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Staff Picks -  July 2017

Are you interested in what some of the QWPL staff are reading, watching or listening to? Here is a sampling of staff reviews of materials available to library users in our community. We hope that you find these informative and entertaining.  Look for new reviews each month.  

Book cover for The Outlander   Book cover for Saints for all occasions   Book cover for Girls in the garden   Book cover for It's always the husband   Book cover for Woefiel Poultry collective   Book cover for Women in the castle

The Outlander
By: Gil Adamson
Recommended by Robert

Don't be fooled by the title. This is not the first book in the series of Outlander books about a current day woman transported to the world of 18th century Scotland. This is a novel set in the western hinterland of the United States and Canada of 1903. Mary Boulton, a young wife, has just made herself a widow by shooting her husband. At first, we do not know why she has done this, but we do know that she cannot hang around. With only the clothes on her back, the widow flees into the Western plains. Pursued by her husband's burly red headed brothers seeking revenge or justice, the widow has a number of significant encounters with a series of eccentric individuals who assist her. The first is William Moreland (Ridgerunner), a rough mountain man with who she has a brief affair. Unwilling to commit to an existence with another person, the  Ridgerunner leaves. Returning to the wilderness, Mary barely survives until rescued by a Crow Indian.  He brings her to a mining town (unnamed Frank, Alberta) where she is taken in by an unorthodox minister.  She also meets McEachern, a dwarf who owns a local business which sells "white lightning".
Meanwhile, her husband's brothers have not given up their pursuit and have tracked her into town. Will the widow continue to evade their form of justice and find some form of peace?  Will the Ridgerunner change his mind and try to reconnect with her? We gradually learn what sent the widow off to the wilderness. Her short lived marriage to a brutal husband and the death of her baby created a pent up rage that she relieved through the use of a shotgun. When our nation's greatest landslide buries much of the mining town of Frank, she will again be forced to move.
The author has taken a little known event in Canadian history and has built a riveting story of a woman who had to break away from society to save herself.  This Hammett Award winning novel is well written with great character development and memorable scenery, making it an enjoyable read. You really do wonder how this apparently gentle woman would become a fugitive in our Canadian West. Read on to discover if the widow finds her sanctuary.

This title is available in Regular Print, Downloadable AudioBook and eBook formats.

Saints For All Occasions
By: J. Courtney Sullivan
Recommended by Marilyn

Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. 
Nora is the responsible sister; she's shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn't sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan--a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. 
Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children: John, a successful, if opportunistic, political consultant; Bridget, privately preparing to have a baby with her girlfriend; Brian, at loose ends after a failed baseball career; and Patrick, Nora's favorite, the beautiful boy who gives her no end of heartache. Estranged from her sister and cut off from the world, Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. Until, after decades of silence, a sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago. 
A graceful, supremely moving novel from one of our most beloved writers, Saints for All Occasions explores the fascinating, funny, and sometimes achingly sad ways a secret at the heart of one family both breaks them and binds them together.

This title is available in Regular Print, Sound Recording, and Large Print formats.
This review is from www.goodreads.com

The Girls in the Garden
By: 
Lisa Jewell
Recommended by Rachel

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people's houses. You've known your neighbors for years and you trust them.  Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really? 
On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense.
Although I liked this book I found that the ending was not satisfying in any way! You find out what happened but with no justice or sense of satisfaction.

This title is available in Regular Print, Downloadable eBook and AudioBook formats.
Part of review is from www.goodreads.com.

It's Always the Husband
By:  Michele Campbell
Recommended by Kim
 

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge and someone else is urging her to jump. 
How did things come to this?
As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other--but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it's always the husband? 
This is Michele Campbell's first novel and I hope that she will write another.

This title is available in Regular Print, Downloadable eBook and Audiobook formats.
This review is from www.goodreads.com.

The Woefield Poultry Collective
By:  Susan Juby
Recommended by Pauline

Woefield Farm is a sprawling thirty acres of scrub land, complete with dilapidated buildings and one half-sheared, lonely sheep named Bertie. It's "run"―in the loosest possible sense of the word―by Prudence Burns, an energetic, well-intentioned twenty-something New Yorker full of back-to-the-land ideals, but without an iota of related skills or experience. Prudence, who inherited the farm from her uncle, soon discovers that the bank is about to foreclose on Woefield Farm, which means that Prudence has to turn things around, fast. But fear not! She'll be assisted by Earl, a spry seventy-something, banjo-playing foreman with a distrust of newfangled ideas and a substantial family secret; Seth, the alcoholic, celebrity-blogging boy-next-door, who hasn't left the house since a scandal with his high-school drama teacher; and Sara Spratt, a highly organized eleven-year-old looking for a home for her prizewinning chickens, including one particularly randy fellow soon to be christened Alec Baldwin.
Full of offbeat charm and characters you won't soon forget, The Woefield Poultry Collective is a heartwarming novel about learning how to take on a challenge, facing your fears, and finding friendship in the most unlikely of places. With alternating narratives, Susan Juby shows how a team of misfits can find acceptance and success, even with―and sometimes in spite of―their highly unorthodox approach.

This title is available in Regular Print format.

Women in the Castle
By:  Jessica Shattuck
Recommended by June

How would you move on from the trauma of a war, particularly if you were thrown into helping and working with a person whose position during the war was the complete opposite of yours?  Jessica Shattuck has developed her characters and the plot of this story brilliantly and leaves one with a great deal to think about.
The setting of this book is Germany and is focused on the lives of three women and their experiences during and following WWII.  Despite the extremely different backgrounds of the three women, they manage to come together to help each other survive in the waning days of the war.
I chose this book because I had enjoyed reading "All the Light We Cannot See" and "The Villa Triste".  I found the work of the resistance movement during the war to be extremely compelling reading, particularly with the roles these strong women playing in all three books.
If you appreciate books with strong female characters struggling to cope in inordinately difficult situations, then I think you will enjoy this one.

This title is available in Regular Print, Large Print, Sound Recording, Downloadable eBook and AudioBook formats.

 

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