Archive for the ‘mailbox monday’ Category

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week.  It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s what I added to the shelves:

the sea gardenThe Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson — from Harper

Hailed as a “master of mood and shadow,” with a “gift for bringing the senses to life,” Deborah Lawrenson returns to the sensuous Provence of her acclaimed novel The Lantern in this romantic tale of World War II mystery — three linked novellas rich in drama and steeped in atmosphere.


On the lush Mediterranean island of Porquerolles off the French coast, Ellie Brooke, an award-winning British landscape designer, has been hired to restore a memorial garden.  Unsettled by its haunted air and the bitterness of the garden’s owner, an elderly woman who seems intent on undermining her, Ellie finds that her only ally on the island is an elusive war historian…


Near the end of World War II, Marthe Lincel, a young blind woman newly apprenticed at a perfume factory in Nazi-occupied Provence, finds herself at the center of a Resistance cell.  When tragedy strikes, she faces the most difficult choice of her life…and discovers a breathtaking courage she never expected.


Iris Nightingale, a junior British intelligence officer in wartime London, falls for a French agent.  But after a secret landing in Provence results in terrible Nazi reprisals, he vanishes.  When France is liberated, Iris is determined to uncover the truth.  Was he the man he claimed to be?

Ingeniously interconnected, these three spellbinding narratives are woven into one unique tale of love, mystery, and murder.  The Sea Garden is a vivid and absorbing chronicle of love and loss in the fog of war — and a penetrating and perceptive examination of the impulses and circumstances that shape our lives.  (publisher’s summary)

a haven from hitlerA Haven from Hitler by Heini Gruffudd — from Y Lolfa

This is a story of suffering and heroism, love and hatred, death and survival during the most destructive years of the 20th century in Europe.

Originally published in Welsh under the title Yr Erlid, it won the Welsh Book of the Year prize in 2013.  It tells the story of the family of Kate Bosse-Griffiths, of German-Jewish descent, who fled the brutal regime of the Nazis and became one of Wales’ leading academic and literary figures.

In Oxford, she met fellow Classics scholar and Egyptologist J. Gwyn Griffiths, and they soon settled as a married couple in Rhondda, where Kate established the Cadwgan Literary Circle.

Meanwhile, her family, like hundreds of thousands of others of Jewish descent, suffered from Nazi persecution.

The story is based on hundreds of letters, documents and first-hand accounts by members of the family.  They tell of the Nazi-inspired attacks of Kristallnacht, life under their brutal regime, efforts to flee and periods of imprisonment, and the horror of life inside concentration camps.  (publisher’s summary)

pride and persistencePride and Persistence by Jeanna Ellsworth — from the author

Undaunted by a threatening storm, Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley insists he must deliver his letter to Miss Elizabeth Bennet — then tragedy strikes.  Riddled with guilt, Elizabeth comes to the aid of the comatose Mr. Darcy and stays by his side until he regains consciousness.  She soon learns that although Mr. Darcy has awoken, he has not returned to himself.  And with no memory of her first disastrous proposal, he has concluded that there is nothing he wants more than to propose to Miss Elizabeth.

This humorous journey of love leaves one asking, can persistence pacify prejudice?  Can Elizabeth see the real gentleman behind the injury, a man who persists in professing his love to her every chance he gets?  In this Regency variation of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet both learn the value of persistence.  (publisher’s summary)

the secrets of darcy and elizabethThe Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth by Victoria Kincaid — from the author

In this Pride and Prejudice variation, a despondent Darcy travels to Paris in the hopes of forgetting the disastrous proposal at Hunsford.  Paris is teeming with English visitors during a brief moment of peace in the Napoleonic Wars, but Darcy’s spirits don’t lift until he attends a ball and unexpectedly encounters…Elizabeth Bennet!  Darcy seizes the opportunity to correct misunderstandings and initiate a courtship.

Their moment of peace is interrupted by the news that England has again declared war on France, and hundreds of English travelers must flee Paris immediately.  Circumstances force Darcy and Elizabeth to escape on their own, despite the risk to her reputation.  Even as they face dangers from street gangs and French soldiers, romantic feelings blossom during their flight to the coast.  But then Elizabeth falls ill, and the French are arresting all the English men they can  find…

When Elizabeth and Darcy finally return to England, their relationship has changed, and they face new crises.  However, they have secrets they must conceal — even from their own families.  (publisher’s summary)

a dangerous ageA Dangerous Age by Ellen Gilchrist — a surprise from Algonquin

The women in the Hand family are no strangers to either controversy or sadness.  Those traits seem, in fact, to be a part of their family’s heritage, one that stretches back through several generations and many wars.  A Dangerous Age is a celebration of the strength of these women and of the bonds of blood and shared loss that hold them together.  Louise, Winifred, and Olivia are reconnecting the pieces of their lives and rediscovering love, but each is unwittingly on a collision course with a seemingly distant war that is really never more than a breath away.  By turns humorous and heartbreaking, this finely honed novel about the centuries-old struggle for women who are left to carry on with life when their men go off to war is by a writer the Washington Post says “should be declared a national cultural treasure.”  (publisher’s summary)

acts of godActs of God by Ellen Gilchrist — a surprise from Algonquin

Master short story writer Ellen Gilchrist, winner of the National Book Award, returns with her first story collection in over eight years.  In Acts of God, she has crafted ten different scenarios in which people dealing with forces beyond their control somehow manage to survive, persevere, and triumph, even if it is only a triumph of the will.

For Marie James, a teenager from Fayetteville, Arkansas, the future changes when she joins a group of friends in their effort to find survivors among the debris left when a tornado destroys a neighboring town.

For Philipa, a woman blessed with beauty and love and a life without care, the decision she makes to take control of her fate is perhaps the easiest she has ever made.  As she writes to Charles, her husband and lifetime partner, “Nothing is of value except to have lived well and to die without pain.”

For Eli Naylor, left orphaned by a flood, there comes an understanding that sometimes out of tragedy can come the greatest good, as he finds a life and a future in a most unexpected place.

In one way or another, all of these people are fighters and believers, survivors who find the strength to go on when faced with the truth of their mortality, and they are given vivid life in these stories, told with Ellen Gilchrist’s clear-eyed optimism and salty sense of humor.

As a critic in the Washington Post wrote in reviewing one of the author’s earlier works, “To say that Ellen Gilchrist can write is to say that Placido Domingo can sing.  All you have to do is listen.”  (publisher’s summary)

love in a time of warLove in a Time of War by Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson — free ebook

In this emotionally powerful WWII drama, children’s book writer Natalie Lucas discovers the many faces of love as she helps her beloved niece Mila escape the approaching Nazi menace in Hungary.

Natalie’s twin sister, the celebrated poet and professor, Anna Lucas, has succumbed to early-onset dementia, making the situation even more unstable for Natalie and Mila. Natalie and Anna’s personal and professional relationship provides an interesting subplot whch focuses on the foundations of sisterly love.

In the meantime, surrounded by violence and the threat of capture, Natalie must find a safe way out of the country for Mila. She eventually turns to her teenage sweetheart, Deszo, a Professor whom she rejected in order to marry her true love, Max.

The past love triangle between Deszo, Natalie and Anna adds further complications; however, Deszo may provide Mila with her only chance of escape. As Natalie and Deszo are thrown together by their mission to save Mila, their love for one another is re-ignited.

After the Nazis learn of Deszo’s assistance to the Jews, he and Natalie are brutally interrogated by a Nazi officer who has been following their activities, and their lives are in danger. After many doubts as to who in their community is friend or foe, the novel culminates with a heart-wrenching conclusion which provokes questions of loyalty, family and above all — faith. (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week.  It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s what I added to my shelves since I last posted my books in mid-March:

jane austenJane Austen: Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels by Janet Todd — from Sterling Publishing

Jane Austen is one of the greatest novelists in English Literature.  Over the last 200 years, her six published works have been loved by academic critics and the general reading public.  As a result, there has always been speculation about the woman behind the writing.  She lived only forty-one years during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries — a time of huge turbulence.  Jane Austen: Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels traces her life, her relationships with family and friends; the attitudes and customs of the time that shaped her and in turn shaped her work; and the places where she lived, worked, and set her novels, from rural Hampshire to fashionable Bath Spa.  Chapters on all of her novels run through this book and place them in the context of her life.  Jane Austen: Her Life, Her Times, Her Novels features removable memorabilia including:

*Handwritten drafts of early writings such as “The History of England” and “The Watsons” and drafts of her later novel Persuasion.

*A letter between Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra.

*A letter from George Austen, Jane’s father, to the publisher Thomas Cadell that was returned to the family with the words ‘Rejected by return of post’ written on it.

*A handwritten note outlining profits from her novels.

*A frontispiece to the 1833 editing of Pride and Prejudice.  (publisher’s summary)

northanger abbeyNorthanger Abbey by Val McDermid — from Grove Press

Internationally bestselling crime writer Val McDermid is renowned for her acutely suspenseful, psychologically complex, seamlessly plotted thrillers.  Her millions of fans know that she is also a playful storyteller with a delightful, wry wit.  Now, in Northanger Abbey, her mastery and humor are both on display in an updated take on Jane Austen’s classic novel about a young woman whose visit to the stately home of a well-to-do acquaintance stirs her most macabre imaginings.

Cat Morland is ready to grow up.  A homeschooled minister’s daughter in the quaint, sheltered Piddle Valley in Dorset, she loses herself in novels (and, of course, her smartphone) and is sure there is a glamorous adventure awaiting her beyond the valley’s narrow horizon.  So imagine her delight when the Allens, neighbors and friends of her parents, invite her to attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh as their guest.  With a sunny personality, tickets every night, and a few key wardrobe additions courtesy of Susie Allen, Cat quickly begins to take Edinburgh by storm and is welcomed into the bosom of the Thorpe family, particularly by eldest daughter Bella.  And then there’s the handsome Henry Tilney, an up-and-coming lawyer whose family home is the beautiful and forbidding Northanger Abbey.  Cat is entranced by Henry and his charming sister Eleanor, but she can’t help wondering if everything about them is as perfect as it seems.  Or has she just been reading too many novels?

A delectable, note-perfect modern update of the Jane Austen classic with an extra frisson of suspense that only McDermid could provide, Northanger Abbey tells a timeless story of innocence amid cynicism, the exquisite angst of young love, and the value of friendship.  (publisher’s summary)

haunting mr. darcyHaunting Mr. Darcy by KaraLynne Mackrory — from Meryton Press

What happens to the happily ever after when the ever after has already happened?

A “spirited” courtship indeed!  Jane Austen’s much adored Pride and Prejudice is transfigured in this Regency adaptation.  That fickle friend Fate intervenes when an unexpected event threatens the happily ever after of literature’s favorite love story.

The gentlemen from Netherfield have left, winter is upon the land, and after a horrifying carriage accident, Elizabeth Bennet finds her spirit transported as if by magic into Mr. Darcy’s London home.  Paranormally tethered to the disagreeable man, it doesn’t help that he believes she is a phantasm of his love-struck mind and not the real Elizabeth.

Somehow they must learn to trust, learn to love and learn to bring Elizabeth back to her earthly form before it is too late.  (publisher’s summary)

how could this happenHow Could This Happen: Explaining the Holocaust by Dan McMillan — a surprise from Basic Books

The Holocaust has long seemed incomprehensible, a monumental crime that beggars our powers of description and explanation.  Historians have probed the many sources of this tragedy, but no account has united the various causes into an overarching synthesis that answers the vital question:  How was such a nightmare possible in the heart of western civilization?

In How Could This Happen, historian Dan McMillan distills the vast body of Holocaust research into a cogent explanation and comprehensive analysis of the genocide’s many causes, revealing how a once-progressive society like Germany could have carried out this crime.  The Holocaust, he explains, was caused not by one but by a combination of factors — from Germany’s failure to become a democracy until 1918, to the widespread acceptance of anti-Semitism and scientific racism, to the effects of World War I, which intensified political divisions within the country and drastically lowered the value of human life in the minds of an entire generation.  Masterfully synthesizing the myriad causes that led Germany to disaster, McMillan shows why thousands of Germans carried out the genocide while millions watched, with cold indifference, as it enveloped their homeland.

