We hope to both entertain and inform you about what we’re reading, listening to and watching here at EVLD.
The Avon Library Book Discussion Group will meet Wednesday May 20th at 6:30 pm to discuss This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash. Drop ins are welcome. If you have any questions please contact the Avon Library at 970-949-6797.
Desperate times call for desperate measures is an over arching theme in Wiley Cash’s latest page turner, This Dark Road to Mercy. Easter, age twelve, and her sister Ruby, age six, find themselves in foster care when their mother unexpectedly dies. They haven’t seen their father Wade, a washed up minor league baseball player in a long time. In fact neither of the girls can really remember much about him, except the fact that their mother blamed him for all of their trouble and that he had given up his parental rights. Until he unexpectedly turns up and seems desperate to regain contact with the girls. When the girls turn up missing their court appointed guardian, and former police officer, Brady Weller begins to investigate Wade and soon finds he is associated with a recent armored car robbery. Even more disturbing news arrives when Weller establishes he is not the only person looking for Wade and the girls; they are in fact being tracked by a criminal named Robert Pruitt, who is seeking revenge against Wade for a crime that occurred years before. Written in three distinct voices, those of Weller, Pruitt, and Easter, Cash has created a fast paced story that is unique in perspective and fraught with desperation. This Dark Road to Mercy is a novel that will remain in the hearts and minds of readers long after the poignant conclusion.
Can poetic writing, historical fiction and fantasy be combined to tell a compelling story? They can if the author is Douglas Nicholas. His latest novel, Throne of Darkness will appeal to Game of Thrones fans as well as readers of medieval historical fiction. The third in a series, readers once again meet up with the unusual family of traveling musicians. Molly, otherwise known as Maeve the Irish Queen, her lover and occasional shape shifter Jack, as well as her granddaughter Nemain and Nemain’s new husband Hob are called to meet with an agent of the Pope. It is 1215 and King John of England is planning to wipe out the Northern barons who oppose John and his heavy taxes. The fact that John has been excommunicated is not the reason the Roman Catholic Church is willing to join forces with Molly and her pagan ways. It seems John has recruited a powerful African sorcerer who has an army of blacksmiths who possess unusual powers, powers that can not only defeat but murder many men at one time. Maeve must summon her greatest powers if she hopes to defeat such dark magic, but if she is successful not only will she protect her allies, she will also have protection from the Church, a fact that she knows will be useful to her in the future. Nichols combines cinematic attention to detail with breathtaking storytelling to produce an unforgettable tale. Filled with horrific monsters, magical powers, and historical details, Throne of Darkness is sure to please a multitude of readers.
England in 1141 is a most tumultuous place to be, and thus the perfect setting for the latest historical novel by Ariana Franklin. Sadly Ms. Franklin’s passing occurred before the novel was complete, however with the assistance of Franklin’s daughter, Samantha Norman the novel was finalized and published as The Siege Winter. Deeply embroiled in civil war the country is divided in loyalty between Stephen the nephew of the deceased King Henry I and his cousin Empress Matilda and war rages. Mercenaries roam the country, often switching allegiances from battle to battle. The chatelaine of Kenniford is fifteen year old Maud, married at knife point to Sir John merely to gain access to her land for Stephen, yet Maud is determined to lead and protect her castle and those in her care. Meanwhile, the mercenary Gwil has come upon a young red headed girl brutally beaten, raped and left for dead. With no memory of her past, or of her attack, Gwil nurses her back to health and names her Penda. Disguising her as a boy and training her in the ways of an archer the pair soon set out on the road. Gwil however believes he knows the girl’s attacker, a murderous monk with whom he had previously travelled. Before long the fates of these diverse characters will converge. The Siege Winter is a truly enjoyable historical tale but it is also a thrilling pager turner of a mystery. Filled with historical details, populated with a cast of unforgettable characters, and full of plot twist it is a pleasure to read and a novel that deserves wide readership.
