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Susan's Picks

Susan Voake, former librarian at the Marion Cross School, lives in Norwich with her husband and springer spaniel. She collects antique dolls, buys and sells Victorian ladies' sentimentalia and ephemera, bakes cookies and enjoys summer days visiting her daughters, treasure hunting, or working in her perennial garden.






ISBN: 9781451649321
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - October 20th, 2015

Wowzers! That Kate Morton really knows how to spin a tale! A master of the incremental reveal, she uses multiple points of view, periods of time, and shifting locales to unravel a 70-year-old mystery—the Midsummer Eve disappearance of an 11-month-old boy from his Cornish manor house bedroom. The atmosphere is haunting, the characters have secrets galore, and there are red herrings throughout. Settle back on a cold afternoon and enjoy.

ISBN: 9780525429142
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - July 28th, 2015

Laugh out loud and take out your recipe files for these vignettes from the first 30 years of the life of chef extraordinaire and enfant terrible, Eva Thorwald. A wide spectrum of voices—some that use expletives as often as conjunctions and some that will break your heart—tell this tale written almost as a collection of short stories as characters’ lives cleverly intersect with Eva’s. Highly recommended for foodies and anyone else looking for a tender (and tasty) romp in the kitchen.

ISBN: 9780385342940
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Press - June 9th, 2015

Annie Barrows is a master at characterization, both of individuals and communities. As in her earlier book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, we vividly imagine the small town of Macedonia, West Virginia, in 1938 and come to know its inhabitants like old friends. But there are secrets. And there is history. And  what is fact and what is truth seems to depend on the person telling the story. When a wealthy socialite hired by the Federal Writers' Project comes to chronicle the past of Macedonia, 12-year-old Willa Romeyn discovers that the town she has grown up in and the people she has known forever are not always what they seem. A tender, humorous, bittersweet story that resonates long after you've read the last page.

By Jenny Hughes, Jonathan Bentley (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780545813273
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - April 28th, 2015

Bright, cheerful illustrations tell the story of sprightly Audrey who decides the family house is getting to be too small for her.  Together with her understanding dad, Audrey goes searching for a new place to live. She discovers just the right size tree and her father builds a tree house exactly to her specifications. However, once her father says, "Good night", Audrey has some second thoughts. A lilting, repetitive text makes for an excellent nighttime read aloud.

ISBN: 9781250054807
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - June 23rd, 2015

Looking for an enticing beach read? Fascinated by selkie myths or the tarot? Love those carnival settings? This will be a book that won’t get sandy because you’ll not be able to put it down. Simon, a young librarian, is losing his family’s house to the cliff erosion of Long Island Sound. He has also lost his parents to unhappy deaths, his foul mouthed sister to the circus and now perhaps his job. Enter a mysterious, water-damaged 18th century carnival journal from an Iowa bookseller who believes the book relates to Simon’s family history. A countdown begins as Simon investigates family coincidences through the generations that seem to ominously connect his past, present, and future.

ISBN: 9781579656089
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Artisan Publishers - April 7th, 2015

Do you love a good picnic? The self-ascribed Portland Picnic Society certainly does and after perfecting the art of dining al fresco, several of their members have created this book just for you. Wow!! What fun it is!  The picnic as an adult party venue is such a great idea. Tips on blankets, baskets and of course fabulous recipes for every sort of picnic treat and every age of picnic goer are included with charming illustrations. Treat yourself and/or give this book as a hostess/shower/wedding/ present together with a basket. The perfect gift for summer!

ISBN: 9780385523233
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Spiegel & Grau - March 31st, 2015

If you stand at the water’s edge long enough, you may spot what many have described as a monster in the loch. However, when Sara Gruen unravels her tale of Scotland during wartime, that monster may appear in many forms, only one of which is reptilian. Issues of class, family, love and loss bind this story of bruised pride and a yen for adventure that send three wealthy, bored young Americans to a small Scottish village in hopes of documenting the beast.

ISBN: 9780062316899
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - February 3rd, 2015

Two sets of sisters separated by thirty years share this compelling story of Shaw’s Training Homes for Watercress and Flower Girls where many of the orphaned and disabled children who sold posies at Covent Garden Market were saved from harm and starvation. We meet Flora Flynn and her soon to be missing sister Rosie in the back alleys of London in 1876. We learn of Esther Harper when we meet her sister Tilly taking the train from the Lake District to become an assistant housemother at the Homes in 1912. Tilly tells us often that there is no such thing as a coincidence; everything happens for a reason. So don’t let a single detail slip past you as the lives of these sisters converge. Misery, jealousy, love and beauty permeate this tale. A little predictable but I didn’t foresee many of the twists and turns. An engaging read!

ISBN: 9780439874021
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - February 24th, 2015

An extraordinary harmonica changes the lives of three talented musicians in this lyrical story that moves from the enchanted world of a fairy tale forest to the very real world of the second world war. Recurring themes of bigotry, loyalty. loss and  love echo through the movements which rise to an emotional crescendo at Carnegie Hall. A wonderful novel for young people celebrating the power of music. 

ISBN: 9780307271037
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - March 3rd, 2015

A bard-like narrator weaves this tale of post Arthurian Britain. A mist of forgetfulness covers the land as elderly Axl and Beatrice leave their hillock village to visit the son they can barely recall. Crossing a land besieged by ogres, dragon and marauding soldiers, they are joined by a warrior, an orphan and Sir Gawain in what becomes a quest to restore the memory of things past. The pain of loss of every kind pervades this mysterious narrative which had me transfixed for an entire day reading from beginning to end.

ISBN: 9780553418774
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - June 23rd, 2015

A testament to love—lost, sought, and found—and the healing power of books, the tango and Provence. We meet aging bookseller Jean Perdu dispensing novel prescriptions for all the travails of the heart from his floating literary pharmacy moored along the banks of the Seine. We join him and a writers’ block beset author phenom, in their odyssey down the canals of France.  

Wise, humorous and heart breaking, The Little Paris Bookshop joins last year’s gem, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, in that small clutch of novels that celebrate small bookstores and the treasures they hold.

By Mark Bailey, Edward Hemingway (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781565125933
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill - September 30th, 2014

Film Noir fan? Hollywood trivia buff? Cocktail dabbler? Of All the Gin Joints is the recreational reading book for you! Visit Scott Fitzgerald's favorite bar. Spend at little time at Ciro's. What happened to Bogie at the Garden of Allah? All this and classic cocktail recipes too. Cheers!