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 recently:
The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy — from Crown
Sarah Brown, the vibrant, talented daughter of abolitionist John Brown, finds her life forever altered when she stumbles across her father’s work on the Underground Railroad. Although reeling from the shocking news that she won’t ever bear children, Sarah realizes that her artistic talents may be able to help save the lives of slaves fleeing north. Taking cues from slave-code quilts, Sarah hides maps within her paintings, becoming one of the Underground Railroad’s leading mapmakers. As the country steers toward bloody civil war, Sarah faces difficult sacrifices that could put all she loves in peril.
Over one hundred and fifty years later, Eden Anderson, a modern-day woman struggling to conceive a child, moves to an old house in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., as a last-ditch effort to save her marriage and start a family. There, she discovers a porcelain doll head in the root cellar — the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger, and deliverance. Sarah and Eden’s connection bridges the past and present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way.
Ingeniously plotted and magnificently transporting, The Mapmaker’s Children highlights the power of community and legacy, illustrating the ways in which history and destiny are interconnected on one enormous, intricate map. (publisher’s summary)
The Sound of Glass by Karen White — from NAL
Two years after the death of her husband, Cal, Merritt Heyward receives unexpected news — Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by his reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.
Charting the course of an uncertain life — and reeling from guilt over her husband’s tragic death — Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s mysterious past live among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life — a new life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old stepbrother.
In this house of strangers, Merritt must unravel the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Lowcountry. (publisher’s summary)
The Last Summer on Chelsea Beach by Pam Jenoff — from MIRA
Young Adelia Monteforte begins the summer of 1941 aboard a crowded ship bound for America, utterly alone yet free of Fascist Italy. Whisked away to the seaside by her well-meaning aunt and uncle, she slowly beings to adapt to her new life. That summer, she basks in the noisy affection of the boisterous Irish-Catholic boys next door, and although she adores all four of the Connally brothers, it’s the eldest, Charlie, she pines for. But all hopes for a future together are throttled by the creep of war and a tragedy that hits much closer to home.
Needing to distance herself from grief, Addie flees — first to Washington and then London, where the bombs still scream by night — and finds a position at a prestigious newspaper. More so, she finds a purpose. A voice. And perhaps even a chance to redeem lost time, lost family — and lost love. But the past, never far behind, nips at her heels, demanding to be reckoned with. And in a final, fateful choice, Addie discovers that the way home may be a path she never suspected. (publisher’s summary)
Free ebooks (not sure if any of them are still free, though):
The Journey by Jan Hahn
Shortly after the Netherfield ball, Elizabeth Bennet begins a journey to visit her relations in London with her travelling companions, Mr. Bingley’s sisters and the proud, arrogant Mr. Darcy. Suddenly, their carriage is abruptly stopped, and Elizabeth hears the menacing cry, “Stand and deliver!” Abduction. The leader of a band of highwaymen, Nate Morgan, a handsome, masked rogue, plans to seize Elizabeth for his amusement, but Darcy steps forward and offers himself as a hostage in her place. When his proposal fails to secure Elizabeth’s release, Darcy makes a shocking declaration — Elizabeth is his wife! Romance. At a time when a woman’s future could be ruined by the slightest hint of scandal, Elizabeth’s reputation will depend not only upon the actions of a hero but a villain as well. Filled with danger, excitement, daring and passion, The Journey follows Jane Austen’s beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice as they embark on a fateful journey that changes their lives forever. (publisher’s summary)
An Arranged Marriage by Jan Hahn
Can a marriage of convenience ever lead to true love? Immediately after Elizabeth Bennet refuses Mr. Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford, her father dies, leaving Longbourn entailed away and little fortune to sustain his widow and daughters. Six months later, the Bennet family receives a visitor with a most unusual offer that promises to save the family from financial and social ruin. Elizabeth’s sense of duty forces her to enter into an arranged marriage with a man she does not even like. Told from Elizabeth’s point of view, An Arranged Marriage is a compelling twist on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Can Elizabeth overcome her feelings of anger, resentment, and suspicion toward her new husband and — the most bewildering sensation of all — a growing attraction for the last man in the world she ever wished to marry? (publisher’s summary)
A Most Civil Proposal by C.P. Odom
“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” When Fitzwilliam Darcy spoke these words to Elizabeth Bennet as part of his marriage proposal, they expressed his concealed feelings completely, but their meaning was at odds with the rest of his prideful and arrogant offer of marriage. It was therefore rather easy for Elizabeth to reject his offer in much the same manner. But what if Darcy, never one at ease when trying to speak of inner sentiments, had realized beforehand how his intended proposal would sound to the young woman he hoped to make his bride? What if he had attempted a much more civil and thoughtful proposal of marriage? Could Elizabeth Bennet have coldly and angrily rejected an offer made in such a manner? A Most Civil Proposal, a variation on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, examines and explores how the lives of the two main characters and their families and friends might have turned out differently had Darcy realized his error beforehand and thus avoided being so forcefully instructed and corrected by the love of his life. (publisher’s summary)