Persuasive and compelling, How Could This Happen explains how a perfect storm of bleak circumstances, malevolent ideas, and damaged personalities unleashed history’s most terrifying atrocity.  (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week.  It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s what I added to my shelves since early February, when I last posted my new books.  I’m kind of embarrassed about how many books came into my house in just over a month, but at least I have plenty to choose from as I pull away from the blog a bit during the next few months.

DominionDominion by C.J. Sansom — from Mulholland Books for review

[I guess I am a bit behind in posting my new books, since I reviewed this one recently.]

1952.  Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany.  The global economy strains against the weight of the long German war against Russia still raging in the east.  The British people find themselves under increasingly authoritarian rule — the press, radio and television are tightly controlled and British Jews face ever-greater constraints.

But Churchill’s Resistance soldiers on.  As defiance grows, whispers circulate of a secret that could forever alter the balance of the global struggle.  The keeper of that secret?  Scientist Frank Muncaster, who languishes in a Birmingham mental hospital.

Civil servant David Fitzgerald, a spy for the Resistance and university friend of Frank’s is given the mission to rescue Frank and get him out of the country.  Hard on his heels is Gestapo agent Gunther Hoth, a brilliant, implacable hunter of men, who soon has Frank as well as David’s innocent wife, Sarah, directly in his sights

C.J. Sansom’s literary thriller Winter in Madrid earned Sansom comparisons to Graham Greene, Sebastian Faulks, and Ernest Hemingway.  Now, in his first alternative-history epic, Sansom doesn’t just re-create the past — he reinvents it.  In a spellbinding tale of suspense, oppression, and poignant love, Dominion dares to explore how, in moments of crisis, history can turn on the decisions of a few brave men and women — the secrets they choose to keep and the bonds they share.  (publisher’s summary)

one night in winterOne Night in Winter by Simon Sebag Montefiore — from Harper for review

As Moscow celebrates the motherland’s glorious victory over the Nazis, shots ring out in the crowded streets.  On a nearby bridge, a teenage boy and girl — dressed in traditional nineteenth-century costumes — lie dead.  But this is no ordinary tragedy, because these are no ordinary teenagers.  As the son and daughter of high-ranking Soviet officials, they attend the most elite school in Moscow.  Was it an accident, or murder?  Is it a conspiracy against Stalin, or one of his own terrifying intrigues?

On Stalin’s instructions, a ruthless investigation begins into what becomes known as the Children’s Case.  Youth across the city are arrested and forced to testify against their friends and their parents.  As families are ripped apart, all kinds of secrets come spilling out.  Trapped at the center of this witch hunt are two pairs of illicit lovers, who learn that matters of the heart exact a terrible price.  By turns a darkly sophisticated political thriller, a rich historical saga, and a deeply human love story, Montefiore’s masterful novel powerfully portrays the terror and drama of Stalin’s Russia.  (publisher’s summary)

the last letter from your loverThe Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes — from Penguin for review

In 1960, Jennifer Stirling wakes in the hospital and remembers nothing — not the car accident that put her there, not her wealthy husband, not even her own name.  Searching for clues, she finds an impassioned letter, signed simply “B,” from a man for whom she seemed willing to risk everything.

In 2003, journalist Ellie Haworth stumbles upon an old letter containing a man’s ardent plea to his married lover.  She becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to the couple.  Perhaps if they lived happily every after, her own complicated affair could have a happy ending, too.  A Brief Encounter for our time, this is a novel for romantics of every age.  (publisher’s summary)

me before youMe Before You by Jojo Moyes — from Penguin for review

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life — steady boyfriend, close family — who has barely been farther afield than her tiny village.  She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident.  Will has always lived a huge life — big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel — and he is not interested in exploring a new one.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy — but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected.  When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, Lou sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common — a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?  (publisher’s summary)

the hotel on place vendomeThe Hotel on Place Vendôme: Life, Death, and Betrayal at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris by Tilar J. Mazzeo — from Harper for review

Established in 1898 in the heart of Paris on the Place Vendôme, the Hôtel Ritz instantly became an icon of the city frequented by film stars and celebrity writers, American heiresses and risqué flappers, politicians, playboys, and princes.  By the 1920s the bar became a favorite watering hole for F. Scott Fitzgerald and other writers of the Lost Generation, including Ernest Hemingway.  In June 1940, when France fell to the Germans, Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of The Third Reich, famously declared that the nation’s capital would remain a high-spirited place — or else.  Orders from Berlin specified that the Hôtel Ritz would be the only luxury hotel of its kind in occupied Paris.

Tilar J. Mazzeo traces the history of this cultural landmark from its opening in the fin de siècle Paris to the modern era.  At its center, The Hotel on Place Vendôme chronicles life at the Ritz during wartime when the hotel simultaneously served as headquarters to the highest-ranking German officers, such as Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, and home to wealthy patrons (and to the spies among them) who stayed on in Paris.  At Coco Chanel’s table in the dining room on any given evening, one might find the playwright and screenwriter Sacha Guitry, the lithe Russian ballet star Serge Lifar, or Jean Cocteau and his handsome boyfriend.

Mazzeo takes us into the grand palace’s suites, bars, dining rooms, and wine cellars, revealing  a hotbed of illicit affairs and deadly intrigue, as well as stunning acts of defiance and treachery, in which refugees were hidden in secret rooms, a Jewish bartender passed coded messages for the German resistance, and Wehrmacht officers plotted to assassinate the Führer.  By the spring of 1944, as the tides of the war shifted, these stories were all coming to their dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking conclusion.  There were celebrations as well: when Ernest Hemingway returned in the last hours of the occupation with his rogue band of “irregular” troops to liberate the Hôtel Ritz, they also liberated many bottles of vintage wine from its cellars.

The result is the story of The Hotel on Place Vendôme — a singular season at the world-class hotel, an intimate and riveting portrait of the last days of the Second World War.  (publisher’s summary)

50 children50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple’s Extraordinary Rescue Mission Into the Heart of Nazi Germany by Steven Pressman — from Harper for review

In early 1939, America’s rigid immigration laws made it virtually impossible for European Jews to find safe haven in the United States.  As deep-seated anti-Semitism and isolationism gripped much of the country, neither President Roosevelt nor Congress rallied to their aid.

Yet one brave Jewish couple from Philadelphia refused to stand by silently.  Risking their own safety, Gilbert Kraus, a successful lawyer, and his stylish wife, Eleanor, traveled to Nazi-controlled Vienna and Berlin to save fifty Jewish children.  Steven Pressman brought the Kraus’s rescue mission to life in his acclaimed HBO documentary 50 Children.  In this book, he expands upon the story related in the hour-long film, offering additional historical detail and context to provide a rich, full portrait of this ordinary couple and their extraordinary actions.

Drawing from Eleanor Kraus’s unpublished memoir, rare historical documents, and interviews with more than a dozen of the surviving children, and illustrated with period photographs, archival materials, and memorabilia, 50 Children is a remarkable tale of personal courage and triumphant heroism that offers a fresh, unique insight into a critical period of history.  (publisher’s summary)

european resistanceEuropean Resistance in the Second World War edited by Philip Cooke and Ben H. Shepherd — from Pen & Sword Books for review

Resistance to German-led Axis occupation occurred all the way across the European continent during the Second World War.  It took a wide range of forms — non-cooperation and disinformation, sabotage, espionage, armed opposition and full-scale partisan warfare.  It is an important element in the experience and the national memory of the peoples who found themselves under Axis government and control.  For over thirty years there has been no systematic attempt to give readers a panoramic yet detailed view of the make-up, actions and impact of resistance movements from Scandinavia down to Greece and from France through to Russia.

This authoritative and accessible survey, written by a group of the leading experts in the field, provides a reliable, in-depth, up-to-date account of the resistance in each region and country along with an assessment of its effectiveness and of the Axis reaction to it.  An extensive introduction by the editors Philip Cooke and Ben H. Shepherd draws the threads of the varied movements and groups together, highlighting the many differences and similarities between them.

The book will be a significant contribution to the frequently heated debates about the importance of individual resistance movements.  It will be thought-provoking for everyone who is interested in or studying occupied Europe during the Second World War.  (publisher’s summary)

aboveAbove by Isla Morley — from Gallery Books for review

Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an abandoned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas.  At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in — the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up.  But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement.  Determined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth that just might give meaning to their lives below ground.  Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promising and devastating.  As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice — between survival and freedom.

Above is a riveting tale of resilience in which “stunning” (Daily Beast) new literary voice Isla Morley compels us to imagine what we would do if everything we had ever known was taken away.  Like the bestselling authors of Room and The Lovely Bones before her, Morley explores the unthinkable with haunting detail and tenderly depicts our boundless capacity for hope.  (publisher’s summary)

the rebel pirateThe Rebel Pirate (Renegades of the Revolution) by Donna Thorland — from NAL for review

1775, Boston Harbor.  James Sparhawk, master and commander in the British Navy, knows trouble when he sees it.  The ship he’s boarded is carrying ammunition and gold…into a country on the knife’s edge of war.  Sparhawk’s duty is clear:  Confiscate the cargo, impound the vessel, and seize the crew.  But when one of the boys turns out to be a lovely girl with a loaded pistol and dead-shot aim, Sparhawk finds himself held hostage aboard a Rebel privateer.

Sarah Ward never set out to break the law.  Before Boston became a powder keg, she was poised to escape the stigma of being a notorious pirate’s daughter by wedding Micah Wild, one of Salem’s most successful merchants.  Then a Patriot mob destroyed her fortune and Wild played her false by marrying her best friend and smuggling a chest of Rebel gold aboard her family’s ship.

Now branded a pirate herself, Sarah will do what she must to secure her family’s safety and her own future.  Even if that means taking part in the cat-and-mouse game unfolding in Boston Harbor, the desperate naval fight between British and Rebel forces for the matériel of war — and pitting herself against James Sparhawk, the one man she cannot resist.  (publisher’s summary)

the subsequent proposalThe Subsequent Proposal: A Tale of Pride, Prejudice & Persuasion by Joana Starnes — from the author for review

A number of broken-hearted characters from Jane Austen’s best novels are thrown together by the vagaries of fate, and all manner of unwise decisions are taken at this vulnerable time.  But then their past creeps up upon them — and what is there to do but face it, and hope that their convoluted paths will finally lead them to their proper place?

Friends, rivals, foes, wrong choices and a duel — Fitzwilliam Darcy’s life is never dull!  The Subsequent Proposal — a story that is primarily about him — follows Mr. Darcy in his struggles to decipher the troubling enigma of Elizabeth Bennet’s feelings — and correct the worst misjudgment of his life.  (publisher’s summary)

another place in timeAnother Place in Time: A Pride and Prejudice Time-Travel Romance by Mary Lydon Simonsen — from the author for review

In the time-travel romance, Another Place in Time, Fitzwilliam Darcy learns of the existence of Elizabeth Bennet from Hannah and Jacob Caswell, time-travelers from the twenty-first century.  When Darcy’s offer of marriage is rejected at the Hunsford Parsonage, the Caswells advise Darcy to visit the future and seek the assistance of an expert on Jane Austen and the Regency Era.

When Darcy arrives in Baltimore in 2012, he finds Christine O’Malley serving on a panel at a Jane Austen conference.  Although his arrival is a crowd pleaser, Chris is upset that an “actor” impersonating Mr. Darcy has stolen the show.  After a rocky start, Chris agrees to go with Darcy to the past to help him sort out the mess with Elizabeth.

