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Woods Runner

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Steering his narrative through an unsentimentalized and deglorified depiction of the American Revolution, Paulsen’s latest work of historical fiction provides a stark glimpse of just how awful the war really was for those who suffered through it. Though his parents are city folk trying to hack out a life on the frontier in Pennsylvania, 13-year-old Samuel is entirely at home in the woodland wilderness that surrounds their little settlement. Soon after word arrives of the uprising in Concord and Lexington, Samuel returns home from a jaunt in the forest to find his home burned down, the neighbors slaughtered, and his parents missing. Samuel tracks his captured parents through the countryside to British-held New York, encountering scalping bands of Iroquois, pillaging squads of mercenary Hessians, and a few hardy, helpful rebels along the way. Paulsen alternates chapters of Samuel’s story with historical notes that illuminate the sobering realities of the Revolution and add some context not found in most history books. Paulsen’s rewarding and fast-paced novel offers an honest assessment of heroism writ both small and large. Grades 6-9. –Ian Chipman

Review

Starred review, Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2010: “A superb reflection on the nature of war.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Wolf Hall

SUMMARY: In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power. England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king’s freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph? In inimitable style, Hilary Mantel presents a picture of a half-made society on the cusp of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With a vast array of characters, overflowing with incident, the novel re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.

When Light Breaks

When Light Breaks by Patti Callahan Henry
**Garnering comparisons to Anne Rivers Siddons and Pat Conroy, Patti Callahan Henry has woven her lyrical Southern voice throughout the Lowcountry landscape. Now, as two women from opposite sides of the sea meet, a tale unfolds that will draw you into the heart’s remembrances…
**
Bogged down in the stress of planning her elaborate wedding to a professional golfer, twenty-seven-year-old Kara Larson still makes time to visit an elderly woman at a nursing home to fulfill the requirements of the Palmetto Pointe Junior Society. 
Soon she finds herself mesmerized by ninety-six-year-old Maeve Mahoney’s singsong Irish lilt as she recounts the rambling story of her first love back in Ireland. Waiting for the story to unfold in bits and pieces, Kara is driven to remember her own first love: childhood neighbor Jack Sullivan. Gradually she realizes that before she embarks on her new life, she must find out how her own story with Jack will end…
**“About all the things that make us worthy as human beings—integrity, honesty, and living the life you are meant to live.…A triumph!”—Dorothea Benton Frank
“A passionate, unforgettable novel of self-discovery, regret, and the illuminating power of love.”—Mary Alice Monroe**

We Are All Welcome Here

SUMMARY: Elizabeth Berg, bestselling author of The Art of Mending and The Year of Pleasures, has a rare talent for revealing her characters’ hearts and minds in a manner that makes us empathize completely. Her new novel, We Are All Welcome Here, features three women, each struggling against overwhelming odds for her own kind of freedom.It is the summer of 1964. In Tupelo, Mississippi, the town of Elvis’s birth, tensions are mounting over civil-rights demonstrations occurring ever more frequently–and violently–across the state. But in Paige Dunn’s small, ramshackle house, there are more immediate concerns. Challenged by the effects of the polio she contracted during her last month of pregnancy, Paige is nonetheless determined to live as normal a life as possible and to raise her daughter, Diana, in the way she sees fit–with the support of her tough-talking black caregiver, Peacie.Diana is trying in her own fashion to live a normal life. As a fourteen-year-old, she wants to make money for clothes and magazines, to slough off the authority of her mother and Peacie, to figure out the puzzle that is boys, and to escape the oppressiveness she sees everywhere in her small town. What she can never escape, however, is the way her life is markedly different from others’. Nor can she escape her ongoing responsibility to assist in caring for her mother. Paige Dunn is attractive, charming, intelligent, and lively, but her needs are great–and relentless. As the summer unfolds, hate and adversity will visit this modest home. Despite the difficulties thrust upon them, each of the women will find her own path to independence, understanding, and peace. And Diana’s mother, so mightily compromised, will end up giving her daughter an extraordinary gift few parents could match.From the Hardcover edition.

