Monday, March 28, 2011


Nowhere was the quiet more noticeable than in Meredith Whitson's own house. At twelve, she had already discovered the empty space that gathered between people. She longed for her family to be like those she saw on television, where everything looked perfect and everyone got along. No one, not even her beloved father, understood how alone she often felt within these four walls, how invisible.
Winter Garden
Kristin Hannah

From the author of acclaimed national bestseller Firefly Lane comes a haunting, heartbreakingly beautiful novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between past and present.

Sometimes when you open the door to your mother’s past, you find your own future…

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, these two estranged women will find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. On his deathbed, their father extracts one last promise from the women in his life.

It begins with a story that is unlike anything the sisters have heard before—a captivating, mysterious love story that spans sixty-five years and moves from frozen, war torn Leningrad to modern-day Alaska. The vividly imagined tale brings these three women together in a way that none could have expected. Meredith and Nina will finally learn the secret of their mother’s past and uncover a truth so terrible it will shake the foundation of their family and change who they think they are.

Every once in a while a writer comes along who navigates the complex and layered landscape of the human heart. For this generation, it’s Kristin Hannah. Mesmerizing from the first page to the last, Winter Garden is an evocative, lyrically-written novel that will long be remembered.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Heather Gudenkauf

Gudenkauf's scintillating second suspense novel (after The Weight of Silence) opens with the release of 21-year-old Allison Glenn from prison, where she has served five years for an unspecified but particularly horrible crime. Allison is reluctant to enter a halfway house in her hometown of Linden Falls, Iowa, where "even a heroin-addicted prostitute arrested for armed robbery and murder would get more compassion than I ever will." Allison, her family's former golden girl, secures a job at a local bookstore, but her efforts to resume some sort of normal life are undermined by her well-to-do parents' indifference, her sister's hatred, and the stigma of her conviction. Meanwhile, one little boy holds the key to the tragedy that led to Allison's imprisonment. The author slowly and expertly reveals the truth in a tale so chillingly real, it could have come from the latest headlines.
Publisher's Weekly, Feb. 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Inspector Lynley series
by Elizabeth George
[Thanks movienut for compiling the list.]

D.I. Rebus series
by Ian Rankin
[Thanks to Themis-Athena for listmania]

Darina Lisle Mysteries
by Janet Laurence
[Thanks to acozylover]

Ian Rutledge series
by Charles Todd
[Thanks to]

Sue Miller

Anita Shreve

Susan Isaacs

Stephen White

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I love this book. It's one that I will definitely re-read. Rosecrans Baldwin is originally a Chicagoan.


The first night, obviously. Victor says it was love at first sight, but I was too tired that night to fall in love. It was after one of my little happenings. I remember I was exhausted. I wasn't out to impress anybody. Then he came up with a drink and I thought, Well, he's tall. The kind of guy who took himself seriously, straight out of Brooks Brothers, with pens in his breast pocket. Not at all my typical fan. But I could tell he wanted to kiss me. I made him want to kiss me. That was the whole idea.
You Lost Me There
Rosecrans Baldwin

Weird And Wonderful Books: 2010's Hidden Gems
by Rachel Syme

Rosecrans Baldwin is the editor of the charming online magazine The Morning News (another great place to read about hidden-gem books), and this year he published his debut novel. You Lost Me There tells the story of Victor, a neuroscientist studying Alzheimer's, who discovers a stash of note cards left behind by his late wife, Sara. On the cards are details about the major moments in the pair's marriage (leftovers from a couple's therapy session), and Victor is suddenly forced to confront the fact that his memories of the relationship are different from those of his wife — a fact that, for a memory specialist, is jarring indeed.

There is nothing bizarre about Baldwin's novel; it reads quickly and contains eloquent, simple turns of phrase. But it did not quite get the recognition it deserved when it emerged in August, and I hope it continues to be discovered. We all grapple with our memories and how they evade us over time, especially when it comes to love, and Baldwin captures all the joy and sorrow of minds bent by age and experience.

You Lost Me There by Rosecrans Baldwin
This is a smart book. Baldwin, co-editor of The Morning News, tells a love story, a loss story, a meditation on memory and marriage and the mind and science. It works. Plus, it helps our larger argument that this is a great year for first novels. Holiday shopping should be pretty easy this time around. Deliver it in a small baker's box, why not?

And another NPR review--by Michael Schaub.