Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia, formerly from The Printed Page, where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox Monday currently is on tour, and this month’s host is Suko’s Notebook.
Here’s what I received:
In this new biography, the bestselling author Paula Byrne (Perdita, Mad World) explores the forces that shaped the interior life of Britain’s most beloved novelist, Jane Austen: her father’s religious faith; her mother’s aristocratic pedigree; her eldest brother’s adoption; her other brothers’ navel and military experiences; her relatives in the East and West Indies; her cousin, who lived through the trauma of the French Revolution; the family’s amateur theatrical productions; the female novelists she admired; her residence in Bath; her love of the seaside; her travels around England; and her long struggle to become a published author.
Byrne uses a highly innovative technique whereby each chapter begins by evoking an object that conjures up a key moment or theme in Austen’s life and work — a silhouette, a vellum notebook, a topaz cross, a laptop writing box, a royalty check, a bathing machine, and many more.
The woman who emerges in this biography is far tougher, more socially and politically aware, and altogether more modern than the conventional picture of “dear Aunt Jane” would allow. Published to coincide with the bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice, this lively and scholarly biography brings Austen dazzlingly into the twenty-first century. (publisher’s summary)
Samantha McDonough cannot believe her eyes — or her luck. Tucked in an uncut page of a two-hundred-year-old poetry book is a letter that she believes was written by Jane Austen, mentioning with regret a manuscript that “went missing at Greenbriar in Devonshire.” Could there really be an undiscovered Jane Austen novel waiting to be found? Could anyone resist the temptation to go looking for it?
Making her way to the beautiful, centuries-old Greenbriar estate, Samantha finds it no easy task to sell its owner, the handsome yet uncompromising Anthony Whitaker, on her wild idea of searching for a lost Austen work — until she mentions its possible multimillion-dollar value.
After discovering the unattributed manuscript, Samantha and Anthony are immediately absorbed in the story of Rebecca Stanhope, daughter of a small-town rector, who is about to encounter some bittersweet truths about life and love. As they continue to read the newly discovered tale from the past, a new one unfolds in the present — a story that just might change both of their lives forever. (publisher’s summary)
Freelance photographer Suzanne Paris has been on her own since she was fourteen, and she has no intention of settling down, especially not in a tiny town like Walton, Georgia. She’s here to hide out for a little while, not to form connections. Her survival depends on her ability to slip in and out of people’s lives, on never staying in one place for too long.
But no one in Walton plans on making things easy for Suzanne. For one thing, it’s a town where everyone knows everyone else — and they all seem intent on making Suzanne feel right at home. For another, Suzanne can’t help but feel drawn to this tight-knit community — or to the town’s mayor, Joe Warner, and his six kids. But Suzanne can’t afford to stick around, even if she’s finally found a place where she belongs. Because someone is looking for her — someone who won’t stop until her life is destroyed… (publisher’s summary)
In July 1914, innocent, lovely Clarissa Granville lives with her parents and three brothers in the idyllic isolation of Deyning Park, a grand English country house where she whiles away her days enjoying house parties, country walks, and tennis matches. Clarissa is drawn to Tom Cuthbert, the housekeeper’s handsome son. Though her parents disapprove of their upstairs-downstairs friendship, the two are determined to see each other, and they meet in secret to share what becomes a deep and tender romance. But soon the winds of war come to Deyning, as they come to all of Europe. As Tom prepares to join the front lines, neither he nor Clarissa can envision what lies ahead of them in the dark days and years to come. Nor can they imagine how their love will be tested, or how they will treasure the memory of this last, perfect summer. (publisher’s summary)
Lucy Takeda is just fourteen years old, living in Los Angeles, when the bombs rain down on Pearl Harbor. Within weeks, she and her mother, Miyako, are ripped from their home, rounded up — along with thousands of other innocent Japanese-Americans — and taken to the Manzanar prison camp.
Buffeted by the blistering heat and choking dust, Lucy and Miyako must endure the harsh living conditions of the camp. Corruption and abuse creep into every corner of Manzanar, eventually ensnaring beautiful, vulnerable Miyako. Ruined and unwilling to surrender her daughter to the same fate, Miyako soon breaks. Her final act of desperation will stay with Lucy forever…and spur her to sins of her own.
Bestselling author Sophie Littlefield weaves a powerful tale of stolen innocence and survival that echoes through generations, reverberating between mothers and daughters. It is a moving chronicle of injustice, triumph and the unspeakable acts we commit in the name of love. (publisher’s summary)
What books did you add to your shelves recently?
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© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.