Here to Help You Pick the Perfect Book ...

Discovering great new writers is one of the delightful parts of being a bookseller. I’m constantly on the lookout for wonderful new fiction, and especially look for books that can be a little edgy, like Herman Koch’s “The Dinner”. I also love and recommend historical works of fiction. My favorite books take place during WWII!

2020 Reading Now:

NEW! Tsarina, by Ellen Alpsten

This is an incredibly well researched novel about Peter the Great’s second wife, Catherine the 1st. Alpsten brings to life the decadence and deprivation of 18th century Russia. This amazing debut tells the story of Catherine’s rise from serf to becoming the first Empress of Russia. I loved it.

*WARNING* There is  graphic violence and sex in this book.

 The Evening and the Morning, by Ken Follett

In this prequel to The Pillars of the Earth, the Dark Ages are ending and civilization is on the cusp of the Middle Ages. A young boat builder’s life is destroyed when the Vikings invade his town.

A Norman noblewoman marries for love and travels across the sea to her new husband’s homeland where a brutal battle for power begins.

A monk dreams of turning his poor abbey into a place of learning but is thwarted along the way by a ruthless bishop who thinks only of his wealth and power.

Follett’s attention to historical detail draws the reader into the world of 998 AD. This absorbing epic takes us on the journey to where The Pillars of the Earth begins. A fabulous read, I have missed his storytelling! 

NEW! Squeeze Me, by Carl Hiaasen

I laughed and laughed until the tears were running down my face while reading this! Pythons, pearls, and a philandering President add up to Hiaasen’s razor-sharp commentary on today’s society. A great escape!

NEW! The Paris Model, by Alexandra Joel

Based on a true story, this debut novel is about a young woman who flees a sheep farm in Australia to become a model for Christian Dior in postwar Paris. There she discovers astonishing secrets about herself, her family, and the fabulous people around her. A good read!

Past Favorites:

Monogamy, by Sue Miller

I love Miller’s writing and her ability to take on the familiar issues of trust and betrayal between husbands and wives with tremendous empathy.

This is a beautifully written novel about a 30 year marriage, a sudden death, and the process of grieving and healing from not only the loss of a partner but the knowledge that they weren’t who you thought they were. Fabulous!

One by One, by Ruth Ware

A suspenseful thriller set on a snow covered mountain in the Alps. Eight co-workers gather for a week-long corporate retreat. Tensions simmer, loyalties are tested, and with a storm brewing outside, the group dwindles…one by one. Ware at her best!

Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman

An apartment open house becomes a life-or-death situation when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. Deeply funny and also heartbreaking. This is a story of marriage, parenting, and global economic pressure. Classic Backman, it does not disappoint!

The River Home, by Hannah Richell

This is a character-driven novel of family, love, grief, and the emotional connections that tie us to each other and to certain places. Richell’s skill at peeling away the layers of and revealing the raw pain in this incredibly complicated family is amazing! A great read from the author of Peacock Summer, a past favorite!

A Private Cathedral, by James Lee Burke

James Lee Burke’s novels have always had a spiritual side to them. His Louisiana lawman occasionally finds himself dwelling upon the subject.

In this new book, Robicheaux finds himself in the middle of a dark, generations long feud between two criminal families. He also finds himself hunted by a mysterious assassin who seems more demon than man. As always, I loved it!

The Lions of Fifth Avenue, by Fiona Davis

This is a story about two strong minded women, generations apart. They are both connected by a mysterious family secret, rare book thefts, and need to forge an independent life. A great read!

The End of Her, by Shari Lapena

Stephanie and Patrick are newlywed parents of twins. Even with severe sleep deprivation due to the twins colic, they know how lucky they are. That is, until a woman from Patrick’s past appears on their doorstep with accusations towards Patrick about his first wife’s death. Was it the unfortunate accident as the sheriff declared…or something more sinister? The web of lies and deceit unravel the young mother’s once unwavering trust in her husband. Is Stephanie married to a killer? A page turner from beginning to end, loved it!

