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The Mangle Street Murders
M. R. C. Kasasian

 

The first in a charming, evocative, and sharply plotted Victorian crime series starring a detective duo to rival Holmes and Watson.

After her father dies, March Middleton has to move to London to live with her guardian, Sidney Grice, the country’s most famous private detective.

It is 1882 and London is at its murkiest yet most vibrant, wealthiest yet most poverty-stricken. No sooner does March arrive than a case presents itself: a young woman has been brutally murdered, and her husband is the only suspect. The victim’s mother is convinced of her son-in-law’s innocence, and March is so touched by her pleas she offers to cover Sidney’s fee herself.

The investigations lead the pair to the darkest alleys of the East End: every twist leads Sidney Grice to think his client is guilty; but March is convinced that he is innocent. Around them London reeks with the stench of poverty and gossip, the case threatens to boil over into civil unrest and Sidney Grice finds his reputation is not the only thing in mortal danger.

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Fatal Inheritance
Rachel Rhys

Get swept away to the enchanting South of France with this “exquisite and shimmering” (Lisa Jewell, New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone) suspenseful historical novel, where perilous secrets lurk under the glitz and glam of seaside wealth.

She didn’t have an enemy in the world…until she inherited a fortune.

London 1948: Eve Forrester is stuck in a loveless marriage, isolated in her gray and gloomy house when out of the blue, she receives a letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mysterious inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera.

There, Eve discovers she has been bequeathed an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous. But while she rubs shoulders with the rich and famous, challengers to her unexplained fortune begin to emerge—challengers who would love to see Eve gone forever.

Alone in paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest—before her unexpected twist of fate turns deadly…

With Rachel Rhys’s “thrilling, seductive, and utterly absorbing” (Paula Hawkins, #1 bestselling author of The Girl on the Train) prose, Fatal Inheritance is an intoxicating story of dysfunctional families and long-hidden secrets, set against the decadence of the Côte d’Azur.

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The Scent of Jasmine
Jude Deveraux

When fulfilling a favor for her godfather puts Catherine Edilean Harcourt in danger, the southern bell must decide if trusting an alleged, yet attractive, convict will be the best or worst decision she’s ever made.

Charleston, 1799. A daughter of Southern gentility and a gifted painter, Catherine Edilean Harcourt has no lack of suitors at home in Virginia, waiting to fulfill her dream of marriage and family. But Cay’s adventurous spirit, fostered by growing up with her three brothers, is piqued while visiting her godfather in South Carolina. Bedridden with a broken leg, he asks Cay to fill in for him on an urgent task: on her way to a fancy dress ball, she must deliver a packed horse to an old friend’s son—who also happens to be an escaped convict charged with murdering his wife! Cay agrees to the plan, which doesn’t’ go at all as planned… whereupon she finds herself fleeing Alexander McDowell’s captors, riding blind into the night with the fugitive Scotsman. Through she should fear him, Cay finds herself overwhelmingly attracted to Alex, and drawn into his tale of misguided justice and his innocence as they seek refuge in the steamy Florida everglades. Will trusting him be the worst mistake of her life? Or will falling in love be the salvation both of them have been looking for?

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Pretend I'm Dead
Jen Beagin

NAMED A BEST BOOK of the YEAR by O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE, REFINERY 29, and KIRKUS REVIEWS
SHORTLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE

A “wondrous,” (O, The Oprah Magazine) “scathingly funny” (Entertainment Weekly) debut from Whiting Award winner Jen Beagin about a cleaning lady named Mona and her quest for self-acceptance and belonging after her relationship with a loveable junkie goes awry.

Jen Beagin’s funny, moving, fearless debut novel introduces an unforgettable character, Mona—almost twenty-four, emotionally adrift, and cleaning houses to get by. Handing out clean needles to drug addicts, she falls for a recipient she calls Mr. Disgusting, who proceeds to break her heart in unimaginable ways.

Seeking a kind of healing, she decamps to Taos, New Mexico, for a fresh start, where she finds a community of seekers and cast-offs, all of whom have one or two things to teach her—the pajama-wearing, blissed-out New Agers, the slightly creepy client with peculiar tastes in controlled substances, the psychic who might really be psychic. But always lurking just beneath the surface are her memories of growing up in a chaotic, destructive family from which she’s trying to disentangle herself, and the larger legacy of the past she left behind.

The story of Mona’s quest for self-acceptance in this working class American world is at once hilarious and wonderfully strange, true to life and boldly human, and introduces a stunning, one-of-a-kind new voice in American fiction.

