"April Liesgang and Caleb Shannon have known each other for just three short months, so their Valentine's Day wedding at a chapel near the shores of Lake Michigan has both families in an uproar." (Amazon.Com)
"Ruby Lennox begins narrating her own life at the moment of her conception, and from there takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of a girl determined to learn more about her family and the secrets it keeps." (Amazon.Com)
"The insane asylum seems to be the goal of every good and conscious Bostonian," Clover Adams wrote in 1879. A portrait of New England's McLean Hospital, weaving patients' and employees' stories with an informal review of mental health treatments through the years.
“A Harvard symbologist is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati--dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism--is alive, well, and murderously active.” (Amazon.com)
"The Hours tells the story of three women: Virginia Woolf, beginning to write Mrs. Dalloway as she recuperates in a London suburb with her husband in 1923; Clarissa Vaughan, beloved friend of an acclaimed poet dying from AIDS, who in modern-day New York is planning a party in his honor; and Laura Brown, in a 1949 Los Angeles suburb, who slowly begins to feel the constraints of a perfect family and home." (Amazon.Com)
This book tells the story of a young woman’s passage from the troubled family she’s longing to escape to the "family" she struggles to create when she is forced into an early adulthood. As the war in Vietnam escalates and as brush fires blacken the California foothills, the Harris family shatters and its members are driven to find new ways to live with one another.
"Set in early 1800s Massachusetts...Diamant reimagines the community of castoffs-widows, prostitues, orphans, African-Americans and ne'er-do-wells-all eking out a harsh living in the barren terrain of cape Ann." Based on Publishers weekly
"A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is the moving memoir of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his seven-year-old brother." (Amazon.Com)
"The stories of two men:Daniel H.Burnham, the Architect responsible for the construction of the 1983 Chicago World's Fair and H.H.Holmes a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor." From Amazon.com
“Tita falls in love with Pedro, but they may not marry, since family tradition dictates that the youngest daughter remain at home to care for her mother. Instead, Mama Elena orchestrates the marriage of Pedro and her eldest daughter Rosaura and forces Tita to prepare the wedding dinner.” (Library Journal)
In "clash of cultures in British India after the turn of the century...Forster reveals the menace lurking just beneath the surface of ordinary life, as a common misunderstanding erupts into a devestating affair." (book jacket)
"Though these sisters of the heart and soul have seen it all, talked through it all, Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel will not be prepared for a crisis of astounding proportions that will put their love and courage to the ultimate test." (Amazon.Com)
"In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermino Daza fall passionately in love." "Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, (Florentino) will do so again," at her husband's funeral. (Amazon.Com)
"In the summer of '76, the Shulmans and the Melishes migrate to Kaaterskill, the tiny town in upstate New York where Orthodox Jews and Yankee year-rounders live side by side from June through August." (Amazon.Com)
A once devout but now disillusioned Catholic woman spends nearly eleven years in isolation while caring for an invalid father. His death allows her to begin a new life and to face the guilt and shame that had crippled her emotionally for years.
"Kent Haruf reveals a whole community as he interweaves the stories of a pregnant high school girl, a lonely teacher, a pair of boys abandoned by their mother, and a couple of crusty bachelor farmers." (Amazon.Com)
“Tom Ripley travels to Italy with a commission to coax a prodigal young American back to his wealthy father. But Ripley finds himself very fond of Dickie Greenleaf. He wants to be like him--exactly like him.” (Ingram)
"About a Boy stars a guy called Will, who doesn't really want any children. He wonders why it bothers people that he lives so happily alone in his fashionable, Lego-free flat, with massive speakers, and an expensive cream-colored rug that no kid has ever thrown up on." (Amazon.Com)
While preparing to meet the needs of a new master, an aging butler reflects on the glory that was Darlington Hall in the 1930’s and on his first master, Lord Darlington. He begins to question years of devoted, loyal service and personal sacrafice.
