Zofia Lederman has spent months in a hospital trying to get well after the Allieds liberated her camp and now must find any way possible to find her young brother, the only family she has remaining. She relies on the kindness of a Russian soldier who is in love with her but then realizes that she is the only one who can retrace their steps and find Abek. Zofia's mental health makes her an unreliable narrator but you can feel the desperation and anguish she feels as she is powerless to locate Abek. She is suffering, as is most of the survivors at refugee camps, from PTSD and her health is fragile. The language, adult situations and violence of the camps make this intended for young adults but readers will appreciate her honesty and lack of sugar coating the horrific events of war. This is a story of the best and the worst of humanity told by a young survivor just trying for any remnant of her prior life.
From the master storyteller of BEFORE WE WERE YOURS comes a story of profound loss and hope. Based on an actual collection of newspaper ads that circulated around the southern states after the Civil War, this parallel story takes place in two time periods - post Civil War and 1987 and are related by location and THE BOOK OF LOST FRIENDS. Hannie has lost her entire large family to slavery and now needs to locate her former owner to find them and ensure sharecropper rights. She travels a very dangerous landscape with the owner's two daughters and will face danger from slavers, the law, riverboat thugs and Indians to reach their destination in Texas. The current story is that of Bennie, a teacher who is using the book and personal history to reach her students. Included in the book are actual ads from THE BOOK OF LOST FRIENDS which only cements the loss and desperation these former slaves must have felt. Heartbreaking but full of hope this is a must for fans of Civil War historical fiction and family history.
Roxy lives in Austin in 2012 amidst the change from the music-loving hippie culture to the influx of health conscience techies and wannabe rock stars. She is having trouble finding herself and finding enough cash to pay the rent from just her deli counter job at Whole Foods so she invites her ex-boyfriend to live in her spare room. She hardly ever sees him and begins to write letters to him letting him know what she is up to and dispensing her quirky philosophy on life. This is an absolute must-read if you: A. love the weirdness of Austin, B. if you think Sarah Bird's early books are the funniest thing you have ever read and C. you just need a reason to laugh at the absurdity of life. Irreverent, bawdy and so true of Austin.
A sweet story about loss, friendship and a life well-lived. Missy is at a loss. Her husband is gone, her kids are grown living their lives elsewhere and she is hiding from the world. Slowly after giving way to persistent neighbors she begins to put herself out there and becomes a foster parent to a wonderful dog named Bob and pseudo grandparent to the little boy. As her circle expands she finds it in herself to forgive and finds that in helping others, she helps herself. Missy shows us that life is not over at 80 if you have a tribe. Anyone who knows the value of friends, close siblings or a precious furbaby will totally get this book with its quirky characters.
Lucy and Sam and their father live a hard existence in the golden hills of the West. They piece together a living by prospecting, mining, and gambling in a place where fortunes are won and lost in an instant. Samantha becomes Sam to help in the mines and is content with the role of son whereas Lucy must fight against the only work a girl can do in a mining town. Sam craves the wildness and adventure and Lucy craves a sense of belonging, home, and roots. They are destined to seperate and come back together like yin and yang. They were born in the West but are still tied to their parent's Asian culture and traditions. Beautifully written with references to Eastern culture and stories mixed in with Western culture and misconceptions. It is a non-western western. A story of the various definitions of home and where you belong.
Imagine a young woman gripped in misery over several miscarriages and a failing marriage who learns that she is the last surviving heir to a North Italian remote castle and fortune. She is the last of the Montebianco family who carved out an existence in the harsh landscape of the Italian Alps. After arriving she learns much more about what she has gotten herself into, her heritage and how she will be the key to the survival of a hidden group of people. Combining a bit of the unusual myths about Yeti and Ice Men with a traditional Gothic romance storyline, THE ANCESTOR straddles historical fiction with an age-old mystery. This book will have you looking much closer to your results from Ancestry.com or 23 and Me. Illuminating and mysterious this is an unusual shift away from your typical Gothic mystery story. Fans of THE HISTORIAN, A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES or tales of old European family trees will enjoy this book.
A naive farm girl from Wisconsin runs away to New York to make it big on Broadway but instead of landing the lead role in the next Rogers and Hammerstein she is given the lead in the most controversial play Broadway has ever seen. This scenerio could happen today but this story takes place in the 1950's and the show that Eleanor lands the lead in is a love story between a white girl and a black man and they do more than hold hands on stage, igniting deep seated racial tensions. She must not only learn the cut throat world of the theatre but also learns first hand the secret segregated world for people of color and homosexuals and handle her new independence and sexual awakening. This well written debut starts off with an innocent who must open herself up to much more than she ever dreamed of. The lesson is that just because you are blinded by the lights of Broadway doesn't mean you shouldn't fight for the people hiding in its shadow. Fans of CHELSEA GIRLS and CITY OF GIRLS and avid watchers of THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAIZEL will enjoy this slice of New York history.
Micah is a creature of habit knowing the tasks before him on any given day of the week and nothing really rattles him. Until the day his girlfriend leaves him and the young son of an old girlfriend shows up on his doorstep. This slim novel is just the kind of sweet story that Anne Tyler is famous for. We all know a Micah or maybe share his peccadillos and we are in his corner hoping he will figure it all out. Maybe the key to finding happiness is knowing you have to start looking for it.
An imagined true story of Cassandra Austen's attempt to uncover letters that may damage her famous sister's reputation. Cassandra appears in this story very much like a doddering aunt from one of Jane Austen's stories as she shows up, almost without warning, at the doorstep of Isabella's home in the quise of offering to help her settle her parent's affairs and pack up the house. The truth is that Cassandra is on a mission and must locate correspondence between herself, Jane and their good friend Isabella's mother. The pace is slow as she finds these letters and remembers her life. There is a certain cloak and dagger quality to her hunt and her methods are funny. Fans of all thing Austen will relish this glimpse into how strong the sister's bond was and more about little known Cassandra.
Emily Roebling's husband's desire to build bridges knows no limits and sadly, his greatest bridge design will also be his biggest challenge. The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge contained obstacles no one could predict and also paved the way for construction and engineering methods used today. In a show of force to protect her husband's reputation, Emily runs messages from his bedside, studies engineering and learns to stand up to what has been a man's world. Even her days of fighting for women's suffrage could not prepare her for what she would face in a male-dominated world of engineering, construction and government. Her relationship with P.T. Barnum is one that bolsters and threatens to tear down her reputation and the completion of the very project she gave up much of her life to see built. Well written historical fiction in the "woman behind the great man" style that we all love so much.
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