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Staff Picks

November/December 2022

A House Among the Trees
by Julia Glass

How much do you know about the people you are closest to or about yourself? These are the questions that arise from this character-driven novel by Julia Glass. I found myself absorbed by the well-developed characters that inhabit this quiet but powerful novel. Tomasina, the assistant to Mort, a famous children’s author/illustrator, finds herself Mort’s executor when he dies suddenly at the story’s beginning. Secrets are brought to light and Tommy must grapple with her life choices and relationships. I love the inner dialogues that go on with all the colorful people that Tommy and Mort interact with throughout the story that goes back and forth in time. An enjoyable read.

~ Mary W.

Wild is the Witch
by Rachel Griffin

YA, enemies to friends to???

Witches are a part of society, but after a tragic accident and a move to a new state, Iris keeps the fact she is a witch a secret.  That all might change when she unleashes a curse and needs the help of her co-worker Pike to save an owl which is the key to keeping the curse from wreaking havoc on the pacific northwest.

~ Lisa S.

Hotel Portofino
by J.P. O’Connell

English ex-pat Bella Ainsworth has just fulfilled her lifelong dream, opening a luxury boutique hotel on the stunning Italian Riviera. However, things are hardly smooth sailing at Hotel Portofino. Between corrupt local politicians trying to shut her down, the political storm surrounding Mussolini’s dictatorship, and a host of difficult and demanding guests, Bella certainly has her hands full.

Hotel Portofino is an intriguing period piece filled with interesting characters, and everyone at Hotel Portofino, including the owners, has their secrets. A perfect novel to cozy up with on a chilly fall day; the characters of Hotel Portofino will capture your interest from beginning to end.

~ Melissa O.

The Book Eaters
by Sunyi Dean

“For here was the thing that no fairy tale would ever admit, but that she understood in that moment: love was not inherently good.”

In northern England, there is a race of people whose only source of sustenance is that of the written word; these individuals nourish themselves by eating books and retaining the knowledge from the texts they consume. Devon, Princess of the Fairweather clan, has been born and raised in a society where women are few and protected at all costs. Raised on a diet of entirely fairytales and happy endings, Devon rarely suffers the consequences of misbehavior in her adolescence. With the birth of her son, she is thrust into the reality that life isn’t always happy endings and the price of protecting what she loves is one she may not be able to afford.

There is a lot to love in this book! It was fun and adventurous, with Devon and her son being chased around the U.K. This story is truly about motherhood and the lengths that mothers go to to protect their children.  Dean masterfully makes use of Past and Present timelines which avoids our characters telling us what happened and shows us instead. This is a very fun and quick read.

~ Danielle H.M.

The Good Sister
by Sally Hepworth

Rose and Fern are two sisters who are always there for each other.  Rose is the responsible one, who always protects Fern.  Fern loves her job at a library and is more unusual.  She wears bright clothes, usually decorated with rainbows and unicorns.  She has a strict routine, is literal, blunt, and wears goggles and earpods to protect herself from sensory overload when she has to be in crowds.  We learn through Rose’s diary that their childhood was difficult.  Their mother was abusive and neglectful, often pitting the two sisters against each other.

Rose has always looked out for Fern, and now Fern wants to pay her back.  Rose discovers she cannot get pregnant, and Fern decides she will have a baby and give it to Rose.  This plan leads the sisters to confront some dark secrets from their past, and it becomes apparent that all is not as it seems with one of the sisters.

This engaging domestic thriller is at times laugh-out-loud funny, at times sad, and always driven forward by the interactions of delightful characters.

~ Noreen G.

Realm Breaker
by Victoria Aveyard

Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard is a high fantasy book with pirates, monsters, immortals, epic battles, and much more. Corayne is the daughter of an infamous pirate queen who yearns for adventure on the open sea. However, when her mother rejects her offer of joining the crew, she quickly finds her own adventure when she learns that she is the only living descendant of a very powerful bloodline. Hunted across kingdoms, Corayne gathers together a ragtag group of misfits to help in her quest to save the world. It gives off a vibe of Six of Crows meets Lord of the Rings.

~ Jenny T.