The Pioneer Library System makes holding a book discussion as easy as checking out a kit! All you have to do is gather the friends . . . and open the book. We do the all the rest for you!
PLS maintains Book Discussion Kits that have everything you need to have a successful group reading experience. Each kit contains 10-12 copies of the listed book, bookmarks, a manual containing discussion questions, reviews, articles about the book, and information about the author. Each kit can be checked out for 6 weeks.
So whether your interests are fiction or nonfiction or romance or mystery, Pioneer Library System has a kit that you and your friends will enjoy.
To reserve a kit for pick-up at your hometown library, please call 801-4582. Please allow 3 working days for delivery.
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
In this book, we come to know three generations of Whitshanks--a family with secrets and memories that are sometimes different than what others observe. The book's timeline moves back and forth with overlapping stories, just like thread on a spool. Read a sample.
Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash
Enduring the mistakes and tragedies that have shapedtheir lives in contemporary Appalachia, a sheriff on the brink of retirement and a haunted park ranger confront violent forces when an elderly local is accused of poisoning a trout stream. Read a sample.
After Anna by Lisa Scottoline
Marrying a wonderful woman after years of loneliness and single fatherhood, John finds his newfound happiness turned upside-down by the arrival of his beautiful sociopath teen daughter, whose campaign to destroy their family and untimely murder force John to prove his innocence in the face of malevolent discoveries. Read a sample.
As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner
In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters--Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa--a chance at a better life. But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it. Read a sample.
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Avery Stafford, a lawyer, descendant of two prominent Southern families and daughter of a distinguished senator, discovers evidence that her Grandma Judy was a victim of the Tennessee Children's Home Society and is related to a woman Avery and her father meet when he visits a nursing home. Sections describing the real-life orphanage director Georgia Tann, who stole poor children, mistreated them, and placed them for adoption with wealthy clients--including Joan Crawford and June Allyson--are vividly described, as are passages about Grandma Judy and her siblings. Read a sample.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Profiles everyday life in the settlement of Annawadi as experienced by a Muslim teen, an ambitious rural mother, and a young scrap metal thief, illuminating how their efforts to build better lives are challenged by religious, caste, and economic tensions. Read a sample.
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families of the terminally ill. Read a sample.
Blood Will Out by Walter Kirn
In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn -- then an aspiring novelist struggling with impending fatherhood and a dissolving marriage -- set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from his home in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector who had adopted the dog over the Internet. Thus began a fifteen-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who ultimately would be unmasked as a brazen serial impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.Kirn's one-of-a-kind story of being duped by a real-life Mr. Ripley takes us on a bizarre and haunting journey from the posh private clubrooms of Manhattan to the hard-boiled courtrooms and prisons of Los Angeles. As Kirn uncovers the truth about his friend, a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman, he also confronts hard truths about himself. Why, as a writer of fiction, was he susceptible to the deception of a sinister fantasist whose crimes, Kirn learns, were based on books and movies? What are the hidden psychological links between the artist and the con man? To answer these and other questions, Kirn attends his old friend's murder trial and uses it as an occasion to reflect on both their tangled personal relationship and the surprising literary sources of Rockefeller's evil. This investigation of the past climaxes in a tense jailhouse reunion with a man whom Kirn realizes he barely knew--a predatory, sophisticated genius whose life, in some respects, parallels his own and who may have intended to take another victim during his years as a fugitive from justice: Kirn himself. Read a Sample.
Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir unfolds the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of a village choir during World War II. As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar's stuffy edict to close the choir and instead "carry on singing," resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies' Choir. Read a sample.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray
A tale inspired by a little-known interlude follows the 1936 culinary affair between a reclusive Picasso at a crossroads in his life and a rebellious teen from the French Riviera, a relationship that shapes the life of the girl's granddaughter in New York more than half a century later. Read a sample.
Don't Skip Out on Me by Willy Vlautin
Horace Hopper has spent most of his life on a Nevada sheep ranch, but dreams of something bigger. Mr. and Mrs. Reese, the aging ranchers, took him in and treated him like a son, intending to leave the ranch in his hands. But Horace, ashamed not only of his half-Paiute, half-Irish heritage, but also of the fact his parents did not want him, feels as is he doesn't belong on the ranch, or anywhere. Knowing he needs to make a name for himself, Horace decides to the only loving home he's known to prove his worth as a championship boxer. Read a sample.
