It’s 1947 and Rose and her husband Jim Mackie flee to the quiet country English village of Kent with their three-year-old daughter Susie, in search of a life away from London and Jim’s family of ne’er-do-wells. When they are offered work and a place to live by a local couple, Rose thinks they can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
A war-weary 41-year-old, former government operative, Elinor White is also looking to live out her days peacefully in Kent. Upon meeting newcomers, Elinor makes it her business to know their business. When she learns that the Mackie brothers have visited, threatening Rose and Susie if Jim doesn’t return to assist with their next big job, Elinor decides that violence against women and children just won’t do. Coming out of hiding, Elinor vows that she will protect the young family and uses her Home Office connections in to attempt to take on the dangerous and powerful London Mackies. Unfortunately, she may get more than she bargains for when events from her own past catch up to her along the way.
The White Lady by Jacqueline Winspear is a departure from her beloved Maisie Dobbs’ series. This mystery introduces readers to a deeply affected and damaged, yet likeable and intelligent character in Elinor White, a woman who began a life in espionage while still a teen in Belgium and who is conflicted about her need to commit violence in order to protect others.
Told through alternating time lines, The White Lady is emotional and suspenseful, well-researched historical fiction with plenty of twists that will keep you turning its pages. While the author has said this book is not the start a new series, this reader is left wishing for a bit more time spent with the fascinating Miss White.
Don’t believe me; investigate on your own! Place your hold on The White Ladytoday and see what you think.
Sam is an entomologist who finds herself in a familiar habitat- her childhood home. Since the passing of her Gran Mae, the house has seemed different. Her mother, Edith now lives alone amongst the thriving rose bushes, left to her own devices with the help of a handyman. As Sam moves back in, she’s welcomed back into the world of Southern hospitality, British procedurals, and boxed wine. Not to be outdone, the eccentric neighbors are just as eccentric as ever, with vultures rehabilitating and a one-man neighborhood watch a few doors down.
But the house isn’t quite as Sam remembered. Gone are the vibrant colors and signature maximalist tendencies of her mother. Instead, her Gran Mae’s stark style has come back in multiple shades of neutral. Sam’s not convinced that her mom’s odd behavior isn’t a result of an undiagnosed condition and the home’s transformation could be a result.
Sam’s not the only visitor to the house- she wakes up in the middle of the night to swarms of ladybugs making themselves at home in her room. Soon she is left questioning why exactly the house feels so off, and it turns out that the picture-perfect styling is hiding something ugly.
This is a southern gothic novel that definitely dabbles in magical realism. The characters are engaging and the audiobook narrator is superb. If you’re a fan of spooky Southern tales, this is definitely a book for you.
After the successful celebration of the 350th Anniversary of American Jewish History in May 2004, the Jewish Museum of Florida and prominent Jewish leaders in South Florida urged President Bush to name the month of May as Jewish American Heritage Month. In May 2006, the first Jewish American Heritage Month was celebrated, honoring the centuries of Jewish impact in America.
There is a myriad of ways that Jewish Americans have contributed to the United States. Below I’ve compiled a small selection of books to enjoy that acknowledge some of those contributions, whether you want to get lost in a story, experiment in the kitchen, or learn something new.
“Florence, the 20-year-old daughter of Jewish bakery owners Esther and Joseph Adler, starts the summer of 1934 training for an upcoming trip to France to swim the English Channel. When Florence’s life is cut short in tragedy, Esther and Joseph keep her death quiet from their eldest daughter, Fannie, who waits out a high-risk pregnancy in the hospital. Protecting the baby becomes paramount. While Fannie’s husband, Isaac, swindles away funds in real estate schemes, their young daughter Gussie, unable to grasp the reason behind the lie, mourns the loss of her beloved aunt and misses her mother. Gussie finds comfort in Anna, a young German girl mysteriously living with the Adlers, and Stuart, Flossie’s swim coach and admirer. Stuart, a handsome lifeguard and son of the elite Covington hotel owner, begins clandestine swimming lessons with Anna, growing closer as they also grieve for Florence. As the secrets threaten to spill and heartbreak blankets them, the family must unite to face a future without Florence.”
