The Stately Home Murder (The Calleshire Chronicles) by Catherine Aird

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A 2021 Weston Mystery Book Group approved title.

Looking for a literary cozy mystery with a touch of dry humor? This is one of a series by respected British author Catherine Aird which features butlers, eccentric old aunts and bodies in the library.

“A shining . . . star . . . a most ingenious lady . . . The very best in British mystery.” —The New Yorker

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Matrix by Lauren Groff

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Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, 17 year old  Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. Marie is defiant in this timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world.

“Groff has created a labyrinth of jewel-like moments . . . and transformed it into a novel that is perfect for right now.”-BookPage, STARRED review

“A relentless exhibition of Groff’s freakish talent. In just over 250 pages, she gives us a character study to rival Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell .” – USA Today

Just when it seems there are nothing but chronicles of decline and ruin comes Lauren Groff’s Matrix, about a self-sufficient abbey of 12th-century nuns—a shining, all-female utopian community…  it is finally its spirit of celebration that gives this novel its many moments of beauty.” –Wall Street Journal

Transcendent prose and vividly described settings bring to life historic events, from the Crusades to the papal interdict of 1208. Groff has outdone herself with an accomplishment as radiant as Marie’s visions.” – Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

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Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King

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A wonderful collection of short stories by the author of Writers & Lovers, another great book. Author Lily King is able to do so much with each story, a few of which take place in New England, and all of which feature interesting, complicated characters and plots.

Five Tuesdays in Winter moved me, inspired me, thrilled me. It filled up every chamber of my heart. I loved this book.” —Ann Patchett, New York Times bestselling author

[A] dazzling new collection…A series of beautifully written character studies brimming with insight into the human condition.– “Library Journal (starred review)”

King can make you fall in love with a character fast, especially the smart, vulnerable, often painfully self-conscious adolescent protagonists featured in several of the ten stories collected here…Full of insights and pleasures.– “Kirkus Reviews (starred reviews)”

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The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore

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“”I have waited fifty years for this full-length biography of Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard, and Kate Moore’s The Woman They Could Not Silence is simply magnificent. It reads like a suspense novel: one is on the edge of her seat at all times; one cannot believe what happens next―and then after that. History comes alive as does the tragedy of women who were falsely judged “mad” and then incarcerated and tortured in 19th century American Insane Asylums. Moore’s research is impeccable. She tells us the whole terrifying and thrilling story: the cost of battle, the triumph of cruel and corrupt misogynists, the nature of feminist victory. It is a complicated story and one brilliantly told. This book reads like a movie and it should be made into one.”- Phyllis Chesler, bestselling author and feminist leader

“Like Radium Girls, this volume is a page-turner.”―Library Journal, STARRED review

A veritable tour de force about how far women’s rights have come and how far we still have to go…Put this book in the hands of every young feminist.”―Booklist, STARRED review

In Moore’s expert hands, this beautifully-written tale unspools with drama and power, and puts Elizabeth Packard on the map at the most relevant moment imaginable. You will be riveted―and inspired. Bravo!”―Liza Mundy, New York Times bestselling author of Code Girls

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Our Darkest Night: a novel of Italy and the Second World War by Jennifer Robson

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I have read many novels about World War II, but few that cover the Italian Resistance. In Our Darkest Night, a Jewish woman escapes Venice to live with a family in the countryside and hide from authorities by posing as the wife of a young farmer. This book is gripping historical fiction as well as a love story.

“Robson shines with this stellar WWII story. The brutal reality and atrocities of war are on full view with devastating clarity. Expert characterizations and perfect pacing are rounded out by lyrical prose … This will break readers’ hearts.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A powerful, emotional, and unflinching story of love, sacrifice, and resilience during one of history’s darkest moments, Jennifer Robson’s Our Darkest Night is historical fiction at its finest. Robson’s

beautiful prose evokes a visceral reaction as she creates memorable, extraordinary characters in a richly detailed setting that comes alive for the reader.”  — Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author 

“Jennifer Robson pens a tale of devastating simplicity and poignant sweetness, superbly grounded in the horrors of fascist Italy. A Jewish medical student escapes deportation by trading her native Venice for rural farm life, posing as the Catholic wife of a priest-in-training turned resistance fighter–but at what cost to her faith, her unwitting new family, and the man she is coming to love?”  — Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Huntress

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The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

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“Welcome to the enormous pleasure that is The Lincoln Highway, a big book of camaraderie and adventure in which the miles fly by and the pages turn fast.  Set over the course of ten riveting days, the story of these four boys unfolds, refolds, tears, and is taped back together.  When you aren’t actually reading the book, you’ll be worrying about the characters, so you might as well stay in your chair and keep reading.” —Ann Patchett, author of The Dutch House

“[A] real joyride . . . hitch onto this delightful tour de force and you’ll be pulled straight through to the end, helpless against the inventive exuberance of Towles’ storytelling . . . The Lincoln Highway is elegantly constructed and compulsively readable . . . action-packed . . . There’s so much to enjoy in this generous novel packed with fantastic characters […] and filled with digressions, magic tricks, sorry sagas, retributions, and the messy business of balancing accounts.” —NPR.org

“Towles’ third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow . . .A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, [The Lincoln Highway] is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history. An exhilarating ride through Americana.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“[A] playfully thought-provoking novel . . . [Towles] juggles the pieces of his plot deftly, shifting from voice to voice, skirting sentimentality and quirkiness with a touch of wistful regret, and leading up to an ending that is bound to provoke discussion.” —Booklist (starred)

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Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend: Notes from the Other Side of the Fist Bump by Ben Phillippe  

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I loved Phillippe’s memoir and description of growing up in Canada and eventually moving the to US.  Biting humor and moving.