While plans are being made for Fitzwilliam to capture the heart and hand of Elizabeth Bennet, Chris, who has experienced her own heartache, finds she is falling for Darcy’s cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam.  With her sensibilities firmly rooted in the future, will Chris be able to find happiness with a man who occupies another place in time?  (publisher’s summary)

the secret betrothalThe Secret Betrothal by Jan Hahn — from Meryton Press for review

Jane Austen writes of secret engagements in more than one of her novels, and in The Secret Betrothal, author Jan Hahn explores the question of what would happen if Austen’s most famous heroine from Pride and Prejudice reluctantly agrees to accept such a proposal.

When Fitzwilliam Darcy learns that Elizabeth has committed herself to such an arrangement, his hopes of winning her hand are shattered.  As circumstances continue to bring the two together — from Hertfordshire to Rosings Park to the seaside town of Brighton — he finds he is unable to tame his desire for the lady who has stolen his heart.

Do Darcy’s efforts to win Elizabeth succeed, or does his sworn enemy lead her to the altar?  (publisher’s summary)

stay where you are & then leaveStay Where You Are & Then Leave by John Boyne — from Henry Holt for review

From the author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas comes a touching look at the effects war has on a family.

As the First World War rages on, Alfie Summerfield has given up hope of seeing his father again.  Though his mother maintains that his father is away on a secret mission, Alfie knows he must be dead.  But when Alfie learns by chance that his father is in a hospital close by — a hospital treating soldiers with shell shock, whatever that might be — he resolves to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place…  (publisher’s summary)

the winter horsesThe Winter Horses by Philip Kerr — from Knopf for review

Kalinka is in danger.  She is an orphan, with no family or friends.  She is alone on the vast Ukrainian steppe, in the dead of winter in 1941.  She has no idea which direction might lead to safety.  But the biggest danger for Kalinka is the yellow Star of David embroidered on her coat.

Then she meets two horses on the snowy plains, horses from another time.  Untamable, cunning, and wise, the Przewalski’s horses have endured all the cruelness of the world since the era of cave paintings — but the current evils of World War II are beyond anything they’ve ever witnessed.

These horses may be the last of their kind; should they become two more casualties of the war, the race could be extinct.  They recognize in Kalinka a kindred spirit, and a hope for survival, as they flee the fast-approaching Nazis, intent on killing all three of them.  Will she be able to save them — or will they save her?  (publisher’s summary)

going overGoing Over by Beth Kephart — from Chronicle Books for review

It is February 1983, and Berlin is a divided city — a miles-long barricade separating east from west.  But the city isn’t the only thing that is divided.  Ada, almost 16, lives with her mother and grandmother among the rebels, punkers, and immigrants of Kreuzberg, just west of the wall.  Stefan, 18, lives east with his brooding grandmother in a faceless apartment bunker of Friedrichshain, his telescope pointed toward freedom.  Bound by love and separated by circumstance, their only chance lies in a high-risk escape.  But with Stefan find the courage to leap?  Will Ada keep waiting for the boy she has only seen four times a year for as long as she can remember?  Or will forces beyond their control stand in their way?

Told in the alternating voices of the pink-haired graffiti artist and the boy she loves, Going Over is a story of daring and sacrifice, choices and consequences, and love that will not wait.  (publisher’s summary)

for such a timeFor Such a Time by Kate Breslin — from Bethany House for review

In 1944, Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy.  Pressed into service by SS Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, her Aryan-like looks allow her to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller.  However, to maintain her cover as von Schmidt’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths, Stella appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp.  Aric’s indulgence gives her hope even as she risks discovery with every attempt to help the prisoners.  When her bravery brings her to the point of ultimate sacrifice, she faces an excruciating choice.  God may have brought her to the camp for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she cannot save herself?  (publisher’s summary)

love & treasureLove & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman — from Knopf for review

In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, American soldiers discover a train filled with spectacular riches:  gold watches, fur coats, and wedding rings, along with picture frames and Shabbat candlesticks.  Jack Wiseman is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure — a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a beautiful Hungarian woman who has lost everything.  Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of the previous generations, Jack’s granddaughter, Natalie Stein, searches for the portrait of a woman she has never met, a woman who may help her understand the guilt her grandfather took with him to his grave.  Love & Treasure is a masterly story of hidden artworks, romantic love, and the legacy of theft.  (publisher’s summary)

cover to coversCover to Covers by Alexandrea Weis — from the author for review

Tyler Moore is considered cold, ruthless, and determined to get everything he wants.  CEO of a flourishing oil company, he thrives on order and never gives up control to anyone.

Monique Delome has left her unhappy past behind to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.  Love is something she believes is better suited to the pages of her novels and not meant for real life.

Whether in the boardroom or the bedroom, Tyler Moore is always in charge.  But when Monique Delome walks back into his life, everything changes.  A successful romance author, all the sexy leading men Monique writes about strangely remind everyone of Tyler.  Intrigued, Tyler sets out to seduce the one woman he could never forget.  Soon Tyler gets more than he bargained for, and his grip on his well-ordered life is turned upside down.

Tyler Moore is about to find out what happens when a romantic tale jumps from the pages and comes to life between the sheets.  (publisher’s summary)

william shakespeare's star warsWilliam Shakespeare’s Star War: Verily, a New Hope by Ian Doescher — a surprise from Quirk Books

[I'm not a Star Wars fan, so I'm passing this book on to The Girl.]

May the verse be with you!

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’ epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon.  The saga of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.  ‘Tis a tale told by fretful Droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearsome Stormtroopers, signifying…pretty much everything.

Reimagined in glorious iambic pentameter, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars will astound and edify Rebels and Imperials alike.  Zounds!  This is the book you’re looking for.  (publisher’s summary)

empire striketh backWilliam Shakespeare’s Star Wars: The Empire Striketh Back by Ian Doescher — a surprise from Quirk Books

[Again, I'm passing this one on to The Girl.]

The saga that began with the interstellar best seller William Shakespeare’s Star Wars continues with this merry reimagining of George Lucas’ enduring classic The Empire Strikes Back.

Many a fortnight have passed since the destruction of the Death Star.  Young Luke Skywalker and his friends have taken refuge on the ice planet of Hoth, where the evil Darth Vader has hatched a cold-blooded plan to capture them.  Only with the help of a little green Jedi Master — and a swaggering rascal named Lando Calrissian — can our heroes escape the Empire’s wrath.  And only then will Lord Vader learn how sharper than a tauntaun’s tooth it is to have a Jedi child.

What light through Yoda’s window breaks?  Methinks you’ll find out in the pages of The Empire Striketh Back!  (publisher’s summary)

against his will nancy kelleyAgainst His Will by Nancy Kelley — a giveaway win from Indie Jane

Sebastian Montgomery never thought he’d inherit a title.  Quite comfortable in his role as the family black sheep, he has made a life for himself as one of England’s most valuable agents against Napoleon.  Now he will be expected to remain at home as the Earl of Lisle, fulfilling all manner of domestic duties…starting with finding a wife and ensuring the continuance of the family line.

Kitty Bennet met Seb when he was just Mr. Montgomery and quickly developed a crush on him — feelings she now assumes will remain unrequited, as an earl is out of her reach.  Sebastian however has no interest in a grand alliance.  If he must marry, he will choose a wife with the capacity for intelligent conversation.  Kitty’s gift for witty banter draws him to her; any affection he feels for her is simply an added bonus.

But their potential happiness is threatened by someone they don’t even known:  the man who killed Sebastian’s grandfather and uncle.  When the danger becomes real, Sebastian realizes that, almost against his will, he has fallen in love with Kitty.  Can he solve a decade’s old family mystery in time to keep her safe?  (publisher’s summary)

follie's pastFollie’s Past: A Prequel to Pride and Prejudice by Melanie Kerr — free eBook

“I must now mention a circumstance which I would wish to forget myself, and which no obligation less than the present should induce me to unfold to any human being…”

So begins Mr. Darcy to lay before Elizabeth his faithful narrative of Mr. Wickham’s villainy toward his sister, Georgiana.  The facts he sets out are brief but potent.  They contain a story unto themselves, and that story is the subject of this book.

Taking its facts from Austen’s own words, Follie’s Past opens almost a year before the opening of Pride and Prejudice itself, at Pemberley, at Christmas.  Fourteen-year-old Georgiana has just been taken from school and is preparing to transfer to London in the spring.  It follows Georgiana to London, to Ramsgate and into the arms of the charming and infamous Mr. Wickham.

To read this book is to step back into the charming world of Jane Austen’s England, to pass a few more hours with some of her beloved characters, sympathetically portrayed as they might have been before ever they came to Netherfield, and to discover a host of new characters each with engaging histories of their own.  Authentic in its use of language and meticulously researched, it is a truly diverting entertainment.  (publisher’s summary)

bewitched, body and soulBewitched, Body and Soul:  Miss Elizabeth Bennet by P.O. Dixon — free eBook

Determined to right a wrong against her family, Elizabeth ventures to town to reunite her sister with her lover. In so doing, will she end up losing her own heart?

Bent on discovering the reason for Bingley’s hasty departure from Netherfield, Elizabeth goes to town in Jane’s stead. Her initial scheme having been thwarted and with nowhere else to go, she turns to one who is sure to put her in Bingley’s path — Mr. Darcy.

Darcy realizes it will take more than time and distance to erase the memory of the beguiling country miss. When she arrives unescorted on his doorstep, will he help her? Or will he soon discover he is in grave danger of falling as much in love with her as ever before?

And what of his best friend’s younger sister who has long had Darcy in her sights? Will Darcy pursue the young lady who meets Society’s expectations of just what the next mistress of Pemberley ought to be or will he follow his heart? (publisher’s summary)

he taught me to hopeHe Taught Me to Hope by P.O. Dixon — free eBook

What if Elizabeth is promised to another when she meets Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the one man who captures her heart and imagination like no other? What’s more, Darcy has an entanglement of his own — an engagement of a peculiar kind. As dire as their chance for “happily ever after” seems, is there a measure of hope by way of a strong and enduring bond between them? (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week.  It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Here’s what I added to my shelves during the past week:

modern day s&sA Modern Day Sense & Sensibility by Kaitlin Saunders — from the author for review

Revisit the beloved Jane Austen classic — with a twist! — in Kaitlin Saunders’ heartwarming new novel, A Modern Day Sense & Sensibility.  After the success of A Modern Day Persuasion, this newest installment in Saunders’ series of Austen retellings will have readers swooning at the comical misunderstandings and classic romances that are freshly rewritten for modern times.

After their father’s untimely death, Ellie and Marianne Dashwood find themselves fatherless and penniless.  Together with their mother and younger sister, they are unceremoniously at the mercy of their half brother and his conniving wife.  Ellie finds a moment of happiness when she is introduced to her sister-in-law’s brother, Edward.  But as their friendship grows, Edward fails to make any romantic overtures — a development that confuses the smitten Ellie.  Eventually the Dashwood ladies are forced to relocate to a dingy apartment building in Oregon, where they slowly come to terms with their new frugal lifestyle.  They soon befriend Brandon, a wealthy thirty-something hotel entrepreneur who immediately falls for Marianne.  But Marianne takes little notice, preoccupied by the stunningly handsome Jim Willoughby.  But just as things start heating up between them, she learns that the situation may not be exactly as it seems.  As the sisters struggle through secrets, illness, and broken promises, Ellie and Marianne must find the answer:  Does love really conquer all?  Find out in Saunders’ romantic rendition of a beloved classic.  (publisher’s summary)

the collector of dying breathsThe Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose — from Atria Books for review

In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer.  To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose:  the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.

But it’s René’s other passion — a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him — that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later.  That’s when Jac L’Etoile — suffering from a heartache of her own — becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking René’s secret to immortality.

Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life.  Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.

Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession.  This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.  (publisher’s summary)

the scenes jane austen never wrotePride & Prejudice: The Scenes Jane Austen Never Wrote by The Austen Authors Collective — from the Austen Authors for review

What did Mr. Darcy think when he first saw Elizabeth Bennet? How did Miss Bingley talk her brother out of proposing to Jane Bennet? And how did Lady Catherine de Bourgh find out Mr. Darcy was on the verge of proposing to Elizabeth? 25 authors of Austen-inspired fiction decided to answer these questions and more. Here are the scenes Jane Austen never wrote: ones that happened off stage, such as Mr. Collins proposing to Charlotte Lucas, and actual Pride and Prejudice scenes from the point of view of different characters.

