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The Library


Someone Else’s Shoes JoJo Moyes 1.2024

The lives of two women cross when they exchange gym bags in error.  One woman is a wealthy American whose husband has cut her off without a dime and the other is a British woman whose husband recently lost his job, is deep in depression and whose job, now the main source of income for the family, is less than desirable.  This is a story about female friendship and perseverance.

Beyond that, the sea, Laura Spence-As 1.2024

Story about a young British girl who during WWII is sent to live with a family in Boston who has two boys.  The story tells how she adjusts to life in the United State and her relationship wit Gerald and William.  After the was she return to England, her mother and the life she left behind.


The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates 12.2023

Story about a “tasked” man and how he finds freedom, family and love through his work in the underground railroad. Gut wrenching story about the horrors of slavery and how families were torn apart.

The Lonely Hearts Book Club, Lucy Gilmore, 11.2023

Story about a group of people who find each other through their relationship at a public library.  They find connection with each other while taking care of an aging member of the group they find much more than they expected, family.

Demon Copperhead, Barbara Kingsolver, 10.2023

Set in southern Appalachia, this is the story about a boy born to a single drug addicted mother living in a single wide trailer who is left to raise himself in a very poor environment. A neighbor helps him in his early years and then he is brought up in the system of foster homes. Finally gets to live with the football coach and he excels until he is hurt, and then gets involved with a drug addicted girl.  Ends up finding love with an unexpected ally.     Gripping but sad story

Tom Lake, Ann Patchett 10.2023

The story follows Lara, a young actress who has a brief encounter with Peter Duke, a now famous actor.  The story has Lara telling her three daughters the story about her early relationship and how she met their father and ended up tending a cherry orchard.  Enjoyed the book.


Finding Me, Viola Davis, 6.2023

Wonderful autobiography of Viola Davis and how she grew up poor, not knowing how to clean herself up, how she met her husband and the inner strength that made her the powerhouse actress she is today.  Gave me an appreciation for her and her determination. Excellent read.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and Tomorrow, Gabrielle Zevin  5, 2023

Story about Sam, who was hurt in a car accident where his mother was killed, Sadie, a Jewish girl who visited with Sam in the hospital and got credit for community service and Mazor all “gamers” who start a gaming business together.  The story tells about their lives and loves and the interrelationships between the three.  


The Night She Disappeared, Lisa Jewell, 4.2023

Two young people disappear one night after a pool party at a friends in a English suburb..  The book takes you into their lives and loves and how one love goes wrong.  Does the wealthy family get away with murder?  A mystery writer moves into a cottage near the sight of the disappearance and gets involved in solving the mystery.  Enjoyed the book


The Secrets of Flight, Maggie Leffler 3.2023

Estranged from her family, Mary Browning ( Miri Lichtenstein) an 87 year old widow, has her writing group as her one and only outlet until she meets Eylse.  The two develop a relationship as they write e memoir about Mary’s past life as a Fly girl during WWII.   


The Stepsisters, Susan Mallery 3.2023

Story about three women who are stepsisters, Daisy, Sage and Cassidy.  Estranged while growing up, they learn to love and trust each other while each is going through romantic challenges.  They help each other recover and grow.  Quick read.  Enjoyed the book.

The Thread Collectors, Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richmond

Civil War era story about a black, mother and two sisters and how they survive slavery and the war.  Their loved one, a black flutist who runs away to join the Union army and has a relationship with a Jewish musician who is also in the army.     

The Reading List, Sarah Nisha Adams 2.2023

Story about how a list of books impacted different people’s lives.  Mukash, who recently lost his wife and a young girl whose mother has emotional issues and whose brother tries to help the family to his own detriment.  The library community supports those who feel alone.  I found this book depressing and very slow moving.


It Starts With Us, Colleen Hoover 2.2023

Continuation of It Ends With Us, bringing Atlas and Lily together.  Quick read and a bit predictable but I enjoyed it none the less.  Atlas finds out he has a younger brother who has gone through a similar abusive experience.


I Will Always Write Back, Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda, 2.2023

Back and forth diaries of Caitlin, a US high school student and Martin, a brilliant but poor boy from Zimbabwe.  Martin Aspires to go to college in the US and Caitlin’s family not only help him achieve his dream but support his family as well.  Caitlin grows to understand what lays outside of her upper middle class PA community.  Written for teenagers. Rhonda’s book club selection. 

Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, James Patterson 2.2023

Diary written that describes the parent’s love story and the tragedy that befalls them.  There is love after the tragedy.  Short good read.

It Ends With US, Colleen Hoover 1.2023

Story centered around domestic abuse both parents of children and spousal abuse.  Also a tender lover story and about young and mature love.  It is a page turner.

Verity, Colleen Hoover 1.2023

Psychological thriller about an author who is injured in a car accident and whose two children die also in accidents.  Another author is brought in to finish the series of books she has written from the villain’s point of view.  Were they really acidents?  How injured is she really?  Enjoyed the book.

Lessons in chemistry, Bonnie Garmus 12.2022

Story about Elizabeth who is a scientist in the 1950s.  She experiences much sexual harassment and prejudice and has to fight to be taken seriously.  She ends up hosting a cooking show on TV to which she brings chemistry.  It is a big success because the women watching feel like at last they are taken seriously.  This is also a love story and a growing up in adverse situations story.  Liked the book.

The Violin Conspiracy, Brendan Slocumb 11.2022

Story about a black man who experiences prejudice grouping up as a violin player.  He is very gifted.  His family has a violin that he is given by his grandmother, which turns out to be a Stradivarius.  The violin is stolen, and the story solves the mystery while telling the reader about his upbringing and how one teacher made a  big difference in his life.  Enjoyed the book.

The Children Act, Ian McEwan

A well-respected High court judge in London faces a morally ambiguous case while her own marriage crumbles, because her husband asks her to consider an open marriage.  Fiona hears family court cases, one of which involved whether to make a Jehovah’s witness undergo a blood transfusion that the parents are adamantly against.  Ok book, not great.

The Midnight Library, Matt Haig

Nora feels alienated and unneeded in the world.  In the depths of despair she comes across the midnight library where she can try out other lives that she might have lived, relationships she could have stuck with and careers she could have pursued.   


How to find Your Way in the Dark, Derek B. Miler   10.2022

12 year old Sheldon Horowitz is recovering from the tragic loss of his mother when a suspicious traffic accident takes the life of his father.  Sheldon moves from rural Mass to Harford to live with Uncle Nate, Abe and Maribelle.  Over the years Sheldon and Lenny contend with tradition, orthodoxy appeasement and patriotism, mafia hit men and all while WWII takes center stage.  They go to the Catskills to further Lenny’s career and them to New York City.  A weird story that does captivate you.

The French Gift, Kirsty Manning

This is a World War II story about a female French resistance journalist and her relationship with a maid who is accused of murder.  Their two lives intertwine in prison under the Nazi regime. The book also combines this with a modern day love story of descendants looking for a lost manuscript.  Great book that I really enjoyed.

Honor, Thrity Umigar

This is the story about an American Indian journalist who goes to India to help a friend cover the story about a young Hindu woman who falls in love with and marries a Muslim boy.  The brothers of the girl set the young man on fire and the sister tries to put the fire out but gets burned in the process.  The community faults the girl for shaming her family but a lawyer tries to get justice for the young woman.  The journalist has her own incident of prejudice where the Indian authorities did not come to her family’s aid which comes to light in the telling of the story.  Very well done.


The Personal Librarian,

This is the story about a black woman in the early 20th century who posed as white and was the personal librarian for J P Morgan.   She lived a solitary life supporting her family.  The one man she fell in love with was in an open marriage but did not have the fortitude to support her when she became pregnant with his child.  She told no one that she was black.  Her mother separated from her father because he believed in fighting for civil rights and the mother thought it was a lost cause for her children.

A Pearl in the Storm, Tori Murden McClure

Story about the first Woman to row alone across the Atlantic ocean.  This is the story about her childhood growing up with a brother on the spectrum and how she defended him.  IT is also about how she was a able to withstand the physical abuse of rowing through a hurricane.  Great Story for anyone who understand boating.


Memory Man, David Baldacci December 2021

Amos Decker, PI, former police officer and former football player, got hit while playing football that changes something in his brain.  When his family is killed, he slides into depression.  What being him out of the depression is the rampage killing in his local high school.  This is a fast paced book that ends with him finding the killers (of Course).  A quick fun read.

