sppon riverEven 100 years later this collection of short, free verse poems still packs a punch, and is relevant today. Based on the author’s childhood home in central Illinois, it is the portrait of a small Midwestern town, as told through the epitaphs of its former denizens—from beyond the grave.

Masters’ book peels back the veil on small town life to reveal the many secrets and scandals therein, and showing life there to be anything but idyllic and perfect.

A critical and commercial success at the time of its publication, Masters’ book was banned in the schools & library of his home town for 60 years.  Today it is still often assigned in high school and college literature courses, and its portraits are often used as monologues for theatrical auditions.

kitchensWhen Lars Thorvald's wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine--and a dashing sommelier--he's left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He's determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. Eva’s life is told through the points of view of those who know her: family, friends, rivals and acquaintances, giving the story a unique perspective. Each chapter acts as a stand-alone short story with Eva, the central character, aging along the timeline. Humorous, poignant, quirky characters. A joy to read for foodies, with lots of recipes and food references! This is a wonderful portion of fiction from a fresh, new voice.

flower moonThis is a powerful, important and very sad chapter in our American history about the Osage Indians who were murdered following the discovery of massive oil fields on their reservation in the 1920’s.

Upon discovery of oil, members of the tribe became the wealthiest people per capita in the world. They rode in chauffeured cars and sent their children to schools in Europe. But as dozens of tribe members begin dying under suspicious circumstances, the new director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, steps in to investigate and in so doing shapes the FBI as we know it today.

Grann has done extensive, meticulous research to expose the atrocities committed against the Osage that is not widely known nor written about in history books-but should be. The author’s suspenseful writing makes this is a page turner and knowing that it is true makes it even more compelling. A must read. Grann is also the author of the Lost City of Z.

 

DimpleThis book made my heart so happy. I found myself chuckling and grinning at various points throughout the book. I listened to the audiobook during a particularly stressful week, and I felt my anxiety ease every time I would get a chance to listen to this book. A real winner!

perfume collectorEva D'orsay has left her very sizable estate to Grace Monroe. However, Grace has no idea who her benefactress is. Thus begins a story of two women, one a hotel maid prior to WWII, the other a 1950's London socialite whose marriage is struggling. Chapters go back and forth between Grace and Eva and slowly the tale of these two and their connection becomes clear. Each of their stories, individually, is very interesting but how they come together is even more fascinating.  Perfume is the driving force that will solve this mystery between these two vastly different women. The settings for this historical fiction novel unfolds in New York, Paris, and London during the aftermath of WWI and WWII. Unique plot with rich character development and depth. Descriptive, elegant writing style.

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