Don't Try to Find Me by Holly Brown
Though the message on the kitchen white board is written in Marley's hand, her mother Rachel knows there has to be some other explanation. Marley would never run away. As the days pass and it sinks in that the impossible has occurred, Rachel and her husband Paul are informed that the police have "limited resources." If they want their fourteen-year-old daughter back, they will have to find her themselves. Desperation becomes determination when Paul turns to Facebook and Twitter, and launches FindMarley.com. But Marley isn't the only one with secrets. With public exposure comes scrutiny, and when Rachel blows a television interview, the dirty speculation begins. Now, the blogosphere is convinced Rachel is hiding something. It's not what they think; Rachel would never hurt Marley. Not intentionally, anyway. But when it's discovered that she's lied, even to the police, the devoted mother becomes a suspect in Marley's disappearance. Is Marley out there somewhere, watching it all happen, or is the truth something far worse? Listen to a sample.
Driving Miss Norma by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle
When Miss Norma was diagnosed with uterine cancer, she was advised to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Instead, Norma--newly widowed after nearly seven decades of marriage--decided to hit the road. Norma took off on an unforgettable cross-country journey with three professional nomads--her retired son Tim, his wife Ramie, and their standard poodle Ringo--in a thirty-six-foot RV. This is the charming, infectiously joyous chronicle of their experiences on the road--a transformative journey of living life on your own terms that shows us that it is never too late to begin an adventure. Read a sample.
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet . . . So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother's bright blue eyes and her father's jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue--in Marilyn's case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James's case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party. When Lydia's body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart. James, consumed by guilt, sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to find a responsible party, no matter what the cost. Lydia's older brother, Nathan, is certain that the neighborhood bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it's the youngest of the family--Hannah--who observes far more than anyone realizes and who may be the only one who knows the truth about what happened. A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another. Read a sample.
Gemini by Carol Cassella
Caring for an anonymous coma patient whose baffling condition is turning critical, Seattle ICU doctor Charlotte Reese and her science journalist boyfriend, Eric, find their relationship tested when the case forces them to confront respective feelings about death, love and marriage. Read a sample.
The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes
France, 1916: Artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his young wife, Sophie, to fight at the front. When their small town falls to the Germans in the midst of World War I, Edouard's portrait of Sophie draws the eye of the new Kommandant. As the officer's dangerous obsession deepens, Sophie will risk everything - her family, her reputation, and her life - to see her husband again. Almost a century later, Sophie's portrait is given to Liv Halston by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. A chance encounter reveals the painting's true worth, and a battle begins for who its legitimate owner is - putting Liv's belief in what is right to the ultimate test. Like Sarah Blake's The Postmistress and Tatiana de Rosnay's Sarah's Key, The Girl You Left Behind is a breathtaking story of love, loss, and sacrifice told with Moyes's signature ability to capture our hearts with every turn of the page. Read a sample.
Heat and Light by Jennifer Haigh
Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away like a bar of soap. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas. To drill or not to drill? Prison guard Rich Devlin leases his mineral rights to finance his dream of farming. He doesn't count on the truck traffic and nonstop noise, his brother's skepticism or the paranoia of his wife, Shelby, who insists the water smells strange and is poisoning their frail daughter. Meanwhile his neighbors, organic dairy farmers Mack and Rena, hold out against the drilling--until a passionate environmental activist disrupts their lives. Read a sample.
Hillbilly Elegy by J D Vance
Shares the story of the author's family and upbringing, describing how they moved from poverty to an upwardly mobile clan that included the author, a Yale Law School graduate, while navigating the demands of middle class life and the collective demons of the past. Read a sample.
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
At the heart of The Husband's Secret is a letter that's not meant to be read. "My darling Cecilia, if you're reading this, then I've died..." Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive... Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all - she's an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia - or each other - but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband's secret. Acclaimed author Liane Moriarty has written a gripping, thought-provoking novel about how well it is really possible to know our spouses - and, ultimately, ourselves. Read a sample.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark: one woman's obsessive search for the Golden State killer by Michelle McNamara
For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area. Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was. This masterpiece, which McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death, offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman's obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle's lead researcher and a close colleague. Read a sample.
In the Midst of Winter by Isabell Allende
New York Times and worldwide bestselling author Isabel Allende returns with a sweeping novel that journeys from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil. An instant New York Times bestseller, In the Midst of Winter is about three very different people who are brought together in a mesmerizing story that offers "a timely message about immigration and the meaning of home" (People). .. Read a sample.
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. Read a sample.
Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig
Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Doig's beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies, a landscape that gives full rein to an eleven-year-old's imagination. But when Gram has tohave surgery for "female trouble" in the summer of 1951, all she can think to do is to ship Donal off to her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There Donal is in for a rude surprise: Aunt Kate-bossy, opinionated, argumentative, and tyrannical--is nothing like her sister. She henpecks her good-natured husband, Herman the German (as Donal discovers him to be), and Donal can't seem to get on her good side either. After one contretemps too many, Kate decides to pack him back to the authorities in Montana on the next Greyhound. But to Donal's surprise, he's not traveling solo: Herman the German has decided to fly the coop with him. Read a sample.
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has searched for her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared after a tragic accident. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. Serenity Jones is a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons. Virgil Stanhope is a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice's case. As they work together to uncover the truth, they realize that in asking hard questions, they'll have to face even harder answers. Read a sample.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Manhattan, 1939. New York socialite Caroline Ferriday's biggest problem is resisting the advances of a married actor. Across the Atlantic Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish Catholic teenager, is affected when Germany declares war on Poland. As tensions rise Caroline's interest in aiding the war effort in France grows; she hears about the dire situation at the Ravensbrück all-female concentration camp. Kasia's carefree youth is replaced by a fervor for the Polish resistance movement. Through Ravensbrück-- and the horrific atrocities taking place there told in part by an infamous German surgeon, Herta Oberheuser-- the two women's lives converge in unprecedented ways. Read a sample.
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
Inspired by Margaret Fishback, poet and Macy's ad-writing phenom of the 1930s, Rooney imagines an extraordinary walk through the streets of New York City on the last night of 1984, one that triggers a flood of memories for fictional ad woman Lillian Boxfish. The octogenarian muses on the changing urban landscape as she stops at favorite haunts: an intimate neighborhood bar that's just installed a TV, a restaurant where she's dined every New Year's Eve that's about to change owners, the famed Delmonico's, where she ended her marriage. Further stops include a changing lower Manhattan landscape where she meets a haunted Vietnam veteran and engages him in a "best last-line contest," a detour to a hospital emergency room with afrightened woman about to have her first baby, and a party where she's both scorned and adored by a new generation of artists, followed by a hilarious encounter with three muggers. Meanwhile, Lillian carefully recounts her celebrated career in advertising, her adored husband and son, and her emotional breakdown. Read a sample.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned. No one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Read a sample.
Love and Ruin by Paula McLain
In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha Gellhorn travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in the devastating conflict. It's the adventure she's been looking for and her chance to prove herself a worthy journalist in a field dominated by men. But she also finds herself unexpectedly--and uncontrollably--falling in love with Hemingway, a man on his way to becoming a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the turbulent backdrops of Madrid and Cuba, Martha and Ernest's relationship and their professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man's wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that could force her to break his heart, and hers. Read a sample.
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the bestselling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan's traditional formula has proved hugely successful. So successful that Susan must continue to put up with his troubling behavior if she wants to keep her job. Conway's latest tale has Atticus Pünd investigating a murder at Pye Hall, a local manor house. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but the more Susan reads, the more she's convinced that there is another story hidden in the pages of the manuscript: one of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition, and murder. Read a sample.
March, Book One by John Lewis
March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall. Read a Sample.
March, Book Two by John Lewis
Now, March brings the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today's world. After the success of the Nashville sit-in campaign, John Lewis is more committed than ever to changing the world through nonviolence - but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before. Faced with beatings, police brutality, imprisonment, arson, and even murder, the young activists of the movement struggle with internal conflicts as well. But their courage will attract the notice of powerful allies, from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy... and once Lewis is elected chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, this 23-year-old will be thrust into the national spotlight, becoming one of the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement and a central figure in the landmark 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Read a Sample.
The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive -- and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills -- and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him? Read a sample.
Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor
Among the filth and depravity of Covent Garden's flower markets, orphaned Irish sisters Flora and Rosie Flynn sell posies of violets and watercress to survive. It is a pitiful existence, made bearable only by each other's presence. When they become separated, the decision of a desperate woman sets their lives on very different paths. 1912. Twenty-one-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London to become assistant housemother at one of Mr. Shaw's Training Homes for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the homes have cared for London's orphaned and crippled flower girls, getting them off the streets. For Tilly, the appointment is a fresh start, a chance to leave her troubled past behind. Soon after she arrives at the home, Tilly finds a notebook belonging to Flora Flynn. Hidden between the pages she finds dried flowers and a heartbreaking tale of loss and separation as Flora's entries reveal how she never stopped looking for her lost sister. Tilly sets out to discover what happened to Rosie--but the search will not be easy. Full of twists and surprises, it leads the caring and determined young woman into unexpected places, including the depths of her own heart. Read a sample.
