Philippa Gregory is an outstanding writer of historical fiction. Her most recent novel Three Sisters, Three Queens is the story of Henry VIII’s two sisters, Margaret and Mary, and his first wife, Katherine. Although at times they had real affection for each other, they were often in conflict for control and precedence. Margaret, the oldest Tudor sister, was at court when Katherine came to England to become Henry’s brother’s wife. Marriage was a political function, so Margaret was there to witness the loss of status Katherine faced when her first husband died and her later elevation when she became Henry’s wife. Even though Margaret had hoped to marry someone else, she was sent to Scotland to become King James’ wife. Her treatment by Gregory is what makes an absorbing novel. Although the major highlights of Margret’s life are well known, her motivations are open to interpretation. She was widowed when Scotland rebelled against Henry. Margret’s marriage was supposed to have been a peaceful link, but she basically had to spend her life trying to protect her son’s birthright. A good historical novel humanizes figures which help the reader better understand and remember the events the characters were a part of.
Julian Fellows was the author of the immensely popular PBS show Downton Abbey, so there is a primed audience ready for his book Belgravia. The title refers to an area of housing that was constructed in London in the mid 1800’s. The novel begins in June 1915 in Brussels on the eve of the battle of Waterloo. Two families attend the Duchess of Richmond’s ball on that fateful evening. The Trenchard family, which includes the beautiful, young Sophia, is headed by a man who has been Wellington’s chief supplier. He will eventually go on to become a major developer of Belgravia. Lord Edmund Bellasis is a young English aristocrat who will die on the battlefield the next day. The novel skips over twenty plus years to a time when these two classes of families have begun to cross social boundaries. Just like Downton Abbey, this novel portrays a segment of English history with a look at how different types of people lived their lives.
Houston in the 1950’s provides the setting for Anton D. Sclafani’s novel The After Party. Two little girls named Joan meet in their neighborhood of Houston’s oil-rich residents. They become best friends, spending all their time together until they are high school seniors. Little Cece Buchanan had to give up her name to Joan Fortier because there can’t be two girls in class with the same name. Cece’s willingness to surrender her name foreshadows the relationship that the two girls will have. Even though Joan became a bit of a wild child, Cece always remains ready to defend her into young adulthood. One of the catty criticisms floating around their exclusive social group is why Joan doesn’t have a husband and at least one child by the time she is twenty-five. This seemed like almost the perfect portrayal of the expectations for wealthy young women in a city like Houston at this time. Although the two young women try to remain close, life is beginning to divide them. The novel explores family relationships and friendships. It can be surprising which can be stronger and more enduring. The reveal at the end of the book explains why so many confusing actions were taken.
The Library’s renovation project is ahead of schedule! Our construction crews have been working hard and things came together quicker than expected. Check out this sneak-peek video of all the changes that have happened so far.
It’s now time for new paint and carpet. This means the library will be temporarily closing sooner than expected.
We will be closed
Monday, September 26th – Sunday, October 9th
The library will reopen
with full access to all collections
on Monday, October 10th
MelCat Services will be available starting that day!
For your convenience and ours, any items that you check out next week prior to the library closing will have an extended due date of October 14th. We ask that you either return your checked out items prior to our closing date or hold on to them until after we reopen.
Keep in mind that because we are ahead of schedule with construction, our renovation project will not actually be complete on the day we reopen. We will be missing many of our custom made furniture pieces as well as the redesigned service desk. These pieces are on schedule and will be added into the renovated space in the weeks after we reopen.
We will be announcing a Grand Reopening day to be scheduled after the entire makeover project is complete.
Click here for more information on the renovation project
The mother and daughter team of P.J. Tracy is at it again with their latest novel, The Sixth Idea. In 1957, a group of top notch engineers and scientists combine their skills and develop a hydrogen bomb that destroys only infrastructure, not lives. In present day Minneapolis, detectives Magozzi and Rolseth are finding dead bodies everywhere, and also investigate a kidnapping. The only connection between the bodies and the kidnapping, is that they are descendants of the bomb inventors. Lydia Ascher, a remaining descendant finds two dead bodies in her basement, and upon questioning, tells the detectives of a website called the Sixth Idea. This website was designed to locate other descendants. So Magozzi and Rolseth call on the Monkeewrench team to help unravel the mystery. Each with their own unique talent, they seek to uncover a clever conspiracy in this combination detection-thriller. This is the seventh book in the great Monkeewrench series.
The House of Dreams by Kate Lord Brown is a fictionalized account of Air-Bel, a villa in Marseilles, France. During the early part of WWII, the American Relief Center worked to relocate refugees out of Vichy controlled Marseilles to protect them from Nazi arrest. These people were usually on a list as a “degenerate” artist or someone who had been politically critical of Nazism. Varian Fry was the American journalist who ran the organization that got so many people to safety. The fictional character which the novel focuses on is the renowned artist Gabriel Lambert. He had been provided with an escape route to the US. He is now in his nineties and has become a recluse. Sophie Cass is a New York City journalist who is hoping for an exclusive, revealing interview about the WWII era relationship which he had with her great aunt. Flashbacks tell the story of the real Varian Fry’s heroic efforts and reveal a very complex secret that the fictional artist Lambert had kept for all his life.
Sophie lies when she tells her husband both parents are dead. Her mother, Grace Bradshaw, is still alive and on death row for killing Sophie’s baby brother seventeen years ago.
Grace has filed as many appeals as she can. Her husband has died after many years of trying to prove his wife innocent of killing their baby son. She has had nothing but time to contemplate her fate, and time to write a journal for Sophie about her memories. This book is not really about the death penalty that Graces faces. It is about the love a mother has for her child. For Grace has not heard from Sophie for years! Time is ticking for any reconciliation.
This book written by Angela Pisel has hope and it has tears. Whether readers are for the death penalty or not the book causes you to think, what if.