Unfinished Desires: A Novel

SUMMARY: From Gail Godwin, three-time National Book Award finalist and acclaimed “New York Times” bestselling author of Evensong and The Finishing School, comes a sweeping new novel of friendship, loyalty, rivalries, redemption, and memory. It is the fall of 1951 at Mount St. Gabriel’s, an all-girls school tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina. Tildy Stratton, the undisputed queen bee of her class, befriends Chloe Starnes, a new student recently orphaned by the untimely and mysterious death of her mother. Their friendship fills a void for both girls but also sets in motion a chain of events that will profoundly affect the course of many lives, including the girls’ young teacher and the school’s matriarch, Mother Suzanne Ravenel. Fifty years on, the headmistress relives one pivotal night, trying to reconcile past and present, reaching back even further to her own senior year at the school, where the roots of a tragedy are buried. In Unfinished Desires, a beloved author delivers a gorgeous new novel in which thwarted desires are passed on for generations-and captures the rare moment when a soul breaks free.   “From the Hardcover edition.”

Under a Blood Red Sky

SUMMARY: Om haar doodzieke medegevangene midden 20e eeuw te kunnen redden uit een Siberisch werkkamp besluit een vrouw te ontsnappen en een beroep te doen op dier jeugdliefde.

Two Trains Running

SUMMARY: In his most original and compelling book yet, Andrew Vachss presents an electrifying tale of corruption in a devastated mill town. It is 1959–a moment in history when the clandestine, powerful forces that will shape America to the present day are about to collide.Walker Dett is a hired gun, known for using the most extreme measures to accomplish his missions. Royal Beaumont is the “hillbilly boss” who turned Locke City from a dying town into a thriving vice capital. But organized crime outsiders are moving in on Beaumont’s turf, so he reaches out for Dett in a high-risk move to maintain his power at all costs. Add a rival Irish political machine, a deeply entrenched neo-Nazi “party”, the nascent black power movement, turf-disputing juvenile gangs, a muck-raking journalist who doubles as a blackmailer, the FBI–a covert observer and occasional participant which may itself be under surveillance– and Locke City is about as stable as a nitroglycerin truck stalled on the railroad tracks.

Transgression: A Novel of Love and War

EDITORIAL REVIEW: How can love survive a brutal time? In 1946 in North America, a child makes a grisly find in a deserted field—a discovery that opens a shuttered window on a secret dating back to the beginning of the turbulent decade. In 1941 in occupied France, Adele Georges’s fruitless attempts to learn the whereabouts of her father, captured by the Nazis, lead her to a lonely young German soldier far from home. A spark between them becomes a fire—and a dangerous love affair blooms across enemy lines, dooming Adele to a grim postwar existence as a despised outcast, one of the infamous “horizontal collaborators.” Ostracized, tortured, tormented, she chooses a desperate escape, accompanying a war-damaged yet optimistic Allied soldier across an ocean to a new land. But there is no refuge from the past, as Adele’s broken heart and shameful secret drive her deeper into despair…and toward a shocking outcome. Part mystery and part love story—an unforgettable and beautifully written novel of secrets, passions, and consequences—*Transgression* is an exceptional work of power and strange beauty.

Those Who Save Us

SUMMARY: For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy’s sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald. Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother’s life. Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.

The Wives of Henry Oades

SUMMARY: In 1899 Henry Oades discovers he has two wives ‘ and many dilemmas’ŚIn 1890, Henry Oades decided to undertake the arduous sea voyage from England to New Zealand in order to further his family’s fortunes. Here they settled on the lush but wild coast ‘ although it wasn’t long before disaster struck in the most unexpected of ways.A local Maori tribe, incensed at their treatment at the hands of the settlers, kidnapped Mrs Oades and her four children, and vanished into the rugged hills surrounding the town. Henry searched ceaselessly for his family, but two grief-stricken years later was forced to conclude that they must be dead. In despair he shipped out to San Francisco to start over, eventually falling in love with and marrying a young widow.In the meantime, Margaret Oades and her children were leading a miserable existence, enslaved to the local tribe. When they contracted smallpox they were cast out and, ill and footsore, made their way back to town, five years after they were presumed dead.Discovering that Henry was now half a world away, they were determined to rejoin him. So months later they arrived on his doorstep in America and Henry Oades discovered that he had two wives and many dilemmas ‘ŚThis is a darkly comic but moving historical fiction debut about love and family, based on a controversial court case from the early 1900s.

