Readers' Services

The Readers’ Services staff can help you find specific materials and can offer reading suggestions. Please phone (847) 448-8620 for assistance. Use Novelist, to find reviews, reading guides, and reading lists for fiction lovers.

The Girl You Left Behind

titleMoyes, Jojo. The Girl You Left Behind. 2014. (Fiction Moyes.J)

Setting: a small French village in northern France, occupied by the Germans; small acts of defiance by the remaining elderly and children. Sophie and her sister, cafe owners, are forced to provide delicious meals for the occupiers. The German commandant admires a painting of Sophie done by her husband. Then he admires Sophie. Bad things happen.

Setting: London, a tony spare modern condo apartment in 2006 London, the only extraneous decoration the painting of Sophie. Liv, the young widowed owner, values the painting as a reminder of the happy life she had with her husband. How did the painting come to be in Liv's home?  What happened to Sophie? Why is the art reclamations bureau insisting on its return to Sophie's family? Why is the lawyer working against Liv so handsome, kind and understanding?

The entwining of history, mystery and two love stories makes for an engaging read.

(Nancy E., North Branch)

 

The Daughters of Mars

titleKeneally, Thomas.The Daughters of Mars. 2013. (Fiction Kenea.T)

The daughters of the god Mars are the Australian nurses who ministered to the wounded in World War I. Volunteering out of patriotism for their new nation, or fleeing a stifling existence in a lonely land, these women spent the war caring for the  wounded soldiers, enemy and ally, in hospital ships off Gallipoli, in tents near the trenches of the Somme, wherever blood, chaos, guns, gas and terror were wreaking havoc. Limbs are lost, faces destroyed, minds shell-shocked, yet these women keep working through it all. Camaraderie amongst the hospital staff and combatants ameliorates some of the misery until the nurses and those they love also fall victim to war's unpredictability.  Despite gruesome descriptions, this book kept me turning its pages, horrified and hooked.

(Nancy R. Engel, North Branch)

   

The Piano Teacher

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Lee, Janice Y. K. The Piano Teacher. 2009. (Fiction Lee.J)

The Piano Teacher concerns a naïve, young British woman, one Claire Pendleton, who is newly married to a dull Englishman who's been recently transferred as a civil servant to British-ruled Hong Kong.  It’s 1951. Bored by her husband, she becomes a piano teacher to the daughter of the upper-class Chen family. Meanwhile, Claire is lured willingly into a passionate affair with the Chen family’s chauffeur, the mysterious Will Truesdale. As she becomes better acquainted with Truesdale, the Chen’s, and their insular circle of native Hong Konger and British ex-patriot friends, secrets unravel, revealing a war-torn past of betrayal, infidelity and intrigue.  Juxtaposed between 1951 and 1942, author Janice Y. K. Lee’s novel is a fascinating look Hong Kong before, during and after the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. (Russ K., Ref.)

   

Dept. of Speculation

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Offill, Jenny.  Dept. of Speculation. 2014. (Fiction Offil.J)

Pacing is everything in this fragmented novel. A thin volume of connected snippets from the life of "the wife." Charmigly frustrating conversations with her child, bits of trivia from her ghost writing job, seemingly random thoughts and wandering memories from the early years of her marriage somehow jumble together into a coherent whole. Just when the fragments seem to be rambling, Offill pulls you in with a moment of such perfect observation or tenderness. I'm not usually a "re-reader," but the moment I finished this novel I immediately turned back to the first page and started it again. Highly recommended.

(Heather N., Reader's Services)

   

Broadchurch

title

Broadchurch. 2014. (DVD TV Broadch Season 1)

DVD TV Broadch Season 1
DVD TV Broadch Season 1
DVD TV Broadch Season 1

A tragic murder in the fictional coastal town Broadchurch in southeastern England leads to the uncovering of secrets, lies, psychics, and adultery in this complex and gripping BBC television series. When 11-year-old Danny Latimer is found murdered, the case is turned over to local detective Ellie Miller and out-of-towner Detective Inspector Alec Hardy. It seems that everyone in this small closely-knit town has something to hide, including Danny’s father, his best friend, the town’s shopkeeper, and the vicar. As much a “whydunnit” as a “whodunnit”, this drama never loses its momentum or its emotional depth, despite the many story lines and characters. Don’t miss it. (Laura, Reader's Services)

 

   

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