When an Amish grandmother is brutally murdered and one of her young granddaughters is taken Chief Kate Burkholder has her hands full. It helps that she has grown up in the community and is able to straddle the line between the two diverse groups. As secrets begin to come to the surface, the murders increase and the window of time to recover the girl gets away from them. Intense and the mix of Plain and English language and cultures makes for an interesting spin on your average police drama. Castillo's fans will not be disappointed.
Sometimes even good kids find themselves in over their heads and that is exactly what happens to Elwood. Where other boys might have gotten a slap of the wrist, Elwood finds himself being sent to a notorious boys reform school that is not concerned with reform or schooling these kids. Elwood is gifted but the only learning he will do at Nickel is to obey, don't ask questions and keep your head down. He is beaten, abused and mistreated as much as the other Nickel boys and yet he just wants to rise among the ranks and get out.
One of the other boys there takes him under his wing and tries to teach him some street smarts but even the best among them might never get out. Based on a true school in Florida, this is a sad story of the Jim Crow South where blacks exist only if the white men in charge allow it. Shocking but steeped in beautiful prose, it is a young boy's belief in something good. Colson Whitehead's words will stay with you.
Lara has been whisked away to Mexico with her eccentric mother and her band of artist outcasts. In the lush jungle, this unlikely group of artists continues to create and complain, a bit lost after being forced out of Nazi Europe. Lara is our teen narrator and she navigates through her growing awareness of her own strengths and weaknesses and her ever distancing relationship with her mother. As she struggles to find herself and find her place among the artists, what she really is searching for is love and identity. The book is a continuous parallel between the calm and the violent. The jungle is calm and beautiful as a subject for art but hides deadly plants and animals as is the household where the artists and Mumma lash out in their frustration and art but the quiet ones are the people whose approval and attention matter the most to Lara. Lara is suspended between childhood with a total lack of supervision and attention and the adult world of love and the freedom to create. Based on true people and events, this slim novel speaks volumes.
Phoebe is a wealthy North Shore Chicago mess. Her infamous father's reputation has her hiding out in her big house drinking wine and eating ice cream all day until the new family next door comes calling. Marriages are falling apart, eyes are straying to young flesh and there is that weird delivery service car that is hanging out almost every day without delivering anything. As is always the case in this type of twisted thriller, we think we know who done it but then the tables are turned. Prepare yourself to become very aware of your neighbors. This is a solid 3 1/2 star thriller.
In a small town in Alabama there is a cafe and near the cafe are trees, and in those trees rest blackbirds that only come out for an hour at midnight. In the birding world, this is a big deal but the town has always known about them and have come to accept the magic of the birds and the miracle found in a slice of Zee's pie at the Blackbird Cafe. Zee has passed away and her granddaughter has come to help out at the cafe before going onto medical school. The daily pie eaters are not happy about the shift in the universe and need the dreams the pie brings them each night. On top of all of this is a secret about paternity and a deep-seated family feud that is tearing the town apart. Love, grief, friendship, and an uncovered secret may have her staying longer than she anticipated. If you are looking for a break from all those political or murderous thrillers this is your slice of pie. Sweet, heartwarming and full of people following their heart and a bit of friendly Southern small-town magic.
This is the year of the unsung heroes of WWII. As in her previous historical books, Leila Meacham has presented an epic novel with unlikely heroes who risked everything by leaving the safety of America and living in occupied Paris. Three men and two women with nothing in common, no real ties to people back home and no military training are thrust into Paris by the OSS with instructions to obtain information about the Nazi movement in the city. This is a hefty novel but a quick read and you will find yourself drawn to these likable characters from diverse backgrounds as well as the heroic deeds of those in Paris. Fans of her other books and those readers of all things WWII will want to add this to their summer reading pile.
This debut of one of the wealthy families that started Bethlehem Steel in the 1920s and the secrets they kept for years that would only threaten to come to the surface in the '60s. Meddling families, forbidden first love and the women who kept the secrets hidden. Joanna comes to Bethlehem to her husband's family estate to care for his mother and grandfather now that his father has passed on but she finds herself on the edge of a family and world where she has no place. Living as the mistress of the house that already has two mistresses isn't easy so she looks to make friends with another outsider. Slowly the family secrets begin to come to the surface and Joanna has to try to find a place for herself in this family and keep her marriage together. A quiet story but the atmospheric writing heightens the suspense.
The Kratts are from the cotton country where everyone knows each other's secrets, knows their place in the town hierarchy and where family loyalty is everything. Judith is the oldest of three and she follows these rules and those of her domineering father to the letter.
She tells a story of the family and their history through the cataloging of her home's contents. Each chapter into the past peels another layer of what everyone thinks and what we now know to be the truth. She is straddled between two worlds - afraid of her father and her brother's wrath but more afraid of losing the love of the people who matter most. A brilliant southern voice dripping with such honeyed words that you don't even feel the bee sting of the racism and fear in the early 1900's South.
In a small swampy Southern town, a young couple comes for their honeymoon but a strange bridge appears out of nowhere and when the husband wakes, his wife has disappeared. Cameron after being abandoned as an infant is being raised by two elderly women who seem to be harmless but he is soon realizing that they are not they claim to be nor is what is going on in the big farmhouse they live in. The town's history contains an urban myth about multiple floods, missing people and a bridge that you can only find some of the time. The out of towner just wants to find his wife and leave town, Cameron wants to find the barmaid who he is madly in love with but is too old for him and the witchy women just want the creature and bridge gone forever. A bit "Billy Goats Gruff" and very spooky, this is one bridge in the weird mist that you do not want to find yourself on.
It is the late 80's in New York and Eve has been working in a dead-end job at a publishing house. She decides on a whim to take a summer job at the home of a famous literary family in Truro, Cape Cod. What could have been a very boring job organizing Henry's notes for his memoir becomes much more interesting. Passion is center stage in this group both literary and human. Eve will learn more about herself and those she condemns or praises. Beautifully written and best read on a porch overlooking the coast, this novel gives the reader insight into the lost world of publishing and a young woman's search for self.
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