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Staff Pick

Secret Book of Flora Lea

Secret Book of Flora Lea

Callahan Henry, Patti
$17.99
When a woman discovers a rare book with connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood in the English countryside during World War II are revealed in this "beguiling blend of hope, mystery, and true familial love" (Sadeqa Johnson, New York Times bestselling author).

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that she creates for her sister and her sister alone--a fairy tale about a magical land, a secret place they can escape to that is all their own.

But the unthinkable happens when young Flora suddenly vanishes while playing near the banks of the river. Shattered, Hazel blames herself for her sister's disappearance, and she carries that guilt into adulthood as a private burden she feels she deserves.

Twenty years later, Hazel is in London, ready to move on from her job at a cozy rare bookstore to a career at Sotheby's. With a charming boyfriend and her elegantly timeworn Bloomsbury flat, Hazel's future seems determined. But her tidy life is turned upside down when she unwraps a package containing an illustrated book called Whisperwood and the River of Stars. Hazel never told a soul about the imaginary world she created just for Flora. Could this book hold the secrets to Flora's disappearance? Could it be a sign that her beloved sister is still alive after all these years?

As Hazel embarks on a feverish quest, revisiting long-dormant relationships and bravely opening wounds from her past, her career and future hang in the balance. Spellbinding and atmospheric, "this heartrending, captivating tale of family, first love, and fate will sweep you away" (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).

Secret Book of Flora Lea

Secret Book of Flora Lea

Callahan Henry, Patti
$28.99
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed.

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that she creates for her sister and her sister alone--a fairy tale about a magical land, a secret place they can escape to that is all their own.

But the unthinkable happens when young Flora suddenly vanishes while playing near the banks of the river. Shattered, Hazel blames herself for her sister's disappearance, and she carries that guilt into adulthood as a private burden she feels she deserves.

Twenty years later, Hazel is in London, ready to move on from her job at a cozy rare bookstore to a career at Sotheby's. With a charming boyfriend and her elegantly timeworn Bloomsbury flat, Hazel's future seems determined. But her tidy life is turned upside down when she unwraps a package containing an illustrated book called Whisperwood and the River of Stars. Hazel never told a soul about the imaginary world she created just for Flora. Could this book hold the secrets to Flora's disappearance? Could it be a sign that her beloved sister is still alive after all these years?

As Hazel embarks on a feverish quest, revisiting long-dormant relationships and bravely opening wounds from her past, her career and future hang in the balance. An astonishing twist ultimately reveals the truth in this transporting and refreshingly original novel about the bond between sisters, the complications of conflicted love, and the enduring magic of storytelling.

Melanie says: Inspired by Operation Pied Piper, this dual timeline book is the tale of two sisters who were orphaned and separated during the war. Years later the older sister comes upon a children’s book that is suspiciously like a story she used to tell her sister. A story no one else would know.  Like "Becoming Mrs. Lewis" and "Once Upon a Wardrobe," the author continues to enchant readers with magical prose, the hope of fairy tales, and the power of stories.

Once Upon a Wardrobe

Once Upon a Wardrobe

Callahan, Patti
$16.99

Now available in trade paper with an eye-catching new cover from the bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis: College student Megs Devonshire sets out to fulfill her younger brother George's last wish by uncovering the truth behind his favorite story. What transpires is a fascinating look into the bond between siblings and the life-changing magic of stories.

1950: Margaret Devonshire (Megs) is a seventeen-year-old student of mathematics and physics at Oxford University. When her beloved eight-year-old brother asks Megs if Narnia is real, logical Megs tells him it's just a book for children, and certainly not true. Homebound due to his illness, and remaining fixated on his favorite books, George presses her to ask the author of the recently released novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe a question: "Where did Narnia come from?"

Despite her fear about approaching the famous author, who is a professor at her school, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with C. S. Lewis and his own brother Warnie, begging them for answers.

Rather than directly telling her where Narnia came from, Lewis encourages Megs to form her own conclusion as he shares the little-known stories from his own life that led to his inspiration. As she takes these stories home to George, the little boy travels farther in his imagination than he ever could in real life.