Each author wrote according to their own inspiration, so Pride & Prejudice: The Scenes Jane Austen Never Wrote is not a complete novel in and of itself. It is a collection of scenes written independently and designed to complement the original. The reader can start at the beginning or dip into any scene they choose.

Contributing authors include Abigail Reynolds (Mr. Darcy’s Noble Connections), Sharon Lathan (Miss Darcy Falls in Love), Regina Jeffers (The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy), Mary Simonsen (Becoming Elizabeth Darcy), Susan Mason-Milks (Please, Mr. Darcy), Jack Caldwell (The Three Colonels), C. Allyn Pierson (Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister), Shannon Winslow (The Darcys of Pemberley), Colette Saucier (Pulse and Prejudice), Jane Odiwe (Project Darcy), Monica Fairview (Steampunk Darcy), Maria Grace (Twelfth Night at Longbourn), Diana Birchall (Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma), Marilyn Brant (Pride, Prejudice, and the Perfect Match), Karen Doornebos (Undressing Mr. Darcy), Nina Benneton (Compulsively Mr. Darcy), Susan Adriani (The Truth About Mr. Darcy), J. Marie Croft (Mr. Darcy Takes a Plunge), Vera Nazarian (Mansfield Park and Mummies), Cailin Rubino-Bradway (Lady Vernon and Her Daughter), Kara Louise (Pirates and Prejudice), and Heather Lynn Rigaud (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star).

All proceeds from sales of Pride & Prejudice: The Scenes Jane Austen Never Wrote will be donated to Jane Austen-related charities.  (publisher’s summary)

loom magicLoom Magic! by John McCann & Becky Thomas — from Skyhorse Publishing for review (The Girl will be reviewing this one!)

This book includes twenty-five new rubber band loom projects, including bracelets, sports-themed charms, key rings, pendants, and even a working slingshot.  New crafters and dedicated fans will enjoy creating the wide variety of projects in this collection, including:

Cell phone case * Daisy chain bracelet * Watch band * Octo bracelet * Blooming beaded bracelet * Sports fan keychain * Matching barrettes * Pencil topper * Rainbow ring * Nunchuks * Rocker cuff bracelet * Snowman ornament * And many more!  (publisher’s summary)

the gypsy's dreamThe Gypsy’s Dream by Sara Alexi — free ebook

Cross with her father, Abby, 17, boards a flight to Greece, but gets hopelessly lost and ends up in the wrong village.

Alone, with very little money, no Greek and no way to contact her friend Jackie, who has lined up a bar job for her, Abby realises she has to stand on her own two feet for the first time…

She meets Stella, who runs the local ouzeri – a rough and ready eatery were farmers gather to drink and take refuge from their domestic lives.

Stella does not need a naive young English girl hanging around, and the ouzeri is not the glamorous bar that Abby had bargained for.

But when events throw them together, the situation brings to the boil tensions that have been brewing for years, the ripples drawing in other people in the village, threatening Abby’s ability to ever leave, culminating in shocking unforeseen events and the uncovering of dark secrets that change peoples’ thinking about themselves and others permanently.  (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week.  It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted my new books, and this is what I’ve added to my shelves since then:

stella bainStella Bain by Anita Shreve — a Christmas gift from Serena and her family that arrived late (Better late than never, though.  Thanks!)

It is 1916, and a woman awakens, wounded, in a field hospital in northern France.  She wears the uniform of a British nurse’s aide but has an American accent.  With no memory of her past or what brought her to this distant war, she knows only that she can drive an ambulance, and that her name is Stella Bain.

As she puts her skills to use, both transporting the wounded from the battlefield and ministering to them in hospital tents, the holes in Stella’s psyche gnaw at the edge of her consciousness.  At last, desperate to find answers, she sets off for London to reconstruct her life.

She is taken in by Dr. August Bridge, a surgeon who becomes fascinated with her case and with the agonizing and inexplicable symptoms that plague  her.  Delving into her deeply fractured mind, Bridge seeks to understand what terrible blow could have separated a woman from herself.  Together, they begin to unlock a disturbing history — of deception and thwarted love, violence and betrayal.  But as her memories come racing back, Stella realizes she must embark on a new journey to confront the haunted past of the woman she used to be.

In a sweeping, dramatic narrative that takes us from England to America and back again, Anita Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, and about loss and redemption in the wake of a war that devastated an entire generation.  (publisher’s summary)

all quiet on the western frontAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque — purchased at a library sale

This is the testament of Paul Bäumer, who enlists with his classmates in the Germany army of World War I.  These young men become enthusiastic soldiers, but their world of duty, culture, and progress breaks into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches.

Through years of vivid horror, Paul holds fast to a single vow:  to fight against the hatred that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against one another…if only he can come out of the war alive.  (publisher’s summary)

mission to parisMission to Paris by Alan Furst — purchased at a library sale

Late summer, 1938.  Hollywood film star Frederic Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie.  The Nazis know he’s coming — a secret bureau within the Reich has been waging political warfare against France — and for their purposes, Frederic Stahl is a perfect agent of influence.  What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service run out of the American embassy.  Mission to Paris is filled with heart-stopping tension, beautifully drawn scenes of romance, and extraordinarily alive characters:  foreign assassins, a glamorous Russian actress-turned-spy, and the women in Stahl’s life.  And at the center of the novel is the city of Paris — its alleys and bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it were their last.  Alan Furst brings to life both a dark time in history and the passion of the human hearts that fought to survive it.  (publisher’s summary)

darcy's taleDarcy’s Tale, Volume 1 — Into Hertfordshire by Stanley Michael Hurd — from the author for review

Let yourself be drawn into the world of Fitzwilliam Darcy, landed gentleman, scholar, and very eligible bachelor, whose engaging and enthusiastic friend, Mr. Bingley, has acquired a new manor in Hertforshire.  Darcy was a wealthy, well-intentioned, intelligent, and educated man; how on Earth did he become so thoroughly tangled by his acquaintance with the daughter of a country gentleman?  Follow the beginnings of a story that will take Darcy from the heights of wealth and status, to the depths of pain and self-condemnation, and, ultimately, to the safe haven of the love and respect of his heart’s mistress.

This lovingly crafted companion to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice will give her fans a feeling of homecoming, and a chance to see this beloved story from a new perspective, all the while immersed in the endearing world of Regency England Austen so masterfully created.  (publisher’s summary)

twelfth night at longbournTwelfth Night at Longbourn (Given Good Principles, Volume IV) by Maria Grace — from the author for review

Twelfth Night — a night for wondrous things to happen.

At least for other people.

In the months after her sisters’ weddings, nothing has gone well for Kitty Bennet.  Since Lydia’s famous elopement, her friends have abandoned her, and Longbourn is more prison than home.  Not even Elizabeth’s new status as Mrs. Darcy of Pemberley can repair the damage to Kitty’s reputation.  More than anything else, she wishes to leave the plain ordinary Kitty behind and become Catherine Bennet, a proper young lady.

Her only ray of hope is an invitation to Pemberley for the holidays.  Perhaps there she might escape the effects of her sister’s shame.

Getting to Pemberley is not as simple as it sounds.  First she must navigate the perils of London society, the moods of Georgiana Darcy, and the chance encounter with the man who once broke her heart.  Perhaps though, as Catherine, she might prove herself worthy of that gentleman’s regard.

But, in an instant all her hopes are dashed, and her dreams of becoming Catherine evaporate.  Will Kitty Bennet’s inner strength be enough to bring her heart’s desire?

On an ordinary night perhaps not, but on Twelfth Night, it just might be enough.  (publisher’s summary)

love at first slightLove at First Slight by J. Marie Croft — from Meryton Press for review

In this humorous, topsy-turvy Pride and Prejudice variation, all major gender roles are reversed.  It is Mr. Bennet’s greatest wish to see his five sons advantageously married.

When the haughty Miss Elizabeth Darcy comes to Netherfield with the Widow Devonport (nee Bingley), speculation — and prejudice — runs rampant.

William Bennet, a reluctant and irreverent reverend, catches Miss Darcy’s eye, even though he is beneath her station.  His opinion of her is fixed when she slights him at the Meryton assembly.  As her ardour grows, so does his disdain.  When she fully expects to receive an offer of marriage, he gives her something else entirely…  (publisher’s summary)

consequencesConsequences by C.P. Odom — from Meryton Press for review

Consequences is a cautionary tale about the evils of hasty judgment, revisiting Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and one of those pivotal moments when Elizabeth Bennet throws away Mr. Darcy’s offer of marriage so decisively.  What transpires from that point is well known to Austen’s extensive readership, but what if even one element in the chain of events in her novel turns out differently?  Does Austen’s happy ending eventually come to pass, or is the outcome more bleak?

And if, in order to secure financial security for her loved ones, Elizabeth does not reject Darcy, is she married to a proud, arrogant, disdainful man who, as she feared, forces her to deny her own relatives and thus condemns her to a lifetime of misery?  Or does she find herself married to a man who cares enough for her to reject the opposition of his family and chance his very standing in society in order to marry a woman he loves beyond measure?  (publisher’s summary)

a matter of chanceA Matter of Chance by L.L. Diamond — from the author for review

Single mother and artist Lizzy Gardiner relied on her sister, Jane, and her brother-in-law, Charles Bingley, when she fled her husband two years ago. However, when they introduce her to Charles’ friend, William Darcy, who has just returned from England, he doesn’t make the best first or even second impression. Can the two of them leave not only their initial prejudices, but also their pasts behind and find love with each other or will the ghosts of the past return to keep them apart? (publisher’s summary)

rain and retributionRain and Retribution by L.L. Diamond — from the author for review

What if Elizabeth fled Longbourn?

When Elizabeth Bennet’s parents attempt to force her into a marriage of convenience for the sake of her family, she flees to make her own future. Will circumstances and their families conspire to keep Darcy and Elizabeth apart or will they unite to take them on together? (publisher’s summary)

Sophia’s War: Stalemate (Volume 3) by Stephanie Baumgartner — from the author for review [cover image not yet available]

As the Europeans struggle to fend off the invasion of the Nazis, Sophia finds herself fighting battles within her own walls.  Diedrich is more belligerent and menacing than ever, and when her faith in Adrian is shattered, she begins to question the judiciousness of her decision to stay in Germany.

While the tension in Europe billows past the breaking point, so do the clouds of discord between Sophia, Deidrich, and Adrian.  Coming face to face with the threat Nazism poses to her identity, help from an unexpected source leaves her optimistic about the future — until a surprising revelation causes her to discover a bombshell hidden within herself.  (publisher’s summary)

adeAdé: A Love Story by Rebecca Walker — a giveaway win from Savvy Verse & Wit

In this stunning debut novel, Rebecca Walter turns her attention to the power of love and the limitations of the human heart.  When Farida, a sophisticated college student falls in love with Adé, a young Swahili man living on an idyllic island off the coast of Kenya, the two plan to marry and envision a simple life together — free of worldly possessions and concerns.  But when Farida contracts malaria and finds herself caught in the middle of a civil war, reality crashes around them.  The lovers’ solitude is interrupted by a world in the throes of massive upheaval that threatens to tear them apart, along with all they cherish.

Haunting, exquisite, and certain to become a classic, Adé will stay with you long after you put it down.  This is a timeless love story set perfectly, heartbreakingly, in our time.  (publisher’s summary)

a distant melodyA Distant Melody (Wings of Glory, Book 1) by Sarah Sundin — free ebook

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval, even marry a man she doesn’t love. Lt. Walter Novak, fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women, takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt’s muddy bomber base in England and Allie’s mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart? A Distant Melody is the first book in the Wings of Glory series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B17 bomber pilots with the U.S. Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II. (publisher’s summary)

the way you look tonightThe Way You Look Tonight by Bella Andre — free ebook

In The Way You Look Tonight, as a very successful private investigator who has caught most of the cheaters in Seattle with their pants down, Rafe Sullivan believes true, lasting love only happens once in a blue moon. Needing to get away from the city to clear his head, he finds the lake house where he spent the best summers of his life is now a wreck…but the sweet girl next door is all grown up and prettier than anything he’s ever seen.

