The Boleyn Deceit

The Boleyn Deceit by Laura AndersenTitle: The Boleyn Deceit

Author: Laura Andersen.  This is the sequel to her first novel, The Boleyn King.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Readers: At-home parent Colleen B., retiree Nancy, production coordinator Joanna, and editor Lori.

Summary: After presenting readers with an irresistible premise in The Boleyn King (what if Anne gave birth to a healthy royal boy who would grow up to rule England?) Laura Andersen returns in this deepening saga, into the dangerous world of the Tudor court, where secrets can bring down an empire, and even the strongest of monarchs may not be able to prevent history from repeating…

Our Take: This sequel continues to deliver a frothy re-imagining of English history for fans of Philippa Gregory. We look forward to the third book, coming next summer.

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Longbourn

Title: Longbourn

Author: Jo Baker

Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Readers: Production coordinator Joanna, entrepreneur Julie J., social worker Erin Go Bragh and writer Nan.

Summary: In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice,the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Our Take: It’s a split decision. Half our readers loved this “downstairs” story but the other half were underwhelmed.

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Help for the Haunted

Help for the Haunted by John SearlesTitle: Help for the Haunted

Author: John Searles. He’s the author of two previous suspense novels, including Strange But True.

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Readers: Production coordinator Joanna, event planner Kathy, freelance writer Piper,  small-business owner Samantha and librarian Mary Liz.

Summary: It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping “haunted souls” find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church’s red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter.

As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family’s past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.

Our Take: A ghost story light on the ghost and heavy on the character development. A teenage protagonist we loved. A family story about a very strange family that anyone can relate to.

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Finding Colin Firth

Title: Finding Colin Firth

Author: Mia March. This is her second novel after last year’s The Meryl Streep Movie Club.

Genre: Chick Lit

Readers: Production coordinator Joanna, writer Nan and stay-at-home moms Sarah L. and Megan V.

Summary: From the author of The Meryl Streep Movie Club, a “heart-warming,  spirit-lifting read just in time for beach season” (Kirkus Reviews), comes a new novel about three women, connected in secret and surprising ways, who are  in for a life-changing summer when rumor has it that actor Colin Firth  is coming to their Maine town to film a movie.

After losing her job and leaving her beloved husband, journalist Gemma Hendricks is sure that scoring an interview with Colin Firth will save her career and marriage. Yet a heart-tugging local story about women, family ties, love, and loss captures her heart— and changes everything. The story concerns Bea Crane, a floundering twenty-two-year-old who learns in a deathbed confession letter that she was adopted at birth. Bea is in Boothbay Harbor to surreptitiously observe her biological mother, Veronica Russo—something of a legend in town—who Bea might not be ready to meet after all. Veronica, a thirty-eight-year-old diner waitress famous for her “healing” pies, has come home to Maine to face her past. But when she’s hired as an extra on the bustling movie set, she wonders if she is hiding from the truth . . . and perhaps the opportunity of a real-life Mr. Darcy.

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The Boleyn King

Title: The Boleyn King

Author: Laura Andersen. This is her first novel.

Genre: Historical Fiction.

Readers: Production coordinator Joanna, copy editor Lori, retiree Nancy, stay-at-home mom Colleen B. and homemaker/writer Nan.

Summary: What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII the son he so desperately wanted?

Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William’s mother, Anne Boleyn.

Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king’s desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England’s fortunes forever.

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