The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon (2014)

index.aspx1930 was the year of New York Justice Joseph Crater's infamous disappearance (his body was never found). This novel tells the story as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best: his wife Stella, his mistress Ritzi, and the maid Maria. Their story, expertly woven around these events, comes from the author’s imagination and she builds a fascinating tale of what may have happened.

Author Ariel Lawhon saves the why of Judge Crater disappearance until a twist in the very last pages. The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress will transport readers to a bygone era of chorus girls, speakeasies, bootleggers, Tammany Hall corruption, gangsters, and irritating rich people.

An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James (2013)

index.aspxWhen Jillian Leigh hears of the death of her eccentric ghost hunting Uncle Toby, she must put her Oxford studies aside and travel to seaside village Rothewell. There she learns of local Blood Moon Bay, haunted by a notorious ship wrecker. But more than a two hundred year old ghost is haunting the Bay. Local WWI veterans are haunted by the war and Jillian herself seems stalked by a local spirit. Set in the early 1920s, this romantic Gothic tale is a satisfying ghost story.

Check out a copy of Simone St. James’ An Inquiry into Love and Death.

Wool by Hugh Howey (2013)

index.aspxThe outside is toxic and deadly. For generations, humankind has been confined to a massive underground silo. Everyone must serve a purpose and are tightly regulated to make sure nothing goes to waste. Step outside of the law, and you are sentenced to death by "cleaning" – sent outside with a suit designed to keep you alive only long enough to clean the exterior landscape cameras. Why all those sentenced actually go through with the cleaning is a mystery to those in the silo....

Juliette, a young woman from the mechanical division, is handpicked to become the next sheriff after the last one volunteered to clean. As she becomes acclimated to her new position, Juliette starts piecing together information that makes her question the purpose and motives of the Silo's leaders – information that could get her sentenced to clean in a heartbeat. Hugh Howey's suspenseful post-apocalyptic novel pulls the reader into the world of the Silo and precariously holds them right at the tip between order and chaos. The first in a trilogy, Wool will leave you scrambling for the next installment.

Gallipoli (1981) PG

melgibson_gallipoliDuring WWI, one of the most notorious battles of the war was fought on the Gallipoli Peninsula in the crumbling Ottoman Empire. French, British, Australian, and New Zealand troops suffered a great defeat against the Turks. Gallipoli is the story of two young Australians who join the army for adventure and soon find themselves in a strange land facing overwhelming odds.

The first Australian set half of the movie is full of humor and boyish adventure building to the tense and poignant end. Mel Gibson plays one of the two young soldiers in one of his very early roles.

You can also watch a documentary about the battle in Gallipoli.

Did you know? 100 years ago, on June 28, 1914, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the catalyst that started World War I.
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Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (2013)

index.aspxChristina Baker Kline introduces a fairly unexplored piece of American history in this tender story of two resilient women navigating their way through the past and into the future. Orphan Train is a touching story of two characters whose lives intertwine with one another, opening up buried secrets, upheaval, and an unexpected friendship.

Foster teen Molly Ayer finds herself serving community service hours at the home of aging widow Vivian Daly. The boxes in the attic haven't been touched for years, but Vivian has finally decided that it is time to clear through her old things. Molly and Vivian take on the task together and as they sort through the possessions, memories of earlier times for Vivian reveal that the two women aren't as different as it seems. Vivian, an Irish immigrant, was orphaned in her youth in New York City, and was one of hundreds of children shipped west on what became known as the orphan train. Molly discovers that her youth and perseverance can help Vivian reveal unknown truths about her past, and in doing so, uncover some insight into her own life.

Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson (2013)

index.aspxA cute, modern book with a character named Mr. Darcy. Any Pride & Prejudice fan (or dog lover) would love Unleashing Mr. Darcy. Check out Teri Wilson’s novel today – and visit SheKnows.com for an interview with the author.

The Witch Doctor's Wife by Tamar Myers (2009)

index.aspxIn the waning days of Belgian control of the Congo, enthusiastic young American Amanda Brown arrives to manage a missionary guest house. But can Amanda's enthusiasm survive living in a very different culture where witch doctors have power, everyone is named for their own worst deformity, and Belgians control every means of wealth? Amanda, called Ugly Eyes because Africans are disturbed by her blue eyes, proves up to the task since she is open to the beauty and strangeness of the country. Tamar MyersThe Witch Doctor’s Wife is for lovers of Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, but with more emphasis on the interactions of peoples of different cultures.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (2014)

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is written for those of us who love and work with books. The acrimonious bookseller, A.J. Fikry, is particular about the books he carries in his bookstore and has a long list of genres he will not carry. Gabrielle Zevin incorporates the right amount of humor to transform the snobby bookseller into a lovable character. Fikry has recently lost his wife and is not that concerned with the success of his small bookstore, Island Books. However, after a strange series of events, Firky is forced to change his ways. This is a magical story with plenty of literary references for the reader to enjoy.