Remembrance of the Past by Lory Lilian
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet unexpectedly met Mr. Darcy while visiting Pemberley. In this “what if” story, Elizabeth Bennet and her relatives — Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner — are in London, ready to start their tour to the Lakes in June. During this time, Elizabeth’s path crosses with Mr. Darcy’s again. However, Mr. Darcy is not alone in London: besides his close family — Georgiana and Colonel Fitzwilliam — an old and dear friend has returned and claimed a well-deserved place in their lives. This is a story about hopes and desires, about losses and fears, about second chances and happiness. (publisher’s summary)
Echoes of Pemberley by Cynthia Ingram Hensley
A tragic plane crash eight years earlier has left Catherine Elizabeth Darcy orphaned and in the custody of her overly protective brother, Bennet. Since then, her life at Pemberley Estate — the Darcy’s ancestral home in Derbyshire, England — has been sheltered and lacking adventure of any kind. When 16-year-old Catie arrives home for her school holiday, she is expecting another long, boring summer of daydreaming and whiling away warm afternoons reading the romance novels her brother calls “rubbish.” What she discovers, however, is a handsome yet insufferable Irishman named Sean Kelly, her summer riding instructor. Coupled with an intriguing and mysterious WWI-era diary, which she finds hidden in the window seat of her bedroom, Catie Darcy’s summer soon proves to be anything but boring. (publisher’s summary)
A Pride and Prejudice Sequel: Life After the Wedding (Novella, Part Two) by Denise O’Hara
The Bingleys put down permanent roots when they buy the Bethany House estate not thirty miles from Pemberly, to the delight of both families. Jane is presented with new people in her life and new situations, some positive, some not so positive (read: Wickhams!) Can Lizzy help her sister deal with her growing understanding that not everyone can be well thought of? Read the humorous escapades of the Bingley’s first child, a complete opposite of his Darcy cousin, in A Pride & Prejudice Sequel: Life After the Wedding Series, A Novella Part Two! (publisher’s summary)
Prude & Prejudice by Francene Carroll
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman with a name like Prudence Higginbottom must be in need of a good shagging.
Prudence Higginbottom’s youth was marred by the cruel taunts she endured over her unfortunate name, but at the age of twenty-six she has managed to rise above it all to become the part-owner of a café and catering business with her parents and three sisters in the small town of Merryton. When the Higginbottom family are hired to cater the opening function for a new business that has just relocated from London, Prue is excited as everyone else, especially when she discovers that the two company directors, Charles Bradley and William Darling, are handsome and single.
Her excitement, however, is short-lived. The first time she encounters William Darling at the company’s opening party he mocks her name and insults her appearance. She then overhears a conversation in which he expresses some very unsavoury opinions about immigration. It becomes her mission to expose him for the prejudiced, narrow-minded man that he is and prevent him from fermenting racial intolerance in her town.
Things become complicated when Prue discovers that she is not immune from prejudice herself, and William Darling behaves in ways that seem completely out of character for him. Through a series of misunderstandings and embarrassing drunken outbursts, Prue and William finally get to know one another and realise that first impressions can be very misleading indeed. (publisher’s summary)
Trouble With the Earl by Olivia Kane
In the beautiful county of Hertfordshire, the Lady Charlotte Radcliffe has reached the imminent age of marriage. Her father, the estimable Lord Radcliffe, who is in poor health, has proclaimed she must marry a suitor within forty-five minutes of their estate so as not to unduly grieve her mother. When they draw up a list of suitable suitors for her, Charlotte is delighted to find the recent widower, the Earl of Buckland, at the top of their list. Believing a good marriage is more of station and security than attraction or love, Charlotte proceeds with her parents’ plan to make her the Earl’s second wife. Yet when Guy Lancaster, the family’s former tutor, unexpectedly arrives in Hertfordshire, he laughs at her geographical approach to marriage and challenges her to let her heart, and not her lists, decide her future.
The Trouble With The Earl is a lighthearted, sweet Regency romance that takes place in the same towns and neighborhoods where Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy live, who also make appearances in the novella. In the spirit of the time frame, it is a genteel romance where only the tea is steamy. (publisher’s summary)
Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy
Jane Eyre wakes up to find herself in contemporary NYC, as part of a reality TV show. Other contestants include Heidi, Sherlock Holmes, David Copperfield, Dorian Gray, Alice in Wonderland, Hester Prynne, Emma Bovary and Mr. Darcy. To return “home”, she must convince enough people to read her novel. But, with a brand new career and a romance with Jack, the show’s intriguing production assistant, she might decide to just stay in modern times. (publisher’s summary)
Coincidence by Dannette J. Hansen
Annaliese VanLuyk soon discovers there’s more than a hidden doily dating to World War II in this old Dutch house. It also contains a family mystery and she’s the only one who can solve it. Unfortunately this isn’t how her time in Netherlands is supposed to be spent. She’s here to be involved in the Plant Research Program at Wageningen University. With so much of her attention and energy being divided between her new friend, Nigel and solving this mystery, her stay in Holland could come to an end along with her career she’s always wanted. (publisher’s summary)
Two Wars by Steven F. Galloway
Warsaw, September 1939.
