Past Selections

Our Endless Numbered Days
by Claire Fuller
February 1, 2017

Peggy Hillcoat is eight years old when her survivalist father, James, takes her from their home in London to a remote hut in the woods and tells her that the rest of the world has been destroyed. Deep in the wilderness, Peggy and James make a life for themselves. They repair the hut, bathe in water from the river, hunt and gather food in the summers and almost starve in the harsh winters. They mark their days only by the sun and the seasons. When Peggy finds a pair of boots in the forest and begins a search for their owner, she unwittingly begins to unravel the series of events that brought her to the woods and, in doing so, discovers the strength she needs to go back to the home and mother she thought she’d lost. After Peggy’s return to civilization, her mother learns the truth of her escape, of what happened to James on the last night out in the woods, and of the secret that Peggy has carried with her ever since.

 

the-secret-keeper-squareThe Secret Keeper
by Kate Morton
November 2, 2016

During a picnic at her family’s farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnesses a shocking crime, a crime that challenges everything she knows about her adored mother, Dorothy. Now, fifty years later, Laurel and her sisters are meeting at the farm to celebrate Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this is her last chance to discover the truth about that long-ago day, Laurel searches for answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past. Clue by clue, she traces a secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds thrown together in war-torn London—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—whose lives are forever after entwined. A gripping story of deception and passion, The Secret Keeper will keep you enthralled to the last page.

 

the-forgotten-seamstress-squareThe Forgotten Seamstress
by Liz Trenow
September 7, 2016

A shy girl with no family, Maria knows she’s lucky to have landed in the sewing room of the royal household. Before World War I casts its shadow, she catches the eye of the Prince of Wales, a glamorous and intense gentleman. But her life takes a far darker turn, and soon all she has left is a fantastical story about her time at Buckingham Palace.

Decades later, Caroline Meadows discovers a beautiful quilt in her mother’s attic. When she can’t figure out the meaning of the message embroidered into its lining, she embarks on a quest to reveal its mystery, a puzzle that only seems to grow more important to her own heart. As Caroline pieces together the secret history of the quilt, she comes closer and closer to the truth about Maria.

 

Tthe-husbands-secret-squarehe Husband’s Secret
by Liane Moriarty
July 6, 2016

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not only the life you have built together, but the lives of others as well. And then imagine that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive…

 

The Round Houseround-house-square
by Louise Erdrich
May 4, 2016

One of the most revered novelists of our time—a brilliant chronicler of Native-American life—Louise Erdrich returns to the territory of her bestselling, Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves with The Round House, transporting readers to the Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. It is an exquisitely told story of a boy on the cusp of manhood who seeks justice and understanding in the wake of a terrible crime that upends and forever transforms his family.

me-before-you-squareMe Before You
by Jojo Moyes
February 3, 2016

“They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life–steady boyfriend, close family–who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after a motorcycle accident. Will has always lived a huge life–big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel–and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is. Will is acerbic, moody, bossy–but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living. A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common–a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? ”

DiggingToAmerica-square

 

Digging to America
by Anne Tyler
December 2, 2015

Digging to America is a story set in Baltimore, Maryland about two very different families’ experiences with adoption and their relationships with each other. Sami and Ziba Yazdan, an Iranian-American family, and Brad and Bitsy Dickinson-Donaldson, an all-American suburban family, meet at the airport on the day their infant daughters arrive from Korea to begin life in America. The two families become friends and begin a tradition of celebrating the arrival of their adopted daughters each year.

 

deafening-squareDeafening
by Frances Itani
October 7, 2015

Set during 1915-19 in Canada, United States, England, Belgium and France, this is the story of a young woman in her 20’s, Grania O’ Neill (pronounced GRAW-NEE-YA, an Irish name meaning “Love”), profoundly deaf from the age of 5 as a result of scarlet fever. She marries Jim Lloyd, a hearing man who, 2 weeks after their marriage, leaves home in Ontario to serve his King and country and “do his bit for Mother England.” Jim tries in every possible way to understand his wife’s experience of deafness, and together they explore their love through the silence in which she lives.

language-of-flowers-squareThe Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
August 5, 2015

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 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 with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger 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.

hundred-foot-journey-squareThe Hundred-Foot Journey
by Richard C. Morais
June 2, 2015

Hassan Kadam is an extraordinarily talented and largely self-taught culinary novice. When he and his family are displaced from their native India and settle in a quaint French village, they decide to open an Indian eatery. However, Madame Mallory, the proprietress of an acclaimed restaurant just 100 feet away, strongly objects. War erupts between the two establishments, until Mallory recognizes Kadam’s impressive epicurean gifts and takes him under her wing.

major-pettigrew-square

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
by Helen Simonson
April 7, 2015

Welcome to Edgecombe St. Mary, a small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills and thatched cottages. There Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life valuing the things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village.

the-paris-wife-square

The Paris Wife
by Paula McLain
February 3, 2015

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

life-after-life-squareLife After Life
by Kate Atkinson
December 9, 2014

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born, the third child of a wealthy English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in any number of ways. Ursula’s world is in turmoil, facing the unspeakable evil of the two greatest wars in history. What power and force can one woman exert over the fate of civilization — if only she has the chance?