"As Childern Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school in the english country side. I was a palce of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were." from the publisher
"The Novak brothers find geographic and economic escape routes; the sisters in turn all leave Bakerton, but need obligation and family ties pull them back. Washington Post's Bookworld/washingtonpost.com
“A plantation proprietor and former slave now possesses slaves of his own. When he dies, his household falls apart in the wake of a slave rebellion and corrupt patrollers who enable free black people to be sold into slavery.” (Novelist)
"Creating waves ten stories high and winds of 120 miles an hour, the storm whipped the sea to inconceivable levels few people on Earth have ever witnessed. Few, except the six-man crew of the Andrea Gail, a commercial fishing boat tragically headed towards its hellish center." (Amazon.Com)
When Saigon fell to the Viet COng in 1975, Nguyen was "left to a nighmarish existence in a violed and decimatedcountry... more at risk than most because of his odd blond hair & his light eyes." From the publisher
A coming-of-age story set in the early 1960's against a background of racial violence and unrest. The legend of the Black Madonna and brave, kind, peculiar female characters place the novel in the tradition of the Southern Gothic.
"In 1959, Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist, takes his four young daughters, his wife, and his mission to the Belgian Congo -- a place, he is sure, where he can save needy souls. But the seeds they plant bloom in tragic ways within this complex culture." (Amazon.Com)
Warm, funny and deeply moving, Gus Lee’s semi-autobiographical account of growing up in a conflict-ridden family, unable to fully embrace either American or Chinese culture, is an enthralling story of family relationships, the perils of boyhood, and the difficulty of being Chinese in 1950’s San Francisco.
A family, inquiring about summer openings at a Vermont inn, receives a civil response, which ends, "Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles." A comedy about the power of pride and place.
"Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead[formerly the United States]. She may levae the home of the COmmander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose are now pictures instaed of words because women are no longer allowed to read." From the publisher
"Somewhat autobiographical, this groundbreaking work describes the coming of age of Selina Boyce, a Caribbean-American girl in New York City in the mid-20th century." (The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature)
The story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised in all-black lower-income neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, where there were abundant opportunities for her children to get into major trouble.
"Billy Lynch's family and friends have gathered at a small Bronx bar. They have come to comfort his widow and to eulogize one of the last great romantics, trading tales of his famous humor, immense charm, and unfathomable sorrow." (Amazon.Com)
"Eleven-year-old Clara is struggling to find the truth about her missing father and grandfather and her
twin sister, dead at birth, but her mother steadfastly refuses to talk about these people who are lost to her daughter." (Amazon.Com)
"When an old housemate settles in her small town, the fabric of Jo's life begins to unravel: seduced again by the enticing possibility of another self and another life, she begins a dangerous flirtation that returns her to the darkest moment of her past and imperils all she loves." (Amazon.Com)
"As 65-year-old cancer patient Ann Grant Lord drifts in and out of a morphine-induced haze, her recollections range back and forth between 1954 and 1994, mulling over the influences that have shaped her life." (Publisher's Weekly)
"Hired by an archaeologist searching for the bones of Peking Man, Alice joins an expedition that penetrates a vast, uncharted land and brings Professor Lin Shiyang into her life. As they draw closer to unearthing the secret of Peking Man, as the group's every move is followed, their every whisper recorded, Alice and Lin find shelter in each other, slowly putting to rest the ghosts of their pasts." (Amazon.Com)
"Born in poland and a WWII refugee in New York, Leo has become invisible to the world... What's really missing in his life is the woman he has always loved, the son who doesn't know the Leo is his father, and his lost novel. called The History of Love, which un beknownst to Leo, was published ago in chile under a different man's name." Publishers Weekly
"Julie Harmon works hard, "hard as a man" they say, so hard that at times she's not sure she can stop. People depend on her. She is just a teenager when her brother dies in her arms. The following year, she marries Hank and moves to Gap Creek. Julie and Hank discover that the modern world is complex, grinding ever on without pause or concern for their hard work." (Amazon.Com)
"Narrated by a fifteen-year-old autistic savant obsessed with SHerlock Holmes," this story "weaves together an old-fashioned mystery, a contemporary coming-of-age story, and fascinating excursion into a mind incapable of processing emotions." From the publisher
Touches of fantasy, fable, and song highlight the telling of Macon Dead’s life. Dead had money, women, and prestige in black middle-class circles. At 32 he went South. In the wilds of virginia, he faces death and emerges committed to life as a Black man who knows who he is.
