Following a rough week of traveling for work,
Jemma’s handbag with all her important possessions including her
passport, credit cards, laptop, and house keys is stolen at the airport.
Even more disturbing, when she goes to report the incident,
she realizes she can’t recall her own name. Home and her past no longer
exist in her mind, but the only thing in her pocket is a train ticket
“home.” Jemma is a source of mystery when she arrives at the sleepy
Wiltshire village where she thought she lived
and quickly becomes a cause of fear and curiosity amongst the locals
when no one recognizes her.
Is she a victim or a killer? Where did she come from? All at the same time as she is thinking:
Who are these people? Who am I?
A young woman takes a train home to an English village and finds her house inhabited by the current owners. She cannot remember who she is, relying on their kindness to help her determine what happened, her only memory of the mysterious Fleur. A murderer lived in the house over a decade ago; timing of the murderer’s release and the young woman’s resemblance cast suspicion on her, dividing the owners. The wife leaves town and the husband obsesses over the unknown woman, possibly a murderer. Deception and revenge collide with coincidence and subterfuge, moving toward tragedy, and taking the story to Berlin and a horrific crime. Monroe builds an intriguing world of characters with hidden agendas and convincing personas. Dear reader may not know with whom to empathize as the secrets spill. Layers of the story build with new insights through flashbacks and revelations. This is an excellent look into the psychology of a criminal act and the resulting vigilante justice. I received this provocative novel from Park Row Books through NetGalley.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
J.S. Monroe studied English at Cambridge
University, worked as a freelance journalist in London and was a regular
contributor to BBC Radio 4. He was also a foreign correspondent in
Delhi for the Daily Telegraph and was on
its staff in London as Weekend editor. He is the author of six other
novels and lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their three
Bauermeister, the national bestselling author of The School of
Essential Ingredients, presents a moving and evocative
coming-of-age novel about childhood stories, families lost and found,
and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course
of our lives.
Emmeline lives an
enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches
her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t
explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the
walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates
them. As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity,
until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out
into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and
revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to
her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and
immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of
scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we
seek, and even help us find our way back home.
In Emmeline’s childhood, mermaids brought supplies to their island
cabin, and scents of faraway places lived in beautiful bottles
covering the back wall. Made with a mysterious machine, these scents
inspire her father’s tales of Queen Emmeline and Jack, the Scent
Hunter. Tragedy thrusts her into the mainstream world, where secrets
are revealed and Emmeline must redefine family. Bauermeister portrays
a magical land of enchantment from a child’s perspective, and the
demise of innocence so well that dear reader’s heart breaks for
Emmeline. I was fortunate to receive this beautiful story of never
giving up on your dream, and unintended consequences, from St.
Martin’s Press through NetGalley.
About the Author:
Bauermeister is the author of the bestselling novel The School
of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners, and The Lost Art
of Mixing. She is also the co-author of the non-fiction works,
500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide and Let’s
Hear It For the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. She has
a PhD in literature from the University of Washington, and has taught
there and at Antioch University. She is a founding member of the
Seattle7Writers and currently lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
A terrible tragedy unleashes a fateful chain of events for two
families from starkly different worlds in a breathtaking new tale of
suspense that doubles as a razor-sharp take on class conflict in
In his remarkable debut, THE EAST END(Park
Row Books; May 7, 2019; $26.99 U.S./$33.50 CAN.),
novelist Jason Allen constructs a multi-layered story
about the powerful and the powerless, about love and loss, and about
self-destruction and the possibility of redemption. Set in the
Hamptons over one explosive holiday weekend, this immersive must-read
illuminates both sides of the socio-economic divide in a place where
dreams of escape drive potentially catastrophic decisions.
Unfolding from multiple perspectives, THE EAST END opens
with the countdown to Memorial Day underway and recent high school
graduate Corey Halpern in need of a fix. A townie, he burns off
his resentment of the affluent “invaders” who flock to the
community in the summer months by breaking into their lavish mansions
and pulling harmless pranks. Staring down a bleak future, he sees his
hopes of going away to college vanishing. He can’t disappear, not
when his troubled mother, Gina, is barely making ends meet, trying to
get away from an abusive, deadbeat husband, and chasing pills with
too much booze. Trapped in a downward spiral, she staggers towards
rock bottom as Corey and his brother look on helplessly.
