Tracy Chevalier’s latest book At the Edge of the Orchard is set in the 1830’s and 1850’s in Ohio and California. One of the reasons that I like to read historical fiction is that I learn new things. And I learned new things about apple trees, redwoods, sequoias, and the real life people--Johnny Appleseed, William Lobb, and Billie Lapham from At the Edge of the Orchard.
Sherryl Woods is one of my all-time favorite authors. If you enjoy reading appealing, character-driven stories infused with the flavor and fragrance of the South, her Sweet Magnolia novels can't be beat. I just finished Where Azaleas Bloom and could not put it down. With all the turmoil in the world today, sometimes it helps to escape to a small town setting where everyone pulls together to help those in need.
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.
School's finally out and now it's time for summer vacation road trips. Nothing makes a road trip fly by faster than listening to a great story on audio while you drive. The Fond du Lac Public Library has a great collection of books on CD and playaways, with everything from the latest James Patterson thriller to family friendly titles guaranteed to entertain.
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.
The Fond du Lac Public Library Summer Reading Program starts today and it is for the entire family! How does it work? It is so easy. Simply sign up online or go to any library desk, at the Main Library or FDLPL Express. You will be given a card with circles on it. Read anything you like − books, magazines, audiobooks, comics - and mark off a circle on your card for every 30 minutes you read. When it's full, bring the card to any library location and get a prize. In addition, all adults' cards are entered into weekly prize drawings. There are 4 cards total and the prizes are awesome.
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.
Check out the display on family saga novels at the Library! Family is a common theme for stories and a popular theme for readers. Among the titles on display is I Gave My Heart to Know This by Ellen Baker. This is a good book for anyone who likes family sagas and anyone who likes to read books with a Wisconsin connection.