Why Fish Don’t Exist,  Lulu Miller Winter, 2021 book club

Nonfiction story about the daughter of an atheist scientist who after ruining her long term marriage seeks the meaning of the universe through the obsession with David Star Jordan, the first president of Stanford university who collects fish as a way to understand the order of the world.    Is her a murderer?  Are fish really a class unto themselves?  Does David’s obsession help the author understand why certain people are resilient, why some people can come back from tragedy?  A weird read.

The Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich Fall 2021 book club

Blend of truth and fiction about the authors grandfather who worked as a night watchman and fights against native Indian (extermination) dispossession from rural North Dakota.  Chippewa leader, Thomas Wazhashk, and Pixie (Patrice) tell the story about love, growing up on a reservation, ambition and family.  Wonderful book.


A Man Called Ove, Fredrik Backman  Fall 2021  book club

Story about a curmudgeon who drives a Saab and travels through a rough life, losing his parents at a  young age, losing his unborn child, and his wife, scammed out of his saving.  He then has a new pregnant neighbor who changes his life through the love of her family.  Just don’t drive through the residential area!

Yolk, Mary KH K Chio Summer 2021 book club

This is the story about two Korean sisters and their struggles growing up in New York.  The younger one is bulimic and the older one seemingly has everything figured out with a good job.  They end up living together and the older uses the younger ones medical insurance because she loses her job and is dying.  Difficult read due to the bad decisions the bulimic sister makes – too close to home.

Born a Crime, Trevor Noah, Summer 2021

Trevor Noah’s story about growing up in apartheid south aftrica, when being mixed race was against the law.  Speaks about his relationship with his black mother, his German father and how he didn’t fit in in either environment.


Hello Darkness my Old Friend, Sanford Greenberg Summer 2021 book club

This is an autobiography of a Columbia student who goes blind during his sophomore year of school.  The author has a friendship with Art Garfunkle and is driven to accomplish.

Pachinko, Minn Jin Lee   Summer 2021

Multi generational story about Koreans that live in Japan.  Sunja comes to Japan pregnant by Hansu but married to Iszak a minister who loves her.  She has two sons and the book tells their stories and how they work in the Pachinko business.  This is a long book but a compelling story about prejudice and how it impacts peoples’ lives.


Among the Lesser Gods, Summer 2021 book club

Pregnant 22 year old leaves California to live in her grandmother’s cabin in Colorado to help a widower raise his two children.  He is a trucker and is gone for multiple days at a time. As a child, she set a fire that took two live and she can’t forgive herself.  She has an Aunt who “disappeared” and her father can’t forgive himself.  The book teaches about forgiveness and making a choice to live with the circumstances.  Seeing good come out of a bad situation.


Last Boat out of Shanghai, Helen  Zia,  Summer 202

True story of Ho, Bing (the author’s mother), Annuo and Benny and how their lives were impacted by the Japanese accupation of Taiwan and then the coming of the Communists after WWII.  The children came from a variety of backgrounds and family dynamics.  This is more of  a history book, with little emotion.  Enjoyed the historical aspect of the book but it was a difficult read.

The Giver of Stars, Jo Jo Moyes Summer 2021

British woman marries handsome American in Depression era and moves to small town Kentucky.  She joins four other women in distributing books to those in the back country.  Historical fiction it is a fast read with romance and suspense.  Liked the book.

News of the World, Paulette Jiles, Winter 2020 book club

Story of a widower who reads the news to people in remote areas of Texas.  He is charged with returning a young girl to her relatives after her parents are killed by Indians and she is taken to live with the Indians.  She speaks no English and is not used to white man living.  Loved the book.

Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrel; Winter 2021 book club

This is the background story of the life of William Shakespeare and his wife Agnes after the death of their son Hamnet.  It tells about Will’s infidelity and his career and early family life.  Will writes the play Hamlet as a tribute to his son but in the play the father dies not the son. 


This Tender Land, Willliam Kent Druege; Winter 2021 book club

1932 Minnessota, the Lincoln school is place for Natiave American children forcibly separated rom the parents where two orphan brothers are sent to live. Odi and Albert.  They run away with Mose ( an indian boy ) and Emmy whose mother worked at the school and was kind to the boys but was killed in a storm.  Good story about who they meet on their journey and how each ends up in a place they were meant to be.