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The Girl Who Played with Fire
Stieg Larsson

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Calypso
David Sedaris

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Life Got You Down? Pick Up These 8 Comfort Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 23, 2020

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All the Lives We Never Lived
Anuradha Roy

From the Man Booker Prize-nominated author of Sleeping on Jupiter and “one of India’s greatest living authors” (O, The Oprah Magazine), a poignant and sweeping novel set in India during World War II and the present day about a son’s quest to uncover the truth about his mother.

In my childhood, I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman. The man was in fact German, but in small‑town India in those days, all white foreigners were largely thought of as British.

So begins the “gracefully wrought” (Kirkus Reviews) story of Myshkin and his mother, Gayatri, who rebels against tradition to follow her artist’s instinct for freedom.

Freedom of a different kind is in the air across India. The fight against British rule is reaching a critical turn. The Nazis have come to power in Germany. At this point of crisis, two strangers arrive in Gayatri’s town, opening up to her the vision of other possible lives.

What took Myshkin’s mother from India and Dutch-held Bali in the 1930s, ripping a knife through his comfortingly familiar universe? Excavating the roots of the world in which he was abandoned, Myshkin comes to understand the connections between the anguish at home and a war‑torn universe overtaken by patriotism.

Evocative and moving, “this mesmerizing exploration of the darker consequences of freedom, love, and loyalty is an astonishing display of Roy’s literary prowess” (Publishers Weekly).

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Creativity Chronicles: 7 Books About Art and Artists

By Holly Claytor | March 26, 2020

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Feast Your Eyes
Myla Goldberg

ONE OF NPR’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019

2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Finalist

2019 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

“A daringly inventive parable of female creativity and motherhood” (O, The Oprah Magazine) from Myla Goldberg, the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of Bee Season, about a female photographer grappling with ambition and motherhood—a balancing act familiar to women of every generation.

Feast Your Eyes, framed as the catalogue notes from a photography show at the Museum of Modern Art, tells the life story of Lillian Preston: “America’s Worst Mother, America’s Bravest Mother, America’s Worst Photographer, or America’s Greatest Photographer, depending on who was talking.” After discovering photography as a teenager through her high school’s photo club, Lillian rejects her parents’ expectations of college and marriage and moves to New York City in 1955. When a small gallery exhibits partially nude photographs of Lillian and her daughter Samantha, Lillian is arrested, thrust into the national spotlight, and targeted with an obscenity charge. Mother and daughter’s sudden notoriety changes the course of both of their lives, and especially Lillian’s career as she continues a life-long quest for artistic legitimacy and recognition.

“A searching consideration of the way that the identities and perceptions of a female artist shift over time” (The New Yorker), Feast Your Eyes shares Samantha’s memories, interviews with Lillian’s friends and lovers, and excerpts from Lillian’s journals and letters—a collage of stories and impressions, together amounting to an astounding portrait of a mother and an artist dedicated, above all, to a vision of beauty, truth, and authenticity. Myla Goldberg has gifted us with “a mother-daughter story, an art-monster story, and an exciting structural gambit” (Lit Hub)—and, in the end, “a universal and profound story of love and loss” (New York Newsday).

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Creativity Chronicles: 7 Books About Art and Artists

By Holly Claytor | March 26, 2020

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The Newcomers
Helen Thorpe

From the award-winning author of Soldier Girls and Just Like Us, an “extraordinary” (The Denver Post) account of refugee teenagers at a Denver public high school and their compassionate teacher and “a reminder that in an era of nativism, some Americans are still breaking down walls and nurturing the seeds of the great American experiment” (The New York Times Book Review).

The Newcomers follows the lives of twenty-two immigrant teenagers throughout the course of the 2015-2016 school year as they land at South High School in Denver, Colorado. These newcomers, from fourteen to nineteen years old, come from nations convulsed by drought or famine or war. Many come directly from refugee camps, after experiencing dire forms of cataclysm. Some arrive alone, having left or lost every other member of their original family.

At the center of their story is Mr. Williams, their dedicated and endlessly resourceful teacher of English Language Acquisition. If Mr. Williams does his job right, the newcomers will leave his class at the end of the school year with basic English skills and new confidence, their foundation for becoming Americans and finding a place in their new home. Ultimately, “The Newcomers reads more like an anthropologist’s notebook than a work of reportage: Helen Thorpe not only observes, she chips in her two cents and participates. Like her, we’re moved and agitated by this story of refugee teenagers…Donald Trump’s gross slander of refugees and immigrants is countered on every page by the evidence of these students’ lives and characters” (Los Angeles Review of Books).