After holding so tightly to logic and reason, her brother's request leads Megs to absorb a more profound truth: "The way stories change us can't be explained. It can only be felt. Like love."

  • Now available in trade paper with a gorgeous, eye-catching new cover!
  • From the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Book of Flora Lea
  • A captivating, stand-alone historical novel combining fact and fiction
  • An emotional journey into the books and stories that make us who we are that is perfect for book clubs
  • Melanie says: 8 year old, sickly George begs his sister Meg, a student at Oxford, to find and ask C.S. Lewis where the idea of Narnia came from. This charming novel is a testament to the power of stories. Those who enjoy "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" will feel like they are wrapped in a warm blanket before a lovely fire as they are transported to the magical world of Narnia.

    If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

    If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

    Calvino, Italo
    $18.99
    Introduction by Peter Washington; Translation by William Weaver
    Invisible Cities

    Invisible Cities

    Calvino, Italo
    $18.99
    In a garden sit the aged Kublai Khan and the young Marco Polo--Tartar emperor and Venetian traveler. Kublai Khan has sensed the end of his empire coming soon. Marco Polo diverts the emperor with tales of the cities he has seen in his travels around the empire: cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities. Soon it becomes clear that each of these fantastic places is really the same place.

    Ben says: One of the great works of imaginative literature. Bite size descriptions of impossible places inter-cut by a smoke-hazed conversation between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan.

    Kingdom of This World

    Kingdom of This World

    Carpentier, Alejo
    $16.00

    A masterful new translation of a haunting novel of nineteenth-century Haiti

    A few years after its liberation from harsh French colonial rule in 1803, Haiti endured a period of great brutality under the reign of King Henri Christophe, who was born a slave but rose to become the first black king in the Western Hemisphere. In this unnerving novel from one of Cuba's most celebrated authors, Henri Christophe's oppressive rule is observed through the eyes of the elderly slave Ti Noël, who suffers abuse from masters both white and black. As he ranges across the country searching for true liberation, Ti Noël navigates bloody revolutions, maniacal rulers with false visions of grandeur, and the mysterious power of voodoo magic.

    First published in English translation in 1957, The Kingdom of This World is now widely recognized as a masterpiece of Cuban and Caribbean literature. Pablo Medina's remarkable new translation renders the dreamlike prose of Alejo Carpentier with nuance and felicity while delivering anew a powerful novel about the birth of modern Haiti. Visionary and singularly twisted, The Kingdom of This World emerges from the depths of the struggle for a country into a tale of race, erotomania, magic, and madness.

    My Beloved Monster

    My Beloved Monster

    Carr, Caleb
    $32.00

    The #1 bestselling author of The Alienist tells the extraordinary story of Masha, a half-wild rescue cat who fought off a bear, tackled Caleb like a linebacker--and bonded with him as tightly as any cat and human possibly can.

     

    "One of the most powerful and beautiful grief narratives ever written, including all the memoirs about people."--Kirkus Reviews

     

    "In writing that is as beautiful as it is unguarded, Caleb Carr tells the surprising and deeply affecting story of life with his remarkable cat Masha. It's a book that will upend your assumptions about love, pain, commitment, cats, and probably the author himself. The whole experience, as a reader, is one I could not have imagined and roundly recommend."--Mary Roach, author of Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law

     

    Caleb Carr has had special relationships with cats since he was a young boy in a turbulent household, famously peopled by the founding members of the Beat Generation, where his steadiest companions were the adopted cats that lived with him both in the city and the country. As an adult, he has had many close feline companions, with relationships that have outlasted most of his human ones. But only after building a three-story home in rural, upstate New York did he enter into the most extraordinary of all of his cat pairings: Masha, a Siberian Forest cat who had been abandoned as a kitten, and was languishing in a shelter when Caleb met her. She had hissed and fought off all previous carers and potential adopters, but somehow, she chose Caleb as her savior.