Before calling it a night, Corey makes one last stop at the
sprawling lakeside estate where he and Gina work. There he intends to
commit his first-ever robbery but nothing proceeds according to plan.
Married billionaire CEO Leo Sheffield shows up to his ultra-exclusive
Gin Lane property early, accompanied by his handsome, much-younger
lover, Henry. In an instant, everything changes: Drunk, high, and all
alone, Henry is the victim of a fatal poolside accident.
Unfortunately for a distraught Leo, Corey saw what happened—and so
did someone else.
For this immensely privileged man who is not used to getting his
hands dirty, his very existence now depends on containing the
collateral damage. And time is running out. Leo’s overbearing wife
and three grown children will be arriving soon, along with a house
full of high-maintenance guests. Desperate to preserve his fortune
and his freedom, Leo takes irrevocable steps that expose him to
scandal and far worse. Over the next few tension-filled days, hidden
entanglements, unexpected opportunities, and clashing loyalties
propel Corey, Gina, and Leo to extremes—and ultimately, to shocking
outcomes no one will anticipate.
Atmospheric, emotionally probing, and complexly unmissable, this
kaleidoscopic narrative plunges its brilliantly realized characters
into timely, all-too-relatable moral quandaries that defy easy
answers and resound long after the final page.
Corey breaks into the houses of the wealthy who summer in the Hamptons, to play pranks on them as a way to vent his frustrations as a local serving these “invaders.” The night he chooses to enter the home of his mother’s employer Mr. Sheffield, he learns a scandalous secret and witnesses a tragedy, and then he falls in love. The weekend brings a multitude of challenges for the Sheffield family and Corey’s mom, who’s fighting a drug addiction and a violent ex, as well as Corey and his new love. Allen brilliantly portrays the blurred lines of integrity and honesty for the haves and have-nots in a scenario that flips dependency from one to the other and exposes everyone’s agenda. No character is truly endearing, nor is any character wholly evil, but all are complex, self-serving and compassionate in turn. Fans of “Somethings in the Water,” “Beautiful Bad,” or “Hunting Annabelle” will appreciate this story. It’s a peek at what we might do if we had the chance, and what happens when we involve ourselves in something that’s not our business. I received a digital copy of this fantastic story from Park Row Books through NetGalley.
Jason Allen grew up in a working-class home in the
Hamptons, where he worked a variety of blue-collar jobs for wealthy
estate owners. He writes fiction, poetry, and memoir, and is the
author of the poetry collection A Meditation on Fire. He has
an MFA from Pacific University and a PhD in literature and creative
writing from Binghamton University. He currently lives in Atlanta,
Georgia, where he teaches writing. THE EAST END is his first
One would expect a book on miniatures to target a specific audience, but Garfield offers a holistic look, broadening the concept of miniature, from souvenirs and model planes / ships to tiny books and staged crime scenes. In a surprise opening, Garfield shares the psychological obsession with recreations of the iconic Eiffel Tower, some models larger than a person, so not an expected miniature, but still tiny versions of the beloved landmark. He moves on to intricately detailed and blue-printed miniature villages and cities of astounding square footage. And from there, Garfield flies high to explore tiny portraits of royals and young Queen Mary’s dollhouse, for display only. More surprises enchant the reader upon finding out the rockstars who also happen to be model train fans, architect models famous for the intended structure not being built, and the elaborate theater that was, Garfield meandering out to mini stage sets. The book wraps up with a microscopic matrix-like painting within a painting within a painting, micro-sculptures, and of course, rice drawings and eye of the needle scenes, but also mini-cooking YouTube videos and contemporary artists. The Epilogue wanders through popular culture’s take on miniatures, and a retelling of Prussian victory at Waterloo, the final note an 8” 3D Mini-Me of the author himself.
At the end of every
chapter is a “mini-break” enlightening readers upon such obscure
miniatures as Egyptian shabtis, slave ship models, flea circuses,
floor games / play rooms presaging Simcity, LSD tab art, Temple of
Jerusalem, Las Vegas’ idea of world culture reduced to a resort, a
shock artist’s work, and designer chair samples.