Fifteen-year-old Ella lies frozen in bed as the first bombs of the war explode across her city in the night. The following morning she is taken away from her home, friends and family and sent across Europe to live with her introverted Uncle Alan in central London.
In London she begins to fall for young Air Raid Patrol boy James while the city prepares for war, before being evacuated again to a small Sussex village, where a sinister red-eyed shape has been seen patrolling the skies after dark.
Ella, along with local boy Ronnie, soon finds herself drawn into the hunt for a mysterious creature, unaware that what she unearths along the way could change everything: including the course of the war itself.
Meanwhile Robert Ramsey — a reclusive veteran of World War One — learns that his country is once again about to go to war. In his own way, despite his age and ill-health, he sets out to protect Britain from the Nazis in whatever way he can.
Two Wars tells the tale of what happens when Ella and Robert’s stories entwine; a journey of war, love and mystery, and a small china elephant. (publisher’s summary)
Children of Dust and Heaven by Stefania Heilbrunn
This is a riveting collective memoir is both incredibly personal and yet tremendous in scope, and all profits are donated to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.
This book is written by a Holocaust survivor and is based on her own harrowing experiences, as well as the diary of a young girl. The author interviewed hundreds of the residents of her town after the war and put together this powerful, historic, vivid account of how the Nazis occupied her hometown in Poland and systematically tormented and killed so many Jews.
Starting with Hitler’s orders and the Nazi Occupation, the author describes how day to day life changed for everyone around her. Simple routines and joys taken away day by day, but the struggle to survive was strong. From the overcrowding of the ghetto, to lack of food and water to the deportations to concentration camps, work camps and death camps of the Holocaust, the author details it all. (publisher’s summary)
Bread or Death by Milton Mendel Kleinberg
The war brought about scarcities of just about everything…except misery. “Alle raise,” (everybody out), the German soldiers screamed as they pounded on our door with the butts of their rifles. And thus began a 4,500-mile journey from Poland through Russia and Siberia and eventually to Uzbekistan in Central Asia, as the author’s family used bribery and darkness of night to flee as the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939.
Young Mendel, from age four to fourteen, tells in vivid detail the wretched journey in cramped cattle cars through frigid Russia, the indignities of being forced labor, the shame of begging for bread just to survive, and death of those closest to him. The family’s plight includes abandonment, hunger, and separation (and later remarkable twists of fate and reunion) quite unlike other Holocaust stories.
This coming-of-age, Holocaust memoir is the author’s personal account of how through great sacrifices by his mother he managed to survive the worst atrocities in human history and his uncertain days in a Polish Children’s Home, scrabbling for fallen fruit, and surviving kidnapping and murder on the Black Road, and return to a German Displaced Persons camps at war’s end. But to what fate?
Originally written as a memoir just for his grandchildren, Milton Kleinberg gives a moving account of his family’s hardships and eventual immigration with a lump-in-the-throat passage to America past the Statue of Liberty and into a land of opportunity tinged with bigotry yet with a promise to future generations.
This book for young adults has been reviewed by the Institute for Holocaust Education and includes a glossary, a book club discussion guide, a timeline, and a Teacher’s Guide. (publisher’s summary)
Beneath a Stormy Cloud: Moving on Without Her by Naomi Litvin
The stinging reality of the effects of the Holocaust on the second generation is illustrated as Naomi Litvin attempts reorientation to the world at large after losing her mother, a Romanian Holocaust survivor. In her second book, Beneath A Stormy Cloud: Moving On Without Her, Naomi Litvin knits a jigsaw puzzle-like anthology of her mother’s poetry with her own juxtaposing responses. Within these pages Naomi’s thought provoking commentary is a deeply personal struggle with her grief. Edith was her mentor, heroine, and best friend. Mother and daughter share the stage in this creative, special slice of history. (publisher’s summary)
Hitler’s First Lady by Malcolm Blair-Robinson
Lise Bauer is born in Africa in 1906, brought to England by her parents from where she is expelled with them in 1914 because her father is an East Prussian. They settle in America and become Americans, but return to Europe in the 1920s. Here, Lise is involved in the rise of the Nazi party, marries one of Hitler’s closest associates and later has a relationship with Hitler himself, before divorcing her husband and marrying an English friend of Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. She settles again in England with the consent of the security services, and she and her husband establish a cell to act as a secret communication channel between Hitler and Churchill at the critical period of WWII.
The novel offers a new view of Hitler’s sexual relationships, a plot to overthrow Churchill, and the flight to Scotland by Rudolf Hess. Using historical characters often portrayed in a new light, this fictional account challenges the accepted view of recorded history. It leaves readers wondering why they were they never told about the double lives and events shrouded in secrecy. (publisher’s summary)
Where Lightning Strikes by Alexandria Constantinova Szeman
The poems in this collection revisit the classic themes that have inspired poets for generations: love, passion, betrayal, doubt, loyalty, despair, faith, and survival — this time in the context of the period before, during, and after the Holocaust with its systematic persecution and extermination of the majority of European Jewry by the Nazi regime. (publisher’s summary)
What books did you add to your shelves recently?
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