July/August 2020

The German House
by Annette Hess

For twenty-four-year-old Eva Bruhns, World War II is a foggy childhood memory. At the war’s end, Frankfurt was a smoldering ruin, severely damaged by the Allied bombings. But that was two decades ago. Now it is 1963, and the city’s streets, once cratered are smooth and paved. Shiny new stores replace scorched rubble. Eager for her wealthy suitor, Jürgen Schoormann, to propose, Eva dreams of starting a new life away from her parents and sister. But Eva’s plans are turned upside down when a fiery investigator, David Miller, hires her as a translator for a war crimes trial. As she becomes more deeply involved in the Frankfurt Trials, Eva begins to question her family’s silence on the war and her future. Why do her parents refuse to talk about what happened? What are they hiding? Does she really love Jürgen and will she be happy as a housewife? Though it means going against the wishes of her family and her lover, Eva, propelled by her own conscience , joins a team of fiery prosecutors determined to bring the Nazis to justice—a decision that will help change the present and the past of her nation. (Goodreads.com)


What Happens in Paradise
by  Elin Hilderbrand

A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a plane crash. But that wasn't Irene's only shattering news. He'd also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too. Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life -- and death -- of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they're about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives, and their futures. (Goodreads.com)


The Book of Lost Friends
by Lisa Wingate

Best-selling author Lisa Wingate brings to life startling stories from actual "Lost Friends" advertisements that appeared in Southern newspapers after the Civil War, as newly freed slaves desperately searched for loved ones who had been sold away. Louisiana, 1875: In the tumultuous era of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Hannie, a freed slave; Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now destitute plantation; and Juneau Jane, Lavinia’s Creole half-sister. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following roads rife with vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of stolen inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage west reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope. Louisiana, 1987: For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt - until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, is suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled live oaks and run-down plantation homes lie the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything. (Goodreads.com)


The Henna Artist
by Alka Joshi

Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own. Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does. (Goodreads.com)


Relentless: Unleashing a Life Purpose, Grit, and Faith
by John Tosh

 In this engrossing memoir, Tesh describes how the obstacles that shaped him—including being suspended from college, living homeless for months, and facing a deadly disease—shaped his remarkable life. You’ll hear, in never-before-told stories, how Tesh became the youngest correspondent at WCBS News less than thirty-six months after he was working at a gas station and sleeping in a public park. You’ll go inside the unconventional way he composed the now-iconic theme song for NBC Sports basketball and how he and his wife, Connie Sellecca, created the popular, nationally-syndicated Intelligence for Your Life radio program. From live commentary for two Olympic Games to his decade-long role as co-host of Entertainment Tonight and the outrageous gamble that resulted in one of the most successful Public Television concert specials in history, you’ll learn how Tesh applied his unique process of focused practice, grit, and perseverance while maintaining a single-minded pursuit of his goals. In 2015, he fought and received treatment for a stage-three cancer diagnosis, but when the cancer returned, he and his wife turned to relentless faith and divine healing scriptures to manifest a victory over the disease.  Relentless is an astonishing story of how obstacles create opportunity and how faith will lead to triumph. (Goodreads.com)


A Perfect Explanation
by Eleanor Anstruther

Enid Campbell, granddaughter of a duke, grew up surrounded by servants, wanting for nothing except love. But when her brother died in the First World War, a new heir was needed, and it was up to Enid to provide it. A troubled marriage and three children soon followed. Broken by postpartum depression, overwhelmed by motherhood and a loveless marriage, Enid made the shocking decision to abandon her family, thereby starting a chain of events—a kidnap, a court case, and selling her son to her sister for £500—that reverberated through the generations. (Goodreads.com)


Hidden Valley Road
by Robert Kolker

Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream. After World War II, Don's work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins--aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony--and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after the other, were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen to one family? What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institutes of Mental Health. (Provided by publisher)


American Sherlock
by Kate Winkler Dawson

Berkeley, California, 1933. In a lab filled with curiosities--beakers, microscopes, Bunsen burners, and hundreds upon hundreds of books--sat an investigator who would go on to crack at least two thousand cases in his forty-year career. Known as the "American Sherlock Holmes," Edward Oscar Heinrich was one of America's greatest--and first--forensic scientists, with an uncanny knack for finding clues, establishing evidence, and deducing answers with a skill that seemed almost supernatural. Heinrich was one of the nation's first expert witnesses, working in a time when the turmoil of Prohibition led to sensationalized crime reporting and only a small, systematic study of evidence. However with his brilliance, and commanding presence in both the courtroom and at crime scenes, Heinrich spearheaded the invention of a myriad of new forensic tools that police still use today, including blood spatter analysis, ballistics, lie-detector tests, and the use of fingerprints as courtroom evidence. His work, though not without its serious--some would say fatal--flaws, changed the course of American criminal investigation. Based on years of research and thousands of never-before-published primary source materials, American Sherlock captures the life of the man who pioneered the science our legal system now relies upon--as well as the limits of those techniques and the very human experts who wield them. (Provided by Publisher)

