Debut Fiction: The Cloisters

Today is publication day for The Cloisters by Katy Hays!

When Ann Stilwell is assigned to an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she’s expecting a ho-hum summer working with the curatorial staff. Instead, she ends up at The Cloisters, a renowned medieval museum filled with unique artifacts and eclectic staff members.

As Ann gets to know the staff, secrets come to light throughout the shadowy hallways of the museum. Curator Patrick shows a focused interest on a 15th-century deck of tarot cards as part of a special research project he seems to be conducting. Research assistant Rachel is everything Ann wants to be, and the two form a quick bond. The museum draws Ann into the world of under the table antique dealers, poisonous plants, and researchers willing to risk it all.

This book combines the mysterious world of 15th century spiritualism with 21st century intrigue. This debut academic thriller is bound to grab your interest if you liked The Secret History or Ninth House.

Photo credit: The Met Cloisters

If nothing else, reading this book serves as an introduction to The Met Cloisters. A spectacular setting for a novel, the real life museum is as intriguing and beautiful as described.

-Melinda

*I received a review copy from the publisher. This is my honest review. 

Review: All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris

Find it here.
Ellice Littlejohn escaped her poor, small-town Georgia life at 14 and has rarely looked back since building a successful life and law career for herself in Atlanta. She does the best she can to help her younger brother, Sam, but his past run-ins with the law and her fancy corporate lawyer gig means that Ellice keeps the two parts of her life separate. She was successful at that until the morning she arrives at work to find her boss and lover, Michael, dead in his office. In a whirlwind of events in the aftermath of Michael’s murder Ellice finds herself in the center of a conspiracy that she never saw coming. 

This debut novel has it all-secrets, lies, murder, and suspense. Mixed in with all the action and drama are themes of racism, white supremacy, and family secrets. 

Readalikes:

RRPL Summer Reads- The Chosen and The Beautiful

It’s finally June which means that summer is officially right around the corner! We will be counting down the days until the first day of summer, Sunday, June 20th, by sharing the books we are most excited to read in the months ahead. Each week you’ll get a look at titles that Rocky River Public Library staff can’t wait to dive into!

My first summer read pick is The Chosen and The Beautiful by Nghi Vo.

This book, just published yesterday (!) is a Best of Summer Pick for Time Magazine and a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 Pick for Oprah Magazine, so I’m definitely not the only person who has been looking forward to this title to hit bookshelves.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents the American classic story of The Great Gatsby through a queer, magical, immigrant lens. Reimagining Fitzgerald’s character Jordan Baker as a young, queer woman who was born in Vietnam and raised in white, American high society, Vo invites readers along for a fresh, imaginative look at this Gatsby woman. Jordan has money, education, invitations to the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age, but is treated like an exotic attraction by her peers.

Vo, a Milwaukee-based author, whose previous works include the novellas Then the Tiger Came Down the Mountain and The Empress of Salt and Fortune, said in a recent interview that her early influences include Neil Gaiman, British fantasy writer Angela Carter, “The Talented Mr. Ripley” author Patricia Highsmith, and the popular podcast series “Welcome to Night Vale.”

As many students have had to throughout the years, I first read The Great Gatsby in my high school freshman English class, and wasn’t particularly impressed. I’ve re-read it since then and am a fan of Fitzgerald’s works now, but am very excited to read a modern, diverse voice such as Vo’s take on this well-known narrative. I also love magical realism and this new novel sounds like an amazing mash-up of some of my favorite literary elements!

What are some titles you are excited to read this summer? We’d love for you to share your titles with us this month in the comments! Happy reading!