I preordered this novel last August, so it was a long wait. And completely worth it. A dual-time narrative set in post-war London and present-day Toronto, this is the lovely story of two best friends embroidering Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown and a granddaughter searching for her Nan’s past through a set of inherited embroideries. This work of fiction was well researched, and I enjoyed that Robson wrote of several real people to add realism and substance to her story. The history and symbolism of “The gown of the century” were fascinating, and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel of friendship, hardship, and hope.
This delightful cozy mystery just released in paperback, and features the real-life Mitford family solving an actual unsolved cold case - with the twist of added fictional characters and the fun of a well thought out and feasible solution. Florence Nightingale Shore was found murdered on a train, and Nancy Mitford and the family's new nanny Louisa are determined to find out why... It's a classic British upstairs-downstairs story. If you enjoyed Downton Abbey, this is for you.
I've written several reviews for Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series, but this one not only kept me up all night - twice - but almost made me late for work as I raced to finish it. What a page turner! Armand is not only trying to solve the murder of Constance Ouellet, the last of the world-famous quintuplets, but to hold his homicide department together while he investigates unimaginable corruption at the highest levels of Quebec's government. Penny writes with a gorgeous sense of place, and she shakes up the personal lives of even her main characters - to the point that reading the series out of order would lead to confusion. This book was definitely a favorite, as a long-running thread finally came to an explosive head. Wow!
This was on my in-store wish list, and since I didn't actually receive it on Christmas day, I thought I'd better gift myself. (In a side note, oddly, I hardly every receive books for Christmas anymore. I think it's a job hazard) But I love this one. It's done in two-page spreads, by President Obama's former chief photographer, and is a contrast in the personalities of two very different men. The current president's Tweets, quotes, and pictures are on one side, and President Obama's is on the other, along with a caption - admittedly, often a snarky one - by Pete Souza. This book is, of course, not for everyone, but it makes me smile every time.
I love this book about Business Pig, the pig with a resume, bookkeeping skills, and a plan. Jasper is different than the other animals, and can't seem to get adopted, no matter how many flow charts he presents. That is, until the day he meets a girl with above average skills just like his, and they agree on a contract. This sweet and funny picture book with whimsical illustrations is featured in our holiday catalog and makes a wonderful gift to an aspiring Master or Mistress of the Universe.
This fun trio of mysteries has released every year for the past few, and up this year is Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross with their respective amateur detectives Lucy Stone, Haley Powell, and Julia Snowden. These short, cozy novelettes are the perfect easy antidote to the busyness of the season - like visiting old friends. And there are a few festive recipes included. It's really the perfect way to spend a quiet afternoon or evening after the shopping is done.
The store is decorated, Black Friday is over, and now I'm in full-on Christmas mode. This book will certainly help. It's packed with delicious ideas for snacks, desserts, holiday meals, craft and gift ideas, and - of course - cookies. All are a bit festive and special, and none are complicated, meaning really anyone can manage them even during a busy month. First to try on my own list? Brunch Puff with Sausage Gravy. And all of the cookies...
Many of you have probably read Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swenson mysteries (or at least watched them on the Hallmark Channel), because she's been writing them for years. And she often puts one out at Christmas time. This one is fun, because it goes way back - to before Hannah owned the Cookie Jar, and was a young adult living in her mother's home after college. We learn of her dream to open her own bakery, but also of her mystery-solving side as she tackles the old notebooks of Essie Granger, a crime fiction writer currently in hospice care. This is a very fun holiday prequel to a long-running mystery series.
I do love Martha. She just does everything very, very well. I especially love her when she's cooking with Snoop...but that another subject. I've had a copy of the classic Fix It and Forget It for years, but I was ready for something a bit more elevated. And this is it. Think Duck Confit and Chicken Tagine rather than tuna casserole. These are not necessarily the easiest of recipes, because Martha refused to sacrifice flavor and texture for speed, but the ones I've tried have been exceptional. My first was the homemade chicken stock - completely worth the time. This is going to be my new go-to for busy days.
Full disclosure: This is my first Jodi Picoult. That surprises people sometimes, because Jodi is a many times over bestselling author, and I am, after all, a bookseller. She, however, does a fine job of selling her own books. I couldn't resist the subject matter of this one, though, and I was not disappointed. A gunman has taken hostages in a women's health clinic - a too-frequent ripped from the headlines scenario. What makes this novel unique is that it plays out in a reverse time period. And although one might have preconceived notions about those in the clinic, which include not only the angry gunman, but also the hostage negotiator's teenage daughter, his sister, a patient, and a right to life fanatic, no one's story is exactly what it seems. And all are intended to shake up our own ideas. This was certainly thought-provoking and, I think, very well done.