The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett, Summer 2020  book club

Story about African American twin sisters who were both light skinned.  One led her life as a black woman and the other moved away and led her life as a white woman.  The black woman’s daughter goes on to go to college and working as a waitress runs into her white aunt.  The tory traces the lives of the twins, their mother and their daughters.  A quick read that I enjoyed.

Dear Edward, Ann Napolitano, Summer 2020  book club

A young boy is the sole survivor of an airplane crash that kills his parent, brother and everyone else on board. How does her survive the loss when his childless aunt and uncle adopt him?  How does the town react to him and how does he find friendship with a neighbor girl.  Sad but interesting story based on true events.

A Big Little Life, Dean Koontz Summer 2020  book club

Dean Koontz is a writer who adopts a dog that had been trained as a companion but got hurt and could no longer act in the role.  Dean tells the story of the relationship his wife and he have with the dog and the extra ordinary skills the dog exhibits.  He knows when his picture is being taken, has a large vocabulary and can even say the word ball.  I found Koontz to be self aggrandizing which put me off a bit.  But you can’t help but love the dog.

The House of Closed Doors, Jane Steen Summer 2020

Nell is a young girl in 1870 who finds herself pregnant and unwed after an interlude with a wealthy young man visiting her family.  She won’t tell her family who the father is so the stepfather requires her to go to the poor farm to bear the child and then have it adopted. Life at the poor house teaches her much including the fact that her step father has a dark past.

The song of the Jade Lily, Kirsty Manning 6.2020

This is a story about a woman who survived WWII by escaping to Shanghai with her parents and the story of her grandchild moving to Shanghai to discover the story of her adopted mother.  Refugee Romy and local girl Li form a friendship and learn from each other.


Bad Blood, John Carreyrou Summer 2020

How Elizabeth Holmes in 2015 scammed Sillicon Valley and how the company got caught.  The company was supposed to be able to do multiple blood tests on site froma tiny drop of blood – never could.  Investors gave the company millions and they never were able to deliver on their promises.


Crow Lake, Mary Lawson 5.2020

This is a story of a family with four siblings that lose their parents while living in rural Canada. Each sibling approaches success differently while remaining committed to each other. Education was important to the grandmother and this as passed down to each of the grandchildren, but financial realities made higher education unavailable to some.  Luke gets admitted to teachers college, the first ot go to college in the family – but then the car accident and life changes. Matt, the smart one, doesn’t go to college – but is he happy? Much of the story is told through the eyes of Kate who idealizes Matt.  Much of thw story is around what happens to their relatioinship. 

2019-2020 sailing season

Daisy Jones & The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid, 3.2020 (Book Club)

Story about a band in the 60s and the rock n roll scene of that time period.  Examines the lives of the band members, their loves, sex lives and drug usage and the songs they wrote.  Interesting read. 

 Impossible Dream, Gemma Jackson, 4. 2020

Story set in Dublin in the late 1800s about a woman who is married to a cruel, abusive man who plans to go off on a merchant ship adventure with his sons from prior marriages and leave her disgraced and bankrupt.  With the help of a friend she instead establishes a home for BOB (Brides of Breeding) upper class battered woman, who have no training and cannot support themselves.  After teaching them basic skills in her home they are free to travel to start jobs in America or find other employment in Dublin, thus giving them the power to control their destinies. He book examines the expectations and treatment of different classes of people during the era from the perspective of three young girls who leave an orphanage to enter a life of domestic service and wealthy woman of breeding who are forced to marry against their wishes by male members of their families.

The Secrets We Kept, Lara Prescott Spring 2020 (book club)

The book tells the story of the writing of Dr Zhivago and the love story of Olga (mistress and muse) and Pasternak (author) and the situation in Russia at the time of the writing.  Olga is sent to the Gulag and returns to continue her love affair with Pasternak as the book is finished an published outside of Russia. 


Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson  Spring, 2020  (book Club)

Story about Bryan Stevenson, an attorney fresh out of law school, who works for clients on death row.  The book addresses the inequality of treatment of African Americans, women and children on death row.  The book follows Walter’s story and how he was convicted even though the evidence pointed to his innocence.  Moving book with many examples of how broken our legal system is.

Olive Again, Elizabeth Strout 1.2020 (book club)

Excellent character studies of people and their situations all revolving around Olive Kittriddge who lives in a small town in Maine.  In small vignettes, the book addresses topics including aging, relationships, adultery and more.

