Heading to the beach this summer? The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews would make a perfect beach read. Set on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina, the author takes us on a wild ride of secrets, betrayal and deception. Written in her trademark blend of humor and warmth, and with characters and a setting you can't help but fall in love with, this book is a perfect summer escape.
I was drawn to the debut novelDodgers by Bill Beverly because of the great reviews and the possibility that there was a Wisconsin connection. There is not much of a Wisconsin connection, but I am happy that I read this novel. Main character East is a 15-year-old black teen living in Los Angeles who is a lookout for his uncle Fin’s drug house. When the house is raided, East is told to go with 3 other young men to kill a judge who was a key witness and who is hiding out in Wisconsin.
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith is inspired by a real-life 17th century female Dutch painter and alternates with the fictional story of a woman who was an art student in the 1950s. The character of Sara de Vos is based on the real Sarah van Baalbergen who was the first woman to be admitted to the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke in the Netherlands in 1631.
Popular Wisconsin author Jane Hamilton has written another book--The Excellent Lombards--a humorous story about family relations and growing up and featuring an endearing main character and a bittersweet ending. Set in the 1990s, main character Mary Frances Lombard (also known as Frankie or Francie) lives with her parents Jim and Nellie and her brother William in southeastern Wisconsin on their farmland.
If you are a fan of Jane Austen's works you might enjoy these authors' modern versions of some of her greatest classics. I finished Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld this weekend and I have to say I was impressed. The story was very well written and the author has some thoughtful commentary on modern society, which I think Miss Austen would have appreciated.
The second installment in her paperback Mystic Creek series, New Leaf by Catherine Anderson is another excellent read by one of my favorite authors. It is most definitely a romance novel, but the book also touches on some very real social issues trending in the world today; attitudes toward law enforcement officers, as well as how wealth and dishonesty can affect court decisions. I think the author addresses these issues in a very real and believable way.
If you like suspenseful stories with alternating chapters of "then" and "now", Just Fall by Nina Sadowsky should be your next read. The first few chapters get you hooked. There are two newlyweds, a shocking confession, and a murder scene in two different locations, New York and St. Lucia, and you will fight the urge to jump ahead because each chapter gives you just a little bit more of the story and leaves you hanging. Although the story is a bit grizzly at times it is an overall thrilling tale from beginning to end.
The first line of this debut novel, Contrary Motion by Andy Mozina, sets the tone for the story: “I’m a Midwesterner, born and raised in Milwaukee, where they manufacture beer and the heavy machinery you should not operate while drinking it.” Main character Matt Grzbc (pronounced Ger-bik) is a harpist barely getting by living in Chicago. He is divorced from Milena but isn’t really over her even though he has a new girlfriend, Cynthia.
You know it is a good book when you stay up way past your bedtime to finish reading it because you just have to know how it ends. That was my situation last night with The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart. This thought provoking and suspenseful novel is about an old woman's curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her new neighbor's complicated and cloaked life. Mystery and intrigue build as each chapter unfolds and I could not put it down.
Time travel is a fascinating idea to people. Time and Time Again by Ben Elton is a new absorbing and thought-provoking novel that takes a look at the idea of time travel and what would happen if something were changed. British Special Forces ex-soldier Hugh Stanton is mourning the loss of his wife and two children who were killed by a hit-and-run vehicle.