Welcome to Mailbox Monday, the weekly meme created by Marcia, formerly from The Printed Page, where book lovers share the titles they received for review, purchased, or otherwise obtained over the past week. Mailbox Monday currently is on tour, and this month’s host is Unabridged Chick.
Here’s what I received over the last few weeks:
A generation has been lost on the Western Front. The dead have been buried, a harsh peace forged, and the howl of shells replaced by the wail of saxophones as the Jazz Age begins. But ghosts linger — that long ago golden summer of 1914 tugging at the memory of Martin Rilke and his British cousins, the Grevilles.
From the countess to the chauffeur, the inhabitants of Abingdon Pryory seek to forget the past and adjust their lives to a new era in which old values, social codes, and sexual mores have been irretrievably swept away. Martin Rilke throws himself into reporting, discovering unsettling political currents, as Fenton Wood-Lacy faces exile in faraway army outposts. Back at Abingdon, Charles Greville shows signs of recovery from shell shock and Alexandra is caught up in an unlikely romance. Circles of Time captures the age as these strongly drawn characters experience it, unfolding against England’s most gracious manor house, the steamy nightclubs of London’s Soho, and the despair of Germany caught in the nightmare of anarchy and inflation. Lives are renewed, new loves found, and a future of peace and happiness is glimpsed — for the moment. (publisher’s summary)
The final installment of the saga of the Grevilles of Abingdon Pryory begins in the early 1930s, as the dizzy gaiety of the Jazz Age comes to a shattering end. What follows is a decade of change and uncertainty, as the younger generation, born during or just after the “war to end all wars,” comes of age.
American writer Martin Rilke has made his journalistic mark, earning worldwide fame with his radio broadcasts, and young Albert Thaxton seeks to follow in his footsteps as a foreign correspondent. Derek Ramsey, born only weeks after his father fell in France, and Colin Ross, a dashing Yankee, leave their schoolboy days behind and enter fighter pilot training as young men. The beautiful Wood-Lacy twins, Jennifer and Victoria, and their passionate younger sister, Kate, strive to forge independent paths, while learning to love — and to let go.
In their heady youth and bittersweet growth to adulthood, they are the future — but the shadows that touched the lives of the generation before are destined to reach out to their own. (publisher’s summary)
For more than three decades, Rosie Thomas has enthralled readers around the world. Now, in The Kashmir Shawl, her most ambitious book yet, Thomas sweeps through time and place, and her readers will discover in this novel a captivating, romantic epic — an irresistible story of enduring love and memory.
It is the eve of 1941 and World War II is engulfing the globe. Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Britain to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India, but when he leaves her in the exotic lakeside city of Srinagar to take on a complicated mission elsewhere, she discovers a new world. Here, in the heart of Kashmir, the British dance, flirt, and gossip against the backdrop of war and Nerys soon becomes caught up in a dangerous liaison. By the time she is reunited with her husband, she is a very different woman.
Years later, Nerys’s granddaughter Mair Ellis clears out her dead father’s house and finds an exquisite shawl — a kaleidoscope of silvery blues and greens. Wrapped in the folds of this delicate object is a lock of a child’s curly hair. With nothing else to go on, Mair decides to trace her grandparents’ roots back to Kashmir, embarking on a quest that will change her own life forever.
In this marvelous novel by a writer whose novels Marie-Claire called “beautifully written” and “a treat,” the inimitable Rosie Thomas is at her very best. A sweeping, multigenerational tale of marriage and isolation, The Kashmir Shawl is a tribute to the power of finding love in the most magical, unexpected places. (publisher’s summary)
Struggling to move on after her husband’s death, thirty-five year old Anna receives an unexpected phone call from her estranged grandmother, Goldie, summoning her to New York. A demanding woman with a sharp tongue and a devotion to fashion and etiquette, Goldie has not softened in the five years since she and her granddaughter last spoke. Now she wants Anna to drive her to San Francisco to return a collection of exquisite Japanese art to a long-lost friend.