 Universe of Two, by Stephen Kiernan

This is a fictionalized account of the life of  Charles Fisk, a gifted mathematician who was drafted into the Manhattan Project. He was ordered against his morals to build the detonator for the atomic bomb. This is a love story, a story of redemption, and a story of humanity. An important moral question handled by an expert author. Great read!

Her Last Flight, by Beatriz Williams

This is the story of Janey Everett, a photojournalist who is obsessed with the disappearance of aviator Sam Mallory and his aviatrix partner Irene Foster. It calls to mind the search for Amelia Earhart, but that is where the resemblance ends. This book has it all; history, romance, family loyalty, loss, and extreme perseverance. Absolutely one of my favorite books by Beatriz! A must read!

Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook, by Celia Rees

This is a novel about an ordinary young British woman sent to uncover a network of spies and war criminals in post-war Germany. A wonderful story of female friendship and betrayal.

The Black Swan Of Paris, by Karen Robards

An extremely suspenseful WWII novel about a young woman who ran away from her past to become a successful singer in wartime Europe. She is able to use her stardom (somewhat reluctantly) to enthrall the Nazi elite while helping the resistance. Tension, secrets, and loyalty are the driving force of this fabulous read!

Daughter of the Reich, by Louise Fein

This wonderfully researched debut novel is based loosely on the author’s family history. It is the story of a brave young woman whose father is a high ranking Nazi officer. She is raised in (and truly believes in) the Nazi party ideology, until she meets up with a childhood friend from long ago. This is a mesmerizing story of passion, courage, and morality. I loved it!

Code Name Hélène, by Ariel Lawhon

Meet real-life Nancy Wake- a fearless, audacious, and glamorous socialite turned secret agent. Going by four differnt code names she thwarted the Nazis at every turn and became their “most wanted”. Her story is facinating and kept me absolutely riveted. I have read all of Ariel’s novels, and this is hands down her best one yet! THis extraordinary woman deserves to become a household name!

The Deverill Chronicles- The Irish Girl, The Daughters of Ireland, & The Secret of The Irish Castle, by Santa Montefiore

This Irish saga begins in Castle Deverill with the birth of Kitty Deverill on the ninth day of the ninth month of 1900. It is a powerful story of love, loyalty, and family ties. Told against the magical setting of Ireland. A perfect read for fans of Kate Morton and Lucinda Riley. I loved these books! Once I finished the first one I could not wait to pick up the next!

NEW! Eight Perfect Murders, by Peter Swanson

In this “Hitchcock” type thriller, Swanson delivers a story about a bookseller who finds himself at the center of an FBI investigation. A killer has started using HIS list of fiction’s most perfect murders! A great page-turning suspense!

The Mitford Scandal, by Jessica Fellowes

I love the Mitford Murder Series!! Think of it as Downton Abbey meets Agatha Christie. This novel takes place in the late 1920’s in Europe. A maid falls through a skylight onto the floor of a ballroom during an extravagant party. Soon after, another victim is found. Could one of the Mitford sisters be involved? Fellowes weaves together historical fact and suspenseful fiction very well. Just a fun quick read!

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson

Even though this book came out last summer, I am just now discovering this amazing book! I love reading books that introduce me to things I knew nothing about. Within five minutes of reading I was researching the Blue People of Eastern Kentucky barely able to believe that they were real! It also led me to researching the Pack Horse Librarian Project that Roosevelt started. If you haven’t heard of either of those two things I strongly suggest researching them and reading this book! This is a story of severe poverty, fierce strength, and the human need for knowledge, no matter the circumstances. I adored Cussy Mary and believe you will fall in love with her story as well.

A Long Petal of the Sea, by Isabel Allende

A 23-year-old medical student and a young pregnant woman escape from Spain in the late 1930’s and make their way to Chile. There they form an unlikely bond that spans decades. This is an epic story of love, war, family, and the search for home. Great read!