With the US at a political crossroads around questions of immigration, multiculturalism, and America’s role on the global stage, Thorpe presents a fresh and nuanced perspective. The Newcomers is “not only an intimate look at lives immigrant teens live, but it is a primer on the art and science of new language acquisition and a portrait of ongoing and emerging global horrors and the human fallout that arrives on our shores” (USA TODAY).

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Hope and Heartbreak: 10 Books About Immigration and the Refugee Experience

By Carrie Cabral | March 19, 2020

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Across a Hundred Mountains
Reyna Grande

Winner of the American Book Award, Across a Hundred Mountains is a stunning and poignant novel about a young girl who leaves her small town in Mexico to find her father, who left his family to find work in America—a story of migration, loss, and discovery.

After a tragedy separates her from her mother, Juana García leaves in search of her father, who left them two years earlier. Out of money and in need of someone to help her across the border, Juana meets Adelina Vasquez, a young woman who left her family in California to follow her lover to Mexico. Finding themselves—in a Tijuana jail—in desperate circumstances, they offer each other much needed material and spiritual support and ultimately become linked forever in the most unexpected of ways.

In Across a Hundred Mountains, Reyna Grande puts a human face on the controversial issue of immigration, helping readers to better understand those who risk life and limb every day in pursuit of a better life.

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Hope and Heartbreak: 10 Books About Immigration and the Refugee Experience

By Carrie Cabral | March 19, 2020

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The Possible World
Liese O'Halloran Schwarz

“A brilliantly written, moving story” (The Washington Book Review) about the converging lives of a young boy who witnesses a brutal murder, the doctor who tends to him, and an old woman guarding her long-buried past.

It seems like just another night shift for Lucy, an overworked ER physician in Providence, Rhode Island, until six-year-old Ben is brought in as the sole survivor from a crime scene. He’s traumatized and wordless; everything he knows has been taken from him in an afternoon. It’s not clear what he saw or what he remembers.

Lucy, who’s grappling with the demise of her marriage, feels a profound, unexpected connection to the little boy. She wants to help him…but will recovering his memory heal him or damage him further?

Across town, Clare will soon be turning one hundred years old. She has long believed that the secrets she’s been keeping don’t matter to anyone anymore, but a surprising encounter makes her realize that the time has come to tell her story.

As Ben, Lucy, and Clare struggle to confront the events that shattered their lives, something stronger than fate is working to bring them together.

“Schwarz blends a clear-eyed acceptance of life’s pain and cruelties with a hopeful message about the enduring power of love in this rich and memorable novel” (Publishers Weekly). The Possible World spans nearly a century—from the Great Depression through the Vietnam War era and into the present—and “in beautifully crafted prose” (Booklist) captures the complicated ways our pasts shape our identities, and how timeless bonds can triumph over grief. “A bittersweet story full of imagination and nostalgia, loss and redemption…The Possible World will seize readers from the first scene and hold tight until its satisfying conclusion” (Kirkus Reviews).

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7 Books With Striking Green Covers to Read This St. Paddy’s Day

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 17, 2020

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The Affairs of the Falcóns
Melissa Rivero

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Sabrina & Corina
Kali Fajardo-Anstine

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The Roxy Letters
Mary Pauline Lowry

Meet Roxy. She’s a sometimes vegan, always broke artist with a heart the size of Texas and an ex living in her spare bedroom. Her life is messy, but with the help of a few good friends and by the grace of the goddess Venus she’ll discover that good sex, true love, and her life’s purpose are all closer than she realizes.

Bridget Jones penned a diary; Roxy writes letters. Specifically: she writes letters to her hapless, rent-avoidant ex-boyfriend—and current roommate—Everett. This charming and funny twenty-something is under-employed (and under-romanced), and she’s decidedly fed up with the indignities she endures as a deli maid at Whole Foods (the original), and the dismaying speed at which her beloved Austin is becoming corporatized. When a new Lululemon pops up at the intersection of Sixth and Lamar where the old Waterloo Video used to be, Roxy can stay silent no longer.

As her letters to Everett become less about overdue rent and more about the state of her life, Roxy realizes she’s ready to be the heroine of her own story. She decides to team up with her two best friends to save Austin—and rescue Roxy’s love life—in whatever way they can. But can this spunky, unforgettable millennial keep Austin weird, avoid arrest, and find romance—and even creative inspiration—in the process?

