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The Life You’ve Imagined

From

Two childhood friends reunite when stressful circumstances bring them back to their hometown. Anna, distraught over the loss of a beloved mentor, takes a leave of absence from her law firm and returns to her mother, Maeve, and their family convenience store. Cami deals with a gambling addiction and breakup by hiding out at her father’s home. Sadly, coming home doesn’t bring them the solace they seek. Maeve’s store is being threatened by an upscale development. Anna is nursing lingering feelings for the high-school sweetheart she left, who now has a wife and family. Cami still mourns her mother’s long-ago death and resents her alcoholic father’s emotional withdrawal. Riggle, author of Real Life and Liars (2009), explores what happens when real life diverges sharply from childhood dreams. Her strong and complicated female characters are interesting and likable, and she ably weaves together multiple story lines. –Aleksandra Walker

Review

“Backed by Riggle’s trademark unflinching honesty and imbued with heart and hope, The Life You’ve Imagined is a terrific novel about love and loss, letting go and holding on. A book to share with family and friends—I loved it.” (Melissa Senate, author of The Secret of Joy )

“Kristina Riggle writes women’s fiction with soul. Her characters are both familiar and quirky, and reading their stories is like spending a weekend catching up with your oldest friends. You come away laughing and also touched that someone knows you so well.” (Tiffany Baker, New York Times’ bestselling author, The Little Giant of Aberdeen County )

“The Life You’ve Imagined is a richly woven story laced with unforgettable characters. Cami, Maeve, Anna, and Amy will snag your heart as they explore the sometimes-wide chasm between hope and reality. A beautiful book.” (Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy )

“An entertaining, challenging story with the potential to change us if we let it.” (Grand Rapids Press )

Riggle, author of Real Life and Liars (2009), explores what happens when real life diverges sharply from childhood dreams. Her strong and complicated female characters are interesting and likable, and she ably weaves together multiple story lines. (Booklist )

The life of Charlotte Brontë

EDITORIAL REVIEW: Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of her close friend Charlotte Bronte was published in 1857 to immediate popular acclaim, and remains the most significant study of the enigmatic author who gave Jane Eyre the subtitle An Autobiography. It recounts Charlotte Bronte’s life from her isolated childhood, through her years as a writer who had ‘foreseen the single life’ for herself, to her marriage at thirty-eight and death less than a year later. The resulting work – the first full-length biography of a woman novelist by a woman novelist – explored the nature of Charlotte’s genius and almost single-handedly created the Bronte myth.

The Library of Shadows

EDITORIAL REVIEW: ** **An engrossing Danish literary thriller of intrigue, conspiracy, and the extraordinary power of reading****** Imagine that some people have the power to affect your thoughts and feelings through reading—to seduce you with amazing stories, conjure up vividly imagined worlds, and manipulate you into thinking exactly what they want you to. When Luca Campelli dies a sudden and violent death, his son Jon inherits his second-hand bookshop, Libri di Luca, in Copenhagen. Jon had not seen his father for 20 years—since the mysterious death of his mother. After Luca’s death is followed by an arson attempt on the shop, Jon is forced to explore his family’s past. Unbeknownst to him, the bookshop has for years been hiding a remarkable secret. It is the meeting place of a society of booklovers and readers who have maintained a tradition of immense power passed down from the days of the great library of ancient Alexandria. Now someone is trying to destroy them, and Jon finds he must fight to save himself and his new friends.

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún

The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún is a previously unpublished work by J.R.R. Tolkien, written while Tolkien was Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford during the 1920s and ‘30s, before he wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. It makes available for the first time Tolkien’s extensive retelling in English narrative verse of the epic Norse tales of Sigurd the Völsung and The Fall of the Niflungs. It includes an introduction by J.R.R. Tolkien, drawn from one of his own lectures on Norse literature, with commentary and notes on the poems by Christopher Tolkien.

The Last Testament

SUMMARY: April 2003: As his nation descends into chaos, an Iraqi boy loots an ancient clay tablet from a long-forgotten vault in the Baghdad Museum of Antiquities–unaware that his actions could ignite the war to end all wars. Years later, on the eve of a historic Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, bodyguards for Israel’s prime minister gun down a possible assassin–and discover a blood-stained note clutched in the dead man’s hand. With Middle Eastern tensions rapidly reaching the boiling point–in the wake of a frightening wave of seemingly random revenge killings–Maggie Costello is sent by Washington to try to keep the peace. A government negotiator with old sins to atone for, she immediately comes face-to-face with ancient secrets, extremist violence, and sudden, inexplicable death. For Maggie seems to hold the key to the last unsolved riddle of the Bible–a shocking revelation that could end the world’s most bitter conflict . . . or leave the earth in ruins.