All The Ways We Said Goodbye, by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, & Karen White

“Team W” has done it again, and this is their best book yet! This historical novel takes you from WWI to WWII to the 1960’s. Three women whose fates are joined together by the splendid Ritz Carlton Hotel. I absolutely loved it!

Lady Clementine, by Marie Benedict

This is a well-researched behind the scenes look at one of history’s most influential and extraordinary women! This is a novel about Winston Churchill’s wife, Clementine. Benedict shows the reader not only Clementine’s own ambitions and secrets, but also how her steady hand helped Churchill through some of the darkest times in world history. I adored it!

The Moonshiner’s Daughter, by Donna Everhart

Donna always ]writes a powerful book about family dynamics, as this novel follows suit. As a young child, Jessie was there to witness her mother’s death caused by the family business of moonshining. Set in 1960 Wilkes County, NC, Jessie is desperate to destroy her family’s legacy. At what cost to herself and her family will she go? I loved this amazing book and I couldn’t put it down! Donna’s writing just keeps getting better and better!

The Glittering Hour, by Iona Grey

In 1936 England, a nine year old girl pieces together clues to her mother’s wild past in this wonderful historical saga. It is a story of great love, loss, and a reminder that we all have to live each day to the fullest! I loved it! A great NEW December read!

The Deserter, by Nelson & Alex DeMille

A fabulous new thriller about an elite Delta Force Captain who deserts his men in Afghanistan and is being hunted not only by the CID (Criminal Investigation Division), but by others who may be trying to kill him before he can tell his story. With DeMille’s signature humor throughout, this book is a great read!

Olive Again, by Elizabeth Strout

Oh Olive, how we’ve missed you! After eleven years I’d almost forgotten how I see so much of Olive in myself and some of the people in my life. An insightful look into the loneliness in all of us and how easily we can alleviate a person’s fear and sadness with a single word or gesture. I absolutely adored this book! You MUST start with Strout’s first book, Olive Kitteridge, if you have not already read it. It is equally as amazing, and will give you the introduction to this sequel.

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Sepetys is considered a crossover novelist, as her books are read by both young adult teens, and adults. This book takes place in 1957 Madrid, Spain under the fascist dictatorship of General Franco, who is in on the dark secrets that Spain is hiding. An 18-year old American photographer hopes to unearth these secrets and show them to the world using his photographs. Sepetys brings this lesser known historical time to life by showing the hidden violence of silence through her amazing characters that she creates, and beautifully captures the real personalities of. I have read all of her books and adored each and every one. They are all stories that demand to be told as only she can do! Fabulous!

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris

This new novel by the author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, is based on the true life story of Cilka. Cilka was a 16-year old girl who survived three years in Auschwitz-Birkenau only to be sentenced to 15 years in a Russian gulag in outer Siberia. Lale Sokolov from the Tattooist called her the bravest person he ever knew. Inspiring!

The Fifth Column by Andrew Gross

How well do YOU know your neighbors? America is on the brink of entering into WWII. Charles has just been released from prison after serving time for manslaughter, and NYC is filled with whispers of a “fifth column”- German spies who are embedded into everyday life. A tense and fast-paced thriller!

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

I absolutely LOVED this debut novel! This book is inspired by the true story of the Russian poet, Boris Pasternak the author of Doctor Zhivago, his muse and lover of 13 years, Olga Ivinskaya, and the secretaries recruited by the CIA to infiltrate the hearts and minds of the people of the Soviet Union with the greatest love story of the twentieth century! Fabulous!

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

This novel opens with a young nanny who is sitting in a prison in Scotland, accused of murdering one of the children under her care. Set in a huge high-tech house in a remote area of Scotland, this a modern day good old-fashioned gothic ghost story. It of course includes Ruth Ware’s signature twist (or two) at the end! I devoured it!

