Kristan Higgins has added another delightful romance to her collection of novels such as Catch of the Day and The Next Best Thing. Her latest, Somebody to Love, tells the story of Parker Welles–a single mother and children’s author whose father, a financial advisor, has provided a life of wealth and luxury. When he is involved in an insider trading deal, he goes to jail, after having bankrupted the family. Parker and her son Nicky are forced to move to a small town in Maine, where a distant relative has left her a dilapidated cottage. James Cahill, her father’s personal attorney, comes to Maine to help fix up the cottage, despite Parker’s hostility towards him. Can they each overcome past disappointments to fine love? This is a heartwarming story filled with quirky (and some familiar) local characters, witty dialog, humor and likeable characters. Another winner for author Kristan Higgins!
The Good Father is a touching story about what it means to be a parent, told from the perspectives of three characters. Travis is a young single father who fought for custody of his child, even though he was a teen parent. His love for his daughter is unconditional and overwhelming. After a family tragedy,in desperation, he is forced to make some difficult choices in order to provide for Bella, and the repercussions of those decisions may be devastating for him and his daughter. Robin has put the daughter she gave away out of her mind–she was deathly ill at the time of the birth and agreed to give up custody. Erin is a mother lost in grief after the death of her three year old daughter. Their lives intersect when Travis and Bella meet Erin at a local coffee shop and though she is struggling with her grief, Erin recognizes that Travis and Bella are in need of help and she extends her kindness to them. Alternating chapters tell the story from each characters point of view, offering gradual insights into their intertwined relationships. This is a touching and powerful story about compassion, grief, choices, and unconditional love, with suspense and plot twists added. If you are a fan of Jodi Picoult or Kristen Hannah, you will enjoy this complex and heartfelt novel.
In this timely and touching novel, Kristen Hannah tells the story of families and soldiers and how each are affected by deployments to war zones overseas.
18 year old Jolene joins the Army and finds a family and life-long friendships among it’s ranks after her alcoholic parents are killed in a car accident . She becomes a Blackhawk pilot and after marrying and having children, joins the National Guard. Her marriage to Michael, a defense attorney and workaholic, is a distant one and when Jolene receives orders to deploy to Iraq, neither can discuss their fears about the war. Jolene leaves for Iraq with her best friend and co-pilot Tami, leaving behind husbands and children who are filled with anger and anxiety. Michael is left to build relationships with his children and manage their home, as well as continuing his law practice. A murder case forces him to re-evaluate his opinions about war and the military, and tragedy forces him to adapt to changes in his marriage and his family.
Home Front conveys the hardships and tragedies of going to war and the affects of war on both soldiers and families. Hannah’s extensive research into PTSD and it’s traumatic effects on soldiers and their families is described through the experiences of several characters. This is an intense and emotional story, with well developed characters, offering insights into the experiences our military families endure when a family member is deployed.
by John Pecoraro, Assistant Director
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; sometimes literary talent doesn’t either. Consider the Bronte family. Most people have heard of the sisters: Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. Charlotte is best known for Jane Eyre, with its portrayal of a strong, rational female character (which was something new at the time). Charlotte published under the pen name Currer Bell.
Emily Bronte’s only novel, Wuthering Heights, the story of the doomed love of Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, was met with mixed reviews on publication. It provided a stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty. It’s not surprising that Emily also published under a pseudonym, Ellis Bell.
Anne, the youngest sister, wrote two novels. Agnes Grey, dealing with the oppression of women and governesses, was an autobiographical novel paralleling Anne’s own experience as a governess. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, with its depictions of alcoholism and debauchery disturbed the sensibilities of nineteenth-century readers.
The Bronte sisters were not the only gifted members of their family. Their brother, Branwell, was also a poet and artist. The head of the family, Patrick Bronte, an Anglican curate, was a published poet, as well as contributor to a biography of his daughter, Charlotte. Tragically, the father of the Bronte clan survived all his children.