While Brooke Jansen is happy making and selling chocolate truffles in her small Pacific Northwest lake town, she secretly longs to experience something wild. So when her favorite “Wild Sullivan” moves in again next door after more than a decade away, and sparks fly between them, she can’t stop wondering if being bad is really as good as it always seemed…and just how long it will be before she can find out.

But when their summer fling quickly spirals into deeper emotions than either of them were expecting, can they survive the heat between them? Or will Rafe make the biggest mistake of his life and end up losing the best thing that’s ever happened to him? (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week.  It is now being hosted at the Mailbox Monday blog.

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last posted my new books!  This is what I’ve added to my shelves since then:

auschwitzAuschwitz: A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account by Dr. Miklos Nyiszli — purchased at used bookstore with birthday money

When the Nazis invaded Hungary in 1944, they sent virtually the entire Jewish population to Auschwitz. A Jew and a medical doctor, the prisoner Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was spared death for a grimmer fate: to perform “scientific research” on his fellow inmates under the supervision of the man who became known as the infamous “Angel of Death” — Dr. Josef Mengele. Nyiszli was named Mengele’s personal research pathologist. In that capacity he also served as physician to the Sonderkommando, the Jewish prisoners who worked exclusively in the crematoriums and were routinely executed after four months. Miraculously, Nyiszli survived to give this horrifying and sobering account.

Auschwitz was one of the first books to bring the full horror of the Nazi death camps to the American public. Although much has since been written about the Holocaust, this eyewitness account remains, as the New York Review of Books said in 1987, “the best brief account of the Auschwitz experience available.” Of Bruno Bettelheim’s famous foreword Neal Ascherson has written, “Its eloquence and outrage must guarantee it a permanent place in Jewish historiography.” (publisher’s summary)

darcy's passionsDarcy’s Passions: Pride and Prejudice Retold Through His Eyes by Regina Jeffers — purchased at used book store with birthday money

Darcy’s Passions captures Austen’s style and wit as it tells the familiar story of Darcy’s resistance to the charms of Elizabeth and his later efforts to win her affection from a not-so-familiar angle. This version reveals the origins of Darcy’s pride, reaching behind his aloof exterior to expose his longing for Elizabeth — independent, impossible, and inconceivable as a match for the high-born, well-bred master of Pemberley. Readers will finally see the vulnerability and turmoil within Darcy, the internal struggle between his duty and his heart’s desire.

The author lovingly revisits all the memorable scenes — Darcy’s snub of Elizabeth at Lucas Lodge, his tortured proposal at Rosings Park, rekindled hopes at Pemberley — and fills in the missing pieces with new conversations and correspondence. For the first time, readers are immersed in Darcy’s world, privy to his first impressions of his bride-to-be, his hopes for their union, and his thoughts upon being rejected. Characters both maddening and beloved are seen in new light, from the pretentious Mr. Collins, the thoughtless young Bennet sisters, and the foolish Mrs. Bennet to Darcy’s dear sister Georgiana, his friend and cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam, and his overbearing aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  And we finally learn the truth about Darcy’s role in preventing the scandalous affair between Georgiana and Captain Wickham — and how he saves the silly Lydia from the same fate.  (publisher’s summary)

hitler's secretHitler’s Secret by William Osborne — a Christmas gift from The Girl

Otto and Leni thought they were safe:  They escaped — barely — from war-torn Europe and are living as refugees in England.  But now the Crown has recruited them:  Great Britain wants them to go back to Germany.  As spies!

Dropped behind enemy lines, Otto and Leni embark on a top-secret operation.  Code name:  Wolfsangel.  Their mission?  Capture the one person who can defeat the ultimate evil of Nazism.  Will Hitler’s final legacy lie in their hands?  (publisher’s summary)

once we were brothersOnce We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson — a Christmas gift from Serena and family

Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fund-raiser when he is suddenly accosted by Ben Solomon and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamość.  Although the charges are denounced, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice.  Solomon reveals that the true Piatek was abandoned as a child and raised by Solomon’s own family, only to betray them during the Nazi occupation.  But has Solomon accused the right man?

Once We Were Brothers is the compelling tale of two boys and a family who fight to survive in war-torn Poland, and a young love that struggles to endure the unspeakable cruelty of the Holocaust.  Two lives, two worlds, and sixty years converge in an explosive race to redemption that makes for a moving and powerful tale of love, survival, and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit.  (publisher’s summary)

after dunkirkAfter Dunkirk by Milena McGraw — a Christmas gift from Serena and family

At the threshold of World War II, Wayne Luthie is the leader of the Wonders, an inexperienced British flight squadron.  While his crew adapts to war from a safe distance, Luthie ponders the delights and puzzles of his childhood in India and falls in love.  But soon the escalating war draws near, with great consequence, and tranquil memories are tinged with remembered violence and riddles are revealed as insidious secrets.  (publisher’s summary)

citadelCitadel by Kate Mosse — from William Morrow for review

Combining the rugged action of Labyrinth with the haunting mystery of Sepulchre, Kate Mosse’s eagerly awaited Citadel is a mesmerizing story of daring and courage, set during World War II, in which a group of determined women fighting for the Resistance will risk their lives to save their homeland…and protect astonishing secrets buried in time.

France, 1942. In Carcassonne, a colorful historic village nestled deep in the Pyrenees, a group of courageous women are engaged in a lethal battle. Like their ancestors who fought to protect their land from Northern invaders seven hundred years before, these members of the resistance—codenamed Citadel—fight to liberate their home from the Nazis.

But smuggling refugees over the mountains into neutral territory and sabotaging their German occupiers at every opportunity is only part of their mission. These women must also protect an ancient secret that, if discovered by their ruthless enemies, could change the course of history.

A superb blend of rugged action and haunting mystery, Citadel is a vivid and richly atmospheric story of love, faith, heroism, and danger—and a group of extraordinary women who dare the impossible to survive. (publisher’s summary)

last train to parisLast Train to Paris by Michele Zackheim — from Europa Editions for review

Inspired by the true story of a distant cousin’s kidnapping in Paris in the 1930s, Michele Zackheim’s sweeping historical novel centers on Rose Manon, a small-town girl from the American West who spent her youth dreaming of a larger, more exciting life.  When she learns of an opening for a staff reporter in New York City, she heads east to pursue her dreams.

As the summer of 1935 unfolds, Rose proves she has the right mixture of talent and ambition to succeed in a male-dominated newsroom.  She also uncovers the truth about her Jewish heritage, an identity her parents took pains to keep secret.  And even though New York City in the 1930s is endlessly exciting for an intrepid young journalist, Rose takes a cue from renowned war correspondent Martha Gellhorn and sets her sights even further afield, this time across the Atlantic Ocean.

Over the next few years, Rose’s ambitions take her to Paris and then Berlin.  Along the way, she lives a charmed existence, falling in love with an artist/revolutionary and rubbing shoulders with such luminaries as Colette and Janet Flanner.  But as the Third Reich gains momentum and influence, critical events begin unfolding at a heart-stopping pace.  Rose quickly finds herself caught in an inescapable web of terror, and decades later she must come to terms with the consequences of a heart-wrenching decision that irreparably changes the course of her life.  (publisher’s summary)

lies and alliesSophia’s War: Lies and Allies (Volume 2) by Stephanie Baumgartner — from the author for review

When Sophia agreed to Diedrich’s conditions, she hadn’t counted on the domineering behavior from her cousin that would ensue.  In spite of her promise to return to America if she broke even one of his stipulations, Sophia finds herself trying to see how far she can push her limits — especially when it comes to her friend, Adrian.

Soon after Germany’s invasion of Poland, Sophia finds herself wondering who she can trust.  Her innocent curiosity is replaced with fear and doubt, especially upon learning that a stranger has been peeking in her windows at night.

Will Sophia find a way to stay in Germany and uncover the identity of the mysterious stranger?  Or will Diedrich force her to leave before she has the chance?  (publisher’s summary)

alias thomas bennetAlias Thomas Bennet by Suzan Lauder — from Meryton Press for review

When Fitzwilliam Darcy attends the Merton assembly, he befriends a quiet, intelligent gentleman.  In frequent visits to his friend’s home, he becomes acquainted with the Bennet family of Longbourn.  Yet Mr. Darcy is distracted by a strange feeling of having met some of them before.

This is a different Bennet family from the cleverly crafted one in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.  This Mr. Bennet is a responsible gentleman who takes an active role in the education and upbringing of all five of his daughters, manages Longbourn to be prosperous, and displays loving guidance toward Mrs. Bennet — a gentle, caring mother and wife.

There is a mystery lurking at Longbourn — a secret unknown even to Elizabeth Bennet — and Mr. Darcy is entangled in its extraordinary revelations.  (publisher’s summary)

return to tradd streetReturn to Tradd Street by Karen White — from NAL for review

Facing her future as a single mother, psychic Realtor Melanie Middleton is determined to be strong and leave her past with writer Jack Trenholm behind her.  But history has a tendency of catching up with Melanie, whether she likes it or not…

Melanie is only going through the motions of living since refusing Jack’s marriage proposal.  She misses him desperately, but her broken heart is the least of her problems.  Despite an insistence that she can raise their child alone, Melanie is completely unprepared for motherhood, and she struggles to complete renovations on her house on Tradd Street before the baby arrives.

When Melanie is roused one night by the sound of a ghostly infant crying, she chooses to ignore it.  She simply does not have the energy to deal with one more crisis.  That is, until the remains of a newborn buried in an old christening gown are found hidden in the foundation of her house.

As the hauntings on Tradd Street slowly become more violent, Melanie decides to find out what caused the baby’s untimely death, uncovering the love, loss, and betrayal that color the house’s history — and threaten her claim of ownership.  But can she seek Jack’s help without risking her heart?  For in revealing the secrets of the past, Melanie also awakens the malevolent presence that has tried to keep the truth hidden for decades… (publisher’s summary)

a lasting love affairA Lasting Love Affair: Darcy & Elizabeth by P.O. Dixon — from the author for review

Darcy was not looking to fall in love.  He thought he had it all: wealth, privilege, and ardent passion for his sport.  Then he meets Elizabeth Bennet, and soon thereafter he knows that she is the woman with whom he is destined to spend his life.

Having suffered a traumatic loss, Elizabeth knows the pain of heartache.  She is determined to shield herself against forming strong attachments so she might never feel that way again.  Then Mr. Darcy comes along, and he has a way of melting all her defenses.  (publisher’s summary)

amidst the shadows of treesAmidst the Shadows of Trees: A Holocaust Child’s Survival in the Partisans by Miriam M. Brysk — from Gihon River Press for review

Miriam Brysk’s story of ghetto life in Lida in Belarus and partisan life in the nearby Lipiczany Forest sheds light on Jewish activism during the Nazi Holocaust.  It also tells the story of a lost childhood and of challenging years disguised as a partisan “boy” accompanying her father and mother in the resistance.  Dr. Chaim Miasnik, Miriam’s father, was chief of staff and lead surgeon in a forest hospital and later received the Order of Lenin for his work with partisans.  Miriam and her family survived until liberation and later came to the U.S. and constructed normal lives.  Miriam herself became an accomplished scientist.  This book sheds light on Jewish participation in resistance during World War II and in saving other Jews.  It is also a testament to the resilient powers of youth and to the power of survivor memory many years after the events.  (publisher’s summary)

the stones weepThe Stones Weep: Teaching the Holocaust Through a Survivor’s Art by Miriam M. Brysk and Margaret G. Lincoln — from Gihon River Press for review

Welcomed by educators, artists, students, historians as well as the Holocaust community, The Stones Weep by Miriam Brysk and Margaret Lincoln is a uniquely engaging and effective Holocaust Education book that combines multiple aspects of a survivor’s art — emotional, expressionistic digital creations — with teacher-created and tested lesson plans that meet State and National Core Curriculum Standards, including an online lesson available in Moodle.  In so doing, this book provides new perspectives for teaching and learning about the Holocaust.

