Leopard at the Door

leopard-at-the-doorBy Jennifer McVeigh

Returning to the Kenya farm where she spent her childhood, Rachel is confronted by her father’s controlling new companion, rising political tensions and a secret society of Kenyans determined to oust the British, a situation that is further complicated by a secret from the past and a relationship that compels her into a dire betrayal.

The Second Mrs. Hockaday

second-mrs-hBy Susan Rivers

When Major Gryffth Hockaday is called to the front lines of the Civil War, his new bride is left to care for her husband’s three-hundred-acre farm and infant son. Placidia, a mere teenager herself living far from her family and completely unprepared to run a farm or raise a child, must endure the darkest days of the war on her own. By the time Major Hockaday returns two years later, Placidia is bound for jail, accused of having borne a child in his absence and murdering it. What really transpired in the two years he was away? To what extremes can war and violence push a woman who is left to fend for herself?

Told through letters, court inquests, and journal entries, this saga, inspired by a true incident, unfolds with gripping intensity, conjuring the era with uncanny immediacy. Amid the desperation of wartime, Placidia sees the social order of her Southern homeland unravel. As she comes to understand how her own history is linked to one runaway slave, her perspective on race and family are upended. A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war,The Second Mrs. Hockaday reveals how this generation—and the next—began to see their world anew.

This is one of those books that progresses so seamlessly that you marvel at the authenticity of it. In fact, Susan Rivers has said that the novel was inspired by her discovery of a mysterious crime in South Carolina during the Civil War, and she wrote her novel to make sense of it; once she started writing, the story poured out through these myriad voices. But because Rivers is also a meticulous researcher, every part of the story has some basis in fact. As in Hillary Jordan’sMudbound, you will feel that you’re in the hands of a natural storyteller who knows how to breathe life into this period of history, the young Placidia, and all of the people around her. This is a remarkable, moving, and unforgettable debut.

Swing Time

swing-timeBy Zadie Smith. Two dancers with different approaches to their craft share a complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, in a story that transitions from northwest London to West Africa.

The German Girl

german-girlStripped of her family’s privileges by the Nazi party in 1939 Berlin, Hannah Rosenthal forges a pact that she will remain true to her best friend, Leo, before embarking on a refugee ship bound for Havana, where rumors of a deadly plot force her to make an impossible choice. (Historical Fiction)

Small Great Things

small-great-thingsHesitating to treat the newborn of a white supremacist couple who has demanded that a white nurse assist them, a black nurse is placed on trial in the tragic aftermath and is aided by a white public defender with whom she begins questioning their beliefs as the case becomes more racially charged. By the #1 best-selling author of Leaving Time.

A Gentleman in Moscow

Gentleman MoscowFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel

With his breakout debut novel, Rules of Civility, Amor Towles established himself as a master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction, bringing late 1930s Manhattan to life with splendid atmosphere and a flawless command of style. Readers and critics were enchanted; as NPR commented, “Towles writes with grace and verve about the mores and manners of a society on the cusp of radical change.”

A Gentleman in Moscow
 immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.

The Muse

the MuseA Caribbean immigrant in 1960s London and a bohemian woman in 1930s Spain are bound together by a painting rumored to be the work of a genius artist and the mystery surrounding his death. By the best-selling author of The Miniaturist.

At the Edge of the Orchard

at the edge of the orchardSettling in the swamps of early 19th-century northwest Ohio, the Goodenough family works relentlessly to establish an apple orchard that reflects respective dreams before their youngest child heads to Gold Rush California to collect seeds for a naturalist. By the best-selling author of Girl With a Pearl Earring.

The Summer Before the War

Summer BeforeArriving in the 1914 village of Rye, England, Beatrice Nash, a young woman of good family, becomes a first female teacher of Latin at the local school and falls in love with her sponsor’s nephew. By the best-selling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.

Miller’s Valley

Millers ValleyBy Anna Quindlan (signed copies)

Coming of age in a dwindling 1960s farming community in eastern Pennsylvania, Mimi struggles with profound family secrets and the pain of falling in love with the wrong person against a backdrop of dynamic historical periods. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Object Lessons.

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