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 over the past couple of weeks:
Miss Darcy Decides: A Pride and Prejudice Novella by Reina M. Williams — from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Miss Darcy Decides is a Pride and Prejudice Novella, a light, sweet sequel to the Amazon Regency Romance bestseller, Most Truly.
While visiting a young woman — who was not so fortunate as Miss Georgiana Darcy in escaping the persuasions of a rogue — Georgiana meets Sir Camden Sutton, whose reputation causes Georgiana to wonder as to his motives. Her wondering soon turns to a different feeling when Sir Camden comes to stay at Pemberley, showing himself to be a very different man than was rumored. While Sir Camden struggles with his past and his commitment to his future, as well as the ill intentions of haughty Caroline Bingley, Miss Darcy must decide whether to listen to others, or the words written on her heart. (publisher’s summary)
Zagare: Litvaks and Lithuanians Confront the Past by Sara Manobla — from Gefen Publishing House
Veteran broadcaster Sara Manobla’s professional trip to Moscow in 1977 and subsequent commitment to the cause of the refuseniks prompted her own voyage of self-discovery. Together with her cousin, she embarked on a roots journey to Zagare, a little shtetl on the border between Lithuania and Latvia. Here she met Isaac Mendelssohn, the sole survivor of the town’s Jewish community. Unexpectedly, a meaningful and fruitful relationship developed between Isaac, a group of descendants and a group of local inhabitants, always shadowed by memories of the slaughter in 1941 of Zagare’s Jewish population by Nazis and local Lithuanian collaborators.
The culmination came in 2012 with a joint project of the two groups to erect a memorial plaque in the center of the town. Manobla also helped ensure that a Zagarean family who had rescued two women during the Nazi occupation was posthumously honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous among the Nations. This account of a search for roots ends on a note of hope, reconciliation and coming to terms with today’s highly charged relationship between Lithuanians and Jews. (publisher’s summary)
The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams — from Putnam
Manhattan, 1964: new Bryn Mawr graduate Vivian Schuyler defies her monied Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding socialite: break into the Mad Men world of stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a mysterious parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime of passion of an aunt she never knew.
Berlin, 1914: Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering scientist Dr. Walter Grant simply because he provides the support to her position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. But the arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student, Lionel Richardson, interrupts this delicate détente. Richardson challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold. As war looms and Lionel’s true motives become clear, Violet is tempted to take steps to set herself free and live a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own.
As Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past, Violet’s story unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad…and teaching Vivian to seek the ambitious future — and the love — she wants most. (publisher’s summary)
The Transcriptionist by Amy Rowland — a surprise from Algonquin
No one can find it. That’s the first thing. The Recording Room is on the eleventh floor, at the end of a rat-hued hallway that some workers at the newspaper have never seen; they give up on the ancient elevator, which makes only local stops with loud creaks of protest. Like New Yorkers who refuse to venture above Fourteenth Street, there are newspaper workers who refuse to go above the fourth floor for fear of being lost forever if they leave the well-lit newsroom for dark floors unknown.
In this room you’ll find Lena. She works as a transcriptionist for the Record, a behemoth New York City newspaper. There once were many transcriptionists at the Record, but new technology and the ease of communication have put most of them out of work, so now Lena sits alone in a room on the building’s eleventh floor, far away from the hum of the newsroom that is the heart of the paper. Still, it is an important job — vital, really — a vein that connects the organs of the paper, and Lena takes it very seriously.
And then one day she encounters something that shatters the reverie that has become her life — an article in the paper about a woman mauled to death by lions in the city zoo. The woman was blind and remains unidentified, but there is a picture, and Lena recognizes her as someone whom a few days before she had met and talked to briefly while riding home on a midtown bus.
Obsessed with understanding what caused the woman to climb into the lion’s den, Lena begins a campaign for truth that will ultimately destroy the Record‘s complacency and shake the venerable institution to its very foundation. In the process she finds a new set of truths that gives her the strength to shed what she describes as her “secondhand life” and to embrace a future filled with promise, maybe even adventure.
An exquisite novel that asks probing questions about journalism and ethics, about the decline of the newspaper and the failure of language, The Transcriptionist is also the story of a woman’s effort to establish a place for herself in an increasingly alien and alienating world. (publisher’s summary)
Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis by Tim Townsend — a win from Reading to Know
Lutheran minister Henry Gerecke was fifty years old when he enlisted as an army chaplain during World War II. As two of his three sons faced danger and death on the battlefield, Gerecke tended to the battered bodies and souls of wounded and dying GIs outside London. But at the close of the European theater, with Hitler defeated and scores of American troops returning home to resume their lives, Gerecke received his most challenging assignment: he was sent to Nuremberg to minister to the twenty-one imprisoned Nazi leaders awaiting trial for crimes against humanity.
A crucial yet largely untold coda to the horrors of World War II, Mission at Nuremberg unearths groundbreaking new research and compelling firsthand accounts to take us deep inside the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, into the very cells of the accused and the courtroom where they answered to the world for their crimes. Never before in modern history had man accomplished mass slaughter with such precision. These twenty-one Nazis had sat at the right hand of Adolf Hitler; Hermann Goering, Albert Speer, Wilhelm Keitel, Hans Frank, and Ernst Kaltenbrunner were the orchestrators, and in some cases the direct perpetrators, of the most methodical genocide in history.
As the drama leading to the court’s final judgment unfolds, Tim Townsend brings Henry Gerecke’s impossible moral quandary to life: How, having risked his own life (and those of his sons) to eliminate the Nazi threat, could he now win the confidence of these men? In the months after the war ended, Gerecke had visited Dachau. He had touched the walls of the camp’s crematorium. He had seen the consequences of the choices these men had made, the orders they had given and carried out. As he worked to form compassionate relationships with them, how could he preach the gospel of mercy, knowing full well the devastating nature of the atrocities they had committed? And as the day came nearer when he had to escort these men to the gallows, what comfort could he offer — and what promises of salvation could he make — to evil itself?
Detailed, harrowing, and emotionally charged, Mission at Nuremberg is an incisive new history of the Nuremberg trials as well as a nuanced reflection on the nature of morality and sin, the price of empathy, and the limits of forgiveness. (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.