A new historical fiction title

A dual narrative featuring Tess Abbott, an American Army nurse and Flor
Dalisay, a Filipina university student, this is a story of the “Angels of
Bataan”. In 1941, there were 77 U.S. Navy and Army nurses stationed in the
Philippines. Many of these women wanted more from life than their rural farm
upbringing offered, so they went to nursing school and then joined the
military.

The Japanese bombed Manilla on June 8, 1941, just 10 hours after attacking
Pearl Harbor. Life changed drastically in Manilla. The nurses suddenly found
themselves on the front line dealing with war injuries, in addition to malaria
and other illnesses.

When Japan invaded the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur chose
Bataan and Corregidor Island as his major defense positions and the nursing
staff followed. Bataan fell on April 9, 1942, and Corregidor Island became the
last outpost of organized resistance in the islands. Fearing that MacArthur
might be taken prisoner by the Japanese, on March 11, 1942, he was ordered to
leave the island of Corregidor for Australia.

Allied forces eventually surrendered to the Japanese on May 6, 1942. The
nurses, now prisoners of war, were sent from Malinta Tunnel in Corregidor to
Manila’s Santo Tomas Internment Camp.

Many Fillipinos, including Flor and the network she helped maintain, aided
those held in prison camps. They brought food, money, and information.

This is a story of danger, deprivation, and terror. Shockingly all seventy-seven
nurses survived their multi-year ordeal.

~Emma

Cozy up with a new book

Helen Maitland marries beneath her class by marrying Joshua Wilcox. Joshua is not accepted as Helen’s equal despite being a successful tradesman. He wants to start a trans-Manhattan elevated railway which requires lots of capital. To obtain additional funding Joshua puts up the family’s home as collateral. When Joshua loses the house to speculator Felix Castle, the family is forced to move in with Helen’s mother. Happily the family’s finances eventually turn around when stock in the elevated railway project is offered to the public. As Helen plans her daughters’ debut, she wants the event to be something different. Jemima and Alice’s introduction into society takes place, contrary to the traditional quiet reception at home, at Delminco’s ballroom. Also contrary to tradition, both young women have found their own potential husbands without their parents’ knowledge.

This is a riches to rags to riches story. It would be a fun read for fans of Bridgerton and Downton Abbey.

~Emma

Cozy up with a new book

Olivia (Liv) Green is a wife, mother, aspiring writer, and housekeeper. She cleans house for her favorite author, Essie Starling. Reclusive Essie is working on the 20th installment of her Georgia Rory adventure series and asks for input from Liv which she readily gives. When Essie suddenly dies, she leaves the completion of the novel to Liv with stipulations. The book is to be released along with the news of her death on November 1st, and no one is to know that Liv finished the book. That gives Liv 6 months to complete the project. To complete the novel Liv needs to understand Essie better. She decides to go back in time and visit Essie’s two ex-husbands to try to understand why Essie lived such a reclusive life for 10 years. Liv eventually discovers a personal connection with Essie that she does not understand at first.

This is a heart-warming, uplifting story not to be missed.

~Emma

Cozy up with a new book

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan

There are three narrators to the story. Fashion designer Cressida Westcott faces the loss of her business and home destroyed in the London Blitz. She moves back home to Aldhurst with nothing but the clothes on her back. Violet Westcott, Cressida’s niece, is a living a carefree life dreaming of marrying a titled man until her conscription letter arrives. Grace Carlisle plans to marry the local vicar and quietly support his career. She wants to wear a white dress on her wedding day. With the help of the village sewing circle and Cressida, Grace’s mother’s wedding dress is transformed into a beautiful gown once again.

Grace does not marry the local vicar after all but offers the use of her wedding dress to others. With clothing and fabric rationed, it’s the only way many women can wear a white dress on their wedding day. The sewing circle receives donations of used wedding gowns. They repair and update them for new brides.

There is so much more to the story. Cressida wants to get back to work in London. Grace ends up working for Cressida as a creative assistant and model. Violet marries an American serviceman and is moving to the States. All three women find love in unexpected places.

This is a charming tale not to be missed.

~Emma

“Once Upon a Crime” June 6th – 7:00-8:00

You are invited to attend a discussion of the following novel

in the Community Room on June 6th.

Hope to see you there!

The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer

On August 21, 1911, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre by museum worker Vincent Peruggia. The theft was not discovered immediately. In truth, many thought the painting was taken to the roof where others were being photographed due to better lighting. After two days, an international hunt was on to recover the stolen work. Peruggia’s scheme was to have forgeries made of the painting and have them sold as the original. Along with the forger and go-between, Perrugia would become rich. (There were nine forgeries.) In 1913, Perrugia returned the Mona Lisa to the Louvre. Was it the real thing or a forgery?

Vincent Peruggia is the great-grandfather of art professor Luke Perrone. Luke is obsessed with the story behind the theft. He travels to Florence, Italy. His great-grandfather’s journal is available at the Laurentian library in Florence. Others seem interested in the truth behind the theft including an INTERPOL agent and a young American woman.

A terrifying and thrilling multi-layered novel.