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Promise by Minrose Gwin
Barely surviving an F5 tornado that rips through her 1936 Mississippi hometown, an African-American laundress and great-grandmother searches for her family among the catastrophe's survivors while bonding with the traumatized teen daughter of a despised white judge. Read a sample.
Redeployment by Phil Klay
Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction · Winner of the John Leonard First Book Prize · Selected as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post Book World, Amazon, and more Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival, the characters in these stories struggle to make meaning out of chaos. In "Redeployment", a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people "who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died." In "After Action Report", a Lance Corporal seeks expiation for a killing he didn't commit, in order that his best friend will be unburdened. A Morturary Affairs Marine tells about his experiences collecting remains—of U.S. and Iraqi soldiers both. A chaplain sees his understanding of Christianity, and his ability to provide solace through religion, tested by the actions of a ferocious Colonel. And in the darkly comic "Money as a Weapons System", a young Foreign Service Officer is given the absurd task of helping Iraqis improve their lives by teaching them to play baseball. These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier's daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier's homecoming. Redeployment is poised to become a classic in the tradition of war writing. Across nations and continents, Klay sets in devastating relief the two worlds a soldier inhabits: one of extremes and one of loss. Written with a hard-eyed realism and stunning emotional depth, this work marks Phil Klay as one of the most talented new voices of his generation. Read a sample.
Rise and Shine Benedict Stone by Phaedra Patrick
In the quiet village of Noon Sun, Benedict Stone lives out the stagnant life of an unhappily married jeweler, until the daughter of his estranged brother arrives from America and turns his whole life upside down. Read a sample.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
A chance encounter with a handsome banker in a jazz bar on New Year's Eve 1938 catapults Wall Street secretary Katey Kontent into the upper echelons of New York society, where she befriends a shy multi-millionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and asingle-minded widow. Read a sample.
Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay
A mysterious jewel holds the key to a life-changing secret, in this breathtaking tale of love and art, betrayal and redemption. When she decides to auction her remarkable jewelry collection, Nina Revskaya, once a great star of the Bolshoi Ballet, believes she has finally drawn a curtain on her past. Instead, the former ballerina finds herself overwhelmed by memories of her homeland and of the events, both glorious and heartbreaking, that changed the course of her life half a century ago. It was in Russia that she discovered the magic of the theater; that she fell in love with the poet Viktor Elsin; that she and her dearest companions -- Gersh, a brilliant composer, and the exquisite Vera, Nina's closest friend -- became victims of Stalinist aggression. And it was in Russia that a terrible discovery incited a deadly act of betrayal--and an ingenious escape that led Nina to the West and eventually to Boston. Nina has kept her secrets for half a lifetime. But two people will not let the past rest: Drew Brooks, an inquisitive young associate at a Boston auction house, and Grigori Solodin, a professor of Russian who believes that a unique set of jewels may hold the key to his own ambiguous past. Together these unlikely partners begin to unravel a mystery surrounding a love letter, a poem, and a necklace of unknown provenance, setting in motion a series of revelations that will have life-altering consequences for them all. Read a sample.
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town--Little Wing--and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family's land that's been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them -- both then and now -- fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of lovesongs and rivalries. Now all four are home, in hopes of finding what could be real purchase in the world. The result is a shared memory only half-recreated, riddled with culture clashes between people who desperately wish to see themselves as the unified tribe they remember, but are confronted with how things have, in fact, changed. Read a Sample.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Ruth Jefferson is an experienced labor and delivery nurse who not only knows how to guide women through labor, but also understands postdelivery needs such as a shoulder to cry on and lipstick. But her career and life change forever when she hesitates before helping a baby in cardiac arrest. Why would a nurse pause to help a patient? Ruth is African American and the baby's white supremacist parents don't want her touching their child. The hospital tells Ruth to comply with the parents' wishes, but when she's the only available nurse, should she follow orders or try to save the newborn's life? Read a sample.
Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
In Depression-era Pennsylvania, a romance develops between two lonely people fighting for the rights of an impoverished family. When reporter Ellis Reed sees two children up for sale, he is reminded of his own difficult childhood, and he snaps a photo. His editor publishes the photo unexpectedly and assigns Ellis, who has no idea what happened to the children, to write a feature article. Secretary Lily Palmer volunteers to help Ellis with his assignment but won't talk about her own family. Their relationship is shaky at first, but as the children remain unfound, concern for their welfare trumps Ellis and Lily's budding love story. The pair must fight ignorance, prejudice, and criminal activity to unravel the network of lies that hold the children prisoner, all to reunite them with their mother. Read a sample.
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor's early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains--this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Read or listen to a sample.
Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Li-Yan and her family, devote their lives to farming tea. Like her mother, Li-Yan is being groomed to become a midwife in her Chinese village. She yearns for more and is allowed to pursue her schooling. The arrival of outsiders seeking the Pu'er tea of Yunnan brings the modern world into this isolated village. Read a sample.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
In May 1947, Charlotte "Charlie" St. Clair and her mother have crossed the Atlantic so the unwed Charlie can discreetly end her pregnancy in a Swiss clinic. A chance to search for her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared during World War II, gives Charlie the courage to break free and head to London. Rose may have been involved in the French Resistance, and her last known connection was a woman named Eve, who carries her own war secrets. Read a sample.
The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy--an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood. Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother's affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she's pregnant. Yet Leia she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie's been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family's freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows. Read a sample.
The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy
Sent to a Hitler Youth Camp to secure German business for his family's Dutch company, Jacob Koopman, the privileged nephew of a fisherman, finds his world upended by the outbreak of the war, which eventually forces him to make a transformative decision about his life purpose. Read a sample.
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
Addie Baum is the 'Boston Girl', born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie's intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can't imagine--a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love. Eighty-five-year-old Addie tells the story of her life to her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her "How did you get to be the woman you are today." She begins in 1915, the year she found her voice and made friends who would help shape the course of her life. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group forgirls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, Addie recalls her adventures with compassion for the naive girl she was and a wicked sense of humor. Read a sample.
The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty
During a laughter and wine-filled night, four women, friends since childhood, dare one another to write anonymous letters, spilling their deepest, darkest secrets. The fun game turns devastating, exposing cracks in their lives and the friendship they share. Read a sample.
The Floating World by C. Morgan Babst
When a fragile young woman refuses to leave New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches, her parents are forced to go without her, setting off a chain of events that leaves their marriage in shambles and their daughter catatonic, the victim or perpetrator of some unknown violent act. Read a sample.
The Girl Before by JP Delaney
EMMA--Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant--and it does. JANE--After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space--and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home's previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before. Read a sample.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Rachel is a washed-up thirty-something who creates a fantasy about the seemingly perfect couple she sees during her daily train ride into London. When the woman goes missing, Rachel manages to insert herself into the investigation of the woman's disappearance. Read a sample.
The Gown: a novel of the royal wedding by Jennifer Robson
London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, thepeople of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation's recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown. Read a sample.
The Hideaway by Lauren Denton
After her grandmother's death, Sara Jenkins discovers she's been left her run-down B&B in Alabama and tasked with renovating it and uncovers a box in the attic that reveals a mysterious side of her grandmother's life that ultimately impacted her own destiny. Read a sample.
The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman
Rome, 1955. The artists gather for a picture at a party in an ancient villa. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast canvases, larger than life, is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot. From the side of the room watches little Pinch - their son. At five years old he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch will still worship him, striving to live up to the Bavinsky name; while Natalie, a ceramicist, cannot hope to be more than a forgotten muse. Trying to burn brightly in his father's shadow, Pinch's attempts flicker and die. Yet by the end of a career of twists and compromises, Pinch will enact an unexpected rebellion that will leave forever his mark upon the Bear Bavinsky legacy. Read a sample.
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash
Ella May Wiggins, a young mother desperately trying to hold her family together with the paltry nine dollars a week she earns from the textile mill two miles away, makes up her mind to join the labor union--a decision that will have lasting consequences for her children, her friends, her town, and all that she loves. Read a sample.
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith
Half a century after reluctantly painting a forgery of the only surviving landscape by a 17th-century female Dutch master, Sara curates an exhibit of women Dutch painters and risks exposure when both the original and her forgery arrive. Read a sample.
The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
Sent to America at age nine with nothing but an old guitar, Frankie Presto achieves success on the mid-twentieth-century music scene before becoming overburdened by his ability to affect people's futures through his music. Read a sample.