The rare partnership of Holocaust survivor, artist, author, and professor, Miriam Brysk, PhD, along with Library of Congress American Memory Fellow and District Librarian at Lakeview, Michigan schools, Margaret Lincoln, PhD, affords an unprecedented opportunity to explore the Holocaust in both singularly personal and global historic contexts.

The Lesson Plans:  In a Confined Silence * The Plight of Jewish Children During the Holocaust * The Einsatzgruppen and Bystanders * Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Resistance * Children of Lodz-Chelmno and Perpetrators * Man’s Need to Testify, Remember, and Transcend Language * Personal Journey  (publisher’s summary)

the tattered prayer bookThe Tattered Prayer Book by Ellen Bari, illustrated by Avi Katz — from Gihon River Press for review

The Tattered Prayer Book is a gentle introduction to the Holocaust for children ages 6-10.  Ruthie discovers a secret about her father while looking through a box of mementos from “the old country.”  As her father tells his surprising story, Ruthie learns a slice of Jewish history and the circumstances under which the family fled Nazi Germany.  A burnt prayer book taken in secret from a destroyed synagogue after Kristallnacht offers solace to a young boy at the most difficult time in his life.  Once safely settled in America, he tries to bury the prayer book along with his painful past.  Many years later, sharing the story with Ruthie allows father to heal and daughter to grow.  (publisher’s summary)

the yellow eyes of crocodilesThe Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol — from Penguin for review

When her chronically unemployed husband runs off to start a crocodile farm in Kenya with his mistress, Josèphine Cortès is left in an unhappy state of affairs.  The mother of two — confident, beautiful teenage Hortense and shy, babyish Zoè — is forced to maintain a stable family life while making ends meet on her meager salary as a medieval history scholar.  Meanwhile, Josèphine’s charismatic sister Iris seems to have it all — a wealthy husband, gorgeous looks, and a très chic Paris address — and yet, Iris is beyond bored.

At dinner one evening, Iris charms a famous publisher into offering her a lucrative deal for a twelfth-century romance.  Then Iris offers her sister a deal of her own: Josèphine will write the novel and pocket all of the proceeds, but the book will be published under Iris’s name.  All is well — that is, until the book becomes the literary sensation of the season.

Addictively readable, slyly funny, and unmistakably French, The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles is the ultimate upmarket escapist read and the perfect bonbon for discerning readers everywhere.  (publisher’s summary)

the memory of lost sensesThe Memory of Lost Senses by Judith Kinghorn — a surprise from NAL

Cecily Chadwick is idling away the long, hot summer of 1911 when a mysterious countess moves into the large, deserted country house on the edge of her sleepy English village.  Rumors abound about the countess’s many husbands and lovers, her opulent wealth, and the tragedies that have marked her life.  As Cecily gets to know her, she becomes fascinated by the remarkable woman — riveted by her tales of life on the Continent and of the famous people she once knew.  But the countess is clearly troubled by her memories and by ruinous secrets that haunt her…

Staying with the countess is a successful novelist and dear friend who has been summoned to write the countess’s memoirs.  For aspiring writer Cecily, the novelist’s presence only adds to the intrigue of the house.  But it is the countess’s grandson, Jack, who draws Cecily further into the tangled web of the countess’s past, and sweeps her into an uncertain future…  (publisher’s summary)

deutschlandDeutschland by Martin Wagner — from Jeanne (thank you!)

Spending their summer holidays at their grandparents’ house by the sea, Sam and her two brothers play a series of dangerous games, pitted against each other yet united in their secrecy from the grown-ups.  But when they discover a fierce dog mysteriously trapped in an electrical substation, they face their first real challenge, one from which they cannot walk away.

Meanwhile, on a long weekend in Germany with their aunt, Kate, and her new lover find themselves playing games of their own.  in the red-light district of Munich, will Kate’s surprising challenge for her boyfriend strengthen or destroy their relationship?

Many years ago, Sam’s grandfather, Richard, also played an unusual game, encouraged by a stranger, as part of a scientific experiment.  The choices he made then have haunted him ever since.  As Sam delves into her grandfather’s secret she discovers that where free will turns to blind obedience, true horror lies.  (publisher’s summary)

the first christmas nightThe First Christmas Night by Keith Christopher, illustrated by Christine Kornacki — won from (Live and) Dream a Little Dream

This lyrical retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem is modeled after the classic “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”  The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and moves through Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the wise men.  The simple yet elegant verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich oil paintings of Christine Kornacki.  (publisher’s summary)

unravelledUnravelled by M.K. Tod — won from Suko’s Notebook

In 1935, Edward Jamieson’s memories of war and a passionate love affair resurface when an invitation to a WWI memorial ceremony arrives.  Though reluctant to visit the scenes of horror he has spent years trying to forget, Edward succumbs to the unlikely possibility of discovering what happened to Helene Noisette, the woman he once pledged to marry.  Travelling through the French countryside with his wife Ann, Edward sees nothing but reminders of war.  After a chance encounter with Helene at the dedication ceremony, Edward’s past puts his present life in jeopardy.

When WWII erupts a few years later, Edward is quickly caught up in the world of training espionage agents, while Ann counsels grieving women and copes with the daily threats facing those she loves.  And once again, secrets and war threaten the bonds of marriage.

With events unfolding in Canada, France, and England, Unravelled is a compelling novel of love, duty and sacrifice set amongst the turmoil of two world wars.  (publisher’s summary)

miss buncle's bookMiss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson — free ebook

Who Knew One Book Could Cause So Much Chaos?

Barbara Bunde is in a bind. Times are harsh, and Barbara’s bank account has seen better days. Maybe she could sell a novel … if she knew any stories. Stumped for ideas, Barbara draws inspiration from her fellow residents of Silverstream, the little English village she knows inside and out.

To her surprise, the novel is a smash. It’s a good thing she wrote under a pseudonym, because the folks of Silverstream are in an uproar. But what really turns Miss Bunde’s world around is this: what happens to the characters in her book starts happening to their real-life counterparts. Does life really imitate art?

A beloved author who has sold more than seven million books, D. E. Stevenson is at her best with Miss Buncle’s Book, crafting a highly original and charming tale about what happens when people see themselves through someone else’s eyes. (publisher’s summary)

fall for youFall for You: A Jane Austen Academy Novel by Cecilia Gray — free ebook

To say Lizzie and Dante are polar opposites is the understatement of the century. He’s a snooty Exeter transfer with more money than Google. She’s a driven study-a-holic just barely keeping up with tuition. It’s obvious that Dante thinks he’s way too good for Lizzie. And Lizzie knows Dante is a snob with a gift for pressing her buttons.

But things are changing fast this year at the Academy. And when Lizzie’s quest to stop those changes blows up in her face, taking her oldest friendship with it, she has nowhere else to turn but to Dante, with his killer blue eyes, his crazy-sexy smile, and his secrets… Secrets Lizzie can’t seem to leave alone, no matter how hard she tries… (publisher’s summary)

jane austen and foodJane Austen and Food by Maggie Lane — free ebook

What was the significance of the pyramid of fruit which confronted Elizabeth Bennet at Pemberley? Or of the cold beef eaten by Willoughby on his journey of repentance to see Marianne?

Why is it so appropriate that the scene of Emma’s disgrace should be a picnic, and how do the different styles of housekeeping in Mansfield Park relate to the social issues of the day?

While Jane Austen does not luxuriate in cataloging meals in the way of Victorian novelists, food in fact plays a vital part in her novels.

Her mainly domestic plots are deeply imbued with the rituals of giving and sharing meals. The attitudes of her characters to eating, to housekeeping and to hospitality are important indicators of their moral worth. This culminates in the artistic triumph of Emma, in which repeated references to food not only contribute to the portrait of her world, but provide an extended metaphor for the interdependence of a community.

In this original, lively and well-researched book, Maggie Lane not only offers a fresh perspective on the novels of Jane Austen, but illuminates a fascinating period of food history, as England stood on the brink of urbanisation, middle-class luxury, and a revolution in the role of women.

Ranging over topics from greed to gender to mealtimes and manners, and drawing on the novels, letters and Austen family papers, she also discusses Jane Austen’s own ambivalent attitude to the provision and enjoyment of food. (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2014 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, 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 I totally paused!.

Here’s what I received:

Birthday gifts from my husband and daughter:

rose under fireRose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

When ferrying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet Rose Justice is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women’s concentration camp.  There, she meets an unforgettable group of women, including a once glamorous French novelist whose Jewish husband and three young sons have been killed; a resilient young Polish girl who has been used as a human guinea pig by the Nazi doctors; and a female fighter pilot and military ace for the Soviet air force.

Trapped in this bleak place under horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery, and friendship of these fellow prisoners.  But will hope be enough to enable Rose to endure the fate that is in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically acclaimed Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning World War II thriller in this companion novel.  The riveting story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.  (publisher’s summary)

dear mr. knightleyDear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become. (publisher’s summary)

don't want to miss a thingDon’t Want to Miss a Thing by Jill Mansell

Dexter Yates leads a charmed existence in London, with money, looks, and girlfriends galore.  Life’s fantastic until Dex’s sister dies and his world changes overnight.  Astonishing everyone, including himself, Dex leaves the city behind, takes charge of his eight-month-old niece Delphi, moves to a beautiful Cotswolds village, and sets about working on his parenting skills.  His neighbors, including cartoonist Molly Hayes, seem friendly enough — but Dex can’t shake the notion that he’s missing something important…  (publisher’s summary)

Birthday gift from my mom:

mad about the boyBridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

What do you do when your girlfriend’s sixtieth birthday party is the same day as your boyfriend’s thirtieth?

Is it better to die of Botox or die of loneliness because you’re so wrinkly?

Is it wrong to lie about your age when online dating?

Is it morally wrong to have a blow-dry when one of your children has head lice?

Is it normal to be too vain to put on your reading glasses when checking your toy boy for head lice?

Does the Dalai Lama actually tweet or is it his assistant?

Is it normal to get fewer followers the more you tweet?

Is technology now the fifth element?  Or is it wood?

If you put lip plumper on your hands do you get plump hands?

Is sleeping with someone after two dates and six weeks of texting the same as getting married after two meetings and six months of letter writing in Jane Austen’s day?

Pondering these and other modern dilemmas, Bridget Jones stumbles through the challenges of loss, single motherhood, tweeting, texting, technology, and rediscovering her sexuality in — Warning!  Bad, outdated phrase approaching! — middle age.

In a triumphant return after fourteen years of silence, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy is timely, tender, touching, page-turning, witty, wise, outrageous, and bloody hilarious.  (publisher’s summary)

For Review:

undressing mr. darcyUndressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos — from the author/Berkley

Thirty-five-year-old American social-media master Vanessa Roberts lives her thoroughly modern life with aplomb.  So when her elderly Jane Austen-centric aunt needs her to take on the public relations for Julian Chancellor, a very private man from England who’s written a book called My Year as Mr. Darcy, Vanessa agrees.  But she’s not “excessively diverted,” as Jane Austen would say.

Hardbound books, teacups, and quill pens fly in the face of her e-reader, coffee, and smartphone…

…until she sees Julian take his tight breeches off for his Undressing Mr. Darcy show, an educational “striptease” down to his drawers to promote his book and help save his crumbling estate.  The public relations expert suddenly realizes things have gotten…personal.  But can this old-fashioned man find his way into her heart without so much as a GPS?  It will take three festivals filled with Austen fans, a trip to England, an old frenemy, and a flirtatious pirate reenactor to find out…  (publisher’s summary)

somewhere in franceSomewhere in France by Jennifer Robson — from William Morrow

Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford wants to travel the world, pursue a career, and marry for love.  But in 1914, the stifling restrictions of aristocratic British society and her mother’s rigid expectations forbid Lily from following her heart.  When war breaks out, the spirited young woman seizes her chance for independence.  Defying her parents, she moves to London and eventually becomes an ambulance driver in the newly formed Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps — an exciting and treacherous job that takes her close to the Western Front.