defending-jacob-squareDefending Jacob
by William Landay
October 14, 2014

Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He is his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own, between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he has tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

the-chaperone-squareThe Chaperone
by Laura Moriarty
July 29, 2014

A novel about the friendship between an adolescent, pre-movie-star Louise Brooks, and the 36-year-old woman who chaperones her to New York City for a summer, in 1922, and how it changes both their lives

calebs-crossing-squareCaleb’s Crossing
by Geraldine Brooks
July 3, 2014

Bethia Mayfield is a restless and curious young woman growing up in Martha’s vineyard in the 1660s amid a small band of pioneering English Puritans. At age twelve, she meets Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the two forge a secret bond that draws each into the alien world of the other. Bethia’s father is a Calvinist minister who seeks to convert the native Wampanoag, and Caleb becomes a prize in the contest between old ways and new, eventually becoming the first Native American graduate of Harvard College. Inspired by a true story and narrated by the irresistible Bethia, Caleb’s Crossing brilliantly captures the triumphs and turmoil of two brave, openhearted spirits who risk everything in a search for knowledge at a time of superstition and ignorance.

Tkitchen-house-smallhe Kitchen House
by Kathleen Grissom
April 1, 2014

Lavinia, a seven-year-old Irish orphan with no memory of her past, arrives on a tobacco plantation where she is put to work as an indentured servant. Placed with the slaves in the kitchen house under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her new adopted family, even though she is forever set apart from them by her white skin. As Lavinia is slowly accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles an opium addiction, she finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When Lavinia marries the master’s troubled son and takes on the role of mistress, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare and lives are put at risk. The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail.

hotel-on-corner-of-bitter-and-sweet-square

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford
February 4, 2014

In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.  This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war.

story-sisters-square

The Story Sisters
by Alice Hoffman
December 3, 2013

Alice Hoffman’s novel charts the lives of three sisters–Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart’s desire, and a demon who will not let go.

swan-thieves-square

The Swan Thieves
by Elizabeth Kostova
October 8, 2013

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

 

state-of-wonder-squareState of Wonder
by Ann Patchett
August 6, 2013

Marina Singh is a pharmaceutical researcher sent deep into the Amazon jungle to inquire about the death of a colleague. It is there that the company is looking into a miracle drug based on a tree bark used by a native tribe. Upon her arrival Marina must find out the circumstances of her colleague’s death, as well as find out why work has slowed to a crawl on the drug. That means dealing with Annick Swenson, a determined researcher who Marina has a complicated relationship with.

 

rules-of-civility-square

Rules of Civility
by Amor Towles
June 4, 2013

Consider 1930s New York: the era fascinates, and this debut novel likely will, too. Starting on New Year’s Eve in Greenwich Village, smart, cool, and ambitious Katey Kontent makes a mad dash from the secretarial pool to New York high society and starts learning that it is her choices that matter. Less fairy tale than the sort of dry-eyed look at American social structure that James or Wharton might provide, this book seems set to recall a glamorous time and place just out of reach.
Towles delivers a sophisticated and entertaining debut novel about an irresistible young woman with an uncommon sense of purpose. Elegant and captivating, “Rules of Civility” turns a Jamesian eye on how spur of the moment decisions define life for decades to come.

 


sarahs-key-smallSarah’s Key

by Tatiana de Rosnay
April 2, 2013
Sarah’s Key follows an American journalist’s present-day investigation into the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup of Jews in German-occupied Paris in 1942. It tells the story of young girl Sarah’s experiences during and after these events, illustrating the participation of the French bureaucracy while also showing how other French citizens hid and protected Sarah from Vichy France authorities.[3]


devil-in-the-white-city-thumbnailThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America

by Erik Larson
February 5, 2013
This book intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

Forgotten Country 
by Catherine Chung
December 2, 2012
On the night Janie waits for her sister, Hannah, to be born, her grandmother tells her a story: Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, their family has lost a daughter in every generation, so Janie is charged with keeping Hannah safe. As time passes, Janie hears more stories, while facts remain unspoken. Years later, when Hannah inexplicably cuts all ties and disappears, Janie embarks on a mission to find her sister and finally uncover the truth beneath her family’s silence. To do so, she must confront their history, the reason for her parents’ sudden move to America twenty years earlier, and ultimately her conflicted feelings toward her sister and her own role in the betrayal behind their estrangement.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
by Lisa See
October 2, 2012
An evocative story of friendship set against the backdrop of a nineteenth-century China in which women suffered from foot binding, isolation, and illiteracy follows an elderly woman and her companion as they communicate their hopes, dreams, joys, and tragedies through a unique secret language.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz
July 31, 2012
Diaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar Wao and the history of his family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight on the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss.

The Underside of Joy
by Sere Prince Halverson
May 1, 2012
Set against the backdrop of Redwood forests and shimmering vineyards, Sere Prince Halverson’s compelling debut tells the story of two women, bound by an unspeakable loss, who each claims to be the mother of the same two children.