Call Me Zelda, Erika Robuck
Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were the darlings of New York and Paris society – for a while. This novel depicts Zelda in the years “after the party,” starting at a psychiatric hospital in Baltimore. Nurse Anna Howard, assigned to Zelda’s care, is drawn to the Fitzgeralds but wary of their magnetism. Anna is a fictional but wonderfully sympathetic character, who bears her own scars from World War I and the years after. An absorbing, bittersweet yet hopeful novel. (I also enjoyed Robuck’s previous book, Hemingway’s Girl.)
The Fleet Street Murders, Charles Finch
When two prominent London journalists are murdered in the same night, gentleman detective Charles Lenox can’t resist investigating – while also attempting to run for Parliament in the north. Dashing back and forth on trains, meeting villagers and reading news reports from London, Lenox has his hands full. A fun twist on a London mystery, and an interesting look at local elections in Victorian times.
Thinking in Numbers: On Life, Love, Meaning, and Math, Daniel Tammet
An autistic savant who has set a world record for the most publicly recited digits of pi, Daniel Tammet sees numbers a bit differently than most people do. In this essay collection, he explores math as it relates to family relationships, poetry, language, chess and other topics. Some of the essays get a bit abstract if you’re not a mathematician, but others are accessible and engaging. To review for Shelf Awareness (out July 30).
A Stranger in Mayfair, Charles Finch
As he adjusts to married life and attempts to launch his career in Parliament, Charles Lenox gets distracted by a case: a footman in the house of an acquaintance has been murdered. Soon, the man who asked Lenox to take the case begins warning him away: what is the family hiding? Cleverly plotted, with lots of twists and (of course) a bit of personal drama. Great fun.
Hungry: What Eighty Ravenous Guys Taught Me About Life, Love, and the Power of Good Food, Darlene Barnes
A former personal chef, Darlene Barnes never expected to become a frat cook. But the six years she spent cooking for the men of Alpha Sigma Phi (and insisting on fresh, local food whenever possible) taught her many lessons, not all of them about food. A fun, snarky inside look at fraternity life and communal eating (with recipes). To review for Shelf Awareness (out August 6).
A Burial at Sea, Charles Finch
Charles Lenox heads to Egypt on a clandestine government mission, only to assume his old detective role when two crew members are murdered. As the Lucy sails southward, Lenox must watch his step as he attempts to find the murderer. A fun journey in a different setting, though I missed Lenox’s family and friends who usually appear.
The Clover House, Henriette Lazaridis Power
Calliope Notaris Brown grew up spending summers with her mother’s relatives in Greece, but hasn’t returned in five years. But when her uncle dies, she must go to claim her inheritance, and try to unravel a web of family secrets. I found Callie frustratingly self-absorbed, but I liked the setting and her family, and enjoyed the flashbacks to the 1940s in Greece.
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