"Set against the impending events of World War II, The Museum Guard, the second book of his Canadian trilogy, explores the mysteries of identity and self-determination, and the desire to step out of the ordinary into an alluring and dangerous sphere of action." (Amazon.Com)
"Told by Will Tweedy,a fourteen-year-old boy living in a small, turn-of -the-century Georgia town... When Grandpa Rucker suddenly marries his store's young milliner barely three weeks after his wife death, the town is set on its ear." From 500Great Books by Women
A memoir of Patchett’s friendship with Autobiography of a Face author Lucy Grealy. “Patchett's own self-perception as the straight arrow to her friend's daredevilry is disclosed across time, as is Grealy's increasingly frenetic chase for a reconstructed face and, as important, for fame earned through writing.” (School Library Journal)
"Plagued by guilt, Kate keeps a 'must remember' list longer than her arm, shows up important meetings with baby spit-up on her Armani jacket, and defaces supermarket bakery items so that they will look homemade at her daughter's bake sale." Library Journal
A comedy of love set against a field of anarchy. Dr. Thomas More, a defender of order in Paradise, invents an "ontological Lapsometer", a machine that can cure the ills caused by mechanistic vision of life.
"Paige's mother left when she was five. When Paige becomes a mother herself, she is overwhelmed by the demands. Unable to forget her past, Paige struggles with the difficulties of marriage and motherhood." (Ingram)
"For eighteen years, Fran Benedetto kept her secret. And hid her bruises. And stayed with Bobby because she wanted her son to have a father. And because, in spite of everything, she loved him. Then one night, when she saw the look on her ten-year-old son's face, Fran finally made a choice--and ran for both their lives." (Amazon.Com)
First introduced as a character in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, this novel imagines the childhood of Antoinette Bertha Cosway, the insane wife of Mr. Rochester who is kept hidden in the attic. Here Antoinette’s earlier life in Jamaica is described.
Ruth and Lucille lose their mother to suicide and find themselves in the care of a kind but quirky aunt. Lucille, embarassed by her aunt’s inability to conform, moves out while Ruth stays to follow her aunt into a transient life of her own.
"Growing up in a biracial family in 1970s Boston, Birdie has seen her family disintegrate due to the increasing racial tensions. Her father and older sister move to Brazil, where they hope to find true racial equality, while Birdie and her mother drift through the country, eventually adopting new identities (Sheila and Jesse Goldman) and settling in a small New Hampshire town." (Amazon.Com)
"In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year-old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every glance. And eating, sleeping, and working side by side in the gossip-ridden mill town of Shirley Falls doesn't help matters. But when Amy is discovered behind the steamed-up windows of a car with her math teacher, the vast and icy distance between mother and daughter becomes unbridgeable." (Amazon.Com)
Set in post-war New York, a concentration camp survivor and her brillant but paranoid lover befriend their new neighbor, a young man who has left his native South to write a great novel in the big city. Slowly, as the youth becomes a man, the survivor shares the horrors of her past while her lover’s mental condition deteriorates.
"Vishnu is a dying vagrant whose only home is the stairwell of the building. His waning health presents numerous problems for the other residents, giving the author the chance to juxtapose the petty, the sensual, and the eternal in imaginative, perceptive, and distinctively Indian ways." (Audio File)
"Taylor weaves a rich social web in telling the story of one family's stark social decline, symbolized by a move from Nashville to Memphis, and of the consequences through the years and down the generations." (Amazon.Com)
"After a nighttime accident at the bottom of Sprull Hill in Bentrock, Sheriff Jack Nevelsen is compelled to try and protect a part of his hometown that even a hero would have trouble saving -- its innocence. For most everyone in the community would agree that June Moss, the quiet girl who had just graduated from high school, and Leo Bauer, the principal of Bentrock Elementary and a married man like Jack, had no business heading out of town together." (Amazon.Com)
"As Sidda struggles to analyze her mother, she comes face to face with the tangled beauty of imperfect love, and the fact that forgiveness, more than understanding, is often what the heart longs for." (Amazon.Com)
Set on Martha’s Vineyard in the 1950’s and focusing on the Black bourgeois community known as the Oval, Dr. and Mrs. Cole prepare unhappily for a marriage between their youngest daughter and a white jazz musician.