March/April 2020

The Bubble in the Sun
by Christopher Knowlton

he 1920s in Florida was a time of incredible excess, immense wealth, and precipitous collapse. The decade there produced the largest human migration in American history, far exceeding the settlement of the West, as millions flocked to the grand hotels and the new cities that rose rapidly from the teeming wetlands. The boom spawned a new subdivision civilization—and the most egregious large-scale assault on the environment in the name of “progress.” Nowhere was the glitz and froth of the Roaring Twenties more excessive than in Florida. Here was Vegas before there was a Vegas: gambling was condoned and so was drinking, since prohibition was not enforced. Tycoons, crooks, and celebrities arrived en masse to promote or exploit this new and dazzling American frontier in the sunshine. Yet, the import and deep impact of these historical events have never been explored thoroughly until now. In Bubble in the Sun Christopher Knowlton examines the grand artistic and entrepreneurial visions behind Coral Gables, Boca Raton, Miami Beach, and other storied sites, as well as the darker side of the frenzy. For while giant fortunes were being made and lost and the nightlife raged more raucously than anywhere else, the pure beauty of the Everglades suffered wanton ruination and the workers, mostly black, who built and maintained the boom, endured grievous abuses. Knowlton breathes dynamic life into the forces that made and wrecked Florida during the decade: the real estate moguls Carl Fisher, George Merrick, and Addison Mizner, and the once-in-a-century hurricane whose aftermath triggered the stock market crash. This essential account is a revelatory—and riveting—history of an era that still affects our country today.


Unspeakable things
by Jess Lourey

Inspired by a terrifying true story from the author's hometown, a heart-pounding novel of suspense about a small Minnesota community where nothing is as quiet or as safe as it seems. Cassie McDowell's life in 1980s Minnesota seems perfectly wholesome. She lives on a farm, loves school, and has a crush on the nicest boy in class. Yes, there are her parents' strange parties and their parade of deviant guests, but she's grown accustomed to them. All that changes when someone comes hunting in Lilydale. One by one, local boys go missing. One by one, they return changed, violent, moody, and withdrawn. What happened to them becomes the stuff of shocking rumors. The accusations of whose responsible grow just as wild, and dangerous town secrets start to surface. Then Cassie's own sister undergoes the dark change. If she is to survive, Cassie must find her way in an adult world where every sin is justified, and only the truth is unforgivable.


The Girls with No Names
by Serena Burdick

In New York City in the 1910s, Luella and Effie Tildon realize that even as wealthy young women, their freedoms come with limits. When the sisters discover a shocking secret about their father, Luella, the brazen elder sister, becomes emboldened to do as she pleases. Her rebellion comes with consequences, and Effie suspects her father has sent Luella to the 'House of Mercy.' Effie gets herself committed to save her sister, but when Effie's own escape seems impossible she must rely on an enigmatic girl named Mable to survive.


Moral Compass
by Danielle Steel

Saint Ambrose Prep is a place where the wealthy send their children for the best possible education . . . Traditionally a boys-only school, Saint Ambrose has just enrolled one hundred and forty female students for the first time. Even though most of the kids on the campus have all the privilege in the world, some are struggling . . . One day after the school's annual Halloween event, a student lies in the hospital, her system poisoned by dangerous levels of alcohol. Everyone in this sheltered community--parents, teachers, students, police, and the media--are left trying to figure out what actually happened. Only the handful of students who were there when she was attacked truly know the answers and they have vowed to keep one another's secrets. As details from the evening emerge, powerful families are forced to hire attorneys, while other families watch helplessly. Parents' marriages are jeopardized, and students' futures are impacted. No one at Saint Ambrose can escape the fallout of a life-altering event.


Notre-Dame: a Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals
by Ken Follett

In this short, spellbinding book, international bestselling author Ken Follett describes the emotions that gripped him when he learned about the fire that threatened to destroy one of the greatest cathedrals in the world—the Notre-Dame de Paris. Follett then tells the story of the cathedral, from its construction to the role it has played across time and history, and he reveals the influence that the Notre-Dame had upon cathedrals around the world and on the writing of one of Follett's most famous and beloved novels, The Pillars of the Earth. Ken Follett will donate his proceeds from this book to the charity La Fondation du Patrimoine.

