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’m slowly returning to reading and blogging while I’m in between book editing projects, so these are books that were added to my shelves over the past month:
**Check out my review**
Violet Desmond has just learned from her dying grandmother that the life she’s been living is a lie.
Left with only a locket, a newspaper clipping, and a name–Atherton–Violet sets off to discover her hidden personal history. Simultaneously, the London academic begins to have vivid dreams in which a woman from the past narrates her life story involving the same locket, a secret marriage, and a child. A story intimately connected to Jane Austen.
Violet reluctantly agrees to receive help from cavalier treasure hunter, Peter Knighton. Blacklisted from his profession, Knighton can almost taste the money and accolades he’d receive for digging up something good on Austen; the locket alone is unique enough to be worth plenty to the right collector. It would be enough to get his foot back in the door.
The unlikely pair begin a quest for answers that leads them to Aerendgast Hallows. Knee-deep in hidden crypts, perilous pursuits, and centuries-old riddles, Violet must put her literary expertise to the test as she battles to uncover the secret that her loved ones died trying to reveal, before an unknown enemy silences her as well. (publisher’s summary)
A Peculiar Connection by Jan Hahn — from Meryton Press
A Peculiar Connection begins near the close of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Bent on preventing the engagement of her nephew to Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Catherine de Bourgh declares that any union between Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth would be “a sin against Heaven itself!” Her shocking revelation, along with a cryptic message written over twenty years earlier, thrusts the couple into a whirlwind of heartbreak and disbelief.
Could a deserted mansion in Derbyshire or a small church hidden in the wood hold the key to solving the puzzle? And why is Elizabeth inexplicably drawn to the portrait of three young boys in Pemberley’s gallery?
Determined to confirm or refute Lady Catherine’s accusation, Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to embark upon a twisted trail into bygone days and family secrets. All the while, they must endure the exquisite torture of denying the indisputable desire that still hovers between them. (publisher’s summary)
Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran — from the author and Touchstone
When Britain sets its sights on India in the mid-nineteenth century, it expects a quick and easy conquest. After all, India is fractured and divided into kingdoms, each independent and wary of the rest, seemingly no match for the might of the Empire. But when English soldiers arrive in the kingdom of Jhansi, they’re met with a surprising challenge.
Instead of quietly surrendering, Jhansi’s ruler, Queen Lakshmi, raises two armies — one male and one female — and rides into battle, determined to protect her country and her people. Although at first her soldiers may not appear formidable against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi refuses to back down from an empire that is trying to take away the land she loves.
Told from the unique perspective of Sita — Queen Lakshmi’s closest confidante and most-trusted soldier in her all-female army — Rebel Queen shines a light on a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction. In the tradition of her bestselling novel, Nefertiti, Michelle Moran brings to rich, vibrant life the true story of a queen determined to live and die for her country. (publisher’s summary)
Sophia’s War: Veil of Secrets by Stephanie Baumgartner — from the author
“…You’re not the only one with secrets — with people you care about who need to be protected.”
Sophia made a choice to put the needs and safety of others before her own. With more than just her own interests at stake, survival in Nazi Germany has become even more perilous. Though she finds companionship with a handsome war photographer, her secrets threaten to destroy everything and everyone she holds dear.
But Sophia soon learns that she is not the only one carrying a dangerous secret. No one in Germany is who they say they are, and those who have nothing to hide are quick to betray those that do. When the motivations of others collide with her own, Sophia must adapt to survive, learning she can trust no one but herself in Hitler’s Germany. (publisher’s summary)
The Empire of the Senses by Alexis Landau — from Pantheon Books
Lev Pearlmutter, an assimilated, cultured German Jew, enlists to fight in World War I, leaving behind his gentile wife Josephine and their children, Franz and Vicki. Moving between Lev’s and Vicki’s veiwpoints, Part I of the novel focuses on Lev’s experiences on the Eastern Front — both in war and in love — which render his life at home a pale aftermath by comparison. Part II picks up in Berlin in 1927-1928: the Pearlmutter children, now young adults, grapple with their own questions: Franz, drawn into the Brown Shirt movement, struggling with his unexpressed homosexuality; and Vicki, seduced by jazz, bobbed hair, and falling in love with a young man who wants to take her to Palestine. Unlike most historical novels of this kind, The Empire of the Senses is not about the Holocaust but rather about the brew that led to it, and about why it was unimaginable to ordinary people like Lev and his wife. Plotted with meticulous precision and populated by characters who feel and dream to the fullest, it holds us rapt as cultural loss and ethnic hatred come to coexist with love, passion, and the power of the human spirit. (publisher’s summary)
The Cherry Harvest by Lucy Sanna — from William Morrow
The war has taken a toll on the Christiansen family. With food rationed and money scarce, Charlotte Christiansen struggles to keep her family well fed. Her teenage daughter, Kate, raises rabbits to earn money for college and dreams of becoming a writer. Charlotte’s husband, Thomas, struggles to keep the farm going while their son, along with most of the other young men from the area, is fighting in Europe.