The Last Pope

The election of Don Albino Luciani to the papal throne in 1978 threatens the Vatican status quo in this routine thriller from Portuguese author Rocha, his first novel. John Paul I’s views on papal infallibility and such controversial subjects as birth control, not to mention his resolve to clean house of those men of God who sullied the Roman Catholic church by financial chicanery with mob links, lead to his murder soon after he becomes pope. In the present-day, London journalist Sarah Monteiro receives a letter implicating the pope’s killers. The same shadowy band turns out to be behind the attempt on the life of John Paul II as well as the assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme. Sarah struggles to stay alive and keep the evidence out of the wrong hands amid predictable action sequences and hairbreadth escapes. An author interview at book’s end claiming that John Paul I was actually murdered is sure to please conspiracy buffs.

The Last Page

EDITORIAL REVIEW: The city of Isca is set like a dark jewel in the crown of the Duchy of Stonehold. In this sprawling landscape, the monsters one sees are nothing compared to what’s living in the city’s sewers. Twenty-three-year-old Caliph Howl is Stonehold’s reluctant High King. Thrust onto the throne, Caliph has inherited Stonehold’s dirtiest court secrets. He also faces a brewing civil war that he is unprepared to fight. After months alone amid a swirl of gossip and political machinations, the sudden reappearance of his old lover, Sena, is a welcome bit of relief. But Sena has her own legacy to claim: she has been trained from birth by the Shradnae witchocracy—adept in espionage and the art of magical equations writ in blood—and she has been sent to spy on the High King. Yet there are magics that demand a higher price than blood. Sena secretly plots to unlock the *Cisrym Ta*, an arcane text whose pages contain the power to destroy worlds. The key to opening the book lies in Caliph’s veins, forcing Sena to decide if her obsession for power is greater than her love for Caliph. Meanwhile, a fleet of airships creeps ever closer to Isca. As the final battle in a devastating civil war looms and the last page of the *Cisrym Ta* waits to be read, Caliph and Sena must face the deadly consequences of their decisions. And the blood of these conflicts will stain this and other worlds forever.

The Last Novel

SUMMARY: In recent novels, which have been called “hypnotic,” “stunning,” and “exhilarating,” David Markson has created his own personal genre. In this new work, The Last Novel, an elderly author (referred to only as “Novelist”) announces that since this will be his final effort, he has “carte blanche to do anything he damned well pleases.” Pressed by solitude and age, Novelist’s preoccupations inevitably turn to the stories of other artists — their genius, their lack of recognition, and their deaths. Keeping his personal history out of the story as much as possible, Novelist creates an incantatory stream of fascinating triumphs and failures from the lives of famous and not-so-famous painters, writers, musicians, sports figures, and scientists. As Novelist moves through his last years, a minimalist self-portrait emerges, becoming an intricate masterpiece from David Markson’s astonishing imagination. Through these startling, sometimes comic, but often tragic anecdotes we unexpectedly discern the entire shape of a man’s life.

The Last Chinese Chef

SUMMARY: In her satisfying, sensual third novel, Nicole Mones takes readers inside the hidden world of elite cuisine in modern China through the story of an American food writer in Beijing. When recently widowed Maggie McElroy is called to China to settle a claim against her late husband’s estate, she is blindsided by the discovery that he may have led a double life. Since work is all that will keep her sane, her magazine editor assigns her to profile Sam, a half-Chinese American who is the last in a line of gifted chefs tracing back to the imperial palace. As she watches Sam gear up for China’s Olympic culinary competition by planning the banquet of a lifetime, she begins to see past the cuisine’s artistry to glimpse its coherent expression of Chinese civilization. It is here, amid lessons of tradition, obligation, and human connection that she finds the secret ingredient that may yet heal her heart.

The Lady Elizabeth

SUMMARY: Following the tremendous success of her first novel, Innocent Traitor, which recounted the riveting tale of the doomed Lady Jane Grey, acclaimed historian and New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir turns her masterly storytelling skills to the early life of young Elizabeth Tudor, who would grow up to become England’s most intriguing and powerful queen.Even at age two, Elizabeth is keenly aware that people in the court of her father, King Henry VIII, have stopped referring to her as “Lady Princess” and now call her “the Lady Elizabeth.” Before she is three, she learns of the tragic fate that has befallen her mother, the enigmatic and seductive Anne Boleyn, and that she herself has been declared illegitimate, an injustice that will haunt her. What comes next is a succession of stepmothers, bringing with them glimpses of love, fleeting security, tempestuous conflict, and tragedy. The death of her father puts the teenage Elizabeth in greater peril, leaving her at the mercy of ambitious and unscrupulous men. Like her mother two decades earlier she is imprisoned in the Tower of London–and fears she will also meet her mother’s grisly end. Power-driven politics, private scandal and public gossip, a disputed succession, and the grievous example of her sister, “Bloody” Queen Mary, all cement Elizabeth’s resolve in matters of statecraft and love, and set the stage for her transformation into the iconic Virgin Queen. Alison Weir uses her deft talents as historian and novelist to exquisitely and suspensefully play out the conflicts between family, politics, religion, and conscience that came to define an age. Sweeping in scope, The Lady Elizabeth is a fascinating portrayal of a woman far ahead of her time–an orphaned girl haunted by the shadow of the axe, an independent spirit who must use her cunning and wits for her very survival, and a future queen whose dangerous and dramatic path to the throne shapes her future greatness.From the Hardcover edition.

