Corky – Circulation
Carolina Man by Virginia Kantra, Fiction Kantra
The Carolina Man is Luke, a Marine who is determined to do his duty to his country, to the Marines and, now, to a ten-year-old daughter that he’s never met or even known about. Kate, the heroine, is a former military brat who knows firsthand that a Marine can make a lousy father and is not keen on giving her heart to someone who will soon deploy. This romance is filled with everything one would expect in a romance: Luke, the hero who sounds and acts like a Marine with a large, loving, supportive family; Kate, the strong heroine who helps everyone but herself; and a ten-year-old child, Taylor, who in every way is a ten-year-old girl. Add in a small town atmosphere, dogs, cats, and puppies and one has the makings of a heart-warming romance. Although this book is the third book in the trilogy, it’s easy to follow. Oh, and don’t forget the happy ending.
Sue – Circulation
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, New Fiction Doerr
This beautifully written book opens in Saint Malo, France in August of 1944 as the Allies are bombing the city. Trapped in the city are two people – 16-year-old Marie-Laure, blind and alone in her uncle’s house, and 18-year-old Werner, a German radio expert tormented by the suffering the war has caused and his role in it. The book then goes back in time to show us what led up to this moment. In alternating chapters, we learn Marie-Laure’s history and Werner’s history. How the stories of these two young people on opposite sides of the war converge in the midst of the burning of the city makes for an exciting and moving story. The book is filled with mesmerizing language and it shows the devastation of war and how it changes everything, how the lives of the characters in the book could have followed a different path were it not for the war.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, Fiction Joyce
When Harold gets a letter from a woman he hasn’t seen in 20 years informing him that she has cancer, at first he writes her a letter expressing his sympathy. But when he walks to the mailbox to post the letter, he just keeps on walking. The woman, Queenie, made a sacrifice for him 20 years ago and he never even thanked her. A letter just isn’t enough. But she is in the north of England, near the Scottish border, while he is on the southern coast, a distance of some 600 hundred miles. Harold decides that by walking to her, he can save her. As he continues his walk, it takes on deeper significance. He is walking for Queenie, but he is also walking to atone for the mistakes he made in his past, mistakes that have led to an empty marriage where there used to be love and estrangement from his son. Harold feels like he is doing something that matters for the first time in his life and it transforms him. Meanwhile, his wife at home is also experiencing revelations about their life together and regretting mistakes of her own, which leads to a reawakening for her as well. This is a poignant novel, about healing over past hurts, letting go of regret, and making new beginnings.
Rosemary and Thyme, DVD Rosemary, Seasons 1-3
If you like to garden and enjoy watching British mystery shows, this series is perfect for you. Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme are two women going through major changes in their lives. Rosemary has lost her job as a professor of horticulture and Laura has been left by her husband of almost 30 years for a younger woman. The two team up and start their own landscaping business. Laura is a former police officer, with a son who is also a police officer, and Rosemary is very observant and inquisitive. These qualities lead the two into solving mysteries they encounter while working on gardening jobs. The show is fun and the mysteries are entertaining while not being too heavy or dark. Rosemary and Laura are both likable characters that you root for and great examples of strong female lead characters. A major attraction of the show that makes it stand out from other mystery series is the various settings of the episodes, which are beautiful – filmed in gorgeous garden locations in England, as well as some episodes that are set in France, Italy, and Spain.
More Than You Know by Beth Gutcheon, Fiction Gutcheon
A creepy ghost story that alternates between the past and the present, it tells the story of Hannah, now an elderly woman looking back on one eventful summer of her life when she fell in love, and Claris, a woman who lived 100 years before Hannah. I found the book to be scary and disturbing, a powerful emotional story detailing the bad decisions made by Claris and the terrible repercussions of those decisions on Hannah’s life so many years later.
Melissa – Reference
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, Fiction Kostova
And here it is: my favorite book. I first came across this book several years ago, and I indulge myself by reading it every year since. And yet how to describe it? My foremost thought is that this book is story-telling at its finest. Kostova has created a wonderful piece of historical fiction. Readers learn about Dracula (who, in case you didn’t know, was a real person. He was Prince of Wallachia [i.e. Romania] during the first half of the thirteenth century). This book is a scholarly quest to find Dracula’s long-lost tomb. Very few scholars study his biography, as it is seen by most as silly superstition, but those who do discover quite the opposite: Dracula still walks the earth. But what does he do with his time, and what does he want? Because Dracula is a historical figure, much of the story unfolds in libraries and archives, which tugs at my librarian heart. The characters are rich and well-developed, existing in a world that reveres intellect. The sub-plots add spice to the quest, which takes readers across the globe and through the centuries. It’s a long read, but very much worth it. For those thinking that this is yet another piece of vampire-hype writing, it precedes Twilight and is anything but fluff.