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

1940 Reims, France In a small champagne winery a naive young wife feeling isolated and neglected by her husband unwittingly puts herself and those around her at risk as she seeks some excitement in her life. Present day, a young divorcee doesn’t understand why her 99 year old grand mother insists that she accompany her to France. The older woman has difficult information to share and an ulterior motive while she’s there, but is afraid it will shake her granddaughter’s world to the core. A great novel that teaches us that the choices we make in the past might greatly affect our future! A great read!

Chances Are… by Richard Russo

This is vintage, classic Russo. It’s reminiscent of Russo’s familiar themes such as father and son relationships, small town issues, and the power of friendship. However, in this new novel it comes with a twist; a mystery with an ending that unfolds slowly. I absolutely adored it!

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

In 1941, a beautiful young society reporter is sent to the Bahamas to report on the infamous Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

1900 Switzerland, a young German Baroness is sent to a clinic to cure her postpartum depression. While she is there she falls in love with an English soldier.

This story is about two unforgettable women and the roles they played in this family saga of espionage, love, sacrifice, and courage set against a shocking true crime. I can’t wait for Beatriz to get here July 12th at our Moveable Feast, so I can ask her what inspired her to write this wonderful novel!

The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore

This is a total beach read, but with substance! The story is set over the course of one Summer in Block Island , RI.

It starts with three very different people… Anthony, a writer hiding from a scandal… Lu, who is hiding a secret from her husband… and Joy, who is trying to keep her small bakery in business. They all find their lives intersecting in various ways. A well written novel perfect for summer reading!

The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin

A riveting look at the infamous rivalry between designers Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, who are in a fierce battle of their own to be recognized as the premiere designer of France. This is a well-written novel set against the increasing threat of the Nazi invasion of Paris. I loved it!

The Summer Country by Lauren Willig

A fabulous multi-generational saga that takes place in colonial Barbados. Not only is it meticulously researched, but this book takes you on a fabulous ride of old-time story telling. Willig has put together a historical novel of love, mystery, lies, jealously, and rebellion. Absolutely her best yet!

Montauk by Nicola Harrison

A fabulous debut, this is not only a tale of love, betrayal, and social climbing. It is a story of a woman finding the courage to walk her own path. Set in the 1930’s village as it was becoming the new playground for New York City’s wealthy elite.

The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer

This amazing work of biographical fiction is based on the true story of journalist, Varian Fry, known as the “American Schindler”. Fry is credited with saving the lives of thousands of Jewish artists, writers, and their work. It is a passionate and well-researched tribute. Adored it!

The Daughter’s Tale by Armando Lucas Correa

Based on true events, this is an unforgettable family saga of love, survival, and redemption. Set against the tragedy of WWII in France, it brings to light the sacrifices and choices so many mothers were forced to make. This story will live in your mind for weeks after you’ve turned the last page.

Save Me From Dangerous Men by S.A. Lelchuk

This outstanding series debut is action packed and razor sharp! This stellar new heroine is a combination of Lisbeth Salander and Jack Reacher. Nikki Griffin is a private investigator who owns a bookstore and also tracks certain kinds of men. Men who hurt women. Great book to read on the beach!

The Lost Prince by Michael Mewshaw

This is a compassionate, but no holds barred memoir about Mewshaw’s decades long friendship with Pat Conroy. It details their friendship up until Pat asked Mewshaw for a terrible favor, which when granted ended their friendship. A fascinating look into a complicated relationship.

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

By the bestselling author of The Alice Network, this WWII thriller is a riveting account of war, revenge, and the uncompromising power of truth. It takes the reader from an all-female night bomber regiment in the Soviet Union, to a Nazi hunter in London, to an unsuspecting family in Boston. I loved it!