January/February 2020

Elvis in Vegas
by Richard Zoglin

The story of how Las Vegas saved Elvis and Elvis saved Las Vegas in the greatest musical comeback of all time. The conventional wisdom is that Las Vegas is what destroyed Elvis Presley, launching him on a downward spiral of drugs, boredom, erratic stage behavior, and eventually his fatal overdose. But in Elvis in Vegas, Richard Zoglin takes an alternate view, arguing that Vegas is where the King of Rock and Roll resurrected his career, reinvented himself as a performer, and created the most exciting show in Vegas history. Elvis’s 1969 opening night in Vegas was his first time back on a live stage in more than eight years. His career had gone sour—bad movies, and mediocre pop songs that no longer made the charts. He’d been dismissed by most critics as over the hill. But in Vegas he played the biggest showroom in the biggest hotel in the city, drawing more people for his four-week engagement than any other show in Vegas history. His performance got rave reviews, “Suspicious Minds” gave him his first number-one hit in seven years, and Elvis became Vegas’s biggest star. Over the next seven years, he performed more than 600 shows there, and sold out every one. Las Vegas was changed too. The intimate night-club-style shows of the Rat Pack, who made Vegas the nation’s premier live-entertainment center in the 1950s and ‘60s, catered largely to well-heeled older gamblers. Elvis brought a new kind of experience: an over-the-top, rock-concert-like extravaganza. He set a new bar for Vegas performers, with the biggest salary, the biggest musical production, and the biggest promotion campaign the city had ever seen. In doing so, he opened the door to a new generation of pop/rock performers, and brought a new audience to Vegas—a mass audience from Middle America that Vegas depends on for its success to this day. A classic comeback tale set against the backdrop of Las Vegas’s golden age, Richard Zoglin’s Elvis in Vegas is a feel-good story for the ages.


The Queens of Animation
by Nathalia Holt

From Snow White to Moana, from Pinocchio to Frozen, the animated films of Walt Disney Studios have moved and entertained millions. But few fans know that behind these groundbreaking features was an incredibly influential group of women who fought for respect in an often ruthless male-dominated industry and who have slipped under the radar for decades. In The Queens of Animation, bestselling author Nathalia Holt tells their dramatic stories for the first time, showing how these women infiltrated the boys' club of Disney's story and animation departments and used early technologies to create the rich artwork and unforgettable narratives that have become part of the American canon. As the influence of Walt Disney Studios grew---and while battling sexism, domestic abuse, and workplace intimidation---these women also fought to transform the way female characters are depicted to young audiences. With gripping storytelling, and based on extensive interviews and exclusive access to archival and personal documents, The Queens of Animation reveals the vital contributions these women made to Disney's Golden Age and their continued impact on animated filmmaking, culminating in the record-shattering Frozen, Disney's first female-directed full-length feature film.


The Words Between Us
by Erin Bartels

Robin Windsor has spent most of her life under an assumed name, running from her family's ignominious past. She thought she'd finally found sanctuary in her rather unremarkable used bookstore just up the street from the marina in River City, Michigan. But the store is struggling and the past is hot on her heels. When she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father's scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the long-lost summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. That book--a first edition Catcher in the Rye--is soon followed by the other books she shared with Peter nearly twenty years ago, with one arriving in the mail each day. But why would Peter be making contact after all these years? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she's about to be exposed all over again? With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words--the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write--have more power than we imagine.


The Glittering Hour
by Iona Grey

Award-winning author Iona Grey's next unforgettable historical about true love found and lost and the secrets we keep from one another. Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying on just the right side of scandal, all while running from the life her parents would choose for her. Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina's orbit one night and can never let her go even while knowing someone of her stature could never end up with someone of his. Except Selina falls hard for Lawrence, envisioning a life of true happiness. But when tragedy strikes, Selina finds herself choosing what's safe over what's right. Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, Iona Grey's The Glittering Hour is an epic novel of passion, heartache and loss.


The Lying Room
by Nicci French

It should have been just a mid-life fling. A guilty indiscretion that Neve Connolly could have weathered. An escape from twenty years of routine marriage to her overworked husband, and from her increasingly distant children. But when Neve pays a morning-after visit to her lover, Saul, and finds him brutally murdered, their pied-à-terre still heady with her perfume, all the lies she has so painstakingly stitched together threaten to unravel. After scrubbing clean every trace of her existence from Saul’s life—and death—Neve believes she can return to normal, shaken but intact. But she can’t get out of her head the one tormenting question: what was she forgetting? An investigation into the slaying could provide the answer. It’s brought Detective Chief Inspector Alastair Hitching, and Neve’s worst fears, to her door. But with every new lie, every new misdirection to save herself, Neve descends further into the darkness of her betrayal—and into more danger than she ever imagined. Because Hitching isn’t the only one watching Neve. So is a determined killer who’s about to make the next terrifying move in a deadly affair….