     

    For the seventeen years that followed, Caleb and Masha were inseparable. Masha ruled the house and the extensive, dangerous surrounding fields and forests. When she was hurt, only Caleb could help her. When he suffered long-standing physical ailments, Masha knew what to do. Caleb's life-long study of the literature of cat behavior, and his years of experience with previous cats, helped him decode much of Masha's inner life. But their bond went far beyond academic studies and experience. The story of Caleb and Masha is an inspiring and life-affirming relationship for readers of all backgrounds and interests--a love story like no other.

    Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins

    Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins

    Casey, Susan
    $19.00
    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - Inspired by a profound experience swimming with wild dolphins off the coast of Maui, the bestselling author of The Wave set out on a quest to learn everything she could about dolphins--the other intelligent life on the planet.

    "Part science, part memoir, part impassioned plea for change." --People


    Susan Casey's journey takes her from a community in Hawaii known as "Dolphinville," where the animals are seen as the key to spiritual enlightenment, to the dark side of the human-cetacean relationship at marine parks and dolphin-hunting grounds in Japan and the Solomon Islands, to the island of Crete, where the Minoan civilization lived in harmony with dolphins, providing a millennia-old example of a more enlightened coexistence with the natural world.

    Along the way, Casey recounts the history of dolphin research and introduces us to the leading marine scientists and activists who have made it their life's work to increase humans' understanding and appreciation of the wonder of dolphins.

    Birnam Wood

    Birnam Wood

    Catton, Eleanor
    $19.00

    INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

    A Best Book of the Year: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Time, Financial Times, Slate, The Chicago Public Library,
    Kirkus, The Telegraph
    A Barack Obama Summer Reading Pick

    "[A] savagely satirical thriller." --People

    The Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries brings us Birnam Wood, a gripping thriller of high drama and kaleidoscopic insight into what drives us to survive.

    Birnam Wood is on the move . . .

    A landslide has closed the Korowai Pass on New Zealand's South Island, cutting off the town of Thorndike and leaving a sizable farm abandoned. The disaster presents an opportunity for Birnam Wood, an undeclared, unregulated, sometimes-criminal, sometimes-philanthropic guerrilla gardening collective that plants crops wherever no one will notice. For years, the group has struggled to break even. To occupy the farm at Thorndike would mean a shot at solvency at last.

    But the enigmatic American billionaire Robert Lemoine also has an interest in the place: he has snatched it up to build his end-times bunker, or so he tells Birnam's founder, Mira, when he catches her on the property. He's intrigued by Mira, and by Birnam Wood; although they're poles apart politically, it seems Lemoine and the group might have enemies in common. But can Birnam trust him? And, as their ideals and ideologies are tested, can they trust one another?

    A gripping psychological thriller from the Booker Prize-winning author of The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton's Birnam Wood is Shakespearean in its drama, Austenian in its wit, and, like both influences, fascinated by what makes us who we are. A brilliantly constructed study of intentions, actions, and consequences, it is a mesmerizing, unflinching consideration of the human impulse to ensure our own survival.

    Nora says: A fast-paced, beautiful and intelligent eco-thriller. Catton is sure-footed in her depiction of the clash between the idealistic, youthful farming collective and the terrifying billionaire entrepreneur, keeping the action moving at a thrilling, break-neck pace. This is smart, no-guilt entertainment!

    Furious Hours

    Furious Hours

    Cep, Casey
    $19.00
    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - This "superbly written true-crime story" (The New York Times Book Review) masterfully brings together the tales of a serial killer in 1970s Alabama and of Harper Lee, the beloved author of To Kill a Mockingbird, who tried to write his story.

    Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members, but with the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative assassinated him at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell's murderer was acquitted--thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the reverend himself. Sitting in the audience during the vigilante's trial was Harper Lee, who spent a year in town reporting on the Maxwell case and many more trying to finish the book she called The Reverend.

    Cep brings this remarkable story to life, from the horrifying murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South, while offering a deeply moving portrait of one of our most revered writers.

    Nora says: A brilliant debut: Harper Lee, true crime, Alabama -- it’s got it all -- a great read!