Title: In Love (This is a re-issue of the novel, which was first published in 1953.)
Author: Alfred Hayes. Hayes wrote screenplays, novels and poetry from the 40’s to the 70’s.
Genre: Literary fiction
Readers: Retiree Sulyn, publishing professional Gigi, professor Michal, stay-at-home mom Megan V. and communications director Barbara.
Summary: New York in the 1950s. A man on a barstool is telling a story about a woman he met in a bar, early married and soon divorced, her child farmed out to her parents, good-looking, if a little past her prime. They’d gone out, they’d grown close, but as far as he was concerned it didn’t add up to much. He was a busy man. Then one day, out dancing, she runs into a rich awkward lovelorn businessman. He’ll pay for her to be his, pay her a lot. And now the narrator discovers that he is as much in love with her as she is with him, perhaps more, though it will take him a while to realize just how utterly lost he is.
Our Take: Like a lot of literary fiction, there were people who loved it passionately and those who didn’t connect to it. Take a look at what they have to say to get an idea of where you may fit in.
Title: The Light in the Ruins
Author: Chris Bohjalian. He is the author of several books, including Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Readers: Editor Kristina, retiree Nancy, attorney Elizabeth H. and professor Michal.
Summary: 1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.
1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.
Title: Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century
Author: Peter Graham
Readers: Writer/Editors Kristina and Denise, stay-at-home mom A Military Mommy and professor Michal.
Summary: On June 22, 1954, teenage friends Juliet Hulme—better known as bestselling mystery writer Anne Perry—and Pauline Parker went for a walk in a New Zealand park with Pauline’s mother, Honora. Half an hour later, the girls returned alone, claiming that Pauline’s mother had had an accident. But when Honora Parker was found in a pool of blood with the brick used to bludgeon her to death close at hand, Juliet and Pauline were quickly arrested, and later confessed to the killing. Their motive? A plan to escape to the United States to become writers, and Honora’s determination to keep them apart. Their incredible story made shocking headlines around the world and would provide the subject for Peter Jackson’s Academy Award–nominated film, Heavenly Creatures.
A sensational trial followed, with speculations about the nature of the girls’ relationship and possible insanity playing a key role. Among other things, Parker and Hulme were suspected of lesbianism, which was widely considered to be a mental illness at the time. This mesmerizing book offers a brilliant account of the crime and ensuing trial and shares dramatic revelations about the fates of the young women after their release from prison. With penetrating insight, this thorough analysis applies modern psychology to analyze the shocking murder that remains one of the most interesting cases of all time.
Title: All the Summer Girls
Author: Meg Donohue
Genre: Chick Lit
Readers: Professor Michal, media professional Denise, blogger From Grind to Whine Stacey and stay-at-home mom Shawna.
Summary: In Philadelphia, good girl Kate is dumped by her fiance the day she learns she is pregnant with his child. In New York City, beautiful stay-at-home mom Vanessa is obsessively searching the Internet for news of an old flame. And in San Francisco, Dani, the aspiring writer who can’t seem to put down a book–or a cocktail–long enough to open her laptop, has just been fired…again.
In an effort to regroup, Kate, Vanessa, and Dani retreat to the New Jersey beach town where they once spent their summers. Emboldened by the seductive cadences of the shore, the women being to realize how much their lives, and friendships, have been shaped by the choices they made one fateful night on the beach eight years earlier–and the secrets that only now threaten to surface.
Title: A Demon Lies Within
Author: Tony Hubbard. This is his first novel.
Readers: Professor Michal, editor Kristina, victim advocate MJ and prosecutor Rochelle.
Summary: Following his murder, Andrew McMurray finds himself transported to the depths of hell. There he is indoctrinated as an apprentice to a demon master, Sonneillon. Exposing Andrew to the dark reaches of his evil powers, Sonneillon demonstrates a demons’ ability to posses, torment and control the thoughts and actions of the living. Andrew’s ultimate goal following his apprenticeship? Revenge on his wife, Katelyn and young son, Joshua, both of whom he holds responsible for his murder.
As Katelyn rebuilds her life, following her husbands’ death, she meets Michael Gordon, a recent escapee from Corporate America, who has his own troubled, tragic past. As their relationship grows, they realize they share something more than their burgeoning love for one another — the powers of hell have deeply impacted their pasts. Evil continues to insinuate itself into the pair’s lives, bringing with it haunting and unspeakable horrors.