The Dead Zone (1983) R

This 1983 film is described as a horror film and in some ways it is, but it is very difficult to slap a label on this film. To be truthful, many hardcore horror film fans probably wouldn’t like it. If asked, I could not give a one or two word description of this film. The Dead Zone is sort of a time travel movie, it’s a love story, and a tragedy, but it also a story of redemption and a story of hope.

Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) is a young teacher very much in love with fellow teacher Sarah Bracknell (Brooke Adams), who is very much in love with Johnny. While coming home from a date, Johnny gets into a horrific car accident. He goes into a coma and when he awakes, he finds he has lost five years. He is physically disabled in that he has very limited walking abilities, and he finds that Sarah has married and has a son. As crushing to his spirit as this is, he soon finds that he has undergone another dramatic change. He finds that when he holds a person’s hand, he can see a part of either that person’s past or their future.

Walken gives a great performance. There is a haunting melody that plays off and on through the movie and for its time, there are some great special effects. The film is an adaption of Stephen King’s novel The Dead Zone. Many people have described this movie as the best adaption of a King novel and I agree. If you have never seen the film or read the book, I suggest you do both.

Hyde by Daniel Levine (2014)

In this novel based on Robert Lewis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde seizes control. Though Hyde’s ramblings on the dark streets of Victorian London are often told with brutal detail, the novel takes an intriguing concept and tells an intelligent tale. The boundaries between good and evil are blurred and a dark and brooding re-imagined story emerges.

This retelling is a richly detailed and engrossing portrait of Stevenson’s characters, but Daniel Levine’s Hyde is not the first novel to re-spin Stevenson’s original. Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin told the tale from the point-of-view of Jekyll’s household maid.

The Whiskey Baron by Jon Sealy (2014)

In the early 1930s, when Prohibition was the law of the land, small time and big time bootleggers and distributors fought for control of the market. In rural South Carolina, Larthan Tull controls both. When small timer Mary Jane Hopewell tries for a cut of the business, murder ensues. As circumstances and bad judgment collide, Sheriff Chambers tries his best to prevent the worst. Jon Sealy’s The Whiskey Baron is a dense, multi-charactered historical novel.

The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)

Wide-eyed American Megan Davis (Barbara Stanwyck) arrives in Shanghai to marry her missionary fiance. But China is in the grip of civil war and warring warlords. In an effort to rescue girls from a missionary school, Megan is caught in the maelstrom of a street uprising. When she awakens from a blow, she finds herself the "guest" of warlord General Yen (played by Swedish actor Nils Asther).

What follows is a strange dreamlike story as Megan fights her growing attraction to General Yen and realizes her American values and experiences make her completely unprepared for the realities of China. The Bitter Tea of General Yen was directed by Frank Capra before he became known for comedies such as It Happened One Night.

The Monuments Men by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter (2009)

The Monuments Men is a remarkable story of a unique chapter in the history of World War II. The author uses the key battles of the war in Italy, France, and Germany to document the story of the men who risked their lives saving the fine art treasure of Europe, which General Eisenhower saw as the symbols of “all that we are fighting to preserve.”

As Adolf Hitler was attempting rule the western world, his armies were seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. A special force was created by the Allies to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Behind enemy lines, often unarmed, these American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, found and saved many priceless and irreplaceable pieces of art.

This book is recognition of the work of these brave individuals and a very good read.

Love Is All You Need (2012) R

Here’s a perfect movie to watch when you feel like you need a “romantic comedy.”  This sleeper-of-a-movie stars Pierce Brosnan as a wealthy but grumpy widower who travels to Italy for his son’s marriage to a young Danish girl. As the two very different families meet to prepare for and celebrate their children’s wedding, love and hope for a wonderful future materialize. Quirky but warm and funny, Love Is All You Need just might fit the bill.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (2009)

This was a moving story of young love facing insurmountable obstacles. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet takes place in Seattle at the start of World War II chronicling the friendship between Henry, a Chinese-American boy and Keiko, a Japanese-American girl. As the war progresses and the Japanese are forced into internment camps, Henry struggles to make sense of the world around him. Jamie Ford accurately captures life on the home front during this troubled time (find more books that take place on the home front during WWII). The audiobook is a great experience as narrator Feodor Chin effectively distinguishes between each of the many characters.

This book is one of the titles we will be giving away during World Book Night on April 23 at local businesses in the community. Visit ippl.infofor information on our participation in this international event.