Our thanks this week to Diane H who bought our love with some stellar chocolate chip cookies! AND she did it even though she wasn’t even Summering. Thanks again Diane! This is our last weekend of Darien: The Left Behind. So for those of you who are here with us, enjoy the last of no long lines at Palmer’s, a quieter Sugar Bowl, an I-95 that does not resemble a mall parking lot at Christmas, premium parking available at the Stations and even a seat on the train. As for the rest of you Summering, a gentle reminder that our love can be easily bought with a smallish white box tied with white and red string. This week marks the arrival of a new member of our library family. Erica and her husband welcomed a son on Wednesday and we are so happy for them. Congratulations Erica! This week we have some perfume, cantankerous aunts, Japan, Scotland, an Archduke, and a hunch. And of course we have The Playlist! Of course!
Let us begin!
The Fabulous Babs B has just finished reading The Beautiful American by Jeanne Mackin. “‘Her perfume entered before she did. That was always a mistake. Leave a slight trail like a memory behind you, but never let your perfume arrive before you.’ So begins this beautifully written historical fiction novel focusing on the history of the perfume industry and its role in World War II. It is also the story of love, betrayal, survival and friendship. I loved this quick and fascinating read.”
Miss Elisabeth of the CL is back and here is what she was doing while she was Summering. “This weekend I read the first two books in Deanna Rayborn’s Lady Julia Grey mystery series, and they were exactly what I needed for my vacation; intrigue, romantic entanglements, and nefarious poisoners abound! In Silent in the Grave, the first book, we meet Victorian Lady Julia Grey, who is saddened but not surprised when her husband of 5 years, who has always had a weak heart, dies suddenly at a dinner party. She is surprised, however, when private detective Nicholas Brisbane comes to call and insists that her husband was murdered. It seems Lord Grey received threatening letters before his death and hired Brisbane to find out who was trying to do him in. Reluctant at first, Julia becomes a believer when she finds one of the mysterious notes while cleaning out her husband’s room, and teams up with Brisbane to solve the murder. The murder mystery twists and turns beautifully and the details of life in the Victorian era make one long for silk gowns trimmed in velvet. The second book, Silent in the Sanctuary, finds Julia home after 6 months abroad in Italy, just in time to spend Christmas with her 10 siblings, their spouses and children, cantankerous great-aunts, Nicholas Brisbane, and a cold-blooded murderer. The whole series is a lot of fun!”
Barbara M is playing catch-up. “There have been many books and authors that I’ve missed when they were popular. I’m trying to catch up and I’m glad because I might have never read Gail Tsukiyama’s novels. So far I’ve read Women of the Silk, The Language of Threads and The Samurai’s Garden and I’ve loved all of them. Tsukiyama is an American author of Chinese and Japanese heritage and her novels incorporate the troubled history of these two cultures. The Samurai’s Garden is a beautiful story, set in the 1930s, of a young Chinese man sent to his family’s country house in rural Japan to recuperate from tuberculosis. The relationship he forms with the housekeeper Matsu is profound and evolves into a deep bond between the two. Tsukiyama’s writing is beautiful and the characters develop into real people so much so that I hated finishing the book.”
Amanda has just started Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. “I picked up this book after watching the first episode of the new Starz TV show. The episode was alright: nothing to write home about. However, I've been in search of a new audiobook, so I decided to give the Outlander novels a try. I was blown away! Claire was a WWII nurse who after the end of the war is visiting Scotland with her husband. She eventually gets thrown back in time to the 1750s and struggles to survive in her new surroundings as an English outsider i.e. an Outlander. I'm only on chapter two, but what has captured me is the sweet, romantic, fun, and authentic bond she has with her husband. The TV episode portrayed Frank as being very stiff-upper-lip and reserved. He's nothing like the guy jumping on the bed and running down the lane to go geek out over local historical customs like Frank is in the book. So my suggestion is to skip the TV show and go straight to the source material where you'll be delighted by the rich relationships and details that make the heroine come to life. “
Pat S has just finished The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King and Sue Woolmans. “In full disclosure, my knowledge about WWI has always been a bit murky at best. But as this is the centennial of the war, I thought I might at least find out how it started and The Assassination of the Archduke seemed to be as good a place to start as any. Yes, the Archduke was assassinated and mayhem flowed from there, but who and why? King and Woolmans have done an excellent job creating a very moving and sympathetic portrait of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his Bohemian wife, Sophie Chotek. Based upon recently opened primary documents, the everyday, often tragic life of this couple is recounted-from their star-crossed courtship to their brutal murder. The myriad of quotidian details presents a wonderful snapshot of upper-class Edwardian life, in addition to recounting the tale of a devoted love story set against a background of political. It’s a fascinating read!”
Steph is trying something new this week. “I have a new mystery writer this week: David Mark. At least he’s new to me. After reading great reviews of the newest book in the Detective Sergeant McAvoy series, Sorrow Bound, I wanted to start at the beginning with his books. So I read The Dark Winter and Original Skin, the first two books in the series. They were fantastic! This series would be perfect for fans of Denise Mina or Louise Penny. McAvoy is a gruff giant of a detective who is familiar to the British procedural reader: driven by his hunches and devoted to solving murders in the face of great corruption. As with Mina and Penny, the stories are less than straightforward. They circle around several plots involving multiple characters, and McAvoy’s home life is always crucial to the cases at hand. The stories are a little rough, so they’re definitely not for cozy mystery fans, but anyone who can handle Luther will feel right at home. I will report back next week about the new one!”
DJ Jazzy Patty McC has been having a rough week in The State Which Shall Not Be Named. Not even the news of my boy Braxton Miller’s need to take this year off cheered her up. What’s doing Pats? “I’ve been completely bummed out by many things happening in the world. It would seem there is lots of unhappiness everywhere I turn. I’ve been holding my breath waiting for some kind of good news. Wunder-Jen delivered that to me this week with a picture of a sweet new baby boy that joined our library family. Thanks, Jen! We’re going to take action and reboot our vacation vibe with a little lakeside camping. My son will check camping and fishing off his summer ‘To Do’ list and I will spend time with my brother and his lovely wife while indulging and corrupting my four-year-old nephew. So if you too are feeling like life is a little bit crazy and out of control remember it’s always good to gather your loved ones and give them a big hug. DL Bounce Back 2014