Here are some new books you can check out, including a couple of physical copies you can reserve for Curbside Pickup! Please read the full details of Abbot Public Library’s Curbside PIckup Service here.
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier may come to mind while reading this book. Engaging writer Sarah Morgan offers a new novel about Flora the florist whose whirlwind romance becomes difficult when meeting the family and friends of Jack Parker and the secrets emerging surrounding his late wife. Check out the ebook on Overdrive or the audiobook on hoopla.
Lydia Bird tragically loses her partner, Freddie Hunter, in a car accident. In an effort to cope with her grief through medicine, she experiences lucid dreams about her continued life with Freddie while living her other life by day. Josie Silver’s book is beautifully written with richly developed characters.
Rhys Bowen, author of the enjoyable Royal SpynessMysteriesand Molly Murphy Mysteries has written some historical fiction as well, including The Victory Garden. Set in England in the early 1900s during World War I, Emily Bryce falls for a pilot who is recuperating. He is sent back into battle in France and Emily joins the Women’s Land Army and leaves home. This novel depicts a time of turbulent change during this tragic war.
While Jane Austen is now considered to be one of the greats of English literature, her legacy has not always been so secure. We tend to assume that nearly every famous British writer has his or her blue plaque gracing some historic building in the UK. And doesn’t Jane’s image grace the £10 note? But Chawton Cottage in Hampshire, where Austen enjoyed her most creative period, was not dedicated as a museum until after World War II. Before that, it was subdivided into workers’ cottages and bore little resemblance to what it once was. It is during this somewhat precarious period in the cottage’s history that debut author Natalie Jenner sets her charming novel, The Jane Austen Society.
“Three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work upon,” Austen counseled her aspiring-novelist niece: Jenner takes that suggestion to heart in this carefully-crafted book. The cast is small, and we get to know them well. While they may not be family, they are united by their love of Jane. As in Austen’s novels, plot is secondary to conversation and character development. The chief aim of most of the characters (all of the sympathetic ones, at least) is simple–to purchase and restore Chawton Cottage via a charitable trust. But the chief pleasure to be had here springs from observing the complex emotional journeys of an array of unlikely friends: a country doctor, a housemaid, a lawyer, an American screen siren, the last direct descendent of Jane’s brother Edward Austen-Knight, a farmer, a schoolteacher, and a Sotheby’s auctioneer. The lives of all have been marred by tragedies of various sorts–most of which have taken place off-stage, before the story begins (though Jenner renders a young war widow’s miscarriage and a near-rape in somewhat harrowing detail). Physical objects also play key roles, with Austen’s jewelry, her brother’s grand library, and one of her newly-discovered letters driving the action at points. The author’s delicately deft handling of these threads keeps the reader entranced. So does the suggestion that, amid the struggle to save Austen’s home, these lost souls just might save each other.
Jenner’s novel is not exactly fan fiction, as it neither attempts to mimic Austenian style nor resurrect her characters. However, there are references aplenty to Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasionin particular, and the reader will be sure to spot circumstantial resemblances–a long-regretted broken engagement, for instance–as well as believable twentieth-century permutations of favorite heroes and antiheroes. There is much to praise and very little to fault, and as you turn the last page, you very well might find yourself agreeing with Jane’s observation that “if a book is well-written I always find it too short.”
You can access The Jane Austen Society in both ebook and audiobook format on Overdrive/Libby with your Marblehead library card. If you need a card, get started here!
Enjoy a good book and try a new homemade treat with these novels and biographies that delve into the culinary world!
Meet Me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan is a heartwarming story of Issy Randall realizing her dream of opening a café. Growing up with her Grandpa Joe, who ran several bakeries, baking was in her blood. So, after being laid off from her job, she decided to turn to what she knew how to do best.
My Life in France by Julia Child is the fascinating autobiography of Julia Child, a tall girl from Pasadena, California who we know as the celebrated French Chef from her PBS cooking show and her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which she wrote with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. It is an endearing story about how she met and fell in love with her husband, Paul Child, who worked as a diplomat. They had to travel to France for his work, and with the desire to learn how to cook for her husband and falling in love with the cuisine of France, Julia was inspired to take courses at Cordon Bleu Cooking School. The rest is history.
Julie and Julia became a movie, directed by Nora Ephron and starring Meryl Streep, based on the books My Life in France and Julie Powell’s memoir, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. It won a Golden Globe Award. Powell’s book chronicles the year of embarking on a project to cook a recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking every day for a year. Frustrated with her job as a secretary, this cooking project and the successful blog she writes about it gives her a whole new direction in life. Check out the ebook on Overdrive or the audiobook on hoopla.
Ann Mah’s impressive travelogue, Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love From a Year in Paris, details the regional food of France as she travels the country. Stationed in France with her husband, who is a diplomat, Ann Mah researches the traditional food of France, referencing the work of Julia Child. Ann Mah is a writer for The New York Times travel section, a journalist, and a novelist.
Lavender Blue Murder by Laura Childs is 21st in the Tea Shop Mysteries featuring Theodosia Browning, proprietor of Indigo Tea Shop. Prolific writer Laura Childs’ cozy series is set in Charleston, South Carolina. There are likeable regular characters, recipes, and, of course, a mystery to solve. Attending an English-style game bird hunt with her friend Drayton, there is a murder of the host who has been shot and his widow presses Theodosa to help solve the crime despite Theodosia’s detective boyfriend, Pete Riley, wanting her to stear clear of the investigation.
Coconut Layer Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke is the 25th book in the popular Hannah Swensen Mystery series, so there are many volumes to enjoy for new fans. This cozy mystery is set in Lake Eden, Minnesota. Hannah Swensen owns a bakery shop, The Cookie Jar, and finds herself solving mysteries on the side. In Coconut Layer Cake Murder, Hannah tries to go on vacation with her mother to California when her sisters’s boyfriend is suddenly a suspect in a murder case of an old high school friend. Hannah also has to move in with her old love interest, Norman Rhodes. Recipes, of course, are included!
You can see the list of the Hannah Swensen Mystery series in NoveList with your library card. The first volume in the series is the Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. There are titles also available to download by Joanne Fluke from hoopla.
Jason Reynolds was recently appointed as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the LIbrary of Congress, and for his term he wants to speak to young readers in America. To do this during our time of quarantine, he has created two digital features under his “GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story” platform, which focuses on listening and empowering students to share their own personal stories. The video series titled “Write. Right. Rite” is where Reynolds shares his passion for storytelling and creativity. Each video ends with a prompt to encourage young people to work towards a specific idea and fun-filled activities. The “GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story” newsletter is a monthly newsletter where Reynolds can talk to you directly about relevant topics of the day.
Visit Grab the Mic on the LOC website to explore your creativity with Jason Reynolds!
You can also check out some of his titles through Overdrive, which include:
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
This book, told in ten tales, tells of all the detours that happen on the way home. It is one the book LeVar Burton has read aloud during Levar Burton Reads.
Check it out in the Libby app or online in ebook and audiobook format.
Long Way Down
One of the YA Novels in Verse staff picks, this is the story about teen gun violence and what a brother would do for his family.