With the death of her mother, spinster Roxanna Rowan finds herself alone in Revolutionary War Virginia without prospects, suitors, or a home. She escapes to her beloved father, a soldier on the Kentucky frontier, arriving just in time to hear of his death. When the dashing but cold Colonel Cassius McLinn offers her a position as his scrivener, she has little choice but to take it. Rumors circulate of McLinn’s questionable family and past, but Roxanna begins to learn of his true character as a man with many regrets, but a steadfast and caring nature. In the midst of the desolate and cruel landscape of war, Roxanna provides Cassius with light, hope, and a reason to reexamine his faith.
Based loosely on the life of George Rogers Clark, The Colonel’s Lady is a fascinating look at the Kentucky frontier, military life during the Revolutionary period, and the work lives of women. Frantz has created a story that touches both the heart and the mind.
Irene Nemirovsky died in Auschwitzconcentration camp along with perhaps over a million others. She was from an enormously wealthy Jewish-Russian family that had to flee to France during the 1917 Russian Revolution. A celebrated author and mother of two, Nemirovlsky converted to Catholicism yet her Jewish heritage was the cause of her death.
Before the war she had attended the Sorbonne and begun writing at the age of 18. She married a Jewish banker and had two children and she continued as a successful writer with several of her books adapted as movies and a play.
Five years after her death, All Our WorldlyGoods was published. It is a beautiful story of love between a man and women from different classes who go against their parent’s wishes and marry. The wealthy demanding patriarch makes life difficult for this couple who won’t deny their love in spite of his demands. We follow this couple through the first World War and then suffer the horror of it happeningall over again for their children as Hitler comes to power. All Our Worldly Goods is a lovely story of the resilience of the human spirit when the power of love exits between two people. Another recent addition to our collection is The Mirador: Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky By Her Daughter.
For years, Lady Poppy Smith-Barnes has pined for her true love, the Duke of Drummond. At least that’s what she’s been telling all her suitors so that she could maintain her spinster status. The imaginary duke that her cook created for the use of fairy tales and love stories served Poppy well, until the day the man himself walked into a ball and asked her to dance. Drummond, who has come to London from his quiet life in the North because he has been ordered to find a bride, sees his opportunity and quickly traps Poppy in her own lie. Their betrothal pulls them both into a world of deception and intrigue, forcing them to work together and revealing their common thirst for adventure. With plenty of spice and wit, Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right continues Kramer’s Impossible Bachelors series in fine form.
Newport Rhode Island, home of the summer cottages ofthe very wealthy built during the gilded age, inspired the concluding settingfor An Unlikely Suitor
a historicalnovel by Nancy Moser. This immigrant story is of the Scapelli’s, a mother andher two daughters newly arrived in New York City in 1895.
Their father, Dante Scapelli, lost his life in an accident on the docksshortly after their arrival.
Now thesmall family is scraping by as dressmakers to the wealthy.
Lucy Scapelli meets Rowena Langdon when Rowena visits MadameMoreau’s Fashion Emporium to be outfitted with a wardrobe suitable for hersummer in Newport.During a fitting, Lucy sees that she could help crippled Rowena’s clothes tofit better and hide her obvious physical disabilities. The two become friends under the disapprovingeye of Rowena’s mother. While trying toadjust to life with her wealthy friends in Newport Rowena schemes to find a way her dressmaker friend can join her.
This novel treats us to life during the Gilded Age, thesocial mores of that time, beautiful descriptive language of fashion from thatlavish era and the difficult life of immigrants at the turn of the century.
Comfort Kennedy is shocked into silence when her oldest friend, Bram, announces their engagement. She agrees to a short engagement to save face and excuses his typical irresponsible behavior. Bram’s brother, Bode, realizes that he’s running out of time to capture the woman he’s loved for years. Bram’s injury forces Comfort and Bode to spend more time together, building a romance that will have to sustain them through dangerous intrigue and the trauma of her childhood. Gold rush San Francisco provides a exciting and shady background for this romantic and sensual story. With Kissing Comfort, Goodman has created another romance you won’t soon forget.
Dandy solves a murder once again!
Dandelion Dahlia Leston Gilver, or Dandy, is being schooledin how to serve undercover as a lady’s maid when normally she has her ownservants waiting on her.
Thisaristocratic sleuth has already helped solve several murders and once againshe is being called upon to aid someone who fears for her life.
Lollie Balfour’s husband is having his wifefollowed, steaming open her mail and has told her he is going to murder her. “He’sa monster, Mrs. Gilver.
A nasty,brutish, bullying , philandering, dishonest, beasty…pig.”
This frightened Edinburgh woman becomes awidow within one day of Dandy’s appearance as her maid.
Who has murdered this horrible man?
Everyone in the premises has a reason to hatehim.
With intricately plotted twists andturns and many red herrings we experience what is regarded as proper for the1920’s post World War Two Scottish gentry.
This witty novel that exposes the differences in class reminds me of thewonderful Masterpiece Theatre classics Upstairs,Downstairs and Downton Abbey
Try Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Blood Stains
and then enjoy a classic movie for a complete experience.
Do you know a teen that is a reluctant reader? Nightjohn
is a powerful novel for anyone to absorb, but it is a dramatic motivator for our older teens that under value reading. Set in the south during slavery, Sammy, a pre-adolescent slave, chooses to risk herself and the lives of others to experience learning. The plantation where she was born is owned by a harsh, brutal man that buys and sells slaves with no regard for human value. He punishes anyone that exhibits any education or desire for such.