No one tackles human complexity like Roxana Robinson. Crafting stories and characters that are multifaceted, gems that incite introspection on the part of the reader seems to be second nature in her collection of short stories entitled A Perfect Stranger. Raw and yet gracefully written each story in this collection focuses on how a stranger can affect the individual. From the frantic mother in At the Beach, whose observed actions led to the reconciliation between a husband and wife, to the newborn grandchild, whose unexpected presence causes a rift within a family in Choosing Sides, the presence of a stranger in the lives of Robinson’s characters gives rise to self examination, often revealing the flawed but human emotions that define the human condition. Superbly written and demonstrating realistic and unflinching insight into what makes us human these stories will satisfy even the reluctant short story reader. A Perfect Stranger is an insightful and remarkable collection that deserves wide readership.
Get ready for a great new mystery series! Suzanne Chazin introduces readers to homicide detective Jimmy Vega in her latest novel Land of Careful Shadows. In Lake Holly, fifty miles north of New York City, the very town where Vega spent the better part of his childhood, and where his ex-wife and daughter still live, a woman’s body has been found in a reservoir. The victim is a young Hispanic woman and the recovery of her purse reveals a picture of her and a baby girl, possibly her daughter. A disturbing racially charged note is also found in her purse. Where is the child and is she alive? Is this a crime of passion or a hate crime? As a Latino himself, Vega knows how hard it can be to fit into the community but the influx of undocumented immigrants has further widened the divide of haves and have-nots in Lake Holly. Vega soon finds himself crossing paths with old acquaintances in unforeseen ways. He is also called upon to face hard truths about himself and his own family as he investigates the killing. Populated with well developed characters Land of Careful Shadows is more than just a police procedural. The keen insights into race relations, undocumented immigrants as well as Police relations with community members, makes this mystery a timely and important read. Readers will find themselves hoping to hear more from Chazin and her skillfully drawn detective Vega.
The Avon Library Book Discussion Group will meet Wednesday April 15th at 6:30 pm to discuss Longbourn by Jo Baker. Drop ins are welcome. If you have any questions please contact the Avon Library at 970-949-6797.
The popularity of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs have certainly shed a light on the great divide between classes. It has become impossible not to link elaborate hairstyles, uninvited dinner guests, and a fire blazing in a fireplace to the staff that ensured the comforts of high society; but what of houses such as the legendary Longbourn in Pride and Prejudice? Luckily readers have Jo Baker’s novel Longbourn. While the Bennett sisters, assisted by Mrs. Bennett, search for suitable matches that will ensure their futures, if not their happiness, what of the possibilities and desires of the help? Baker introduces us to a cast of delightful characters that serve the family. Mr. and Mrs. Hill have been in service at Longbourn for ages, in fact Mr. Hill’s age is beginning to be a problem. Sarah an orphan taken on as help when she was just a child is now a housemaid and mentor to young Polly, an adolescent that must quickly learn a life in service. Sarah yearns for a different life and an opportunity to see more of the world. When a young man appears and is hired on to help at Longbourn, and a young footman from the newly arrived neighboring Bingley’s notices Sarah and show true interest in her, Sarah’s world is suddenly upended. Austen fans may balk at liberties taken but Baker sheds a new light; some may argue a more realistic light, on Regency England, especially those not lucky enough to be born to society. Filled with heartbreak and romance, Longbourn is engrossing and thought provoking.
Looking for a light, fun read? The magnificence and fantasy of Old Hollywood comes to life in Kate Alcott’s latest historical novel, A Touch of Stardust. Set during the tempestuous filming of the movie classic Gone with the Wind Alcott mixes fictional characters with real movie icons to provide readers with a glimpse of Hollywood legend. Julie Crawford like many other young girls has left her somewhat privileged life in Fort Wayne Indiana for the glitz and glamour of Hollywoodland. Julie however doesn’t aspire to be an actress; instead she yearns to be discovered as a screenwriter. Landing a job in the publicity department she finds herself in trouble with the boisterous David O. Selznick on her very first day. Luckily she is befriended by the notorious Carole Lombard. Lombard, profane and independent is living with the not yet divorced Clark Gable and is perfect tabloid fodder. Hired as Carole’s assistant and still working for the studio to ensure that no bad publicity reaches the press Julie begins to see parallels and vast gaps between Carole’s self made life and the life Julie desires. Julie begins to discover that she is in charge of her destiny and must decide what she wants for her future. Chocked full of details of Gable and Lombard’s love affair as well as the drama and production of Gone with the Wind, A Touch of Stardust is a delightful read.