Hours of sitting behind the wheel of Goldie’s Rolls-Royce soften Anna’s attitude toward her grandmother, and as the miles pass, old hurts begin to heal. Yet no matter how close they become, Goldie harbors painful secrets about her youthful days in 1940s San Francisco that she cannot share. But if she truly wants to help her granddaughter find happiness again, she must eventually confront the truths of her life.
Moving back and forth across time and told in the voices of both Anna and Goldie, The Secret of the Nightingale Palace is a searing portrait of family, betrayal, sacrifice, and forgiveness — and a testament to the enduring power of love. (publisher’s summary)
For fans of Victoria Hislop’s The Island and Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key, a powerful debut novel about a woman shuttling between America and Greece to solve the mystery surrounding her family’s past and claim an identity of her own.
A phone call from her cousin sends Calliope Notaris Brown from Boston to the Greek city of Patras to sort through an inheritance from her uncle. She arrives during the wild abandon of Carnival, when the world is turned upside down and things are not as they seem. Digging through the keepsakes her uncle has left, Callie stumbles upon the clues to the wartime disappearance of the family’s fortune and to the mystery of her estranged mother’s chronic unhappiness. As she pieces together family secrets that stretch back to the Italian occupation of Greece during World War II, Callie’s relationship with her fiancé, her mother, and her mother’s two sisters will change irrevocably. (publisher’s summary)
Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques and opens her own shop in Charleston. Breathing new life into discarded objects gives Teddi purpose but has never alleviated the haunting uncertainty she’s felt since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to find him. It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family — and to find herself at last.
A heartwrenching novel with a grown-up love story to boot — Looking for Me is destined to make Hoffman a bestselling author readers will want to read again and again. (publisher’s summary)
Major Peter Tremayne, Lord Sancreed, is the last man with whom rebel bluestocking Kate Grey should fall in love, but when the handsome British viscount commandeers her home, Kate throws caution to the wind and responds to his seduction. She is on the verge of surrender when a spy in her own household seizes the opportunity to steal the military dispatches Tremayne carries, ensuring his disgrace — and implicating Kate in high treason. Painfully awakened to the risks of war, Kate determines to put duty ahead of desire, and offers General Washington her services as an undercover agent in the City of Brotherly Love.
Months later, having narrowly escaped court-martial and hanging, Tremayne returns to decadent British-occupied Philadelphia with no stomach for his current assignment — to capture the woman he believes betrayed him. Nor does he relish the glittering entertainments being held for General Howe’s idle officers. Worse, the glamorous woman in the midst of this social whirl, the fiancée of his own dissolute cousin, is none other than Kate Grey herself. And so begins their dangerous dance, between passion and patriotism, between certain death and the promise of a brave new future together. (publisher’s summary)
On the last ordinary day of her life, Abby Bennett feels like the luckiest woman alive. But everyone knows that luck doesn’t last forever…
As her husband, Nick, and daughter, Lindsey, embark on a weekend camping trip to the Texas Hill Country, Abby looks forward to having some quiet time to herself. She braids Lindsey’s hair, reminds Nick to drive safely and kisses them both goodbye. For a brief moment, Abby thinks she has it all — a perfect marriage, a perfect life — until a devastating storm rips through the region, and her family vanishes without a trace.
When Nick and Lindsey are presumed dead, lost in the raging waters, Abby refuses to give up hope. Consumed by grief and clinging to her belief that her family is still alive, she sets out to find them. But as disturbing clues begin to surface, Abby realizes that the truth may be far more sinister than she imagined. Soon she finds herself caught in a current of lies that threaten to unhinge her and challenge everything she once believed about her marriage and family.
With a voice that resonates with stunning clarity, Barbara Taylor Sissel delivers a taut and chilling mystery about a mother’s love, a wife’s obsession and the invisible fractures that can shatter a family. (publisher’s summary)
What books did you add to your shelves recently?
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© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.