No, this is not some scary Halloween story. The unusual title Washing the Dead refers to a sacred Jewish ritual, and in this novel the ritual helps to strengthen the bond between mothers and daughters. Set in Milwaukee and alternating between the 1970s and 2009, main character Barbara is a teen in 1973 who is being raised in an Orthodox Jewish family. Their shul (church) is in an old mansion that was donated anonymously and also provides the living quarters for the rabbi's family.
For Angie Morse, what begins as a beautiful evening off the Turkish coast at a party on a large luxury yacht ends with attempted murder and a quest for revenge. Standing on the yacht's deck enjoying the sunset, someone hits her over the head with a champagne bottle and pushes her over the side. The yacht pulls away and those on deck appear to turn their backs on her. How can that be? These are her friends, and one is her love, or so she thought. At that moment, Angie vows to survive and get even with those who did this to her - one way or another.
Currently there are 2 books on the New York Times bestseller list with World War II settings: All the Light We Cannot Seeby Anthony Doerr (72 weeks on the list) and Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (33 weeks on the list). World War II remains a popular setting for novels with a diversity of plots, characters, and styles.
Those intrigued by the current political atmosphere may find Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams an interesting read. Set in the mid-60s, it captures the world of politics and gives the reader a glimpse into what it can be like living under a microscope. Family dynamics play a large role in the book but there are also political agendas, secrets, lies and betrayals, and secret love affairs. The time frames switches back and forth between 1964 and 1966, but both stories are beautifully intertwined.
Bestseller Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal is a good novel for foodies and for people who are familiar with the Twin Cities. If you like food—church basement suppers, high-end locally sourced gourmet ingredients, or county fair bake-off bars—this is a tasty treat. If you are familiar with the Twin Cities you will enjoy references to St. Paul’s Farmer’s Market, First Avenue, Loring Park, and Seward Co-op.
Hopeless romantics everywhere will want to add Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas to their reading list. It is a wonderfully romantic story guaranteed to warm your heart. Although this might be the fourth book in the author's Travis Family series, it still does well as a standalone and proves that you don't always need high drama to keep things interesting. It has been years since I read the last one but with back stories perfectly woven in I had no problem catching up with the Travis clan.
Last Bus to Wisdom is a charming, funny, heartwarming, and autobiographical novel set mainly in Montana and briefly in Manitowoc. Donal is an eleven-year-old orphan living in Montana with his grandmother who is a cook on the Double W ranch. In the summer of 1951, his grandmother needs surgery, and Donal is sent on the Greyhound Bus (which he calls the dog bus) to Manitowoc to stay with his Great Aunt Kate and Great Uncle Herman.
What a wild ride! Author Jackie Collins is an expert at creating a perfect blend of sex, ambition, drugs, alcohol, mayhem and murder, and she delivers exactly that in her latest novel, The Santangelos. The characters are strongly developed with lots of flaws and faults (and scandals). Collins is known for giving her readers an unrivaled insider's knowledge of Hollywood and the glamorous lives and loves of the rich, famous, and... infamous!
The Finnish Girlis an absorbing tale of loss, regrets, and secrets that highlights the little known history of Finns in Wisconsin. The novel opens in 1983 on a farm in far northern Wisconsin as fourteen year old Danny discovers that his mother Lempi has committed suicide. The story then backtracks to Milwaukee in 1967 when Lempi is thirty-four years old and working at fictional Bremen College. Her mentor, Pauline, from her hometown of Clover helped her get a job there.
The title may sound like a typical beach read, but Summer Secrets by Jane Green is a rich, well developed story about how alcohol and its related disease and addiction can impact generations of a family across an ocean and on two continents. Anyone reading this book will relate to something as it deals with the heart and soul of society and real life issues. It is a sensitive and honest account and the author has made it as true as anyone could make it.