Assigned to a field hospital in France, Lily is reunited with Robert Fraser, her dear brother Edward’s best friend.  The handsome Scottish surgeon has always encouraged Lily’s dreams.  She doesn’t care that Robbie grew up in poverty — she yearns for their friendly affection to become something more.  Lily is the most beautiful — and forbidden — woman Robbie has ever known.  Fearful for her life, he’s determined to keep her safe, even if it means breaking her heart.

In a world divided by class, filled with uncertainty and death, can their hope for love survive…or will it become another casualty of this tragic war?  (publisher’s summary)

hard luckDiary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney — from Amulet Books

Greg Heffley’s on a losing streak.  His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task.  To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance.  Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg’s life destined to be just another hard-luck story?  (publisher’s summary)


a killing in kensingtonA Killing in Kensington by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Detective Sergeant Patrick Shea of London’s Metropolitan Police and his new partner, Detective Chief Inspector Tommy Boyle, have been handed a high-profile murder case.  In the penthouse of Kensington Tower, playboy Clifton Trentmore lay dead with his head bashed in, and the investigation reveals a man who was loathed both sexes.  With too few clues and too many suspects, Shea and Boyle must determine who hated Trentmore enough to kill him.  But as Patrick digs deeper, he finds his suspects have secrets of their own.  (publisher’s summary)

a darcy christmasA Darcy Christmas: A Holiday Tribute to Jane Austen by Amanda Grange, Sharon Lathan, and Carolyn Eberhart

Mr. and Mrs. Darcy wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Share in the magic of the season in these three warm and wonderful holiday novellas from bestselling authors.

Christmas Present by Amanda Grange

A Darcy Christmas by Sharon Lathan

Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Carol by Carolyn Eberhart  (publisher’s summary)

shelf lifeShelf Life (The Publicist, Book Two) by Christina George

Publishing: An industry of out-of-control egos, unrealistic expectations, and books with the shelf life of milk.  This is Kate’s world, but for how long?

When one of Kate Mitchell’s star authors is carted away in handcuffs, she thinks it’s only the beginning of her troubles.  As her world crumbles around her, Kate desperately looks for anyone to hold onto but finds that happy endings are truly works of fiction.  When her career and love affair hit their expiration date, Kate sets off on a new adventure…

Starting over in California is easy, but Kate soon learns that leaving her old life behind isn’t.  Nicholas Lavigne is eager to help her forget, but two things still own her heart, the dream of discovering the next great American novel, and MacDermott Ellis.  As Kate tries to rebuild her life, she finds a surprising gift that reboots her career in a new and unexpected direction.  Suddenly her name becomes synonymous with one of the biggest bestsellers publishing has seen in ages, and she’s welcomed back with open arms.  At the height of her success the ghosts of her past come back to remind her of the world she’s been trying to forget and the man who never let go of her heart.  Behind the book, there’s always more to the story.

Welcome to Publishing, the ego has landed.  (publisher’s summary)

Giveaway win:

our held animal breathOur Held Animal Breath by Kathryn Kirkpatrick — from Savvy Verse & Wit

The physical world in Our Held Animal Breath by Kathryn Kirkpatrick is palpable, breath held, straining at the boundaries of the lines’ rhythms, finally bursting out of that tension into joyous exhalation.  (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, 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 I totally paused!.

Here’s what I received over the past couple of weeks:

the valley of amazementThe Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan — my birthday gift from Serena and family (Thank you all so much!)

Shanghai, 1912.  Violet Minturn is the privileged daughter of the American madam of the city’s most exclusive courtesan house.  But when the Ching dynasty is overturned, Violet is separated from her mother in a cruel act of chicanery and forced to become a “virgin courtesan.”  Half-Chinese and half-American, Violet grapples with her place in the worlds of East and West — until she is able to merge her two halves, empowering her to become a shrewd courtesan who excels in the business of seduction and illusion, though she still struggles to understand who she is.

Back in 1897 San Francisco, Violet’s mother, Lucia, chooses a disastrous course as a sixteen-year-old, when her infatuation with a Chinese painter compels her to leave her home for Shanghai.  Shocked by her lover’s adherence to Chinese traditions, she is unable to change him, despite her unending American ingenuity.

Fueled by betrayals, both women refuse to submit to fate and societal expectations, persisting in their quests to recover what was taken from them: respect; a secure future; and, most poignantly, love from their parents, lovers, and children.  To reclaim their lives, they take separate journeys — to a backwater hamlet in China, the wealthy environs of the Hudson River Valley, and, ultimately, the unknown areas of their hearts, where they discover what remains after their many failings to love and be loved.

Spanning more than forty years and two continents, The Valley of Amazement transports readers from the collapse of China’s last imperial dynasty to the beginning of the Republic, and recaptures the lost world of old Shanghai through the inner workings of courtesan houses and the lives of the foreigners living in the International Settlement, both erased by World War II.  A deeply evocative narrative of the profound connections between mothers and daughters, imbued with Tan’s characteristic insight and humor, The Valley of Amazement conjures a story of inherited trauma, desire and deception, and the power and obstinacy of love.  (publisher’s summary)

project darcyProject Darcy by Jane Odiwe — from the author for review

It is high summer when Ellie Bentley joins an archaeological dig at Jane Austen’s childhood home.  She’s always had a talent for “seeing” into the past and is not easily disturbed by her encounters with Mr. Darcy’s ghost at the house where she’s staying.

When Ellie travels into the past, she discovers exactly what happened whilst Jane danced her way through the snowy winter of 1796.  As Steventon Rectory and all its characters come to life, Ellie discovers the true love story lost in Pride and Prejudice — a tale which has its own consequences for her future destiny, changing her life beyond imagination.  (publisher’s summary)

the pursuit of mary bennetThe Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle — from William Morrow for review

For most of her life, Mary, the serious and unpolished third daughter of the Bennet family, has been overshadowed by her sisters — beautiful and confident Jane and Elizabeth, and flirtatious and lighthearted Lydia and Kitty.  But with nearly all of her sisters married and gone from the household, awkward, unrefined Mary has blossomed into an attractive young woman with a quiet poise of her own.

When a very pregnant Lydia unexpectedly returns to the Bennet home and scandalously announces she’s left Wickham, Mary and Kitty are packed off to visit Jane and her husband, Charles Bingley, in Derbyshire.  Yearning for the solitude of home, Mary is dismayed to discover Bingley’s handsome and eligible friend Henry Walsh everywhere she turns.  Unschooled in the game of love, Mary finds Henry’s warm attentions confounding.  Is his interest genuine or does she foolishly mistake friendliness for something more?  With her heart and her future at risk, Mary must throw caution to the wind to find the truth — a journey of discovery that will teach her surprising lessons about herself and the desires of her heart.  (publisher’s summary)

wakeWake by Anna Hope — from Random House for review

Wake: 1) Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep.  2) Ritual for the dead.  3) Consequence or aftermath.

Anna Hope’s brilliant debut unfolds over the course of five days, as three women must deal with the aftershocks of World War I and its impact on the men in their lives.

London, 1920.  The city prepares to observe the two-year anniversary of Armistice Day with the burial of the unknown soldier.  Many are still haunted by the war:  Hettie, a dance instructress, lives at home with her mother and her brother, who is mute after his return from combat.  One night Hettie meets a wealthy, educated man and finds herself smitten with him.  But there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach. … Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange, through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress.  Embittered by her own loss, she looks for solace in her adored brother, who has not been the same since he returned from the front. … Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive.  Helpless, her loving husband has withdrawn from her.  Then one day a young man appears at her door, seemingly with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out-of-work veterans.  But when he utters the name of her son, Ada is jolted to the core.

The lives of these three women are braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and as the body of the unknown solider moves closer and closer to its final resting place.  (publisher’s summary)

a star for mrs. blakeA Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith — from Knopf for review

An emotionally charged, brilliantly realized novel set in the 1930s about five American women — Gold Star Mothers — who travel to France to visit the graves of their soldier sons buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery near Verdun: a pilgrimage that will change their lives in unforeseeable and indelible ways.  This timeless story set against a footnote of history is little known but unforgettable.

Although Americans fought for just over a year in World War I, there were 116,516 soldiers killed and more than 30,000 were buried in U.S. cemeteries in Europe.  In 1929, the U.S. Congress, responding to widows and war mothers lobbying for compensation of their loss, passed legislation to fund travel for mothers of fallen soldiers to visit their sons’ graves in France.  During a three-year period, 6,693 mothers made the trip.  (publisher’s summary)

and who can be in doubt of what followed“And Who Can Be in Doubt of What Followed”: The Novels of Jane Austen Expanded by Alexa Adams — contest win from the author

Have you ever wondered how Caroline Bingley learned of Mr. Darcy’s engagement to Elizabeth Bennet, what Colonel Brandon did to win Marianne Dashwood’s heart, or who discovered Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Clay in flagrante?  Alexa Adams seeks to answer these questions and more, delving into the details at which Jane Austen only hinted to develop the unspoken underbelly of her six major novels.  (publisher’s summary)

the art of secretsThe Art of Secrets by James Klise — a surprise from Algonquin Young Readers

When Saba Khan’s apartment burns in a mysterious fire, possibly a hate crime, her Chicago high school rallies around her.  Her family moves rent-free into a luxury apartment, Saba’s Facebook page goes crazy, and she starts (secretly) dating a popular boy.  Then some quirky art donated to a school fundraising effort for the Khans is revealed to be an unknown work by famous outsider artist Henry Darger, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and Saba’s life turns upside down again.

Should Saba’s family have all that money?  Or should it go to the students who found the art?  Or to the school?  Greed, jealousy, and suspicion create an increasingly tangled web as adults and teens alike debate who should get the money and being to question one another’s motivations.

Through monologues, journal entries, interviews, articles, and official documents, characters reveal how they see what happened.  How readers interpret the truth of this thoroughly engrossing and often ambiguous tale will depend on their own ideas about empathy, generosity, and the dakrer corners of human nature.  (publisher’s summary)

the summer of letting goThe Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner — a surprise from Algonquin Young Readers

Summer has begun, the beach beckons — and Francesca Schnell is going nowhere.  Four years ago, Francesca’s little brother, Simon, drowned, and Francesca’s the one who should have been watching.  Now Francesca is about to turn sixteen, but guilt keeps her stuck in the past.  Meanwhile, her best friend, Lisette, is moving on — most recently with the boy Francesca wants but can’t have.

At loose ends, Francesca trails her father, who may be having an affair, to the local country club.  There she meets four-year-old Frankie Sky, a little boy who bears an almost eerie resemblance to Simon, and Francesca begins to wonder if it’s possible Frankie could be Simon’s reincarnation.  Knowing Frankie leads Francesca to places she thought she’d never dare to go — and it begins to seem possible to forgive herself, grow up, and even fall in love, whether or not she solves the riddle of Frankie Sky.

Readers of realistic teen fiction by Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Sarah Mlynlowski will gravitate to this story in which tragedy and loss exist side by side with heart and hope.  (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, 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 I totally paused!.

Here’s what I received:

first impressions First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice by Alexa Adams — from the author for review

In Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy begins his relationship with Elizabeth Bennet with the words: “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”  What would have happened if Mr. Darcy had never spoken so disdainfully?  First Impressions explores how the events of Jane Austen’s beloved novel would have transpired if Darcy and Elizabeth had danced together at the Meryton Assembly.  Jane and Bingley’s relationship blossoms unimpeded, Mary makes a most fortunate match, and Lydia never sets foot in Brighton.  Austen’s witty style is authentically invoked in this playful romp from Longbourn to Pemberley.  (publisher’s summary)

second glancesSecond Glances: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice Continues by Alexa Adams — from the author for review

A year has passed since the conclusion of First Impressions, and the marriages made by the three eldest Bennet ladies are prospering.  Expectations are high for the two youngest sisters to do equally well.  Kitty, having excelled in school, receives an invitation to join Georgiana Darcy in her first London season, leaving Lydia to bear the burdens of the classroom alone.  Will the most forward Bennet tolerate such inequity?

