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Fiction A to Z April 2014
"Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes."
~ Author Unknown
New and Recently Released!
Bedrock Faith - by Eric Charles May
Publisher: Consortium
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/04/2014
Share Bedrock Faith ISBN-13: 9781617751967
ISBN-10: 1617751960
After 14 years in prison, Gerald "Stew Pot" Reeves has returned home to Parkland, a close-knit, middle-class African American neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. His return terrifies his neighbors, whom he regularly terrorized as a teen. But Stew Pot has changed -- he's still disruptive, but this time his religious fanaticism and judgmental behavior turn out to be just as troublesome as his violence had once been. Told from the perspectives of multiple community members as they try to deal with this new threat to the status quo, this debut creates a strong sense of Parkland as a neighborhood, incorporating both increasing suspense and exquisitely detailed characters and settings.
Bark: Stories - by Lorrie Moore
Publisher: Random House
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 02/25/2014
Share Bark%3a Stories ISBN-13: 9780307594136
ISBN-10: 0307594130
Though the characters in the eight short stories in this collection may be struggling through troubled lives -- whether dealing with divorce or failed careers or mental illness -- they do so with humor, intelligence, and a robust sense of irony. Their situations are realistic and perceptively depicted, sometimes uncomfortably so. The stories vary in length; some are set around distinct political events in the recent past (the invasion of Iraq, President Obama's election), but through them all author Lorrie Moore "brilliantly observes the dead-on sorrow and hilarity of our day-to-day" (MORE magazine).
The Divorce Papers: A Novel - by Susan Rieger
Publisher: Random House
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/18/2014
Share The Divorce Papers%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780804137447
ISBN-10: 0804137447
In this epistolary novel (told not only through letters but also emails, transcripts, office memos, and articles), law associate Sophie Diehl specializes in criminal law, not liking the hand-holding and face-to-face contact required by family law. But when she's the only one available to do an interview in a divorce case, she gets stuck with the entire thing once the client takes a liking to her. Sophie's got to learn some new skills, while also juggling her own romantic life, office politics, and memories of her parents' divorce when she was a child. Combining sharp humor with intriguing and charmingly real characters, this debut is sure to please, though non legal-eagles may feel compelled to skip some of the legal documentation.
The Spinning Heart - by Donal Ryan
Publisher: Random House
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 02/25/2014
Share The Spinning Heart ISBN-13: 9781586422240
ISBN-10: 1586422243
Narrated by unforgettably distinct characters -- one chapter per character -- who relay some of the same events, this dialect-rich novel follows a small Irish town in the aftermath of the country's financial collapse. Their own major employer, a construction company, has folded, bringing about rising tensions and violence as resources become increasingly hard to come by. The narrators, who share their own experiences, also build a picture of one Bobby Mahon, who enjoys a reputation as an upstanding citizen but may not entirely deserve it. Though necessarily bleak and grey, this engaging and occasionally humorous debut won the Guardian First Book Award and may appeal to fans of Tana French's Broken Harbor, which depicts a murder investigation in a similarly stricken Ireland.
Gardens & Gardening
Garden Spells - by Sarah Addison Allen
Publisher: Bantam Discovery
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 04/29/2008
Share Garden Spells ISBN-13: 9780553384833
ISBN-10: 055338483X
In the small North Carolina town of Bascom there stands a house -- and a magical garden -- that has been home to generations of gifted Waverley women. Living there now is successful caterer Claire, who uses edible flowers to create unusual recipes that "affect the eater in curious ways." Her peaceful routine is about to be transformed by the return of her younger sister Sydney, who ran away ten years ago at the age of 18, and by Tyler, the new neighbor next door. A charming read, this book is sure to cast a delightful spell, especially if you enjoy Southern fiction with a touch of magical realism.
The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns - by Margaret Dilloway
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 08/02/2012
Share The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns ISBN-13: 9780399157752
ISBN-10: 0399157751
In her rose garden, prickly, private biology teacher Gal Garner blooms, tending her competition roses -- especially the one she's trying to breed -- with patience and care. On dialysis since she was a child, Gal is an expert at pushing others away, but her solitary and regimented ways come to an abrupt end when her niece, Riley, arrives after her mother takes off for Hong Kong. Though it isn't an easy process, Gal and Riley eventually establish a relationship, and Riley helps Gal learn to connect with and reach out to others. As in Ramsey Hootman's Courting Greta, this exercise in compassion leads to reconciling with family members, participating in community life, and embracing new experiences.
The Savage Garden - by Mark Mills
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/06/2008
Share The Savage Garden ISBN-13: 9780425221297
ISBN-10: 0425221296
In 1958, young Cambridge scholar Adam Strickland is spending his summer in Tuscany researching a famous 16th-century memorial garden. But the more Adam learns about its elaborate landscapes, the more he believes that it hides secrets -- such as the truth behind the death of the woman it memorializes, and possibly clues to a more recent murder. While the family that owns the garden is intrigued by the former theory, Adam's interest in the latter is not met warmly. For a similarly atmospheric tale in which gardens hold the answers to old mysteries, try Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden.
The French Gardener - by Santa Montefiore
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 06/02/2009
Share The French Gardener ISBN-13: 9781416543749
ISBN-10: 1416543740
Miranda, David, and their children have left crowded London for a beautiful if slightly shambolic country estate. But with David spending his weeks in London, their relationship is under even more strain (the kids, too, are struggling). Balancing house, estate, kids (one of whom is terrorizing the neighborhood), career, and a failing marriage, Miranda is delighted when a charming, gentle Frenchman offers to return their gardens to their former glory. As their garden transforms, so too does the family. And there's an intriguing parallel story as well, one that Miranda finds in the diary of the estate's former owner. Readers who truly love the results of hard work in the garden will appreciate both the depictions of Hartington House's gardens and the connections between nature, love, and healing.
The Garden of Happy Endings: A Novel - by Barbara O'Neal
Publisher: Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 04/17/2012
Share The Garden of Happy Endings%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780553386783
ISBN-10: 0553386786
The Reverend Elsa Montgomery has just moved home to Pueblo, CO, after her third crisis of faith following the murder of a teen in her congregation. Her sister, Tamsin, whose husband is being investigated for his involvement in a Ponzi scheme, moves in with her after her own home is seized by police. Both at loose ends and needing to feel useful, they find purpose in their work at a community garden. Led by Father Jack, Elsa's best friend and former fiancé, the garden also attracts the interest of a very good-looking landscaping expert, whose arrival highlights unresolved feelings between Elsa and Jack. Romance readers will feel right at home in this charming tale of the healing power of hard work, fresh air, and nature.
The Barbarian Nurseries - by Hector Tobar
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 09/04/2012
Share The Barbarian Nurseries ISBN-13: 9781250013798
ISBN-10: 1250013798
Scott and Maureen Torres-Thompson live with their two children in a fancy Orange County home, though financial troubles exacerbated by Maureen's wild spending on a garden renovation have forced them to let go of much of their staff. Araceli, the undocumented housekeeper, must now care for the kids. But when both mom and dad disappear for days (taking "breaks" they neglect to tell each other or Araceli about), Araceli attempts to do the right thing by bringing the kids to their grandfather, who lives somewhere in L.A. When Scott and Maureen return to an empty house, they panic and call the cops, provoking a media circus that assumes the Mexican housekeeper has kidnapped the kids. Readers interested in social issues and the disconnect between wealthy Americans and the workers they hire will not want to miss The Barbarian Nurseries.
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