The Ghost Clause, by Howard Norman (2019)

Mystery | Adult

The Ghost Clause, by Howard Norman (2019)

This new novel from National Book Award-winning author Howard Norman is a mashup of a ghost story, a missing child mystery, and a love story/domestic fiction. Mostly it’s a ghost story, as Simon Inescort sticks around his house after dying of a heart attack at age 48. He is surprised by his consciousness and his corporality – he can pick up and read books as well as write in a journal. Unfortunately he keeps setting off the motion sensor in the library where he spends most of his time, creating an ongoing annoyance for the new homeowners, Muriel and Zachary, and their cat Epilogue – the only creature aware of Simon’s presence.

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Marilla of Green Gables, by Sarah McCoy (2018)

Historical Fiction
Adult

Marilla of Green Gables, by Sarah McCoy (2018)

How amazing that a single dangling literary thread can lead to this lovely creation. There is a line in Anne of Green Gables in which Marilla refers to Gilbert Blythe’s father as a good friend, perhaps even her one-time beau. From that mysterious remark, Sarah McCoy has created an entire backstory for Marilla and Matthew before Anne, and it is a spellbinding story indeed. I’m a lifelong Anne fan, of course, having fallen under her spell more than 40 years ago. I have read the novels several times, and as I get older I enjoy them ever more, from Anne the spunky tween who first arrives on the Island to the mature woman of Ingleside, still blessed with a sense of humour, along with a heart full of both love and sorrow. But back to this creation.

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The Red Address Book, by Sofia Lundberg (2019)

Historical Fiction
Adult

The Red Address Book, by Sofia Lundberg (2019)

How do we want to be remembered? Even close friends of many years are often surprised to learn our stories of growing up, of jobs had and lost, of paths taken and ignored. Doris is 96 years old; she has outlived all her friends and nearly all her family, and her days are spent in pain. The bright note in her life is a weekly Skype call to Jenny, her only living relative who is in America. Thumbing through her beloved red address book, given to her as a child by her father, Doris sees so many names crossed out, and remembers their stories and hers. She decides to write these stories down for Jenny, from her childhood in Sweden, modelling in Paris in the 1920s and 30s, falling in love, escaping to New York City with her sister when Hitler invaded France, and eventually returning to Stockholm where she now lives.

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The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (2018)

Science Fiction
Adult

The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (2018)

In this alternative history of space flight, a meteorite strikes in 1952 just off the east coast of the United States, destroying Washington D.C. and forcing the New White House inland. It also spawns a “meteor winter” and future global warming that threaten humanity’s survival, fomenting the development of rockets a full decade earlier than in real life. But historical reality retains its grip in this novel that spans most of the 1950s – racism abounds, as does a chauvinist perspective that limits women to the role of computers as they perform the mathematical calculations that will launch rockets and eventually put (male) astronauts in space.

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The Thing About Clare, by Imogen Clark (2018)

Fiction
Adult

The Thing About Clare, by Imogen Clark (2018)

All families have secrets, but some secrets can be devastating. Should they stay buried? When mother Dorothy passes away, the four Bliss siblings – sensible Miriam, wild and unpredictable Clare, favourite child Anna, and adored little brother Sebastian – gather at the funeral, where we learn Anna has, in response to Dorothy’s dying plea, retrieved her will and an accompanying letter. But she has not destroyed them as her mother asked. Anna eventually discovers why her mother was so desperate to bury the secret, and now carries the burden herself. It’s a secret that could change her siblings’ lives forever.

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter, by Kate Morton (2018)

Historical Mystery
Adult

The Clockmaker's Daughter, by Kate Morton

Here’s another genre-blending blockbuster from Kate Morton, author of The Lake House and The Forgotten Garden, among others. It’s an historical mystery, a gothic ghost story, and a family saga. Best of all it features an archivist! Londoner Elodie Winslow is in her early 30s, engaged to be married though fed up with the wedding preparations and planning expected by her future mother-in-law. She seizes the opportunity for distraction when she discovers an uncatalogued box of items, including a sketch of a beautiful woman and another of riverside house that seems hauntingly familiar. It turns out to be Birchwood Manor, where a young group of Victorian-era artists spent a month in July 1862, a stay that ended with one woman dead and another missing, the theft of a priceless diamond, and a promising artist’s life is ruined.

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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.

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