The Fallen, David Baldacici 1.2020

Murders are taking place in Baronville, the rust belt town founded by the Baron family.  Amos Decker and Alex Jamison are on vacation visiting Alex’s sister when they become involved in one of the murders.  Why are people dying from drug overdoses?


Silver Linings, Debbie Macomber 1.2020

Jo Maire owns the Cedar Cove Inn.  She has lost her husband and develops a relationship with her handy man, Mark.  Mark leaves mysteriesly after he professes his love for her.  Two high school friends stay at the Inn while attending their 10th year reunion. 


Hannah’s List, Debbie Macomber 1.2020

A year after Hannah’s death her brother gives Dr Michael Everett (her widowed husband a letter that Hannah wrote prior to her death.  It gives Michael a list of three women that she would like him to date in an effort to find a new wife.  She wants him to pick up his life and continue living.  Which woman will he end up with?  A quick summer read which at first is depressing but later becomes more uplifting.

Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi 12.2019

This is a multi-generational story about the descendants of two sisters from Ghana.  It contrasts the history of Africans brought to the US and those that stay in Africa.  A touching story.

Allie and Bea, Catherin Ryan Hyde 12.2019 (book club)

This is a wonderful story about a 70 year old widow who becomes homeless and 15 year old girl who through no fault of her own is thrown into the child welfare system.  The relationship between the two unwinds slowly and beautifully.  They each help the other turn their lives around.  Could not put the book down


The Dutch House, Ann Patchett 12.2019 (book club)

This was a book club book and although I did not participate in the discussion, I decided to try and keep up with the group.  It is an interesting story about a brother and sister who are born into wealth with a dysfunctional mother who leaves them when they are young and an often absent father who focuses on his real estate business.  The father remarries a woman who is more concerned about the House they live in rather than the people in the house.  The story is told through the eyes of the brother who overtime learns more about his mother and builds his own real estate empire.


Fleeing the Hijab, Sima Goel   11.2019

This is the story of Iranian girl’s escape from Iran to Canada.  First hand view of how the fall of the Shah changed life in Iran and her living in hiding before she with her sister were able to escape via the desert.  Lots of repetition and not well written but a compelling story.

Michal’s Destiny, Roberta Kagan 5.2019

Story of orthodox jewish girls journey during world war II.

This Is How It Always is, Laurie Frankel 5.2019       

Story about raising a transgender child and the challenges faced not only by the child but the family as well.  With four older male siblings, Poppy is not sure what the future holds.  Rosie goes to Thailand and takes Poppy with her.  A sense of clarity comes to both her author husband and herself as she sees how Buddhism and the people of Thailand deal with their transgender population.  How does the family deal with this in the US?  An interesting read.

Madam Secretary, Madelline Abright 4.2019

I picked this up to learn how Madeline dealt with discovering her Jewish past.  There is one short chapter devoted to this topic. The book reads like a history book.  If you like reading history you will love this.  I learned some about both the Carter and Clinton administrations.  Did not finish the book; a rare occurrence for me.

The English Spy, Daniel Silva 4. 2019

The ex-princess of England is murdered when the yacht she is vacationing on is blown up.  Gabriel Allon is called in to try and hunt down the master mind.  He and his long time accomplice Keller track Quinn, an IRA bomb maker, who assisted the people that killed Allon’s wife and son.  


The Target, David Baldacci 3.2019

Reel and Robie work for the US government and work to prevent war with North Korea by going to kill a would be defector and getting his children out of a North Korean concentration camp.  The North Korean agent who grew up in a concentration camp surprises them all and gives Min a chance at happiness. 

Behold the Dreamers, Imbolo Mbue, 2.2019

Jende leaves Cameroon for a better life in New York City.  In 2008, he becomes a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, who work at Lehman Brothers.  He saves and brings his wife to New York and together with their son hope to live the American Dream, if he can get asylum in the US.  The story tells two families’ stories, one of the well to do Clark family and the struggling African immigrants. The two families couldn’t be more different economically but they share the same concerns for their children, marital issues, and the stress of living. A good, quick read.  

Live Life Walk, Steve Fugate 2.2019

The book was recommended to me by Nikki, a fellow sailor that I met in Bootkey Harbor.  It is the story of a man, who having lost his two children, decides to walk across America to make people aware of the danger and pain of suicide, in an effort to help someone decide not to commit suicide.  It is also in honor of his son.  The book retells the many stories told to him by the people he meets and encourages people to Love Life.  The book needs a thorough editing as there are many things that are retold and retold that slow down the cadence of the book.  This is the type of book that one should read a bit of every night to remind oneself how lucky we are to be live and have people who loves us in our lives.

