Cozy up with a new book

It’s November 2016 when a staff member is found dead near the swimming pool at Buckingham Palace. The victim is an unpopular member of the housekeeping staff. Senior staff tries to shield the Queen from the awful news, but she inserts herself into the investigation along with her assistant private secretary, Rozie Oshodi. In addition to the murder, the Queen realizes that one of her favorite paintings, Britannia, is missing and has been for some time. Apparently there have been a string of missing items (dubbed the Breakages Business) from the palace since the 1980’s. In addition to all of the above, there has been a poison pen campaign. Some palace employees have been threatened causing some to leave and three have turned up dead.

The Queen and Rozie make good partners in solving crimes and at giving helpful hints. They manage to convince the Palace staff chiefs, managers and police into thinking they solved the crimes on the Queen’s behalf.

This is the second entry in the “Her Majesty the Queen Investigates” series following The Windsor Knot (2020). Murder Most Royal is scheduled to be published in November 2022. I look forward to the next one. These are fun stories.


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

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.


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.


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.


Do The Time Warp Again

A Rip Through Time
by Kelley Armstrong

It’s May 20, 2019 and Vancouver homicide detective Mallory Atkinson is in Edinburgh, Scotland visiting her dying grandmother. To let off some steam, Mallory goes for a run and comes across what appears to be a woman in period costume being strangled. Mallory attempts to intervene and is strangled and left unconscious.

When Mallory wakes up, she’s not herself, both figuratively and literally. Instead, she finds herself in the body of a young housemaid, Catriona Mitchell, who was also attacked and left for dead in the exact spot Mallory was, on the very same day – 150 years earlier, in 1869!

Mallory cannot reason why she’s become a stranger in a strange body in a strange time, but quickly realizes that if she wants to survive (and not end up in an insane asylum), she’ll have to keep her origin story to herself and learn what it takes to be a housemaid in Victorian Scotland. Lucky for Mallory, her “new’ employer, Dr. Duncan Gray, is the local undertaker who assists Edinburgh Police Detective McCreadie solve crimes. When Mallory learns that the two men are investigating the strangulation of a man, an attack like the one made on Mallory’s life, she pins her hopes that helping to catch the murderer will lead her back to modern times.

Playing the role of Catriona along the way, however, who is more street-savvy thief than young, timid maid, might be tougher than Mallory suspects. And if Mallory is in 1869 making a mess out of Catriona’s life, what ever could Catriona be up to in Mallory’s life in 2019?

If you like mysteries, time travel stories, engaging characters, and historical fiction, you won’t want to miss A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong. My only complaint about this first in a new series is that I will have to wait for the sequel. It almost makes me wish that time travel were truly possible.  


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.


“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.


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.


A Look at Some New Children’s Books

I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be in a profession where my colleagues and I share book recommendations with one another almost daily. And, even better, I regularly also hear about titles that aren’t even out yet.

A couple of weeks ago, my good fortune was rewarded once again when I attended Cuyahoga County Public Library’s “Youth Book Buzz”. This virtual event offered several publishers, including Norton Books, Penguin Random House, Workman and Baker and Taylor, an opportunity to share some of their new Summer and Fall children and teen book releases. Librarians all over Ohio were invited to learn about hundreds of forthcoming books to be prepared to recommend that “perfect” new title to patrons and parents.

Here are just a few books that caught my fancy from that day:

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill is a fantasy for readers aged 10 and up and is about the power of generosity and love, and how a community suffers when it loses sight of those things. Already published in March, it’s technically not a forthcoming title, but I still can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho will be published in November. In this romantic comedy, Lari Ramires falls hard for Pedro Molina, but knows, as the grandchildren of two rival Brazilian bakeries, their love can never be. With a beautiful setting, a star-crossed romance and amazing-sounding food, this new teen novel will be one to devour.

A Library is a lyrical picture book by poet Nikki Giovanni with illustrations by fine artist Erin Robinson. Together they have crafted a love letter to the magic places that libraries are. A Library will be published in September this year, and while it might seem obvious, I will be sure to check it out.

The Flamingo by Guojing is my kind of illustrated book. This wordless, graphic novel/chapter book follows an imaginative girl who becomes obsessed with flamingoes while on a beach vacation with her grandmother. I can already tell that this title, out in September, will make a great holiday gift.

Elephants Remember by Jennifer O’Connell is a nonfiction picture book that tells the story of Lawrence Anthony and his animal reserve in South Africa. There, he developed a deep bond he with the matriarch of an elephant herd that he helped to save. Look for it in October.

Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholk and illustrated by Khoa Le is picture book that will be published in September. It is heartwarming, slightly spooky tale about two very different sisters, Beatrice and Roo, who learn to celebrate their individuality, understanding that love runs deeper than their differences. I’m looking forward to reading this one to my favorite four-year-old.

While these titles are (almost) all too new to be in our catalog. Make sure you look for them starting this Summer. In the meantime, visit us at Rocky River Public Library and we’ll suggest some other great books for you to read.


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.