The White Queen

SUMMARY: Philippa Gregory, “the queen of royal fiction” (USA Today) Presents the first of a new series set amid the deadly feuds of England known as the Wars of the Roses.Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.With The White Queen, Philippa Gregory brings the artistry and intellect of a master writer and storyteller to a new era in history and begins what is sure to be another bestselling classic series from this beloved author. Compact Disk Includes a Bonus MP3 CD of Philippa Gregory’s The Virgin’s Lover

The Well and the Mine

EDITORIAL REVIEW: **With an introduction by Fannie Flagg Author of *Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café *** A novel of warmth and true feeling, *The Well and the Mine* explores the value of community, charity, family, and hope that we can give each other during a time of hardship. In a small Alabama coal-mining town during the summer of 1931, nine-year-old Tess Moore sits on her back porch and watches a woman toss a baby into her family’s well without a word. This shocking act of violence sets in motion a chain of events that forces Tess and her older sister Virgie to look beyond their own door and learn the value of kindness and lending a helping hand. As Tess and Virgie try to solve the mystery of the well, an accident puts their seven-year-old brother’s life in danger, revealing just what sorts of sacrifices their parents, Albert and Leta, have made in order to give their children a better life, and the power of love and compassion to provide comfort to those we love. “Gin Phillips has a remarkable ear for dialogue and a tenderhearted eye for detail; you can hear the pecans and hickory nuts falling from the trees and feel the stillness of a hot summer night. A whisper runs through the novel—the ghosts of places and people and luscious peach pies.*”—Los Angeles Times*

The Sun Over Breda

EDITORIAL REVIEW: Acclaimed author Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s internationally bestselling series, the saga of the swordsman-for-hire Captain Alatriste, continues in *The Sun Over Breda*. Fifteen-year-old Iñigo Balboa enlists to serve as his master’s aide, and narrates their further adventures of swordplay and skirmishes, mutiny and wartime honor, as Captain Alatriste rejoins his Cartagena regiment to take part in the battles and siege of Breda. In Spain, Alatriste’s nemesis, Luis de Alquézar, grows more powerful, as Iñigo’s mysterious friend Angélica hints at some plans upon his return. Once again the exploits of the seventeenth-century mercenary will thrill and delight the legions of readers eager to cheer a hero for the ages.

The Street Philosopher

SUMMARY: There was another war, some 150 years ago, which was unpopular at home ā the death rate shocking, the military strategy confused ā and the first on which the media had a major influence. The Street Philosopher ā the nineteenth-century term for a society writer, a gossip columnist ā captures this scene brilliantly.Ambitious young journalist Thomas Kitson arrives at the battlefields of the Crimea as the London Courierās man on the ground. It is a dangerous place, full of the worst horrors of war but Kitson is determined to make his mark. Under the tutelage of his hard-bitten Irish boss Cracknell, and assisted by artist Robert Styles, he sets about exposing the incompetence of the army generals.Two years later, as Sebastopol burns, Thomas returns to England under mysterious circumstances. Desperate to forget the atrocities of the Crimea, he takes a job as a āstreet philosopherā, a society writer reporting on the gossip of the day. But on the eve of the great Art Treasures Exhibition, as Manchester prepares to welcome Queen Victoria, Thomasās past returns to haunt him in the most horrifying way…

The Sonderberg Case

EDITORIAL REVIEW: From the Nobel laureate and author of the masterly *Night,* a deeply felt, beautifully written novel of morality, guilt, and innocence.Despite personal success, Yedidyah—a theater critic in New York City, husband to a stage actress, father to two sons—finds himself increasingly drawn to the past. As he reflects on his life and the decisions he’s made, he longingly reminisces about the relationships he once had with the men in his family (his father, his uncle, his grandfather) and the questions that remain unanswered. It’s a feeling that is further complicated when Yedidyah is assigned to cover the murder trial of a German expatriate named Werner Sonderberg. Sonderberg returned alone from a walk in the Adirondacks with an elderly uncle, whose lifeless body was soon retrieved from the woods. His plea is enigmatic: “Guilty . . . and not guilty.” These words strike a chord in Yedidyah, plunging him into feelings that bring him harrowingly close to madness. As Sonderberg’s trial moves along a path of dizzying yet revelatory twists and turns, Yedidyah begins to understand his own family’s hidden past and finally liberates himself from the shadow it has cast over his life.With his signature elegance and thoughtfulness, Elie Wiesel has given us an enthralling psychological mystery, both vividly dramatic and profoundly emotional.

The Sealed Letter

SUMMARY: Miss Emily “Fido” Faithfull is a “woman of business” and a spinster pioneer in the British women’s movement, independent of mind but naively trusting of heart. Distracted from her cause by the sudden return of a once-dear friend, the unhappily wed Helen Codrington, Fido is swept up in the intimate details of Helen’s failing marriage and obsessive affair with a young army officer. What begins as a loyal effort to help a friend explodes into an intriguing courtroom drama complete with accusations of adultery, counterclaims of rape, and a mysterious letter that could destroy more than one life. Based on a scandalous divorce case that gripped England in 1864, The Sealed Letter is a riveting, provocative drama of friends, lovers, and divorce, Victorian-style.