Without A Country, Ayse Kulin  2.2019

This is the story about a Jewish Professor during WWI that goes to Turkey to raise his family and escape Hitler.  The story crosses multiple generations over 80 years. Gerhard and other Jewish Scientists are hired by a Turkish University to help modernize the curriculum and improve the educational system in Turkey. The German government still exercises some pressure over the German citizens inside of Turkey and makes life for the professors difficult. The story then shifts to the story of Gerhard’s daughter, Suzy, and her children who happily adopt Turkey as their home.  The question of whether they are German or Turkish is ad recurring theme throughout the book.  A good read that ends abruptly.

The Dutch Wife, Ellen Keith 1.2019

This is a World War II story about a non-Jewish Dutch (Marijke and Theo) couple who worked for the resistance and were caught and sent to concentration camps and a young man in Argentina (Luciano) in the 1970s who is imprisoned for promoting a change in government.  The Dutch woman becomes a prostitute for non-Jewish prisoners in the camp and has a relationship with the Nazi (Karl) who is second in command.  The story addresses how homosexuals were treated in the concentration camps and how the two stories are related.  A quick read but the story is not worth the sadness.


The Map Thief, Michael Blanding 1.2019

This story is about a map collector who turned thief to support a lavish life style.  This is a true story about the history of map collecting and how the thief was ultimately caught. – I would not recommend. 


Split second, David Baldacci 1.2019.

This is the book that has Sean King meeting Michelle Maxwell and setting up the PI business.  Both former secret service agents that made a spit second decision that ruined their government careers.  The episodes are related and they find the secrets behind both while developing their rapport with each other, Another good read for Baldacci. 

The Defector, Daniel Silva 1.2019 (Library at Burnt Store)

 (Gabriel).  Defector saves Israeli’s life and then a few years later is captured by the Russians along with Gabriel’s wife.  This is the story of how Gabriel fights to get them back. And kill Ivan the devil.

King and Maxwell, David Baldacci 12.2018

Baldiacci never disappoints and this one features the PI duo of Sean and Michelle.  They find a young boy running in the rain in the dark and help him find his father who has been set up by a rouge former military guy who is trying to revenge his parents deaths.  Gripping story and a great summer


Someone Knows My Name, Lawrence Hill 12.2018

Story based in truth about a young girl (Aminata Diallo) taken into slavery as a young girl from Africa to pre-revolutionary war United States.  Her love story with a young boy she gets to know on the slave ship and her travels from the south, to New York, Nova Scotia,(Where she helps to compile The Book of Negroes) back to Africa and then to England where she speaks on behalf of the abolitionists.  An educated woman she changes the minds of many that meet her.  A great book.  

Summer 2018

1.  The Alice Network, Kate Quinn

Historical fiction about two women, a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during WWI and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947.  The American joins the spy and her driver for an adventure driven by family and revenge.  Great book.

2.  The Storied Life of A J Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin

Fikry a book store owner who recently lost his wife, has his most beloved collection stolen.  He falls in love with a bookseller and his life take unusual turns.

3.  The Last Mrs. Parrish, Liv Constantine

Daphne and her husband seems to have the perfect life.  Amber, who comes from a small town is jealous and wants what Daphne has - but this is a classic be careful what you wish for story.  When Amber steals  Jackson away she gets what she deserves.

4.  A Street Cat Named Bob, James Bowen 

James Bowen finds an injured ginger street cat curled up in his hallway and he takes him in.  The relationship with the cat changes his life - tender story.

5.  Calling me Home, Julie Kibler

89 year old Isabelle McAllister develops a relationship with her black, single mom hairdresser, Dorrie Curtis.  When she needs to travel to Cincinnati for a funeral, she asks Dorrie to take her cross country.  As the two drive east, the elderly woman shares her life story which includes a 1930s love story in an era and locale that made the relationship impossible.

6.  An American Marriage, Tayari Jones

A successful African American couple are only married a short time when the husband is accused and convicted of rape.  He is sentenced to more than 10 years for a crime he did not commit.  This is the story of his life in prison; who he meets, how he survives and what happens to his marriage upon his release.  

