Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reading Ahead: March 2016, part 4

I know I talk a lot about thrillers and suspense novels around here, but honestly, those seem to be the popular genres du jour, and there are no two ways around it. That said, there are definitely best-sellers on the horizon that don't fall under those categories, so if you're in the market for something else, read on.

Two If By Sea, by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Bestselling author Mitchard (The Breakdown Lane, The Deep End of the Ocean, etc.) brings readers another story guaranteed to hit you right in the feels. After losing everything in the Christmas Eve tsunami in Brisbane, American expat and former police officer Frank Mercy goes out with his volunteer rescue unit and pulls a young boy from a submerged car. Afraid for the boy, Frank sidesteps procedure and brings the boy, Ian, back to the Midwestern horse farm owned and operated by his family, where he seeks to protect the deeply traumatized, gifted boy from a sinister group that will do anything to get him back.

Property of a Noblewoman, by Danielle Steel. The contents of a long-abandoned safe-deposit box in a New York City bank will go up for auction if an heir cannot be found. But if the owner was the woman in the photographs contained in the box, along with jewels and letters, what could have happened to make her leave these things behind without a will? A law clerk and a Christie's art expert are sent to inspect the contents, but find themselves drawn into the mystery behind the owner, one that will lead them all over Europe before they find the truth.

A Few of the Girls, by Maeve Binchy. Binchy, who passed in 2012, has been mourned as one of Ireland's most beloved authors. For readers who would like to revisit some of her narrative magic, this collection of short fiction, spanning her career, might just soothe the soul. They range from those published in magazines, others to be auctioned at charity events, and still others written as gifts for friends.

At the Edge of the Orchard, by Tracey Chevalier. Chevalier delves into the story of one American pioneer family and their struggles to get by in the untamed west. In 1838, that means the swamps of northwest Ohio, where the Goodenough family settles in the very spot their wagon became mired in mud. They seek to start an orchard, buying trees from John Appleseed, to stake their claim on the property. The orchard reminds James of his home in Connecticut, but his wife Sarah becomes more enamored of the applejack they produce, seeking to escape from their hardscrabble life. In 1853, it is their youngest child Robert who lights out for the California during the Gold Rush, ultimately working for a naturalist who sends seeds and plants from the New World back to Europe. When Robert's past comes back to haunt him, he has to decide whether to keep running, or go back and face his family once and for all. Chevalier has a great flair for historical fiction, and this title is high on my list of novels to be read this spring.

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