Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour, by Alan Titchmarsh (2016, 2018)

Contemporary Fiction
Adult

Mr Gandy's Grand Tour, by Alan Titchmarsh

How has life come to this for Timothy Gandy? Forced into early retirement at just 55, he is facing the fact that his marriage is in trouble, even if he’s the only one who realizes it. They’ve grown so far apart Tim wonders if Isobel would even notice if he left. At least a pending grandchild offers promise of future joy. But when Tim is unexpectedly made free, he struggles to find his role. Stumbling across an old journal, he decides to take a Grand Tour of Europe, having never been able to indulge his dreams of travel. Youngest daughter Rosie is glad for him and son Oliver strongly objects to wasting the future inheritance. Middle child Alice? The distant daughter is rarely in touch, so who knows?

Read More »
Advertisements

The Saturday Night Ghost Club, by Craig Davidson (2018)

Mystery
Adult

I grew up reading and loving the great scary stories for kids – books by John Bellairs, Lois Duncan, and of course all the Alfred Hitchcock compilations I could find – Haunted Houseful, Spooky Stories, etc. I still enjoy a good ghost story, and have a couple go-to ones I used for storytelling when high school classes visited my library. So when I spotted this title on the new book display at my library, I snapped it up. Another library user raised an eyebrow at the title: “Sounds youthful.” Indeed it is, because as Davidson writes, children are eager believers, and it’s something we lose as we age: “That magic gets kicked out of you, churched out, shamed out — or worse, you steal it from yourself.”

Read More »

Transcription, by Kate Atkinson (2018)

Historical Fiction
Adult

Transcription, by Kate Atkinson

The author of Life After Life returns with what is overtly a British World War II spy novel, filled with espionage, double agents, secrets,  lies, and eventually murder. But it is also a spectacular commentary on the many lives of womanhood. Opening (and closing) in 1981 when Juliet Armstrong is hit by a car, the bulk of the book shifts back and forth between 1940 and 1950. Juliet is not yet 20 years old when she is recruited to Britain’s MI5, as the war with Hitler is raging. Her hopes for tertiary education are dashed when her mother dies unexpectedly. Armed instead with secretarial skills, she’s hired to transcribe recordings of meetings with Fascist sympathizers in Britain who think they are reporting to a German agent.

Read More »

Lullaby Road, by James Anderson (2018)

Mystery
Adult

Lullaby Road, by James Anderson

Utah short-haul trucker Ben Jones is back on the lonely highway, delivering water, propane and packages to the hardy souls who have made a home in the desert, away from civilization and its discontents. It’s October and winter has arrived, delivering snow only a day after t-shirt weather and making highway 117 to fictional Rockmuse even more treacherous. We first met Ben in The Never-Open Desert Diner, along with all the desert rats both friendly and curmudgeonly. Many of them make a second appearance in this novel, which opens with Ben stopping to fuel up before heading out into the snow, and leaving the station with three passengers – an infant, a mute Hispanic child, and a dog.

Read More »

The House of One Thousand Eyes, by Michelle Barker (2018)

Historical Fiction
15-18

Set in East Berlin in 1983, this is an historically accurate depiction of life behind the Berlin Wall. Lena Altmann is 17 years old. She lives with her Auntie, a staunch Party member, in a nice apartment where there is even a telephone (though Lena has never heard it ring). Lena is grateful to her strict Auntie for taking her in after a brief but brutal stay in a psychiatric hospital due to her deep grief over suddenly losing her parents in a factory accident. Auntie even got her a job cleaning the Stasi headquarters. Sundays are the best day of the week for Lena, as she gets to visit her beloved Uncle Erich. He is a writer who teaches her about subtexts, the “other  story” that lets him publish books that are secretly critical of the government.

Read More »

The Spaceship Next Door, by Gene Doucette (2018)

Science Fiction 14-Adult
Here’s a great new sci-fi novel for young adults with great crossover appeal for adults. Sixteen-year-old Annie Collins lives in Sorrow Falls, Massachusetts, where a spaceship landed three years ago. It landed, and has been sitting there ever since. Nothing happened. No alien invasion, no first contact, no “bring me to your leader” or space rays. Nothing. Nada. Oh, sure the military arrived, and an Independence Day-type motorhome camp has been set up with nerdy tech pointed at the squat black ship, but that’s it. Except something has changed, and government analyst Ed Somerville arrives, in the clumsy pretense of a reporter, to figure out just what is going on. The top expert on the spaceship, he’s never set foot in Sorrow Falls before, so General Morris tells him to hire uber-socially connected Annie as his local guide and interpreter. Read More »

Home After Dark, by David Small (2018)

Graphic Novel – Historical fiction
15 – Adult
Home After Dark, by David SmallAfter his mother leaves them, Russell and his father move to a small town in 1950s California, hoping to find a new life of sunshine and prosperity. Doesn’t quite work out that way, as anyone who has hoped to “leave it all behind and start fresh” always discovers. Dysfunction follows. They settle in Marshtown, somewhere outside of San Francisco, and his father gets a job teaching English to illiterate prisoners. Food is delivered by a Chinese neighbour, and his father descends into an alcoholic haze. Waiting for middle school to begin, Russell spends his time exploring the new neighbourhood on his bike. Read More »