An intriguing novel about lifestyles of the wealthy in Newport, Rhode Island during the early twenties is Jill Morrow’s Newport.  Attorney Adrian De la Noye has come to the mansion of his client, Bennett Chapman.  Chapman is a very wealthy businessman in his eighties who wants to revise his will.  He also intends to marry a woman half his age.  As is to be expected, his two children are so opposed to these changes that they want to have him declared incompetent.  There is a very rich storyline here.  Early connections between characters are hinted at and there are continued surprises in the plot.  Spiritualism also has a role to play.  Chapman believes his actions are being guided by messages from his first wife who has been dead for twenty years.  It is always expected that this kind of a set- up is a manipulation, but who is motivated and who will profit?  This is both a mystery and a romance.

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2016 Michigan Digital Newspaper Grant Contest

The DeWitt District Library has been selected as one of five finalists to receive the Michigan Digital Newspaper Grant from Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library.  This $2,500 award will help improve access to newspaper articles that highlight our local history.  If DeWitt District Library wins this grant, the funds will be used to digitize 10 years of fragile, one of a kind newspapers from the Clinton County Republican News dating from January 1, 1920 – December 31, 1930.

The pages within these newspapers are the best window into our community’s history. The span of newspapers nominated for digitization covers an era when Clinton County was made up of small town farming communities that were far less connected than the communities of today and will include coverage of both the Bath School disaster and the DeWitt’s Great Fire of 1930.  Even though the library has these pages on microfilm, it isn’t the most accessible medium for research.  Digitization would facilitate easier access to the information within these newspapers by allowing us to create an index and making it all accessible from a simple internet connection.

How to VoteTweet your Vote

Votes will determine which of the five nominated libraries will receive funding.  So the next step in this grant process is to ask our community for support by casting votes for the DeWitt District Library to win the Michigan Digital Newspaper Grant.

Voting will take place for just one week between January 19th and January 26th and may be completed in one of two ways.

The first voting method is to find or create a postcard featuring a Michigan scene, write #DigClinton on it and mail it to the Clarke Historical Library.  Postcards must be postmarked on or after January 19th.  Each postcard received by Tuesday, Jan. 26th at 5 pm will be worth 10 online votes.  The Library will have voting postcards available for residents to fill out.  Postcards should be mailed to:

Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859

Postcard Image

You can also click the image above to print this blank postcard on card stock and draw a Michigan scene on the back!

The second way to vote is by using Twitter.  Starting Tuesday, Jan 19 and ending at midnight on Tuesday, Jan 26, log into your Twitter account and tweet #DigClinton @DigMichNews or follow this link to send a pre-generated tweet that already includes the correct hashtag.  One tweet counts as one vote.

Remember, whether voting by postcard or via Twitter, make sure to write #DigClinton and which ever way you choose we encourage you to vote early and vote often.

Follow Clarke Library Twitter @DigMichNews to track the votes.  More information about the contest is available at the Clarke Library website





ISIS isn’t the first Muslim entity to declare war on the United States.  Something similar happened to our country over two hundred years ago.  Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager describe what happened in their non-fiction book Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates.  This is the first war that the United States became involved in after independence had been established.  The Barbary States were an organization of North African governments.  Morocco was an independent kingdom and Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli had a semi-formal connection with the Ottoman Empire.  These nations sanctioned piracy that operated against any shipping in the Mediterranean Sea and along any shoreline that was reachable by their small, but dangerous boats.  Great Britain and France, the two major world powers of the time, had decided that it simply was easier to pay protection money instead of going to war.  As Muslims, these pirates believed it was their duty to destroy any infidel so they were extremely cruel to sailors that were taken prisoner.  The ransom that was demanded was far too high for an emerging country to be able to pay.  Gradually the United States managed to wage effective war.  When communication could take close to a year to get to ship captains, it is amazing what was accomplished.

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Following your dreams for a food journalist will always involve tasting magnificent flavors.  In Vintage by David Baker we meet Bruno Tannenbaum whose writing career has virtually ended.  He wrote one best seller about matching meals to episodes in your life, but nothing that he wrote later had that appeal.  He made a living as a food critic, but greed and laziness eventually ended his employment.  Shortly after he was fired, he found a cork that may have come from one bottle of a historical cache of wine.  These bottles were commandeered by the Nazis at the end of WWII and provoked searches all over the world for these legendary wines.  Bruno is a character who often makes poor personal choices but his instinct for food and wine is point on.  When he begins his search for these bottles, he imposes on his old and new contacts for either money or information.  He hopes to create a new best seller that will resurrect his reputation.  Although he has many unattractive qualities, he still can charm family and acquaintances into helping him.  The convoluted quest takes Bruno back to a place where family, food, and wine are the prime ingredients.


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Rita’s Review: Depraved Heart

heartSo…..I’m going to veer off path on this book. Patricia Cornwell’s new release, Depraved Heart is headed in the same direction as the one before, Flesh and Blood. In this story Kay Scarpetta arrives at a crime scene and believes at first glance that it is an accidental death. However, as she works her magic, a video clip appears on her phone. It is of Lucy, her niece, but one from twenty years earlier. Other clips follow and Scarpetta is seriously alarmed. Should she talk with her FBI husband, her partner or Lucy? Unsure, she takes this one on herself and the result could land Lucy in prison.

Cornwell, in my opinion has written all there is to write about Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Perhaps she should begin a new spin-off series with Lucy as the main character? Bottom line – Scarpetta is boring and depressing.



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Rachel Woodley was raised by a widowed mother who kept their household going by teaching piano.  When Rachel is working as a nanny in France, she receives a message to come home because her mother is ill.  The telegram had been delayed, so her mother was dead before Rachel returned to England.  All that is left to do is clear out the rented cottage.  Under her mother’s pillow, Rachel found a magazine clipping dated three months ago with a picture of a man she recognized as her father, apparently still alive.  The Other Daughter by Lauren Willig is a historical novel that follows Rachel as she searches for understanding and revenge.  Why had her father never visited or contributed to their support?  It seems that he is an Earl with an entire other family.  When Rachel assumes a fake identity she is able to mingle with celebrated Bright Young Things, historical personas you will recognize.  As she moves through society, she meets Olivia, her half- sister or the other daughter.  The answers to Rachel’s questions are not surprising, but this is a romantic, absorbing read.

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