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The Bird King
G. Willow Wilson

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8 Books New In Paperback We’re Springing Into This March

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 16, 2020

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We Are All Good People Here
Susan Rebecca White

From the author of A Place at the Table and A Soft Place to Land, an “intense, complex, and wholly immersive” (Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author) multigenerational novel that explores the complex relationship between two very different women and the secrets they bequeath to their daughters.

Eve Whalen, privileged child of an old-money Atlanta family, meets Daniella Gold in the fall of 1962, on their first day at Belmont College. Paired as roommates, the two become fast friends. Daniella, raised in Georgetown by a Jewish father and a Methodist mother, has always felt caught between two worlds. But at Belmont, her bond with Eve allows her to finally experience a sense of belonging. That is, until the girls’ expanding awareness of the South’s systematic injustice forces them to question everything they thought they knew about the world and their places in it.

Eve veers toward radicalism—a choice pragmatic Daniella cannot fathom. After a tragedy, Eve returns to Daniella for help in beginning anew, hoping to shed her past. But the past isn’t so easily buried, as Daniella and Eve discover when their daughters are endangered by secrets meant to stay hidden.

Spanning more than thirty years of American history, from the twilight of Kennedy’s Camelot to the beginning of Bill Clinton’s presidency, We Are All Good People Here is “a captivating…meaningful, resonant story” (Emily Giffin, author of All We Ever Wanted) about two flawed but well-meaning women clinging to a lifelong friendship that is tested by the rushing waters of history and their own good intentions.

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8 Books New In Paperback We’re Springing Into This March

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 16, 2020

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Stories of Your Life and Others
Ted Chiang

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Devil in a Blue Dress
Walter Mosley

Devil in a Blue Dress, a defining novel in Walter Mosley’s bestselling Easy Rawlins mystery series, was adapted into a TriStar Pictures film starring Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins and Don Cheadle as Mouse.

Set in the late 1940s, in the African-American community of Watts, Los Angeles, Devil in a Blue Dress follows Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend's bar, wondering how he'll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Monet, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

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Whisper of Warning
Laura Griffin

WILL HE HELP PROVE HER INNOCENCE...

OR LEAD A KILLER TO HER DOOR?

Courtney Glass has been in trouble all her life, but nothing tops being an up-close witness to a brutal murder. Until she's accused of the crime.

Every scrap of evidence points to her guilt, and only Courtney knows what really happened. Now she must prove that she's not a murderer...but is one of the killer's intended victims. As police investigators hammer her for answers, Courtney knows she has two choices: run, or trust the brooding, sexy detective who's made it clear she's his prime suspect.

Will Hodges doesn't need Special Forces training to know that, despite Courtney's killer looks and razor-sharp tongue, her tough-girl act hides a vulnerable woman with a deadly secret. As the body count rises, Will realizes that a lethal enemy has Courtney in his crosshairs. The killer is waiting, watching her every move -- and he won't stop until her fear has grown from a whisper to a scream....

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In Her Bones
Kate Moretti

“A higher level than the standard thriller. Readers will enjoy this book for the suspense…[and] love it for the skill and mastery Moretti has for her craft.” —New York Journal of Books

“Morbid…Moretti pulls some tricky tricks.” —The New York Times

New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s next “exceptional…emotionally astute, [and] deliciously sinister” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) thriller follows the daughter of a convicted serial killer who finds herself at the center of a murder investigation.

Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction, media frenzy, and the release of an unauthorized biography, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie Beckett is just trying to survive out of the spotlight. She’s a recovering alcoholic with a dead-end city job and an unhealthy codependent relationship with her brother.

Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to see how they’ve managed—or failed—to move on. While her escalating fixation is a problem, she’s careful to keep her distance. That is, until she crosses a line and a man is found murdered.

Edie quickly becomes the prime suspect—and while she can’t remember everything that happened the night of the murder, she’d surely remember killing someone. With the detective who arrested her mother hot on her trail, Edie goes into hiding. She’s must get to the truth of what happened that night before the police—or the real killer—find her.

Unless, of course, she has more in common with her mother than she’s willing to admit…

Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, In Her Bones features Moretti’s “riveting and insightful” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author) prose and “chillingly satisfying” (Publishers Weekly) twists, and will leave you questioning the nature of guilt, obsession, and the toxicity of familial ties.