When their upcoming cherry harvest is threatened by the shortage of workers, strong-willed Charlotte helps persuade local authorities to allow German war prisoners from a nearby POW camp to pick the fruit.
But when Thomas befriends one of the prisoners, a teacher named Karl, and invites him to tutor Kate, the implications of Charlotte’s actions become apparent — especially when she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to Karl. So busy are Charlotte and Thomas with the prisoners that they fail to see Kate is growing into a young woman, with longings and temptations of her own — including a secret romance with the son of a wealthy, war-profiteering senator. And when their beloved Ben returns home from the war, bitter and injured, bearing an intense hatred of Germans, Charlotte’s secrets threaten to explode their world. (publisher’s summary)
The Travels of Daniel Ascher by Déborah Lévy-Bertherat, translated from the French by Adriana Hunter — from Other Press
Who is the real author of The Black Insignia? Is it H.R. Sanders, whose name is printed on the cover of every installment of the wildly successful young adult adventure series? Or is it Daniel Roche, the enigmatic world traveler who disappears for months at a time? When Daniel’s great-niece, Hélène, moves to Paris to study archeology, she and her friend Guillaume, a devoted fan of her great-uncle’s books, set out to discover more about the man whose life eludes her. In so doing, she uncovers an explosive secret dating back to the darkest days of the Occupation.
In recounting the moment when one history began and another ended, The Travels of Daniel Ascher explores the true nature of fiction: is it a refuge, a lie, or a stand-in for mourning? (publisher’s summary)
Even in Darkness by Barbara Stark-Nemon — from PR by the Book
Based on a true story spanning a century and three continents, Even in Darkness traces the life of Kläre Kohler, who meets the Nazis’ destruction of her comfortable world with passionate resilience, enlisting good-hearted, everyday Germans to help her survive. This saga of family, a lover, two world wars, and a concentration camp leads to the unconventional life Kläre builds in post-war Germany — one that ultimately allows her to find wisdom, meaning, and, most unexpectedly, love. (publisher’s summary)
Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey — from the author
Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan — everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki for the ultimate favor…
Written to baby Carolina, both by her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us — and that families aren’t born, they’re made. (publisher’s summary)
Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay — from Austenesque Reviews
Lizzy and Jane couldn’t be further from Jane Austen’s favorite sisters for whom they are named.
Elizabeth left her family’s home in Seattle fifteen years ago to pursue her lifelong dream — chefing her own restaurant in New York City. Jane stayed behind to raise a family. Estranged since their mother’s death many years ago, the circumstances of their lives are about to bring them together once again.
Known for her absolute command of her culinary domain, Elizabeth’s gifts in the kitchen have begun to elude her. And patrons and reviewers are noticing. In need of some rest and an opportunity to recover her passion for cooking, Elizabeth jumps at the excuse to rush to her sister’s bedside when Jane is diagnosed with cancer. After all, Elizabeth did the same for their mother. Perhaps this time, it will make a difference.
As Elizabeth pours her renewed energy into her sister’s care and into her burgeoning interest in Nick, Jane’s handsome coworker, her life begins to evolve from the singular pursuit of her own dream into the beautiful world of family, food, literature, and love that was shattered when she and Jane lost their mother. Will she stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane — and Elizabeth to Nick’s Mr. Darcy — or will she return to the life she has worked so hard to create? (publisher’s summary)
The Walls Around Us by Nova Run Suma — from Algonquin Young Readers
*I’ve passed this one onto my daughter.**
On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement.
On the inside, within the walls of the Aurora Hills juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom.
Tying their two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries…
What really happened on the night Orianna stepped between Violet and her tormentors? What really happened on two strange nights at Aurora Hills? Will Amber and Violet and Orianna ever get the justice they deserve — in this life or in another one?
In prose that sings from line to line, Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and of innocence, and of what happens when one is mistaken for the other. (publisher’s summary)
Next week I’ll feature the free ebooks I downloaded over the last month.
What books did you add to your shelves recently?
© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.