At Mailbox Monday we encourage participants to not only share the books they received, but to check out the books others have received. Each week will share a few Books That Caught Our Eye from that weeks’ Mailbox Monday.
We encourage you to share the books that caught your eye in the comments.
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In 1939, Giacinta sets sail from Italy to Australia. Decades later, a granddaughter discovers the true story of her family… A stunningly crafted novel of family, secrets and facing adversity, perfect for readers of Victoria Purman.
Imagine marrying someone you’ve never met …
When Sofie comes to stay with her grandmother in Stanthorpe, she knows little of Nonna Gia’s past. In the heat of that 1984 summer, the two clash over Gia’s strict Italian ways and superstitions, her chilli-laden spaghetti and the evasive silence surrounding Sofie’s father, who died before she was born. Then Sofie learns Gia had an arranged marriage. From there, the past begins to reveal why no-one will talk of her father.
As Nonna Gia cooks, furtively adding a little more chilli each time, she also begins feeding Sofie her stories. How she came to Australia on a ‘bride ship’, among many proxy brides, knowing little about the husbands they had married from afar. Most arriving to find someone much different than described.
Then, as World War II takes over the nation, and in the face of the growing animosity towards Italians that sees their husbands interned, Gia and her friends are left alone. Impoverished. Desperate. To keep their farms going, their only hope is banding together, along with Edie, a reclusive artist on the neighbouring farm and two Women’s Land Army workers. But the venture is made near-impossible by the hatred towards the women held by the local publican and an illicit love between Gia and an Australian, Keith.
The summer burns on and the truth that unfolds is nothing like what Sofie expected…
“This is another ‘mail order bride’ story that seems to have a twist.”
Blown by the Same Wind by John Straley found at Book Dilettante
Mysterious dreams of grizzly bears, a bumbling FBI agent, and a tense hostage negotiation have the town of Cold Storage, Alaska, turned upside down.
Things in the fishing town of Cold Storage, Alaska, are changing. It’s the summer of 1968; the men are wearing their hair long, the Vietnam War is at its height, and multiple assassinations have gripped the country. But some things remain the same. Ellie’s bar is still the place to catch up on the town gossip, and there’s a lot to talk about, from the boys who have returned from the war (and the ones who haven’t), to the robberies that are plaguing the locals, to the new guy in town: a famous monk from Kentucky.
Ellie, herself a fugitive of sorts, is curious about this “Brother Louis,” and worries about his motives, but he seems harmless enough. However, when a handful of other outsiders arrive to town and start poking around the bar and asking questions, Ellie begins to have reservations. Have they followed this mysterious monk, rumored to be the famous author Thomas Merton, to Cold Storage? And what is it that they want, particularly the inept FBI agent with the strange name: Boston Corbot?
Inspired by assassination conspiracy theories, the life of Thomas Merton, and the changing tide of the ’60s, Blown by the Same Wind is a coming-of-age story for the town of Cold Storage as a whole.
“I am really drawn to this cover…and I like the setting in Alaska.”
When her estranged aunt Dahlia dies, single mother Lily Lindgren is surprised to inherit the family home and cranberry farm. Returning to Dune Island for the first time since Dahlia admitted to a terrible betrayal that shattered Lily’s trust in her family, she’s ready to sell up and finally create a stable future for her little boy. But her high-school crush and farm manager Jake Benson is determined to stop Lily’s plan…
After helping Dahlia turn part of the house into a local produce store, Jake shared her dream of making the cranberry farm a community hub for the island. His stories about Dahlia, and how much she had missed Lily all these years, make Lily question if she was wrong to never forgive her aunt. And when Jake joins her long walks over the sand dunes, there’s an undeniable spark… could a move to Dune Island be the key to her and her son’s happiness?
But then, clearing out Dahlia’s bedroom, Lily finds an old picture of Dahlia that stops her in her tracks. Just when she was making peace with Dahlia’s memory and learning to trust again, Lily’s heart is shattered to find she was keeping another secret. Can Lily trust Jake to tell her the painful truth—or will she run from Dune Island again for good?
“I just love books with family secrets!”
Calabria, Italy, 1936
In a remote farming village nestled in the mountains that descend into the sparkling Ionian Sea, young and spirited Giulia Tallariti longs for something more. While she loves her home and her lively family, she would much rather follow in her nonna’s footsteps and pursue her dream of becoming a healer.
But as Mussolini’s focus shifts to the war in Europe, civil unrest looms. Whispers of war are at every corner and her beloved village, once safe from the fascist agenda of the North, is now in very real danger.
Caught between her desire to forge her own path and her duty to her family, Giulia must draw on the passion in her heart and the strength of her conviction. Can she find a way to fulfill her dreams or will the echoes of war drown out her voice?
“Yup, WWII era books catch my eye every time.”
Young Gabrielle came from a poor family, was orphaned at age 12, and learned to sew in a convent school. She worked as a seamstress and sang in cabarets, where she was given the nickname Coco.
This story—and the remarkable career that followed—is exuberantly told in Isabel Pin’s simple yet detailed illustrations. Young readers will learn about Coco’s beginnings as a hat designer, and how her earliest creations presaged the concept of sportswear.
They’ll learn about her iconic designs— the little black dress, the impeccable suit, the squared-off perfume bottle, and the acclaimed logo. And they will learn how a freethinking young artist who freed women from the corsets and extravagant ornamentations of the early 20th century grew into a ferociously ambitious designer who staged her own comeback at the age of 70.
Whether they are interested in the history of fashion, or looking for encouragement to pursue their own dreams, young readers will find this entertaining biography both fascinating and inspiring.
“I want to see the artwork in this book.”
A deliciously sly, compulsively readable tale about greed, power and the world’s most devious family.
When Alana Shropshire’s seventy-six-year-old father, Ed, starts dating Kelly, his twenty-eight-year-old nurse, a flurry of messages arrive from Alana’s brothers, urging her to help “protect Dad” from the young interloper. Alana knows that what Teddy and Martin really want to protect is their father’s fortune, and she tells them she couldn’t care less about the May–December romance. Long estranged from her privileged family, Alana, a hardworking single mom, has more important things to worry about.
But when Ed and Kelly’s wedding is announced, Teddy and Martin kick into hyperdrive and persuade Alana to fly to their father’s West Coast island retreat to perform one simple task in their plan to make the gold digger go away. Kelly, however, proves a lot more wily than expected, and Alana becomes entangled in an increasingly dangerous scheme full of secrets and surprises. Just how far will her siblings go to retain control?
“Ooo, the secrets and surprises.”
What books caught your eye this week?