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Woman on the Edge
Samantha M. Bailey

A moment on the subway platform changes two women’s lives forever—a debut thriller that will take your breath away.

A total stranger on the subway platform whispers, “Take my baby.”

She places her child in your arms. She says your name.

Then she jumps...

In a split second, Morgan Kincaid’s life changes forever. She’s on her way home from work when a mother begs her to take her baby, then places the infant in her arms. Before Morgan can stop her, the distraught mother jumps in front of an oncoming train.

Morgan has never seen this woman before, and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life. She also can’t understand how this woman knew her name.

The police take Morgan in for questioning. She soon learns that the woman who jumped was Nicole Markham, prominent CEO of the athletic brand Breathe. She also learns that no witness can corroborate her version of events, which means she’s just become a murder suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically retraces the last days of Nicole’s life. Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia or was she in danger? When strange things start happening to Morgan, she suddenly realizes she might be in danger, too.

Woman on the Edge is a pulse-pounding, propulsive thriller about the lengths to which a woman will go to protect her baby—even if that means sacrificing her own life.

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Heroes of the Frontier
Dave Eggers

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10 Refreshing Books About New Beginnings

By Alice Martin | March 25, 2020

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The Red Car
Marcy Dermansky

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10 Refreshing Books About New Beginnings

By Alice Martin | March 25, 2020

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Far from Here
Nicole Baart

From the author of Summer Snow—a suspenseful, breathtaking novel about true love, starting over, and finding the truth…at all costs.

How long do you hold on to hope? 

Danica Greene has always hated flying, so it was almost laughable that the boy of her dreams was a pilot. She married him anyway and together, she and Etsell settled into a life where love really did seem to conquer all. Danica is firmly rooted on the ground in Blackhawk, the small town in northern Iowa where they grew up, and the wide slashes of sky that stretch endlessly across the prairie seem more than enough for Etsell.  But when the opportunity to spend three weeks in Alaska helping a pilot friend presents itself, Etsell accepts and their idyllic world is turned upside down. It’s his dream, he reveals, and Danica knows that she can’t stand in the way. Ell is on his last flight before heading home when his plane mysteriously vanishes shortly after takeoff, leaving Danica in a free fall. Etsell is gone, but what exactly does gone mean? Is she a widow? An abandoned wife? Or will Etsell find his way home to her? Danica is forced to search for the truth in her marriage and treks to Alaska to grapple with the unanswerable questions about her husband’s mysterious disappearance. But when she learns that Ell wasn’t flying alone and that a woman is missing, too, the bits and pieces of the careful life that she had constructed for them in Iowa take to the wind. A story of love and loss, and ultimately starting over, Far From Here explores the dynamics of intimacy and the potentially devastating consequences of the little white lies we tell the ones we love.

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10 Refreshing Books About New Beginnings

By Alice Martin | March 25, 2020

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The Runaway Wife
Dee MacDonald

From the internationally bestselling author of Lessons in Laughing Out Loud comes a moving and heartwarming novel about a woman who escapes an abusive relationship and flees with her young daughter in search of a kind stranger she met many years earlier.

FIRST YOU LOSE YOUR WAY. THEN YOU FIND YOURSELF.

When Rose Pritchard flees her abusive husband in the middle of the night, there’s only one place she can think of going. Millthwaite is a remote village deep in the Lake District, hundreds of miles from her unhappy home. It’s also Rose’s only link to Frasier McCleod. They met just once, long ago, but his kindness sparked a connection that has sustained her ever since.

Rose checks in to a local B&B with her young daughter, earning the scrutiny of the nosy landlady and the attention of her charming musician son. After the tumult of Rose’s marriage, the beauty of the surrounding countryside restores her hope. Here she will seize a chance to reconnect with her estranged father, to watch her anxious daughter grow in confidence, and to discover whether she’s been chasing a foolish fantasy in loving a man she hardly knows or following her heart’s call.

Candid, moving, and unflinchingly honest, this is a powerful story of heartache and new beginnings, friendship and family. Rowan Coleman’s touching and ultimately triumphant novel is a reminder that it’s not what you leave behind that defines you but what you’re running toward.

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10 Refreshing Books About New Beginnings

By Alice Martin | March 25, 2020

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A Single Breath
Lucy Clarke

From the celebrated author of Swimming at Night, a powerful and moving saga of one woman’s struggle to overcome her husband’s death and uncover his dark, mysterious past.

A young widow discovers her husband was not who he claimed to be—and finds herself falling in love with the wrong man.