“Set against the backdrop of the Clinton and Lewinsky scandal, My Last Innocent Year is a coming-of-age story about a young woman on the brink of sexual and artistic awakening, navigating her way toward independence while recognizing the power, beauty and grit of where she came from. Timely and wise, it reckons with the complexities of consent, what it means to be an adult, and whether or not we can ever outrun our bad decisions.”
“Relying on classic Jewish dishes, new favorites, and some imports, Gray and Kassoff Gray look to change the traditional Jewish table by “blending” tastes and histories. With dishes like yukon gold and sweet potato latkes and vegetable kishka with sage and paprika mixed in with asparagus risotto with Parmesan tuiles and quick summer squash ratatouille, there is a little something from everywhere thrown into the pot. With more than 75 color photographs, stories, and instructions from the authors on almost every recipe, as well as other restaurateurs’ and chefs’ anecdotes peppered throughout, this book has a very personal and inviting feel, asking the reader to focus on enjoying the food.”
“Finding himself alone after his divorce and his mother’s recent death, Ben Ziskind distracts himself with work, crafting questions for a TV quiz show. When he decides to steal a Chagall painting that once belonged to his mother, his actions shake him from his hermetic shell. Flashbacks to Ben’s past and to the lives of Chagall and his one-time novelist friend, the Hidden One, merge together. Horn deftly weaves an intricate story steeped in folklore and family secrets. Along the way, readers are offered glimpses of the possibilities, allegorical and otherwise, of life’s beginning and end.”
“In this anthology of 14 short stories by YA authors, the protagonists experience all the familiar exhilaration, embarrassment, and anxiety of late adolescence, with physical symptoms to match: they’re torn, they freeze up, they blush. They are also Jewish, and what that means—in terms of family, upbringing, and beliefs—adds additional layers of questioning and rumination to their fledgling sense of themselves.”
“Russian Jewish folklore meets the modern world in this fantastical story of good versus evil. Estranged siblings Isaac and Bellatine Yaga come from a long line of Russian puppeteers, each having their own special talent (or curse). Isaac is the Chameleon King, changing his appearance by imitating a person’s muscle movements. Bellatine has hands which ignite and wake the puppets. The siblings reunite when they receive an inheritance—Thistlefoot, a living house with chicken legs that moves and responds to commands in Yiddish. Isaac and Bellatine tour the U.S. with Thistlefoot, performing their famous puppet shows, but they soon discover there are others intent on finding the magical house. The evil Longshadow Man is close and will let no one get in his way; however, the house has its own agenda, and dues must be paid to balance the universe’s energy.”
“In this ambitious mix of biography, historiography, and family memoir, historian Popkin (A New World Begins) pays tribute to his grandmother, novelist Zelda Popkin. Throughout, Popkin draws insightful comparisons between Zelda and other Jewish American writers and provides helpful synopses of her novels. This admiring profile restores a well-deserving author to the spotlight.”
“When Charles Lindbergh, Republican candidate in the 1940 presidential race, defeats popular FDR in a landslide, pollsters scramble for explanations–among them that, to a country weary of crisis and fearful of becoming involved in another European war, the aviator represents “normalcy raised to heroic proportions.” For the Roth family, however, the situation is anything but normal, and heroism has a different meaning. As the anti-Semitic new president cozies up to the Third Reich, right-wing activists throughout the nation seize the moment. Most citizens, enamored of isolationism and lost in hero worship, see no evil–but in the Roths’ once secure and stable Jewish neighborhood in New Jersey, the world is descending into a nightmare of confusion, fear, and unpredictability. But though the situation is grim, this is not a despairing tale; suspenseful, poignant, and often humorous, it engages readers in many ways. It prompts them to consider the nature of history, present times, and possible futures.”
“The Austrian Jewish Künstler family’s established, prosperous life is threatened when creeping Nazi reforms erode their freedom. Fortunately, they escape Vienna in 1939 and settle in Los Angeles, finding themselves on the fringes of its European émigré community. Salomea (“Mamie”), 11, enthusiastically explores her new home, helping her parents and aging grandfather learn English. When Mamie is 93, she invites her 23-year-old grandson, Julian, to stay with her; his New York life has disintegrated since he lost both his girlfriend and his roommate. His parents refuse to subsidize his aimless existence, so he reluctantly accepts Mamie’s offer, only to linger when the pandemic strikes. Over the months, Mamie recounts fascinating anecdotes about meeting famous writers and luminaries such as Greta Garbo. Contrasting the wartime excesses in Hollywood with privation in Austria, Mamie and Julian liken COVID-era isolation to the sense of exile so many faced when they fled Europe.”