“Flat-out funny…This is a great next-book for fans of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker and We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, but if a reader hasn’t turned to either of those yet, Philippe’s disarming, illuminating, and hilarious chronicle is a great place to start.” — Booklist

“I still mute Ben’s texts, but I inhaled his hilarious book, which is so full of razor-sharp wit and punches to the gut that it almost made me sick. In a good way!” — Samantha Irby, New York Times bestselling author of Wow, No Thank You

“Philippe has created a funny, and at times harrowing, memoir of his experience as a Black man. Fans of similar memoirs, such as Damon Young’s What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, will enjoy the irreverence and recognize themselves in these pages.” — Library Journal

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House of Trelawney by Hannah Rothschild  

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For more than 700 years, the vast, rambling Trelawney Castle in Cornwall–turrets, follies, a room for every day of the year, four miles of corridors and 500,000 acres–was the magnificent and grand “three dimensional calling card” of the Earls of Trelawney. By 2008, it is in a complete state of ruin due to the dulled ambition and the financial ineptitude of the twenty-four earls, two world wars, the Wall Street crash, and inheritance taxes. (from the publisher) Four women dominate the story and discover what really keeps a family together.  An utterly delightful and refreshing read.

“Rothschild is a witty, stylish storyteller and her overall message feels timely.”—Lucy Atkins, The Sunday Times

“A real page turner . . . sparklingly acerbic social satire . . . . Funny and absorbing, House of Trelawney is the perfect antidote to a grey, Scottish winter’s day.”—John Badenhorst, The Courier & Advertiser

“Nothing is left out in this madcap . . .  novel, which parodies British aristocracy on one hand and the social-climbing world of new money on the other. There are odd, unlikely romances, a suicide, and babies born out of wedlock . . . Ms. Rothschild is an intelligent writer and an elegant prose stylist. The first female chair of the National Gallery, she describes her characters’ physical characteristics with the eye of someone who’s spent a lifetime looking carefully at paintings . . . Britain, that “sceptered isle,” is a shadow of its former self. But one thing the British haven’t lost is their sense of humor, and Ms. Rothschild provides a large dose of it in this quirky satire.” —Moira Hodgson, The Wall Street Journal

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The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

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The Maidens contains some of the key elements that drew readers to The Silent Patient, his first novel.   Greek mythology, therapy, and a psychologist are at the center of this murder mystery. I really liked this second novel even better than his first!

“Fans of The Secret History will fall hard for The Maidens, Michaelides’ dazzling chaser to 2019’s bestselling The Silent Patient, a challenging act to follow…Layered in dreamlike references to Greek mythology and ancient ritualized murders, this clever literary page-turner firmly establishes Michaelides as an unstoppable force in the thriller space.”―Esquire

“Stunning… The intelligent, cerebral plot finds contemporary parallels in Euripides’s tragedies, Jacobean dramas such as The Duchess of Malfi, and Tennyson’s poetry. The devastating ending shows just how little the troubled Mariana knows about the human psyche or herself. Michaelides is on a roll.”―Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Maidens contains some of the key elements that drew readers to The Silent Patient, his first novel.   Greek mythology, therapy, and a psychologist are at the center of this murder mystery. I really liked this second novel even better than his first!

“Fans of The Secret History will fall hard for The Maidens, Michaelides’ dazzling chaser to 2019’s bestselling The Silent Patient, a challenging act to follow…Layered in dreamlike references to Greek mythology and ancient ritualized murders, this clever literary page-turner firmly establishes Michaelides as an unstoppable force in the thriller space.”―Esquire

“Stunning… The intelligent, cerebral plot finds contemporary parallels in Euripides’s tragedies, Jacobean dramas such as The Duchess of Malfi, and Tennyson’s poetry. The devastating ending shows just how little the troubled Mariana knows about the human psyche or herself. Michaelides is on a roll.”―Publishers Weekly, starred review

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Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard 

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“Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them—embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle. She’s been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.” (Amazon)

“Galvanizing . . . As Simard elucidates her revolutionary experiments, replete with
gorgeous descriptions and moments of fear and wonder, a vision of the forest as an ‘intelligent, perceptive and responsive,’ comes into focus . . . A masterwork of planetary significance.” —Booklist (starred review)
 
“Simard artfully blends science with memoir in her eye-opening debut on the ‘startling secrets’ of trees . . As moving as it is educational, this groundbreaking work entrances.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Simard has spent decades with her hands in the soil, designing experiments and piecing together the remarkable mysteries of forest ecology . . . elegantly detailed . . . deeply personal . . . A testament to Simard’s skill as a science communicator. Her research is clearly defined, the steps of her experiments articulated, her astonishing results explained and the implications laid bare: We ignore the complexity of forests at our peril.”—The New York Times

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