Every Wednesday we will each share two books that caught our eye from that week’s Mailbox Monday.
We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.
The rustic beauty of a country Christmas fills the Simple Gifts crafts shop, while the Amish residents of Willow Ridge pull together in uncertain times–and in the face of an unexpected homecoming.
Nora Hooley’s shop is abuzz with preparations for the holiday open house, and Rosalyn Riehl is handcrafting wreaths from evergreen boughs, pinecones, and other natural materials. The work is a welcome diversion for the only unmarried daughter of Cornelius Riehl: her gruff dat has been receiving envelopes marked Past Due, leaving dutiful Rosalyn to manage the household’s inexplicably shrinking budget. Then another distraction swaggers into Simple Gifts–blue-jeaned and leather-jacketed, with a reputation that precedes him.
Marcus Hooley hightailed it to Willow Ridge on a wing and a prayer–not that he’s the praying type. He rejected his Amish roots long ago. But behind the bad-boy attitude is a gifted horse trainer who’s counting on some
bent-but-not-broken family ties to throw him a lifeline. He can’t erase his past, but a sparking attraction with strong, spirited Rosalyn holds the promise of a second chance . . . and of shedding light on shadowy secrets to build a bright tomorrow.
“My eye was caught by this simple cover. I’m starting to be ready for Christmas reading (maybe cooling things off). ”
Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero by Christian Di Spigna found at Under My Apple Tree.
A rich and illuminating biography of America’s forgotten Founding Father, the man who fomented rebellion and died heroically at Bunker Hill on the brink of revolution
Little has been known of one of the most important figures in early American history, Dr. Joseph Warren, one of the architects of the colonial rebellion, and a man who might one day have led the country like Washington or Jefferson had he not been martyred at Bunker Hill in 1775. After his death, his life and legend faded, leaving his contemporaries to rise to fame in his place and obscuring his essential role in bringing America to independence. Christian Di Spigna’s definitive new biography of Warren is a loving work of historical excavation, the product of over a decade of research and scores of newly unearthed primary source documents that have given us this forgotten Founding Father anew. Following Warren from his farming childhood and years at Harvard through his professional success and political radicalization, to his role in sparking the rebellion, Di Spigna’s thoughtful, judicious retelling not only restores Warren to his rightful place in the pantheon of Revolutionary greats, it gloriously complicates our understanding of the nation’s dramatic beginnings.
“I like American history and audiobooks make it easier to listen!”
In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein is working five part-time jobs and just scraping by when a posting on Craigslist lands her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama’s stenographers. The ultimate D.C. outsider, she joins the elite team who accompany the president wherever he goes, recorder and mic in hand. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forges friendships with a dynamic group of fellow travelers—young men and women who, like her, leave their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president.
As she learns to navigate White House protocols and more than once runs afoul of the hierarchy, Beck becomes romantically entangled with a consummate D.C. insider, and suddenly the political becomes all too personal.
Against the backdrop of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heart broken, learning what truly matters, and, in the process, discovering her voice.
“I’ve read Stacy Parker Aab’s Government Girl, which is another behind-the-scenes book about the White House, but under the Clinton administration. I think Beck’s story would be equally fascinating.”
Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.
“I love books set before and after WWII, and this one sounds like it will be dramatic.”
Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance.
In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory–surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places.
A bewitching novel of hope and transformation, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.
“I didn’t know Anne Tyler had a new novel out. I always enjoy her books.”
In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet that will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question what it means to be “human”.
“I have had this on my shelf for a while. And yes, I still want to read it!”