The Lace Makers of Glenmara

SUMMARY: “You can always start again,” Kate Robinson’s mother once told her. “All it takes is a new thread.”Overwhelmed by heartbreak and loss, Kate follows her mother’s advice and flees to Ireland, her ancestral homeland, hoping to reinvent herself. In the seaside hamlet of Glenmara, the struggling twentysix-year-old fashion designer quickly develops a bond with members of the local lace-making society—and soon she and the lace makers are creating a line of exquisite lingerie, their skilled hands bringing flowers, Celtic dragons, nymphs, saints, kings, and queens to life with painterly skill. The circle also offers them something more: the strength to face their desires and fears. But not everyone in this charming, fading Gaelic village welcomes Kate, and a series of unexpected events threatens to unravel everything the women have worked so hard for.

The Kitchen House

Sinossi

Lavinia, a seven-year-old Irish orphan with no memory of her past, arrives on a tobacco plantation where she is put to work as an indentured servant. Placed with the slaves in the kitchen house under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her new adopted family, even though she is forever set apart from them by her white skin. As Lavinia is slowly accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles an opium addiction, she finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When Lavinia marries the master’s troubled son and takes on the role of mistress, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare and lives are put at risk. The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail..

The King’s Rose

Life in the court of King Henry VIII is a complex game. When fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard catches the king’s eye, she quickly transforms from pawn to queen. But even luxury beyond imagination loses its luster as young Catherine finds her life—and her heart—threatened by the needs of an aging king and a family hungry for power. Will their agendas deliver Catherine to the same fate as her infamous cousin, Anne Boleyn—sacrificed at the altar of family ambition?

Engaging historical fiction with a throbbing YA heartbeat, this thrilling novel will draw readers into the intrigues and dangers of the Tudor court.

The King’s Gold

EDITORIAL REVIEW: **From the international bestselling author, the fourth adventure of Captain Alatriste ** With *The King’s Gold*, bestselling author Arturo Pérez-Reverte continues to enthrall readers and critics with his heroic seventeenth-century mercenary, Captain Alatriste. The fourth adventure picks up in Seville in 1626. After serving with honor at the bloody siege of Breda, Alatriste and his protégé, Iñigo Balboa, accept a risky job involving a dozen swordsmen and mercenaries at their command, a dazzling amount of contraband gold, and a heavily guarded Spanish galleon returning from the West Indies. The job offer comes from the king himself, for at stake is nothing less than the Spanish Crown, and its dominion over the wealth of the Americas. But for Alatriste, a very personal surprise awaits him on that galleon.

The King of Lies

SUMMARY: Jackson Workman Pickens—known to most as “Work”—mindlessly holds together his disintegrating life: a failing law practice left to him when his father, Ezra, mysteriously disappeared, a distant wife who shares their loveless marriage, and an estranged sister who bore the brunt of their childhood trauma. And then Ezra’s body is discovered. Set to inherit his father’s fortune, Work becomes a prime suspect.  But so does his sister, Jean.  As much as Work’s life was overshadowed by his domineering father, Jean’s life was nearly destroyed by him. But does that make her capable of a vicious murder?  Fearing the worst, Work launches his own investigation, crossing paths with a power-hungry detective, a string of damning evidence, and the ugly rumors that swirl within his small, moneyed Southern town. Desperate for the redemption that has eluded him for so many years and stripped of everything he once valued, he fights to save his sister and clear his name—in this poignant and thrilling anatomy of a murder and its ripple effect within a family and a community.

The Kill Artist

SUMMARY: Fans of Daniel Silva’s well-received earlier novels, especially The Marching Season, will welcome his newest novel of espionage, revenge, and Middle Eastern politics. Gabriel Allon is an art restorer who’s persuaded out of retirement by Ari Shamron, the crafty Israeli spymaster bent on a deadly mission: killing a Palestinian agent named Tariq before he can carry out his plan to assassinate an old comrade-in-arms, the treacherous peacemaker Yasir Arafat. Tariq’s role in the murder of Gabriel’s wife and son draws both Gabriel and Sarah Halevy, the beautiful French model whose affair with Gabriel led to the assassination of his family. Still in love with Gabriel, Sarah allows herself to be set up with a cover and infiltrated into Tariq’s inner circle. But before Gabriel can rescue her and fulfill his mission, Tariq turns the tables to get his old adversary as well as Arafat in his own sights. A particularly resonant scene in which Tariq and Arafat confront each other and discuss their former friendship, as well as the change in tactics that has brought Tariq to the ultimate betrayal, reveals Silva’s deep comprehension of Palestinian rivalries. He puts a clever little fillip on the ending that adds to the brio of this strongly paced thriller. Silva creates complex, fascinating characters in Gabe, Ari, and Tariq, and more than fulfills the promise of his earlier books. –Jane Adams