Extensive research was done for this book, with thorough timelines, respectful interviews, and photos. Garfield describes the inspiration, effort, finances, and passion involved in all aspects of the miniatures he’s investigated, relaying the history as a storyteller. The book is global in its scope and astonishing in its depth and content, a fun read for anyone interested in extraordinary things, reminiscent of The Museum of Interesting Things in NYC.
I received a copy of
this fascinating book from the publisher Atria Books through
Maddie fell hard for Ian, British security detail, when she taught
English in Bulgaria and her BFF Joanna was a humanitarian working in
Macedonia before and during their civil war. He’s hard to pin down,
even after she marries him despite Joanna’s inexplicable hostility
toward him. He insists on moving from NYC to her small, Kansas
hometown, though he spends much of his time in the Eastern bloc,
working in a security business he started with his brother after
leaving his government position. The story unfolds in layers as it
goes back and forth in time and around the globe to explain the
horrible murder. Ward does an excellent job evoking sympathy for
Maddie, who appears to be on the receiving end of Ian’s PTSD. This
novel portrays young American idealists who get caught up in tragedy,
differences in maturity levels of best friends, and how lack of
self-awareness contributes to obfuscation, as a mismatched romance
leads to its horrifying conclusion. I was fortunate to receive this
brilliant story from the publisher Park Row Books through NetGalley.
A time travel criminal shot Kin’s Temporal Corruption Bureau retrieval beacon, stranding him in 1996. In the two decades it took his colleagues from 2142 to find him, he built a life with a wife and daughter. Regulations force him back to the future, where he’s been missing for only weeks from his work and his fiancee. His inexplicable disappearance, and her mother’s death, sends his daughter spiraling downward. He breaches protocol, reaching out to her digitally, endangering both. Chen brilliantly maintains time travel integrity, with its possibilities and limitations, placing his main character in an organization enforcing law throughout time, with strict safety policies for agents preventing him from aiding his daughter. This is a family drama that just happens to have a time travel element—a well-written, speculative suspense novel. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Mira Books through NetGalley.
Marianne determines that the Seine is preferable to one more minute of accommodating her husband’s controlling condescension. She walks away from the tour group during dinner to dive into the river, and her husband does not even notice her leaving. A homeless man “steals her death” by pulling her from the water. In the hospital, her husband expresses his concern that her attempt affects him adversely. She again walks away, bent on reaching Kerduc, the seaside town depicted in the nurse’s placemat tile, a town in which she invests her romantic notions of a larger death than her life has been. Circumstances lead her there as if by magic, pulling her into a setting amongst colorful, complicated characters that could have been created by Maeve Binchy. She falls into employment at Ar Mor restaurant, fitting seamlessly into the rhythms of the kitchen. At 60, Marianne begins a new life, of wonder, of real love, of authenticity. Toward the end, the novel gets a bit over the top (with the young waitress Laurine inexplicably removing all her clothing to rescue Jean-Remy’s love letter boats from the water, but maybe that one’s a French thing), yet maintains the integrity of its characters and Breton setting. A woman blooming into a fully realized individual after decades of being an extension of her spouse evokes feminism, when she can see herself as an equal to her lover.
Brittany, France, stands proud as a character in this story, new friends emphasizing Breton identity and sharing Breton folklore. Marieanne’s mysterious introduction to the community as “the woman who came from the sea” invokes the legend of Ys, the city swallowed by the sea, and her new love takes her to the magical forest of Broceliande. Although German, Marianne feels at home amongst her new friend, from the little touches, such as her return to playing the accordion, a long-stored instrument given to her by a Breton reluctant to fall for her charms based on memories of the war. She discovers that there are various ways to thwart love and defy romance. In another nod to Maeve Binchy, the ending provides closure without complete resolution, as in real life. There is death, rekindled romance, illness, love rescued, dementia, and new life, with all their complex and tangled emotions.
International bestselling author Nina George, after “The Little Paris Bookshop” (translated into 35 languages), again lays out beautiful, complicated relationships in seemingly impossible situations and offers readers wildly emotional connections and absolution as human beings in “The Little French Bistro,” on its way to multiple translations.
I was fortunate to receive a copy of this wonderful book through NetGalley.