7.  Educated, Tara Westover

At times harrowing and emotional, Educated charts Westover’s girlhood working in her father’s dangerous junkyard and helping her herbalist mother, never seeing a classroom or doctor. Constantly prepping for the End of Days, she was in thrall to an older, violently abusive brother and parents who told her she had been “taken by Lucifer” when she tried to speak out. As a teenager, she began to educate herself, eventually attending Brigham Young University, then Cambridge and Harvard. But finding herself through education would also cost her dearly; after a mental breakdown, Westover was forced to accept that to live the life she wanted she must sever ties with the parents she still loves.


25.  Beneath a Scarlet Sky, Mark Sullivan

This World War II love story takes place in Italy.  It follows Pino Lellaa 18 year old Italian who ends up a driver for a high ranking German general and spying for the allies.  In the process Pino falls in love with the general’s mistress’s maid Anna. The book tells the story of WWII in Italy and the love story between Anna and Pino.  Sad ending but loved the story.

24. Still Me, JoJo Moyes

Louisa Clark takes a job in the US taking care of a rich New York socialite.  Louisa still the kooky dressed, trusting soul learns to liv e and love in New York.  Thoroughly enjoyed reading as Louisa matures.

23.  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Find, Gail Honeyman (bookclub)

This is a touching yet humorous story about a 30 year old woman who was injured in a fire as a child.  Story tells how she learns to accept what happened to her, live in the modern world and find friendship and acceptance.  Loved this story and the way the main character describes the world as she sees it.

22.  The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

The book is a dystopian novel where women have no control over their lives.  I found it frightening and did not like the ending.  Certain women are used to breed while the wives watch their husbands have sex with the breeders.  Lower class women have to do everything themselves – male point of view.  This is supposed to be a temporary state of affairs.  Very disturbing.

 21.  Among the Wicked, Linda Castillo 3.2018

Policewoman goes undercover into the Amish community to solve a murder and disappearance.  What they uncover is far more sinister.

20.  The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory 2.2018

The author tells the story of Anne Boleyn through the eyes of her sister Mary; her rise to being Queen in place of Katherine to her fall, being beheaded after not giving the King an heir.  She also includes Mary’s choice for happiness with a “nobody.”  The story provided great insight into England of the 1500s.  I could not put the book down.

​​19. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas 2.2018  (bookclub)

Young black girl is in the car with a friend when they are stopped by the police and the innocent friend is killed by the police officer.  The story delves into the issues a black girl has in a white school and coping with the incident.  Difficult to read at times because of the black slang but very worthwhile.

18. Keep Me Posted, Lisa Beazley 2.2018 (bookclub)

Sisters decide to exchange letters as a way of reconnecting with each other.  Both have issues with their marriages.  The letters become public when there is a glitch with the “private” website.  Study of their relationship – I found it a bit trivial.

17. Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly 1.2018

Story of three women during WWII, an American socialite, a teenage Polish prisoner of war and a German doctor.   All of their lives come together when Kais (Polish) is sent to Ravensbruck.  This is a story of love and loss, torture and guilt.  Some parts were difficult to read but overall worthwhile.

16. The Camel Club, David Baldacci 1.2018

Story about 4 “odd” guys who meet each week to discuss potential corruption in the government.  At one meeting they see a murder which is being covered up by government employees.  They figure out the who and why.  Captivating.

15. Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave 1.2018

Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished and signs up at the British war office to volunteer during WWII.  She is assigned a teaching post. Tom Shaw heads the school district and is not drafted but friend Alistair Heath enlists.  This is partly Tom and Mary’s love story with the war getting in the way.  Set in 1939-1942 WWII London and Malta.  

14. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, Jean Lee Latham 1.2018

1776 story about Nathanial Bowditch and his desire to learn.  He recalculates navigation tables and discovers a new way to calculate lunar navigation based on three points in the sky rather than waiting for the moon to line up with a particular star.  Describes why a boat log is called a log and why we call distances knots.  This is a teen book with some good messages.  Sailing by ash breeze – means working for what you get.  Ash wood was used to make oars that were used to pull a boat when it was becalmed.

13. Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate 12.2017

This is the story about the Foss children who were capture off a Mississippi shanty boat, taken from their parents and held in an orphanage under terrible conditions.  The story tells of sisters who were separated, then find each other, develop a relationship and how their children become aware of the terrible past that there parents and grandparents had to live through. Based on true story of the Tennessee Children’s’ home Society.