~Emma

Cozy up with a new book

In the middle of the Spanish flu epidemic in 1918, sisters Helen and Lutie (Lucretia) sell their family home in Iowa and move to Denver. They buy a home with a basement apartment. Maud, Ronald, and 10-year-old Dorothy Streeter are their tenants. Maud dies from the flu; Ronald disappears; and Dorothy is left alone. Helen and Lutie want to adopt Dorothy.

Helen is a nurse, and her boyfriend Gil is a doctor. Lutie works as a fashion illustrator for a downtown department store which caters to wealthy customers. Lutie is engaged to Peter Howell, a seminary student, who enlists. When Peter is killed his parents are very supportive of Lutie, Helen, and little Dorothy.

When Ronald Streeter reappears to retrieve Dorothy, he is stabbed to death and Helen is left holding the bloody ice pick. Helen confesses that she killed him. Gil helps Helen dispose of the body. They leave the body on the side of the road assuming a “death wagon” patrolling the streets will pick it up.

There is so much more to the story. It is an emotional novel full of love, loss, and family support.

~Emma

Cozy up with a new book

The family had been hiding in the backwoods of the Kentucky mountains all of Honey Lovett’s life. Now it is 1953 when 16-year-old Honey’s parents are in jail for intermarrying between blue and non-blue folk. (The blue condition is called methemoglobinemia. It is a blood disorder in which an abnormal amount of methemoglobin is produced. This causes the skin to show blue tones.) Honey needs to marry or find a guardian. If not, Honey will be taken to the Kentucky House of Reform until she turns twenty-one.

Sadly, Honey’s guardian passes away and she is alone again. A very independent Honey takes on her mother’s old packhorse librarian route delivering books to isolated people in the county. She even rides her mother’s ornery but protective mule, Junia. Most people are happy to have the book delivery service again, but a couple of individuals make her life miserable. To avoid trouble with the state and social service officials, lawyer Bob Morgan offers to represent her in a bid for legal emancipation. Despite lies told in court, friends come to Honey’s aid to testify to her character and to her ability to be independent.

This is a terrific book for readers of historical fiction. You will want to start with the first title in the series – The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek published in 2019.

~Emma

Cozy up with a new book

After her mother dies, Hanna Rombauer is sent to live with wealthy Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Otto in Berlin. Their goal is to find her a high-ranking SS officer to marry, and Hanna soon learns that she has no choice in the matter. Klara Schmidt, Hanna’s friend, is also expected to marry an SS officer.

Gifted seamstresses Mathilde Altman (Tilde) and her Jewish mother run a fabric shop. Tilde who looks Aryan waits on customers while her mother hides upstairs. Tilde’s Aryan father left his family when it became dangerous for Jews in Germany. Eventually Tilde’s mother immigrates to the United States.

Hanna and Tilde are barely aware of each other, but their lives soon become entangled. Hanna is sent to a “Nazi Bride School” to learn to become the proper Nazi wife. Tilde is pregnant, her Jewish husband has disappeared, and she needs a safe place to give birth. Klara, one of Tilde’s customers, is also attending the school and is aware of Tilde’s predicament. Klara discovers an abandoned cabin near the school where Tilde can be relatively safe. Both Hanna and Klara take extraordinary risks when Tilde and her newborn are discovered.

For fans of historical fiction, this is a tale of love, loss, and survival.

~Emma

Cozy up with a new book

In New York City in 1955, 29-year-old Rachel Perlman (born Rashka Morgenstern) continues to suffer from survivor guilt. She survived the Holocaust, but her mother, a successful artist, did not. Rachel endured the war by being a “U-boat”, a Jew hiding in plain sight to avoid capture. She became involved with identifying other “U-boats” who were eventually sent to concentration camps.

Rachel has been married for 7 years to her Jewish/American husband Aaron who wants to start a family, but Rachel is reluctant to bring a child into an evil world. She is haunted by visions of her mother and nightmares of what she witnessed. Her husband, in-laws and even her psychiatrist cannot comprehend what she experienced.

Incredibly one of Rachel’s mother’s paintings was discovered by Uncle Fritz in a pawnshop, and he’s certain it’s worth a fortune. Fritz wants to purchase the painting but does not have the $50 the pawnbroker wants for it. When Rachel goes to purchase the painting, it’s gone. Who bought it and why?

This is a heartbreaking book at times, but there is hope.

~Emma

Cozy up with a new book

When 13-year-old Stefan Silbermann’s mother died, his father sent him away to a boarding school in Leipzig. (Gottfried Silbermann made and serviced church organs.) At the school Johann Sebastian Bach is the cantor. Stefan’s beautiful voice attracts the attention of Bach which causes bullying from the other boys. They are extremely jealous. Bach is aware of the bullying and invites Stefan to live at his home with his wife and children. Everyone lives and breathes music at the Bach home. All are required to practice and perform for the family. Anna Magdalena, Bach’s second wife, is a talented vocalist, but women are not allowed to sing publicly in church. She spends time with Stefan helping him to learn new music Bach composes on a regular basis. Catharina, Bach’s oldest child, becomes a favorite of Stefan.

The novel is told from Stefan’s point of view decades later. It’s a novel of love, loss, and grief.

~Emma