Staff Picks

Enchanted August

Summary: 
Two young mothers, a humiliated actress, and 78-year-old Beverly Fisher all need the restorative powers of an island cottage off the Maine coast, as much as Elizbeth von Arnim’s middleaged dames needed Tuscany a century earlier. A lighthearted and satisfying update of the classic—- a perfect summer read.

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The Empty Throne

Summary: 
The early tenth century AD is a time of change for the kingdoms that will become England . There are new raids by the Vikings from Ireland, and turmoil among the Saxons over the leadership of Mercia. Æthelred, the ruler of Mercia, is dying, leaving no legitimate heir. The West Saxons want their king, but Uhtred has long supported Æthelflaed, sister to King Edward of Wessex and widow of Æthelred. Widely loved and respected, Æthelflaed has all the makings of a leader—but could Saxon warriors ever accept a woman as their ruler? The stage is set for rivals to fight for the empty throne. Uhtred is still suffering from the wounds he received in battle. To recover his strength he needs to find the sword that caused the injury, but lost amid the battle’s blood and mud, how could it be traced and who among the Vikings or Saxons might be holding it? This is another great tale from Bernard Cornwell, is which we learn much more of the characters in this saga. A great read and I cannot wait for the next book.

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Wars of the Roses: Margaret of Anjou

Summary: 
This book is a delight to read. I wish I had the next in the series in my possession already!!! It is 1454 and for over a year King Henry VI has remained all but exiled in Windsor Castle, struck down by his illness, his eyes vacant, his mind a blank. His fiercely loyal wife and Queen, Margaret of Anjou, safeguards her husband’s interests, hoping that her son Edward will one day come to know his father. Henry is all but absent as king, and Richard, the Duke of York, Protector of the Realm, extends his influence throughout the kingdom. When the king unexpectedly recovers his senses and returns to London to reclaim his throne, the balance of power is once again plunged into turmoil. The clash of the Houses of Lancaster and York may be the beginning of a war that can tear England apart. A must read for all history nuts!!!

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H is for Hawk

Summary: 
An unusual woman—a Cambridge academic who has better connections with birds, especially raptors than people—responds to her photojournalist father’s sudden death in an unusual way: by training a goshawk and channeling T. H. White. An odd, but very moving account of grief.

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Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

Summary: 
A delightful romp, illustrated with photographs, in which ER II tries to pull herself out of the doldrums, with yoga and a solo trip to Scotland, much to the consternation of her staff and courtiers, who must protect her from MI5—among others… A treat for Anglophiles.

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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1)

Summary: 
I really enjoyed this book, in particular the main character Flavia de Luce. She is an amazing bright 11 year old, who has a superior chemistry knowledge way beyond her years. She is also quite a sleuth of the "Miss Marple" or "Hercule Poirot" type. The story is set in the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. Flavia is both appalled and delighted, life for her begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. I love her character and am ready to read the next "Flavia adventure"

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Life After Life

Summary: 
A National Public Radio review of the author's newest book and now New York Times best seller, God in Ruins, compelled me to seek out the prequel, Life After Life. The creative telling of an imaginative and poignant individual and family story does not disappoint, and you are indeed drawn in from the first few pages. Key twentieth century historical events are at the center of this novel, and serve as the backdrop for the fascinating coming of age of the heroine and on through to her final life's chapter. If you have not yet discovered Kate Atkinson, this is a great first book to sample!

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Inside the O'Briens

Summary: 
If you were gripped by "Still Alice" or "Left Neglected" you will definitely enjoy reading this latest novel by Lisa Genova. In the same manner that she was able to describe what it is like to experience Alzheimer's disease from the inside, in this new book Genova tackles Huntington's disease. HD is a lethal neurological disease with no treatment or cure, with a 50 percent chance of being inherited by the next generation. This novel tells the poignant story of a close-knit Irish Catholic family struggling to cope with this devastating reality. At times heart-breaking to read about, the author also manages to infuse the story with much hope,love, and spiritual strength.

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And the Dark Sacred Night

Summary: 
Julia Glass has come up with yet another riveting tale, this time about a man's journey in the search for his biological father. With a complex set of characters, this novel addresses the choices we make as adolescents which shape our futures, the need for forgiveness and the courage we need to face the shadows of our past.

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The Dream Lover

Summary: 
The prolific writer Elizabeth Berg has created a new work, this time a historical novel about the nineteenth-century French writer George Sand. Sand was a passionate, independent person, a woman who fought fiercely against the conventional rules of a patriarchal society. Writing in the first person, Berg is somehow able to inhabit the mind and heart of this brilliant woman and re-create the relationships she had with such famous people as Fredric Chopin and Victor Hugo. This book is a magnificent novel which brings to life a highly courageous person who helped pave the way for unconventional thinkers everywhere, for years to come.

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