The twentieth century is also replete with writing families. Stephen King, the master of horror, is married to Tabitha King, author of several novels including Caretakers, The Book of Reuben, and Candles Burning. The writing talent doesn’t stop there. The King’s sons are also writers. Joe Hill has published several graphic novels, the horror novel Heart-Shaped Box (a chip off the old block), and the dark fantasy Horns, as well as a collection of stories 20th Century Ghosts. His younger brother, Owen King, is the author of a book of stories We’re All in This Together and has recently sold his first novel to Scribner’s.
John Steinbeck, winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, and author of such American classics as The Grapes of Wrath, and East of Eden is the father of Thomas Steinbeck. Thomas is the author of Down to the Soundless Sea, In the Shadow of the Cypress, and the forthcoming Silver Lotus. Much like his father’s, Thomas Steinbeck’s books chronicle events of California life.
Sons aren’t only following in their fathers’ footsteps; sometimes they’re following in their mothers’. Sandra Brown, well known and prolific author of mysteries and romance novels (Lethal, Chill Factor, Thursday’s Child) is the mother of Ryan Brown. The son has written a thriller entitled Play Dead, a zombie shocker combining football and the undead.
P. J. Tracy, author of the Monkeewrench series, is actually the pseudonym for the mother-daughter writing team of Patricia Lambrecht (Mom) and Traci Lambrecht. Titles in the series featuring the Monkeewrench crew of computer geeks include Shoot to Thrill, Snow Blind, and Dead Run.
Kellerman is a name well known to mystery aficionados. Jonathan Kellerman, whose Alex Delaware series includes When the Bough Breaks, Mystery, Bones, and Deception is married to Faye Kellerman. Faye is the author of the Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus series, including Sacred and Profane, Hangman, and The Mercedes Coffin. As a team, the husband and wife have collaborated on Capital Crimes and Double Homicide. As if this weren’t enough, the Kellermans’ son, Jesse, has written a few mystery/suspense titles himself, including The Executor, The Genius, and Trouble.
Want more? How about Frank Herbert, creator of the Dune series of science fiction novels? Frank’s son, Brian Herbert, took over the franchise after his father’s death. Kingsley Amis, English novelist, poet, and critic, author of Lucky Jim and The Anti-Death League, is the father of Martin Amis, author of The Pregnant Widow, Night Train, and other writings that explore the absurdities of the postmodern condition.
If you are interested in reading theses titles, or other titles by these authors, visit the Manhattan Public Library. Or, for your convenience, access the catalog from home twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Selected titles from many of these authors are also available in electronic format as e-books or e-audiobooks. Visit the library’s website at http://www.manhattan.lib.ks.us for more information.
>Mitch Baker is a single man–a political cartoonist–enjoying life when his world is turned upside-down. His closest friends are killed in an auto accident and he and Thea Wyndham are named as guardians for three young children. Thea is no where to be found in the aftermath of the accident, leaving Mitch to make a home for the children and try to help them through their grief. When she finally arrives on the scene, she is terrified to accept the responsibility of helping to raise the children. Both Mitch and Thea are involved in romantic relationships, and their partners are not thrilled with the idea of accepting three children into their lives. As the story unfolds, Mitch begins to understand the reasons for Thea’s reluctance to become part of the children’s family, but he insists that their friends wanted both of them to be involved in raising the children. As Mitch and Thea struggle to be the parents the children need, they learn about themselves and what they truly want from life. A Place Called Home is a touching romance with lots of laughter and tears, and characters who come to realize that love is the foundation of a family–a heartwarming novel from author Jo Goodman.
In Dorothy Koomson’s latest book Goodnight Beautiful, Nova and Mal have been best friends since childhood, so when Mal and his wife Stephanie are unable to have a child of their own, they beg Nova to act as a surrogate mother. After much soul searching, Nova reluctantly agrees to help her friend, despite many reservations about her ability to give up a child and about how the situation will affect their long-standing friendship. Stephanie becomes jealous and resentful of the ties between Nova and Mal and forces Mal to abandon their plans for a child, leaving Nova pregnant and raising their child alone. Tragedy strikes and Nova must decide whether to let Mal back into her life for the sake of her son. The story is told from the perspectives of Leo, Nova and Stephanie and their viewpoints are touching and heartbreaking—a very moving story about love and family.
