April books

The Arts

March 30, 2020



Notable new releases

compiled by Sally Brewster

Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st-Century Memoir,
by Madeleine Albright

When Madeleine Albright was leaving office as America’s first female secretary of state in 2001, interviewers asked her how she wished to be remembered. “I don’t want to be remembered,” she answered. “I am still here and have much more I intend to do. As difficult as it might seem, I want every stage of my life to be more exciting than the last.”

In that time of transition, Albright considered the possibilities: She could write, teach, travel, give speeches, start a business, fight for democracy, help to empower women, campaign for favored political candidates or spend more time with her grandchildren. Instead of choosing one or two, she decided to do it all. For nearly 20 years, she’s been in constant motion, navigating half a dozen professions, clashing with presidents and prime ministers, learning every day. Since leaving the U.S. Department of State, she has blazed her own trail — and given voice to millions who yearn for respect, regardless of gender, background or age.

The Book of Longings,
by Sue Monk Kidd

In her mesmerizing and fascinating fourth novel, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her amazing talent to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, but an encounter with 18-year-old Jesus changes everything.

Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his mother and his brothers. Meticulous research and a reverential approach to Jesus’ life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman’s bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her and other women.

Hid From Our Eyes, by Julia Spencer-Fleming

In Millers Kill, N.Y., in 1952, police chief Harry McNeil is called to a crime scene where a woman in a party dress has been murdered in the middle of a rural road with no obvious cause of death.

In 1972, Millers Kill police chief Jack Liddle is called to a murder scene of a woman that’s very similar to one he worked as a trooper in the ’50s. The only difference is this time, they have a suspect. Vietnam War veteran Russ van Alstyne found the body while riding his motorcycle and is quickly pegged as the prime focus of the investigation.

Present-day: Millers Kill Police Chief Russ van Alstyne gets a 911 call that a young woman has been found dead in a party dress, the same MO as the crime he was accused of in the ’70s. The pressure is on for Russ to solve the murder before he’s removed from the case. Readers have waited seven years for this the next Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery and will not be disappointed!

Simon the Fiddler, by Paulette Jiles

In March 1865, the long and bitter War between the States is winding down. Till now, 23-year-old Simon Boudlin has evaded military duty thanks to his youthful appearance and utter lack of compunction about bending the truth. Following a barroom brawl in Texas, Simon finds himself conscripted into the Confederate Army. Luckily, his talent with a fiddle gets him a comparatively easy position in a regimental band.

Weeks later, on the eve of the Confederate surrender, Simon and his bandmates are called to play for officers and their families from both sides of the conflict. There, the quick-thinking, audacious fiddler can’t help but notice the lovely Doris Mary Aherne, an indentured girl from Ireland, who is governess to a Union colonel’s daughter.

Simon and Doris go their separate ways at the end of the war. He will travel around Texas seeking fame and fortune as a musician. She must accompany the colonel’s family to finish her three years of service. But Simon cannot forget the fair Irish maiden, and vows that someday he will find her again.

Another wonderful book by the author of News of the World, soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, by Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix’s amazing new novel is a tribute to his mother, whom he pits against the forces of darkness. The neighborhood book club (which focuses on true crime and suspense) is one of the only things Patricia Campbell looks forward to, since her husband is busy with work and her kids are wrapped up in their own lives. Patricia says to her book club, with a sigh, “Don’t you wish that something exciting would happen around here?” and gets far more than she bargained for in James Harris, who insinuates himself into her world and circle of friends. But Patricia is not some meek, bored Southern housewife. She’s not about to let a handsome stranger tear down the life she and her friends have built. Set in the low country in the early ’90s, this novel beautifully mixes women’s friendships and straight-up scariness. Even if you don’t think you like horror, give this one a try.  SP

Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books, located at 4139 Park Road. parkroadbooks.com

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