This very graphic portrayal of just how horrible some slaves were treated tells the important story of the value of education to combat such ignorance. Night john, a former escaped slave has returned to the south to teach others to read. His willingness to risk his life for the betterment of others will speak volumes to those of us who take for granted our freedom to learn. Warning: this is a very brutal and graphic presentation of slavery.
Take to the high seas with the British Navy and our brave hero Horatio Hornblower. Based on the books by C.S. Forester, this film series created by A&E will keep you on the edge of your seat. Join Horatio as he navigates the alliances and feuds among his fellow officers, faces the enemy, and rises through the ranks, all while being incredibly dashing and clever. Full of adventure, this series is a rousing good time.
Amanda Scott demonstrates her mastery over Scottish romance once again with Highland Master, the first volume in her new Scottish Knight series.Independent and headstrong, Catriona is wandering in the woods near her family stronghold when she stumbles upon an injured man.Fin Cameron is on his way to discuss a tense political situation with her grandfather, but he can’t keep his mind from the vengeance he has sworn against her family.In the midst of his quandary, her confidence and family loyalty draws him in, while his respectful and caring nature appeals to her.In a time of political upheaval and clashing family alliances, Fin and Catriona find strength in each other.Strong and well-developed characters along with details of Scottish history make Highland Master a captivating read.
“The circus arrives without warning.”
So begins Erin Morgenstern’s lushly descriptive, beautifully written novel, The Night Circus.
The circus is an experience like no other. It opens at nightfall and closes at dawn. The food tastes better than food eaten elsewhere. The smell of caramel and apples permeates the air. The circus and its performers are dressed entirely in black, white, and silver. This background that fills the senses and maintains an air of mystery only adds to the amazing performances and tents contained within the circus. No one ever forgets their time at Le Cirque des Rêves.
The circus is not simply a masterful and magical place of entertainment for its patrons. It is also the venue for a competition between Celia and Marco, two young illusionists trained by their masters to participate in a “game,” using the circus to demonstrate their skills and imaginations. Celia and Marco have been bound to this “game” by their masters, and the winner is the last person left standing. The two competitors were chosen to compliment and contrast each other, but they are too well matched, and their tale becomes that of star-crossed lovers.
The real treat of this book is the descriptions of the circus. While the characters are compelling, the circus itself is so richly and lovingly described that it is an intense pleasure to read about some of the circus acts and attractions created by Ms. Morgenstern’s characters as part of their competition.
If you’re waiting for a copy of The Night Circus:
An even darker, though atmospheric and ornately told story of love and violence set in the 19th century that might appeal to people who enjoy The Night Circus
is Under the Poppy
It’s fun sharing good reads with patrons and especially fun to have them recommend what they love to us. Such was the case with the series, A Phryne Fisher Mystery, by Kerry Greenwood, a fun historical mystery series written by an Australian. Phryne Fisher lives in the flapper era of the 1920′s. In this first book, Cocaine Blues, she travels to Melbourne at the request of a family friend to investigate a daughter’s mysterious illness. Phryne seems capable of solving almost any problem with her determined and unflappable take-charge attitude. Did she develop this from her very poor, scrappy upbringing or just since she inherited a fortune and the where-with-all to do as she pleases.
The characters that she embraces in her search for the answer to this mystery are poor, working class men and women who are happy to be part of this exciting woman’s entourage. Phryne’s life style is extravagant and her wardrobe only couture.
Try Cocaine Blues and experience the 1920′s in Australia. Don’t forget to share your favorite books with others, especially us at MPL!
Making Waves is the first book in the Lake Manawa Summers series, set in 1895. When the Westing family decides to spend the summer at the lake, Marguerite is thrilled. She is a very independent lady, so when she falls into the lake requiring a very handsome gentleman to rescue her, she is chagrined. Her mother is determined that she marry Roger Gordon, a man of means and social stature. Marguerite is bored with Roger; she wants to have fun with lots of adventure. Roger is anything but fun. She talks her father into letting her little brother take sailing lessons, with her as a chaperone of course. What she really wants is to learn to sail herself. Her brother’s sailing instructor, Trip Andrews, allows Marguerite to tag along in the sailboat with them. She falls in love with sailing and Trip, but because of her father’s business troubles, she feels compelled to accept Roger’s proposal to save embarrassment to her family.
This book by first-time novelist, Anna Jean Mayhew, had a hold on me that wouldn’t let go. The Dry Grass of August shares similarities with the knock-out best seller The Help by Kathryn Stockett which is a film in production and scheduled to be released in August. It also tells a story of the south in the 1950′s and 1960′s when black family helpers were essential to running homes and raising children.
Jubie, a thirteen year old girl from North Carolina, narrates a tragic story of racism that changes her world with it’s personal and horrific impact. Her mother, siblings and black maid, Mary, are heading to visit an uncle in Florida. Signs of racism are experienced by Mary which are upsetting for Jubie, who loves Mary and is ashamed that she must endure scorn and primitive conditions in motels and at rest stops. On the return trip a tragedy occurs that forever changes the family.
The history of race relations in the south is painful to experience through Mayhew’s book. As a young teen during the 60′s I remember viewing some of the same unfair conditions on a trip through the south to visit an aunt and uncle in Florida. The truth of the hate exhibited toward blacks in the south during that time is a dark blot in my memory.