This engaging work of historical fiction is based on the real life figure of Nancy Wake. Raised in Australia, she works as a freelance journalist in Europe during the 1930s and falls in love with a French man. As the country enters World War II, Nancy is drawn into the French Resistance, where she uses her intelligence, strength, and wit to go on several dangerous missions. Nancy Wake — who went by many code names besides Hélène — lived an incredible life, reflected in this page-turner.
—NEW YORK POST “REQUIRED READING”
“A spellbinding work of historical fiction. . . [and] one of the most sensual romance novels you’ve ever read. . . She is real, this really did happen is the mantra you may find yourself repeating, in awe of every page.”—BOOKPAGE, *STARRED*
“Magnificent. . . Lawhon carries us into the heart of the French resistance [and] into the mind of a badass heroine with uncanny instincts who takes on the Nazis and men’s arrogant sexism with uncommon bravado. . . Even long after the last page is turned, this astonishing story of Wake’s accomplishments will hold readers in its grip.”—BOOKLIST, *STARRED*
“Readers will be transfixed by the story of a woman who should be a household name.”–LIBRARY JOURNAL *STARRED*
The title of Hamnet refers to William Shakespeare’s son, who died as a child and may have served as the inspiration for Hamlet. However, Shakespeare himself is not the main character of this novel, and is never even referred to by name. Instead, Shakespeare’s wife Agnes (commonly known as Anne) is the main character of this story. She is a fascinating character, and the book follows her as a young woman into adulthood, as she fights against society’s expectations, marries, and becomes a mother. I have loved all of Maggie O’Farrell’s books, and this was no exception.
Hamnet was recently awarded the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.
“Magnificent and searing… A family saga so bursting with life, touched by magic, and anchored in affection that I only wish it were true. Of all the stories that argue and speculate about Shakespeare’s life, about whether he even wrote his own plays, here is a novel that matches him with a woman overwhelmingly more than worthy… I nearly drowned at the end of this book, and at some other spots besides. It would be wise to keep some tissues handy… So gorgeously written that it transports you from our own plague time right into another and makes you glad to be there.”
—The Boston Globe
“This striking, painfully lovely novel captures the very nature of grief.”—Booklist [starred review]
“A tour de force…Although more than 400 years have unspooled since Hamnet Shakespeare’s death, the story O’Farrell weaves in this moving novel is timeless and ever-relevant… O’Farrell brilliantly turns to historical fiction to confront a parent’s worst nightmare: the death of a child…Hamnet vividly captures the life-changing intensity of maternity in its myriad stages — from the pain of childbirth to the unassuagable grief of loss. Fierce emotions and lyrical prose are what we’ve come to expect of O’Farrell. But with this historical novel she has expanded her repertoire, enriching her narrative with atmospheric details of the sights, smells, and relentless daily toil involved in running a household in Elizabethan England — a domestic arena in which a few missing menstrual rags on washday is enough to alarm a mother of girls.”–NPR
WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
I only caught a part of the author’s interview on NPR describing his own Glasgow upbringing in the 90’s with a mother much like Alice. I rushed to pick up this memoir only to realize it is a novel. It will be clear to any reader that only someone who actually walked in Hugh “Shuggie” Bain’s shoes, could have written this debut book. Masterful writing. Eye-opening. After reading this, some might even make better decisions about alcohol…..
“Every now and then a novel comes along that feels necessary and inevitable. I’ll never forget Shuggie and Agnes or the incredibly detailed Glasgow they inhabit. This is the rare contemporary novel that reads like an instant classic. I’ll be thinking and talking about Shuggie Bain―and teaching it―for quite some time.”―Garrard Conley, New York Times-bestselling author of Boy Erased
“There’s no way to fake the life experience that forms the bedrock of Douglas Stuart’s wonderful Shuggie Bain. No way to fake the talent either. Shuggie will knock you sideways.”―Richard Russo, author of Chances Are
“Compulsively readable . . . In exquisite detail, the book describes the devastating dysfunction in Shuggie’s family, centering on his mother’s alcoholism and his father’s infidelities, which are skillfully related from a child’s viewpoint . . . As it beautifully and shockingly illustrates how Shuggie ends up alone, this novel offers a testament to the indomitable human spirit. Very highly recommended.”―Library Journal (starred review)
Her previous novel, The Invisible Bridge, is one of my all-time favorites. This one is based on the diaries of Varian Fry and again Orringer brings to light another WWII inspiring episode of history where Fry attempts to save the works and lives of Jewish artists. Part history, part love story drenched in the glorious backdrop of 1940’s Marseille – superb.
“No book this year could possibly compare with The Flight Portfolio: ambitious, meticulous, big-hearted, gorgeous, historical, suspenseful, everything you want a novel to be.”
—Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Less
“Sympathetic and prodigiously ambitious…scrupulous… Her landscapes regularly rise to a Keatsian sensuousness. Her Marseille breathes as a city breathes…a thriller.”
—New York Times Book Review, cover review
“Varian Fry lit a small, bright lamp in a world of darkness, and in the deft hands of Julie Orringer—under the spell of her masterful prose, her feeling portraiture, her classic spy-thriller plotting and her vivid recreation of that beautiful and terrible world—I found the radiance of Fry’s courage, flawed humanity, and steadfast resistance shedding an inexhaustible light on our own ever-darkening time.”—Michael Chabon
What woman could hold her own and be married to Ernest Hemingway? Meet Hemingway’s third wife, Martha Gelhorn, who did become one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century. I have read both The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun, but McLain’s novel portraying this stormy, passionate marriage is by far the best of the three.
“Wonderfully evocative . . . This is historical fiction at its best, and today’s female readers will be encouraged by Martha, who refuses to be silenced or limited in a time that was harshly repressive for women.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Propulsive . . . highly engaging . . . McLain does an excellent job portraying a woman with dreams who isn’t afraid to make them real, showing [Gellhorn’s] bravery in what was very much a man’s world. Her work around the world . . . is presented in meticulous, hair-raising passages. . . . The book is fueled by her questing spirit, which asks, Why must a woman decide between being a war correspondent and a wife in her husband’s bed?”—The New York Times Book Review
The Big Library Read (BLR) @ OverDrive announces the winning title! The Other Einstein will be available for unlimited access on the OverDrive-powered website between June 12-26, 2017. And, of course, you can pick up a copy at your library:
“Mileva “Mitza” Marić has always been a little different from other girls. Rather than thinking about marriage, she’s studying physics with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. And then fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, and the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.”
“In her compelling novel… Benedict makes a strong case that the brilliant woman behind [Albert Einstein] was integral to his success, and creates a rich historical portrait in the process.” – Publishers Weekly
“Benedict’s debut novel carefully traces Mileva’s life-from studious schoolgirl to bereaved mother-with attention paid to the conflicts between personal goals and social conventions. An intriguing… re-imagining of one of the strongest intellectual partnerships of the 19th century.” – Kirkus