One Man’s Meat, E.B. White
I loved these witty, succinct, often wry vignettes from White about life on his Maine farm. (They appeared in a column in Harper’s Magazine in the late 1930s and early 1940s.) He muses on agriculture, chickens, politics, county fairs, the vagaries of dachshunds and the difficulties of being a writer-cum-farmer. After reading his essays, his letters and this collection, I still want more.
Out of the Easy, Ruta Sepetys
I picked this up on our recent trip to NYC, and loved the story of Josie Moraine, set in 1950s New Orleans. The daughter of a prostitute, Josie dreams of attending Smith College, even while she earns money cleaning a brothel and working in a bookshop. But when a handsome tourist is murdered, Josie’s links to the investigation threaten to wipe out her dreams. A richly atmospheric setting, with colorful characters and a sassy, resourceful heroine. (I also loved Sepetys’ debut, Between Shades of Gray.)
Leaving Everything Most Loved, Jacqueline Winspear
Maisie Dobbs‘ 10th adventure finds her investigating the murders of two Indian women in London, and weighing some big personal questions. As Maisie tries to untangle the web surrounding Usha Pramal and her friends and employers, she also worries over her two employees and her own personal life. Well written, fascinating and layered, like all Winspear’s books. Look for a fuller review in late March, in conjunction with TLC Book Tours, and a review in Shelf Awareness. (Out March 26.)
Leave the Grave Green, Deborah Crombie
The third mystery featuring Scotland Yard partners Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James concerns a suspicious drowning case. Several members of the victim’s well-connected family are keeping secrets, and even as Kincaid is attracted to the deceased’s estranged wife, he and Gemma realize that their relationship is far from simple. A so-so mystery, but I am now officially hooked on the series because I have to find out what happens next with Duncan and Gemma. (Recommended by Jessica.)
Palisades Park, Alan Brennert
I loved Brennert’s two previous novels, Honolulu and Moloka’i. This one traces the history of a New Jersey amusement park (a beloved part of the author’s childhood) through assorted real and fictional characters. The plot centers on Eddie Stopka and his wife Adele, who run a French fry stand at the park, and their children, Toni and Jack, who grow up among the park workers. The Depression, World War II and the beginning of the civil rights era bring changes for both the park and the Stopkas. Brennert deftly intertwines their stories, evoking the smells and sights of a bygone world. To review for Shelf Awareness (out April 9).
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