Another title available at the library by Koomson is My Best Friend’s Girl.
I must confess that I originally picked up The Bread, My Sweet because, like many girls alive in the late 70’s, I still haven’t recovered from my crush on Chachi. I figured, at the very least, it would be an entertaining flick. It turned out, however, to be so much more. It has some of the same features of your typical romance. Dominic Pyzola makes good money as a corporate raider, but his true love is his Italian bakery where he makes amazing pastries with his brothers. The upstairs neighbors, Bella and Massimo, take care of them and keep them in line. When Dominic discovers Bella is sick, he is willing to do anything to make her happy, including marrying her wandering daughter Lucca. The Bread, My Sweet is a beautiful film filled with family, love, and amazing food.
Based on Sense and Sensibility, The Dashwood Sisters Tell All is the third modern adaptation of Jane Austen novels produced by Beth Pattillo and I think the best so far. Ellen and Mimi Dodge have been sent on a tour of Hampshire to find the best place to scatter their mother’s ashes. Neither of them ever shared their mother’s obsession with Jane Austen, nor are they especially thrilled with each other, but they put a good face on it and forge ahead, each for their own reasons. The tour brings more than information about Austen, however as layers of their mother’s life are peeled away for them, revealing secrets and treasures that others would prefer kept quiet. Exploring Austen’s work and life also brings them a greater appreciation of each other. The Dashwood Sisters Tell All is a delightful story about family and love with a bit of intrigue thrown in for spice.
Meredith Delinn’s rich and fabulous lifestyle comes to a quick end when her husband is arrested for stealing billions of dollars from his investors. Assets are seized and Meredith faces her own legal battle concerning what she knew about her husband’s business. Homeless, alone and without money, Meredith turns to her childhood friend Connie, even though they have not spoken in years. They head to Connie’s family home in Nantucket, where both women have issues to deal with–Connie’s husband passed away and she is learning to live without him, and Meredith is examining her former life and how to move forward, despite being the focus of hatred because of her husband’s actions. Both women reflect upon the past and their childhoods as a way to cope with the present and welcome the future. Silver Girl is a touching story of relationships, friendship and love. If you enjoy Silver Girl, you might also enjoy The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg and Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah.
A fun, sexy romance, Summer at Seaside Cove tells the story of Jamie Newman–a New Yorker trying to reeveluate her life after a failed relationship–one in which her sister stole her boyfriend! She wants to be alone and looks forward to spending the summer at the beach in the cute cottage she rented online. Upon arrival, the cute cottage is more like a run-down shack, but the gorgeous owner Nick, who lives next-door, more than makes up for the condition of the cottage. As the summer goes on, Jamies becomes involved with both Nick and the community of Seaside Cove. Then her troubled teen-aged niece arrives, followed by her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and her sister, quickly ending Jamie’s plans for a quiet, introspective time alone. As Nick and Jamie become closer, Jamie also works on healing the relationships in her family and on discovering what she really wants out of life. With lots of humor, quirky and likeable characters and lots of steamy romance, D”Alessandro has created a wonderful story about love and family!
In a departure from his fiction that involves suspense and action, David Baldacci has penned a sensitive and touching story about family and love titled One Summer. Jack Armstrong is coping with a seemingly fatal illness and the wrenching process of saying goodbye to his wife and children. Hoping to survive to see another Christmas, Jack has made peace with his mortality when his wife is tragically killed in an automobile accident. Jack must try to heal himself and his family and decides to take them to an old home on the beach that has been left to them by an aunt. The story illustrates the struggles of a family to overcome devastating losses and a father’s attempts to build new and stronger relationships with his children. This is a story of friendship, hope and love that will touch your heart.