12.  Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz 12.2017 (bookclub)

Publisher of murder mysteries (Susan Ryeland) becomes involved herself in a murder mystery when the author of a successful murder series (Alan Conway) is found dead in a sleepy English village.  Atticus Pund a German investigator comes to help them solve the mystery.

11. Sheer Abandon, Penny Vincenzi  11/2017

Three British girls meet when they are eighteen and traveling the world.  One gets pregnant and has the baby on her own in an airport restroom.  Many years later their lives intertwine.  Kate wants to find her mother.  This is the story about the lives of the three women and their loves along the way.

10. No Place Like Home, Mary Higgins Clark 10/2017

The book is a mystery thriller about a young girl who accidentally killed her mother and wounded her stepfather.  Twenty years later her husband buys the house where the incident happened for her as a surprise birthday gift.  She is shocked to be living in the house where she has so many unhappy memories.  Who is responsible for the vandalism of the house soon after they arrive?  Who is responsible for the three other murders that occur after they move into the house?  There is a big twist at the end that I did not expect.

9. The Honest Spy, Andreas Kollender 10/2017

World War II story about a German who spies for the United States.  This is the story about how he defies the Germans and deals with being a traitor to his own country but lives by what his father taught him, “do the right thing”.

8. The Designer, Marius Gabriel 10/2017

World War II story about an American girl in Paris who divorces her philandering writer husband and becomes a fashion writer herself.  She meets the world of fashion design and becomes an integral part of it.

7. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng 9/2017 (bookclub)

Photographer and her daughter move to Shaker Heights and rent a house from Richardson family, a long time Shaker Heights family.  Story surrounds the connection/relationships between children and their parents, teenagers developing relationships, honesty and art.  I didn’t like the ending but enjoyed the book.

6. The Marriage of Opposites, Alice Hoffman 9/2017

Most of the book is set in St Thomas.  Young girl (Rachel) is married off with an arranged marriage which comes with three children to save the family business.  Then widowed she finds the man of her dreams who is related by marriage, so the Jewish elders rule it is not a sanctioned marriage.  They marry anyway.  The story deals with struggles against the norms, many inter-racial  relationships, friendships and Rachel’s longing to live in Paris. Rachel’s son is an artist and also deals with many fo the same issues that his mother had to deal with many years prior.  Great book – highly recommend

5. Faithful, Alice Hoffman 9/2017 (bookclub)

Story about two girls who are in a car crash where one walks away unhurt and one is left in a coma  The story deals with how the one who was unhurt deals with the guilt and learns to love and let others love her.

4. Eligible, Curtis Littenfeld   8.19.2017

This is a modern day Pride and Prejudice with Liz and the Bennet family in Cincinnati.  Darcy is a brain surgeon and Ham is transgender but he Mr Bennet has the same wit and Mrs Bennet is concerned about marrying off her 5 daughters.

3. Before I go to Sleep, S J Watson

Another trading library book – and guess what?  Read it before but still enjoyed it a second time.  Girl loses her memory due to a traumatic event.  She starts to work with Dr Nash and records her day to day activity – which helps her to remember.  Does she have a child? What was the event that caused the trauma?  Is Clare really a good friend? Slowly she realizes and finds love again. 

2. Second Nature, Alice Hoffman

Picked this up at the trading library in Fairport and read 7/8ths of the book before I remembered that I had already read it.  It is a great summer read even though I didn’t like the ending any better the second time.  Love story about a three  year old boy who was left in the wild after an airplane crash where there was thought to be no survivors.  Story is about how he learns to live and love among humans, the good and the bad.

1. The Summer Before the War, Helen Simonson

Pre-World War I story about a young women (who is determined not to marry) who comes to a small town in England to teach.  Story surrounds one extended family and how they survive the war.  Also speaks to the treatment of refugees, women and Gypsies in this time period.  Compelling story somewhat sad and predictable ending.  Good read – I enjoyed the book.

Rina, Leslie, Susie and Sheila during last year's book club sail out on Lake Erie, summer 2015.

Goodbye dinner -

Several members of the book club met at the Cedar and Fairmount Barrio for dinner prior to our leaving.  Dinner was great and so was the company. 

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