It is an interesting mix of titles for this month's LibraryReads. Only one big name in the bunch and the rest are a mixture of genre too.
Number one on the list is the new one from Gabrielle Zevin, the author of one of my favorite books, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I was afraid that her new book would be similar to Fikry but I was wrong. Young Jane Young follows Aviva Grossman as she is shamed out of public life when her affair with a congressman is publicized. She runs away to a rural Maine village to raise her daughter and reinvents herself as Jane Young. After establishing herself in her new life, she is urged by others to run for public office which she does.....not realizing that the past is never completely hidden. This is a novel about double standards; in fact, Zevin described it as a novel about slut shaming. It is described as engaging and humorous with wonderful characterizations.
I will start with the well known author. Louise Penney has Glass Houses on the list. This is the thirteenth in the Inspector Gamache series. Reviewers have always said each additional one gets better and this is no different. Gamache has become Chief Inspector of the Surete du Quebec and is deeply involved in a drug investigation. Meanwhile in Three Pines, a costumed figure appears on the village green. The figure does not talk but just stands there and seems to represent someones conscience. As always, Penney does a wonderful job depicting people and plot and place. And yes, reviewers say this one is even better the last.
Veronica Henry's How To Find Love in a Bookshop is on the list.One reviewer said "this book oozes charm, strength, passion, romance, beautiful books, a compelling yet feel good read". Pretty high praise. Emilia Nightingale was left Nightingale Books by her father on his death. She pledged to him she would keep it open. When she actually took control, she discovered her father had been having financial problems. The bookshop was not the bread winner it had been when she was a child. Can she keep it open? Wonderful characterizations.
If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss made the list. This is a debut novel for Weiss who didn't start writing for real until she retired from her position as the Executive Assistant to a Headmaster at a private school. One reviewer said "It's bold, powerful, dark and hard to believe that this is a debut novel." It is the story of Sadie Blue among others. She is 17, newly married, pregnant and an abused wife who can barely read. It takes place in the mountains of North Carolina. Is there life beyond the life she is currently living? Read and find out. I love Appalachian tales.
Michael Poore has Reincarnation Blues on the list. Well, this is a strange one for me to explain and truthfully, although reviewers seem to love it, it was not one I would have picked. It is about Milo who has been reincarnated more than any other human and only has a limited number of times left. Yes, apparently there is a limit. Somehow, he falls in love with Death - who is names Suzie and who he only meets when he is in between lives. Said to be funny, insightful and entertaining.
Ann Hood has Morningstar: Growing Up with Books on the list. This is a work of nonfiction and is
Hood tale of growing up in a non reading family in a town that did not value books. Through it all, she illustrates how books transformed her life and can do the same with others.
The Address by Fiona Davis is on the list. This is the story of two women - Sara Smythe in the 1880's and Bailey Camden in the 1980's - and an apartment building - the Dakota in New York City's Upper East Side. Sara was hired by the architect of the Dakota to manage the new apartment building. She also became the architect's lover and end up murdering him. Bailey, is a recovering alcoholic who is hired to renovate an apartment in the building and uncovers papers in the basement which uncover a secret. Reviews have found it "a compulsively readable novel".
Next comes Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker. One reviewer said it is "a disturbing, insightful, captivating, and a twisted psychological thriller that is filled with dysfunctional and manipulative characters." Two sisters, 15 year old Cass and 17 year old Emma, went missing three years ago. Then, Cass shows up on the doorstep with a story of kidnapping and being held captive on an island. FBI agent Abby Strauss knows something isn't right but can't pin her suspicions down. Can Emma be found?
The Burning Girl by Claire Messud. The story of two girls, Julia and Cassie who were best friends from nursery school and knew each other's secrets. Then.....they entered junior high school and Cassie left Julia to figure it out on her own. Cassie ran with the more dangerous crowd and when things got dangerous, the only one trying to save her was Julia. The story of heartbreaking friendships.
Lastly, The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson. Here, the story of the author is almost as good as the story in the title. Wilson is a Cherokee citizen who grew up in Oklahoma. He got a PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and now lives in Portland, Oregon. His first title, Robopocalypse, obviously must have come from his scientific background. Here, he kind of uses that also. A young anthropologist, June Stefanov, is studying ancient technology when she uncovers a secret in the workings of a 300 year old mechanical doll. She is thrown into a hidden world that is just under the surface of ours. One reviewer said "fun, intriguing and nearly impossible to put down."
There you go for the list for August. Hope something tempts you. See you next week.