“In Koshersoul, Michael W. Twitty considers the marriage of two of the most distinctive culinary cultures in the world today: the foods and traditions of the African Atlantic and the global Jewish diaspora. To Twitty, the creation of African-Jewish cooking is a conversation of migrations and a dialogue of diasporas offering a rich background for inventive recipes and the people who create them. The question that most intrigues him is not just who makes the food, but how the food makes the people. Jews of Color are not outliers, Twitty contends, but significant and meaningful cultural creators in both Black and Jewish civilizations. Koshersoul also explores how food has shaped the journeys of numerous cooks, including Twitty’s own passage to and within Judaism.”
A woman discovers her apartment broken into and her roommate dead after meeting a cold-hearted con artist at the bar where she works in the new novel from the number-one best-selling author of more than 230 novels.
Asked by a fellow law clerk to look into his boss’s death, Supreme Court clerk Avery Keene, after another shocking murder, is led to a list of names – all judges on the FISA Court, also known as America’s “secret court” – and must race the clock to stop an unprecedented national crisis.
Hiring a health aide to give her the support and independence she needs after hip replacement surgery, DC philanthropist and Senator’s wife Sloane Chase, as weeks go by and she becomes sicker, suspects her seemingly perfect employee is plotting to steal her husband, her reputation and even her life.
To stop an unseen enemy from destroying the Campus, Jack Ryan Jr. is led to the South China Sea where he, after a midair collision serves as a flash point, must put the pieces of a conspiracy together to stop the world’s two remaining super powers from going to war.
Working together to ensure their summer production at a storied Block Island theater is a success, former aspiring playwright Amy Trevino, her daughter Sam and her brother, a well-loved Hollywood actor, must grapple with their desires for fame and fortune and discover what they really want out of life.
In 1869 Edinburgh, modern-day homicide detective Mallory Atkinson, adjusting to her new life in Victorian Scotland as an undertaker’s assistant to Dr. Duncan Gray, investigates the case of a serial poisoner targeting men, and all signs point to the grieving widows, the latest of which is Gray’s older sister.
Shielding herself from the world behind the safety of her camera lens, photographer Ayah Fleming is pulled into the past when she returns home and uncovers the truth about her descendants with the help of a man who makes her long for a brighter future.
Five-year-old Dante, son of a wealthy family, is kidnapped from the town square in 1810 Palermo, Sicily, but the corrupt local police refuse to investigate. Gaetano Catalano, a young lawyer and member of the Beati Paoli, a secret society of aristocrats who work in the name of Saint Paul, decides to look for the child – in a search that consumes him for decades.
Meanwhile, power-hungry Franco Fiorvanti, the lemon grower who orchestrated Dante’s kidnapping at his boss’s behest, is tired of working for others. Franco dreams of owning his own orchard and invites his twin Roberto to work alongside of him. The two, along with a host of men who swear blood oaths to them begin to offer protection to orchard owners, becoming what we know today as the “Mafia.”
Set against the backdrop of a mostly lawless Sicily over two decades and starring a wide cast of characters whose lives are upended by the Fiorvanti’s family’s ruthlessness, Loyalty by Lisa Scottoline is well-written historical fiction to savor. This novel about heartbreak, loss, revenge and justice is a departure from Scottoline’s legal thrillers but contains all the trademarks her fans love, including interesting characters, the overarching theme of good versus evil, and a satisfying ending. Place your hold today and prepare to be swept away to another time and place.
Olivia is a beekeeper who finds refuge amongst her hives. A single mom to her son, Asher, Olivia will do anything it takes to keep him safe and remind him he’s loved. After leaving a toxic marriage, she is extra careful to keep an eye on Asher’s emotions. When Asher begins dating Lily, the new girl at school, Olivia welcomes her with open arms.
