Monday, May 30, 2016

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Britt-Marie ends up in the small, economically depressed town of Borg when she's desperate for a job after separating from her husband, Kent. Her job in Borg involves working at the town's soon to be shuttered recreation center. Life there revolves around hanging out at the local pizza place and playing soccer. Soccer is something that Britt-Marie has no interest in and really doesn't understand, so when she finds herself the coach of the local team of kids it's really outside her comfort zone. In fact, interacting with the residents who are. at times, quirky and eccentric, might be just what Britt-Marie needs to change her life and what the town needs, too.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

It's the one year anniversary of the death of Miriam, Arthur Pepper's wife, and he decides to donate her belongings to charity. Arthur is intrigued when he finds what looks to be an expensive charm bracelet in one of Miriam's boots. Arthur doesn't remember ever seeing the bracelet before and it doesn't really fit with the type of clothing she liked to wear. When Arthur makes the decision to call the phone number that is engraved on the elephant charm, it takes him on a journey that shakes up his organized life and makes him re-evaluate his forty year marriage. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a charming debut that will appeal to readers who enjoyed The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman

When Lu Brant is elected the first female state's attorney of a county outside Baltimore, it should be the pinnacle of her career, but when she decides to try a murder case against homeless Rudy Drysdale, she's forced to confront buried memories of her own childhood. Lu's brother, A.J, was involved at 18 in an incident where he broke his arm and another man died. Lu was ten at the time, enamored of popular A.J. and his group of friends. No charges were ever brought against anyone, but as Lu proceeds in her case, she finds that Drysdale was two years behind A.J. in school and that they might have known each other. Lu also reflects on being raised by her father, also a state's attorney, after her mother died while Lu was very young. Wilde Lake is a novel that transports you to 1970's and 1980's suburban Baltimore and fully immerses the reader in a world of childhood and family secrets. Like Lippman's best novels, Wilde Lake is a book that stay with you even after the last page is turned.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

In 1939, wealthy Caroline Ferriday works at the French consulate in New York City and, through her job, helps children and families suffering hardship because of the war. In Lublin, Poland, Kasia Kuzmerick finds her normal life tragically upended when both the Germans and Russians invade her country. Meanwhile, in Dusseldorf, Germany, Herta Oberheuser's medical training is interrupted by war and her devotion to Hitler. In Lilac Girls, the lives of these three women are explored over twenty years, as their fates intertwine across continents and through episodes of evil, friendship, and perseverance. First novelist Kelly based her novel on the real lives of Caroline and Herta and her thorough research makes the novel a compelling read.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

When Ruth's friend, Cathbad, is house-sitting for a friend, he sees what he believes is a vision in the graveyard next door. It turns out to be a young woman named Chloe Jenkins, who disappeared from a drug rehabilitation clinic nearby and is later found murdered in a ditch. DCI Harry Nelson and his team wonder who could have wanted Chloe dead, since she since wasn't a local resident. Then, Hilary Smithson, a female priest who is an old college friend of Ruth's, reveals that she's been getting threatening letters. Could there be some connection between the crimes?  In The Woman in Blue, Griffiths brings back Ruth, her friends, Nelson and his colleagues in another satisfying mystery.