The Book of Lost and Found
By: Lucy Foley
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the publishers via GoodReads First Reads Programme
From London to Corsica to Paris–as a young woman pursues the truth about her late mother, two captivating love stories unfurl.
Kate Darling’s enigmatic mother–a once-famous ballerina–has passed away, leaving Kate bereft. When her grandmother falls ill and bequeaths to Kate a small portrait of a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Kate’s mother, Kate uncovers a mystery that may upend everything she thought she knew.
Kate’s journey to find the true identity of the woman in the portrait takes her to some of the world’s most iconic and indulgent locales, revealing a love story that began in the wild 1920s and was disrupted by war and could now spark new love for Kate. Alternating between Kate’s present-day hunt and voices from the past, THE BOOK OF LOST AND FOUND casts light on family secrets and love-both lost and found.
The Book of Lost and Found sounds like my kind of read: a story about family and secrets and time and place disrupting a chance for happiness, a story involving plenty of travel. I won an ARC of this novel through the GoodReads First Reads programme and it came at a good time as I needed to unwind a bit from all of the studying for my comprehensive exams and summer was slowly rolling in. This book will be available on 25 August 2015.
The Marriage of Opposites
By: Alice Hoffman
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster Canada
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things: a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro—the Father of Impressionism.
Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel’s mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel’s salvation is their maid Adelle’s belief in her strengths, and her deep, life-long friendship with Jestine, Adelle’s daughter. But Rachel’s life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father’s business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.
Building on the triumphs of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things, set in a world of almost unimaginable beauty, The Marriage of Opposites showcases the beloved, bestselling Alice Hoffman at the height of her considerable powers. Once forgotten to history, the marriage of Rachel and Frédérick is a story that is as unforgettable as it is remarkable.
This is the second book by Alice Hoffman that I’ve read. I read Practical Magic (review) a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I tried reading The Probable Future but was immediately turned off about two chapters in with the frustrating mother-daughter dynamics. Nonetheless I was curious to check out her other books as they sounded very interesting. I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This book will be available on 04 August 2015.
Mayors Gone Bad
Edited By: Philip Slayton
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of the publishers via GoodReads First Reads Programme
Mayors Gone Bad, a series of profiles of recent and current Canadian mayors gone amok, is an entertaining companion volume to the bestselling Lawyers Gone Bad. Whether they’ve misappropriated funds, had cosy relationships with Mafia hoods, been caught with prostitutes, or admitted to smoking crack, Canada’s mayors are a colourful collection: Peter Kelly, long-serving mayor of Halifax, driven from office by investigative reporting of ethical lapses; Gerard Tremblay of Montreal resigned in suspicious circumstances; Michael Applebaum of Montreal faces criminal charges of fraud; Gilles Vaillancourt of Laval also resigned and faces similar criminal charges; Alexandre Duplessis of Laval left after a hooker scandal; Joe Fontana was convicted of fraud and is under house arrest; Susan Fennell of Brampton was under police investigation for possible criminal use of city funds; Sam Katz of Winnipeg was dogged throughout his mayoralty by conflict-of-interest allegations; and Rob Ford made headlines across North America as “the crack-smoking mayor of Toronto.”
But it’s not all bad news: Philip Slayton writes about the “western triangle of mayoral goodness,” Nenshi of Calgary, Iveson of Edmonton, and Robertson of Vancouver. Also, Slayton features four foreign mayors who have made an impact: Jón Gnarr of Reykjavik, Boris Johnson of London, Michael Bloomberg of New York, and Anne Hidalgo of Paris. Aside from creating a rogues’ gallery of mayors, Slayton offers insight into the nature of municipal government in Canada and speculates about why people seek the office of mayor. Little real power is exercised by any mayor, but the abuses of that power are nonetheless significant. As well, Slayton provides a series of proposals to reform municipal government. Written with the dry wit that made Lawyers Gone Bad a national bestseller, Slayton’s new book is an eye-opening look at how we are governed.
Despite having studied political science in my undergrad programme, I never really paid attention to municipal politics save for the odd by-law they wanted to introduce. It just never really interested me. And when it did enter my attention, it’s usually some craziness, like the Rob Ford fiasco (I talked about it a year ago or so in a post as suddenly council meetings became a whole lot more colourful). But it’s not just what was happening in Toronto; I was hearing news from places like Montreal and Laval where mayors were also being busted for criminal and unethical behaviour. So I was very much intrigued when I discovered this book on Goodreads as, omg, there were a lot of cases of Canadian mayors doing crazy things. I won an ARC of this book via GoodReads giveaways. This book was published on 19 May 2015.
The Sunken Cathedral
By: Kate Walbert
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA via the GoodReads First Reads programme
Marie and Simone, friends for decades, were once immigrants to the city, survivors of World War II in Europe. Now widows living alone in Chelsea, they remain robust, engaged, and adventurous, even as the vistas from their past interrupt their present. Helen is an art historian who takes a painting class with Marie and Simone. Sid Morris, their instructor, presides over a dusty studio in a tenement slated for condo conversion; he awakes the interest of both Simone and Marie. Elizabeth is Marie’s upstairs tenant, a woman convinced that others have a secret way of being, a confidence and certainty she lacks. She is increasingly unmoored—baffled by her teenage son, her husband, and the roles she is meant to play.
I’ve never read anything by this author but it was the premise that caught my attention. It sounded interesting–about a pair of friends who survived the Second World War and living now in New York City. I was pleasantly surprised to learn I had won an ARC of this novel via GoodReads. This book will be available in 09 June 2015.
By: Catherine Chanter
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA
From the winner of the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, a brilliantly haunting and suspenseful debut set in modern-day Britain where water is running out everywhere except at The Well—the farm of one seemingly ordinary family whose mysterious good fortune leads to suspicion, chaos, and ultimately a shocking act of violence.
Ruth Ardingly has just been released from prison to serve out a sentence of house arrest for arson and suspected murder at her farm, The Well. Beyond its borders, some people whisper she is a witch; others a messiah. For as soon as Ruth returns to The Well, rain begins to fall on the farm. And it has not rained anywhere else in the country in over three years.
Ruth and her husband Mark had moved years before from London to this ancient idyll in the hopes of starting their lives over. But then the drought began, and as the surrounding land dried up and died, and The Well grew lush and full of life, they came to see their fortune would come at a price. From the envy of their neighbors to the mandates of the government, from the fanaticism of a religious order called the Sisters of the Rose to the everyday difficulties of staying close as husband and wife, mother and child—all these forces led to a horrifying crime: the death of their seven-year-old grandson, drowned with cruel irony in one of the few ponds left in the countryside.
Now back at The Well, Ruth must piece together the tragedy that shattered her marriage, her family, and her dream. For she believes her grandson’s death was no accident, and that the murderer is among the people she trusted most. Alone except for her guards on a tiny green jewel in a world rapidly turning to dust, Ruth begins to confront her worst fears and learns what really happened in the dark heart of The Well.
I found out about this book from the publishers. It sounded interesting, a mix of suspense and a post-apocalyptic world of sorts. I was provided with an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book will be available on 19 May 2015.