Until one day, when she gets the dreaded call. Asher has been found with Lily’s lifeless body and covered in her blood. Police don’t think this is an accident. And Asher is the number one suspect.
Calling on the help of her lawyer brother, Olivia fights to keep Asher out of prison, but she has the sinking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, Asher is not the perfect son she imagined. When a bombshell about Lily is dropped in the court room, any hope of Asher’s innocence seems to be whisked away.
Olivia and Lily are the two main narrators, and without spoiling anything, I will tell you that this story sneaks up on you with a big reveal. Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan partner together to weave a story about two women who are fighting for their own identity, shared by their mutual love of one man- Asher.
If you live in Cleveland, you probably know that we like to brag about our wonderful museums. From the Cleveland Museum of Natural History to Cleveland Museum of Art to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to Cowan Pottery Museum here at Rocky River Public Library, Cleveland has quite a few museums to explore and celebrate.
Documents the unsolved theft of twelve masterpieces from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, tracing the research of the late art detective Harold Smith while recounting the author’s own forays into the art underworld.
When Claudia decided to run away, she planned very carefully. She would be gone just long enough to teach her parents a lesson in Claudia appreciation. And she would go in comfort – she would live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In this collection of compact fictions, Nicolette Polek transports us to a gently unsettling realm inhabited by disheveled landlords, a fugitive bride, a seamstress who forgets what people look like, and two rival falconers from neighboring towns.
According to the latest Census data, there are 20.6 million people in the United States who identify as part of the AAPI community. In celebration of AAPI stories, here are selections from our collection to pick up on your next trip to the library.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity.
In 1969,sisters Trang and Quỳnh, desperate to help their parents pay off debts, leave their rural village to work at a bar in Sài Gòn. Once in the big city, the young girls are thrown headfirst into a world they were not expecting. They learn how to speak English, how to dress seductively, and how to drink and flirt (and more) with American GIs in return for money. As the war moves closer to the city, the once-innocent Trang gets swept up in an irresistible romance with a handsome and kind American helicopter pilot she meets at the bar.
When Lana Lee’s best friend, Megan Riley, asks her to help host a speed dating contest at Ho-Lee Noodle House, she doesn’t see the harm in lending a hand. The night goes better than anticipated, and both Lana and Megan are beyond thrilled with the results. But before they can break out the champagne, Rina Su, fellow Asia Village shop owner and speed dating participant, calls to inform Lana that the date she’s just matched with has been murdered. Under suspicion of foul play, Rina enlists Lana’s help in finding out what really happened that night.
When Elizabeth Chen’s ever-hustling realtor mother finally sells the beloved if derelict community center down the block, the new owners don’t look like typical New York City buyers. Brendan Lee and Darcy Wong are good Chinese boys with Hong Kong money. Clean-cut and charismatic, they say they are committed to cleaning up the neighborhood. To Elizabeth, that only means one thing: Darcy is looking to give the center an uptown makeover.
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative–and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world.
In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten “relocation centers,” hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.
They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.
In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.
This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.
It’s January of 1953 and in six months, Queen Elizabeth II will be crowned monarch. All hope to be witnesses. The 400-year-old Blue Lion Hotel is lucky to be on the route Her Majesty will be taking that day – especially since the hotel, left to Edie Howard by her parents who died in WWII, has been struggling financially for years. Edie’s greatest wish is that the celebration will help the hotel regain solvency.
As the months pass, the hotel begins to fill. New guests include James Geddes, a Scottish artist with Indian heritage hired to create a painting of the procession, and Stella Donati, a Holocaust survivor and photographer from Rome. The two, who face mistreatment as foreigners, quickly bond with the kind and generous Edie. And, when it becomes clear that someone is out to sabotage the success of the Blue Lion, Edie will be happy she has such good friends by her side.
Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson is an absorbing read –uplifting, well-researched historical fiction that mixes suspenseful drama with a bit of a mystery and romance. Post-war London comes to life, as realistic and likeable characters who lost everything during the war, learn to live and love again. Coronation Yearis the perfect novel for those who couldn’t stop watching this weekend’s coronation of Charles III, or for anyone looking for a lovely story.