on Thursday, April 12, at 6 pm in the Bottom Shelf Room at the Rice Lake Public Library. Seven people attended the discussion. The general consensus about the book was that it was well written and lyrical. The average score awarded to this book was  out of 5 books; the lowest score was a 4 / 5 and the highest score 4.5 / 5.

Click on the book graphic below to see a full recap of book club members’ opinions.


The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama is available at the Rice Lake Public Library. There over ten copies of this book in the MORE System. Please visit the card catalog website or call us at 234-4861 to reserve a copy today.

The PageTurners Book Club is sponsored by the Friends of the Rice Lake Public Library. It usually meets on the first Thursday of each month at 6 pm at the Rice Lake Public Library. Discussion lasts an hour; everyone is welcome.

New Books of April 2012

The House of Velvet and Glass
Katherine Howe
Still reeling from the deaths of her mother and sister on the Titanic, Sibyl Allston is living a life of quiet desperation. Trapped in a world over which she has no control, Sibyl flees for solace to the parlor of a table-turning medium. But when her brother is suddenly kicked out of Harvard under mysterious circumstances and falls under the sway of a strange young woman, Sibyl turns for help to psychology professor Benton Derby. As Benton and Sibyl work together to solve a harrowing mystery, their long-simmering spark flares to life, and they realize that there may be something even more magical between them than a medium’s scrying glass.

The Coldest Night
Robert Olmstead
Henry Childs is just seventeen when he falls into a love affair so intense it nearly consumes him. But when young Mercy’s disapproving father threatens Henry’s life, Henry runs as far as he can—to the other side of the world. The time is 1950, and the Korean War hangs in the balance. Henry enlists in the marines and arrives in Korea on the eve of the brutal seventeen-day battle of the Chosin Reservoir—the turning point of the war—completely unprepared for the forbidding Korean landscape and the unimaginable circumstances of a war well beyond the scope of anything his ancestors ever faced. But the challenges he meets upon his return home, scarred and haunted, are greater by far.

The Song Remains the Same
Allison Winn Scotch
One of only two survivors of a plane crash, Nell Slattery wakes in the hospital with no memory of the horrific experience-or who she is, or was. Now she must piece together both body and mind, with the help of family and friends, who have their own agendas. She filters through photos, art, music, and stories, hoping something will jog her memory, and soon, in tiny bits and pieces, Nell starts remembering. . . . It isn’t long before she learns to question the stories presented by her mother, her sister and business partner, and her husband. In the end, she will discover that forgiving betrayals small and large will be the only true path to healing herself-and to finding happiness.

The Cove
Ron Rash
At the height of World War I, deep in the rugged Appalachians of North Carolina lies the cove, a dark, forbidding place where spirits and fetches wander. Or so the townsfolk of Mars Hill believe–just as they believe that Laurel Shelton, the lonely young woman who lives within its shadows, is a witch. Alone except for her brother, Hank, newly returned from the trenches of France, she aches for her life to begin. Then it happens–a stranger appears, carrying nothing but a beautiful silver flute and a note explaining that his name is Walter, he is mute, and is bound for New York. As the days pass, Walter slips easily into life in the cove and into Laurel’s heart, bringing her the only real happiness she has ever known. But Walter harbors a secret that could destroy everything–and danger is closer than they know.

The Beginner’s Goodbye
Ann Tyler
Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, self-dependent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air. Unhesitatingly he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Gradually he discovers, as he works in the family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life, that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying goodbye.

True Sisters
Sandra Dallas
In a novel based on true events, set in 1856, Mormon converts, encouraged by Brigham Young himself, and outfitted with two-wheeled handcarts, set out on foot from Iowa City to Salt Lake City, the Promised Land. The Martin Handcart Company, a ragtag group of weary families headed for Zion, is the last to leave on this 1,300-mile journey. Three companies that left earlier in the year have completed their trek successfully, but for the Martin Company the trip proves disastrous. This is the story of four women from the British Isles traveling in this group. Four women whose lives will become inextricably linked as they endure unimaginable hardships, each one testing the boundaries of her faith and learning the true meaning of survival and friendship along the way.

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