Kitty arrives in London prepared to be happy, but her delight is marred when she finds a most unwelcome gentleman on intimate terms with her hosts.  She has met the reckless Sir James Stratton before and would like nothing more than to never encounter him again, but his acquaintance she is forced to endure.  Struggling for firm footing amidst the whirlwind of London society, will Kitty be allowed to follow her heart, or will her family force her hand?  Join the reimagined cast of Pride and Prejudice as they pursue happiness amidst the ongoing obstacles of life, love, and interfering relations.  (publisher’s summary)

holidays at pemberleyHolidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters: A Tale of Less Pride & Prejudice Concludes by Alexa Adams — from the author for review

Both a Christmas celebration and a conclusion to Tales of Less Pride & Prejudice, Holidays at Pemberley begins where First Impressions ends, with the marriage of Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, and spans the course of Second Glances to conclude their story.  As the Darcys enjoy their first years of marriage, Charlotte Lucas is often invited to join them.  Watching as the Bennet sisters, one by one, marry to both outrageous advantage and with great affection, her only ambition remains independence and respectability, stubbornly blind to the virtues of a love match.  She thinks she has found an acceptable husband in David Westover, rector of Kympton and determined bachelor, but he remains oblivious to the implications of befriending a Miss Lucas.  It may mean some heartbreak, but if Mrs. Darcy’s pragmatic friend will only surrender to Cupid, she may find wild fantasies do come true, even for ladies dangerously close to thirty.  (publisher’s summary)

jane and bingley“Jane & Bingley: Something Slightly Unsettling” by Alexa Adams — download from author

In Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Darcy says that Jane Bennet’s “heart was not likely to be easily touched.” What if he was correct? Written in tribute to Halloween and published serially on Alexa Adams’ blog, “Jane & Bingley: Something Slightly Unsettling” explores the events of the first volume of Austen’s most beloved novel from the perspective of a far from tender Jane. Gentle Janeites, proceed with care, lest you find Mr. Bingley’s “angel” has fallen.  (publisher’s summary)

daughters of the nileDaughters of the Nile by Stephanie Dray — from Berkley for review

Based on the true story of Cleopatra’s daughter…

After years of abuse as the emperor’s captive in Rome, Cleopatra Selene has found a safe harbor.  No longer the pitiful orphaned daughter of the despised Egyptian whore, the twenty-year-old is now the most powerful queen in the empire, ruling over the kingdom of Mauretania — an exotic land of enchanting possibility where she intends to revive her dynasty.

With her husband, King Juba II, and the magic of Isis that is her birthright, Selene brings prosperity and peace to a kingdom thirsty for both.  But when Augustus Caesar jealously demands that Selene’s children be given over to him to be fostered in Rome, she’s drawn back into the web of imperial plots and intrigues that she vowed to leave behind.

Determined and resourceful, Selene must shield her loved ones from the emperor’s wrath, all while vying with ruthless rivals like King Herod.  Can she find a way to overcome the threat to her marriage, her kingdom, her family, and her faith?  Or will she be the last of her line?  (publisher’s summary)

the blooding of jack absoluteThe Blooding of Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys — from Sourcebooks for review

London, 1759: Life is easy for Jack Absolute, a young raconteur loved by the ladies and envied by his schoolmates.  With a place secured at university and a baronetcy at hand, his future seems bright — if he can just stay out of trouble.  But when Jack is caught red-handed with a powerful lord’s mistress, his good fortune is destroyed, forcing him to seek a new fate in the dangerous New World during the brutal French and Indian Wars.

There, marooned amid hostile Indians and fierce colonial rivalries, the bawdy schoolboy disappears and a man emerges.  Jack’s survival depends on winning the friendship and help of the natives, but those come at a high price.  In order to become the man they could eventually trust, Jack Absolute must first be blooded.  And in order to be blooded, he must do the unfathomable.  He must learn to kill.

The gripping prequel in C.C. Humphreys’s riveting historical series, The Blooding of Jack Absolute sweeps readers into the ruthless wilds of North America and tracks the stunning transformation of a young dreamer into a daring, larger-than-life hero.  (publisher’s summary)

the storied life of a.j. fikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin — a surprise from Algonquin

A.J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be.  His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen.  Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island — from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude.  Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him.  These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package arrives at the bookstore.  It’s a small package, but large in weight.  It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A.J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew.  It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.

As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.  (publisher’s summary)

poeThe Complete Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe — a scavenger hunt win at a Halloween party hosted by Serena and her husband (Thanks again!)

Although best known for his short stories, Edgar Allan Poe was by nature and choice a poet.  This edition of his complete poetry illustrates the transcendent world of unity and ultimate beauty he created in his verse.  From his exquisite lyric “To Helen” to his immortal masterpieces “Annabel Lee,” “The Bells,” and “The Raven,” Poe stands beside the celebrated English Romantic poets Shelley, Byron, and Keats, and his haunting, sensuous poetic vision profoundly influenced the Victorian giants Swinburne, Tennyson, and Rossetti.

Today his dark side speaks eloquently to contemporary readers in poems such as “The Haunted Palace” and “The Conqueror Worm,” with their powerful images of madness and the macabre.  But even at the end of his life, Poe reached out to his art for comfort and courage, giving us in “Eldorado” a talisman to hold during our darkest moments — a timeless gift from a great American writer.  (publisher’s summary)

almost persuadedAlmost Persuaded: Miss Mary King by P.O. Dixon — a win from Leatherbound Reviews (Thanks, Jakki!)

Have you ever suffered misguided love?  Life does not always offer “Happily Ever After” endings.  Or does it?  This engaging short story follows Miss Mary King’s search for love.  What she finds may or may not be what she wants as she eventually discovers, but will it be precisely what she needs?

Mary admired George Wickham from the moment she first set eyes on him.  Handsome and charismatic, he satisfied her every notion of what a consummate gentleman ought to be.  She longed to garner his affection.  He, on the other hand, never once looked her way.  What happens when Mary becomes the heiress of ten thousand pounds?  As the adage goes, be careful what you wish for.  Will Mary learn the meaning of this sentiment the hard way?  (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, 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 Book Dragon’s Lair.

Here’s what I received:

the secrets of the notebookThe Secrets of the Notebook: A Woman’s Quest to Uncover her Royal Family Secret by Eve Haas — from Arcade Publishing for review

The true story of a girl who learned she was a princess, The Secrets of the Notebook is also much more.  With suspense reminiscent of a Cold War thriller, it recounts one woman’s unrelenting search for the truth of her past in the darkest recesses of European history — and in the face of a greater mystery, that of her grandmother’s disappearance during the Holocaust.

Eve Haas was the daughter of a German Jewish family who took refuge in London after Hitler came to power.  Following a terrifying air raid in the Blitz, her father revealed the family secret, that her great-great-grandmother Emilie was married to a Prussian prince.  He then showed her the treasured gilt-edged notebook inscribed to Emilie by the prince with the words:  “The beautiful owner of this book is dearer to me than my life — August your protector.”

Her father discouraged her from delving further, but later in life, when Eve inherited the diary, she became obsessed with finding Emilie and proving this birthright.  The Secrets of the Notebook tells how she follows the clues, going from experts in London to archives in West Berlin, and then, under threat of being arrested as a spy by the Communist regime, to an archive in East Germany that had never before opened its doors to the West.  What she unearths is a love story set against the upheaval of the Napoleonic Wars and the anti-Semitism of the Prussian court, and a ruse that both protected Emilie’s daughter and condemned her granddaughter — Eve’s beloved grandmother, Anna — to death in the Nazi camps.

Solving a real-life mystery involving some of the greatest and most infamous figures in European history, from Frederick the Great to Napoleon and Hitler, The Secrets of the Notebook is a book unlike any other and the record of an unforgettable odyssey.  (publisher’s summary)

fugitive colorsFugitive Colors by Lisa Barr — from Arcade Publishing for review

Julian Klein, a young American artist, rebels against his religious upbringing and embraces the artistic freedom of 1930s Paris.  He flees Chicago and his family to paint freely — only to discover the price for following his passion.  He finds himself consumed by a world in which a paintbrush is as lethal as a gun.

Julian’s journey takes him and his friends from Paris to Berlin, where the Nazis are embarking on a relentless mission to destroy the avant-garde, particularly German Expressionism — an abstract movement of artists that is taking the world by storm.  Julian — an artist turned unlikely spy — is suddenly faced with the ultimate challenge: How far would he go to protect art?

Love, friendship, betrayal, and passion, as Julian learns, are never black and white.  Like an abstract painting, Julian’s turbulent coming-of-age tale is emotionally charged as he tries to save his friends and salvage some of the most beloved pieces of modern art — including his own.

Lisa Barr’s unrelenting prose brings to life those artists whose lives and careers were crushed under the brutal Nazi regime.  This is a novel of twists and turns and historic truths signifying the incredible impact art had on Hitler’s war.  (publisher’s summary)

no surrender soldierNo Surrender Solider by Christine Kohler — from Merit Press for review

Growing up in a very conservative community on Guam in 1972, fifteen-year-old Kiko has way too many problems on his mind.  His brother is missing in action in Vietnam, and he’s just learned that his mother was raped by a Japanese soldier during World War II.  It might help if he were popular, had ever kissed a girl or had any hope of ever kissing one, but that’s not happening except to the popular guys.  Then, he discovers an old Japanese soldier hiding in the jungle behind his house.  He’s a useless crazy old guy.  At first glance, the old man seems like the perfect solution to all of Kiko’s problems, but how far is he willing to go to prove his own manhood and avenge his mother’s rape?  (publisher’s summary)

the queen of bad decisionsThe Queen of Bad Decisions by Janel Gradowski — from the author for review

Daisy’s life is sliding downhill at breakneck speed.  Leaving her worthless boyfriend leaves her back at her parents’ home, sleeping on the couch.  After only a few days she is tired and annoyed.  Her parents give new meaning to the term “early riser” and she can’t avoid unpleasant encounters with her obnoxious brother.  The only escape from the familial torture is her job at a book store.  Her boss finds a solution to the housing dilemma, but Daisy will need to change more than her address labels to make the arrangement work.

This book is a novelette that contains approximately 11,500 words.  Two, short bonus stories along with recipes are also included.  This is a prequel to Volume 1 of the Bartonville series, “Must Love Sandwiches.”  Even though this is part of a series it can also be read as a standalone book.  (publisher’s summary)

the deepest secretThe Deepest Secret by Carla Buckley — a surprise from Bantam Books

Eve Lattimore’s family is like every other on their suburban street, with one exception.  Her son Tyler has a rare medical condition that makes him fatally sensitive to light, which means heavy curtains and deadlocked doors protect him during the day and he can never leave the house except at night.  For Eve, only constant vigilance stands between an increasingly restless teenage son and the dangers of the outside world.

Until the night the unthinkable happens.  When tragedy strikes, it becomes clear that this family is not the only one on the quiet cul-de-sac that is more complicated than it appears.  And as Eve is forced to shield her family from harm, there are some crises she cannot control — and some secrets that not even love can conceal.  (publisher’s summary)

a grosvenor square christmasA Grosvenor Square Christmas: Four Holiday Short Stories by Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, and Kate Noble — free ebook

Four breathtakingly romantic tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors.

Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?

1803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen

Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valère, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena—now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?

1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly

Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind—by sweeping her off her feet.

1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell

At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.

1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble

Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend. When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up…

You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist? (publisher’s summary)

What books did you add to your shelves recently?

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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