Eva has only been married for eight months when her husband, Jackson, is swept to his death while fishing. Weighed down by confusion and sorrow, Eva decides to take leave of her midwifery practice and visit Jackson’s estranged family with the hope of grieving together.

Instead, she discovers that the man she loved so deeply is not the man she thought she knew. Jackson’s father and brother reveal a dark past, exposing the lies her marriage was built upon. As Eva struggles to come to terms with the depth of Jackson’s deception, she must also confront her growing attraction to Jackson’s brother, Saul, who offers her intimacy, passion, and answers to her most troubling questions.

Will Eva be able to move forward, or will she be caught up in a romance with Saul, haunted by her husband’s past? Threading together beautiful, wild settings and suspenseful twists, A Single Breath is a gripping tale of secrets, betrayals, and new beginnings.

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10 Refreshing Books About New Beginnings

By Alice Martin | March 25, 2020

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Evvie Drake Starts Over
Linda Holmes

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10 Refreshing Books About New Beginnings

By Alice Martin | March 25, 2020

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Jungle
Yossi Ghinsberg

“A powerful story of self-discovery, survival in the wild.” —Los Angeles Times

Four travelers meet in Bolivia and set off into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, but what begins as a dream adventure quickly deteriorates into a dangerous nightmare, and after weeks of wandering in the dense undergrowth, the four backpackers split up into two groups. But when a terrible rafting accident separates him from his partner, Yossi is forced to survive for weeks alone against one of the wildest backdrops on the planet. Stranded without a knife, map, or survival training, he must improvise shelter and forage for wild fruit to survive. As his feet begin to rot during raging storms, as he loses all sense of direction, and as he begins to lose all hope, he wonders whether he will make it out of the jungle alive.

The basis of an upcoming motion picture, Jungle is the story of friendship and the teachings of nature, and a terrifying true account that you won’t be able to put down.

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5 Gripping Adventure Tales Set Deep in The Jungle

By Carrie Cabral | March 24, 2020

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Man Tiger
Eka Kurniawan

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5 Gripping Adventure Tales Set Deep in The Jungle

By Carrie Cabral | March 24, 2020

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A Dream Called Home
Reyna Grande

From bestselling author of the remarkable memoir, The Distance Between Us comes an inspiring account of one woman’s quest to find her place in America as a first-generation Latina university student and aspiring writer determined to build a new life for her family one fearless word at a time.Here is a life story so unbelievable, it could only be true” (Sandra Cisneros, bestselling author of The House on Mango Street).

As an immigrant in an unfamiliar country, with an indifferent mother and abusive father, Reyna had few resources at her disposal. Taking refuge in words, Reyna’s love of reading and writing propels her to rise above until she achieves the impossible and is accepted to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Although her acceptance is a triumph, the actual experience of American college life is intimidating and unfamiliar for someone like Reyna, who is now estranged from her family and support system. Again, she finds solace in words, holding fast to her vision of becoming a writer, only to discover she knows nothing about what it takes to make a career out of a dream.

Through it all, Reyna is determined to make the impossible possible, going from undocumented immigrant of little means to “a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer” (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild); a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist whose “power is growing with every book” (Luis Alberto Urrea, Pultizer Prize finalist); and a proud mother of two beautiful children who will never have to know the pain of poverty and neglect.

Told in Reyna’s exquisite, heartfelt prose, A Dream Called Home demonstrates how, by daring to pursue her dreams, Reyna was able to build the one thing she had always longed for: a home that would endure.

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Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 10, 2020

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From the Ashes
Jesse Thistle

#1 National Bestseller
Finalist, CBC Canada Reads
A Globe and Mail Book of the Year
An Indigo Book of the Year
A CBC Best Canadian Nonfiction Book of the Year

In this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle, once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar, chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.

If I can just make it to the next minute...then I might have a chance to live; I might have a chance to be something more than just a struggling crackhead.

From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis-Cree man who refused to give up.

Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, whose tough-love attitudes quickly resulted in conflicts. Throughout it all, the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling with all that had happened, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. Finally, he realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heartwarming and heart-wrenching memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful past, the abuse he endured, and how he uncovered the truth about his parents. Through sheer perseverance and education—and newfound love—he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family.

An eloquent exploration of the impact of prejudice and racism, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help us find happiness despite the odds.

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MENTIONED IN:

Spark Conversation At Book Club With These 9 Remarkable Reads

By Off the Shelf Staff | March 10, 2020

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