The Dakota Winters by Tom Barbash

A funny, touching novel of a family living among the celebrities of the Dakota building in 1979 New York. A social commentary of a critical moment in the history of New York City in the year leading up to John Lennon’s assassination.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

This amazing book is based on interviews that Morris conducted with Ludwig “Lale” Sokolov, an Austro-Hungarian-born Slovak-Australian Holocaust survivor sent to Auschwitz in 1942 as the concentration camp’s tetovierier. Its a story that shows the strength of love when all of humanity has forsaken you.

Gods of Howl Mountain by Taylor Brown

This novel is set in the mountains of 1950’s North Carolina. It’s a wonderfully written story about folk healers, bootleggers, powerful mountain clans, and dark family secrets.

The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellows

An old-fashioned murder mystery reminiscent of Agatha Christie novels, based on an actual murder back in the 1920’s during the Golden Age. It was a fun read and kept me guessing to the end!

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

This epic saga is at times incredibly funny, and achingly sad. Boyne entertains readers with a story of Ireland from the 1940’s to present day, through the eyes of a boy who knows he is gay in a society that hates his sexuality. If you love John Irving you will adore this book. I devoured it!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My favorite beach read of the year! This book is the total package: the best of old Hollywood intrigue, a sensational twist you never suspect, and an eye-opening commentary on the price of female stardom. Loved it!

The Women In The Castle by Jessica Shattuck

If you loved The Nightingale you will devour this! 1944 Germany and 3 women, one of whose husband was executed for the assassination attempt on Hitler, try desperately to save other women caught in the turmoil during the end of the war. An emotionally powerful novel about friendship and survival.  Loved it!

A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
Line weaves together fact and fiction to bring to life the woman behind Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting, Christina’s World. Tender and tragic. I loved it!

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan
WWII in a quiet English village as seen through the eyes of five very different women. Lives are upended and secrets unraveled as these women learn that friendship can sustain them as their world collapses around them. A terrific debut!

The Dry by Jane Harper
An atmospheric debut mystery that takes place under the blistering Australian sun. A federal agent returns to his hometown to find a decades old crime influencing his investigation of a horrific new one. Tightly paced – hard to put down.
The House At the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner
A wonderful multi-generation family saga that takes place on a small island off the coast of Italy. Early 1900 to current day. Loved it!

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
In this fictional memoir, the extraordinary life of Beryl Markham is brought to life. Raised in Kenya by her father and the native Kipsigis tribe, her unconventional childhood led to her becoming a strong, independent woman. Her failed marriage, her love affair with Deny Finch Hatton and her transatlantic flight that made her famous are all a part of the story of a woman ahead of her time in life and love.

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams
Set in the 60s, Christina “Tiny” Hardcastle and her husband Frank are the perfect power couple. He’s got his sights set on a political career until three unwelcome guests appear at the family estate on Cape Cod and threaten to unravel their ordered life. A fun beach read!

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
Six sisters gather at their childhood home, having been told of the death of their beloved adopted father. He leaves each of them a mysterious clue as to their true heritage. For those who love a saga this is the first of seven books!

World Gone By by Dennis Lehane
A morally complex thriller set in Cuba and Ybor City Florida during the 1940’s. A former crime kingpin is enjoying the fruits of his past labor until his dark past catches up with him.

Vanessa And Her Sister by Priya Parmar
This novel takes you into the troubled relationship between artist Vanessa Bell and her sister Virginia Woolf. I found it fascinating to read about the famous Bloomsbury Group that they started.

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
This debut spy thriller grabs you from the first sentence and won’t let you out of its grip. Absolutely the best suspense novel I’ve read in years!

A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
It’s a multi-generational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story and a story about a family’s struggle to connect with each other. Stein wowed me with his insight to what each person is striving for in life – love, acceptance and redemption.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Big Little Lies Book Cover

Wayfaring Strangers by James Lee Burke
Wayfaring Stranger book cover

The Vacationers by Emma Straub
The Vacationers book cover

The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene
The Headmaster's Wife book cover