West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Staff Picks - Amanda

Take a sneak peek at Amanda's hold list! Featuring historical fiction, biography, and popular authors.

The four winds : a novel by Kristin Hannah

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance. In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli-like so many of her neighbors-must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation

Great circle : a novel by Maggie Shipstead

"After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There--after encountering a pair of pilots passing through town in a beat up Cessna--Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At fifteen, she drops out of school and finds an unexpected and dangerous patron in a wealthy rancher who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life, even as it allows her to fulfill her destiny: circumnavigating the globe and piloting her plane over the Arctic Circle. A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian's disappearance over the South Pacific. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to re-define herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian's own story, as the two womens' fates--and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times--collide. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, Great Circle is a monumental work of art, and a tremendous leap forward for the prodigiously gifted Maggie Shipstead"--

The plot : a novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz

"Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he's teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what's left of his self-respect; he hasn't written-let alone published-anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn't need Jake's help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot. Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker's first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that-a story that absolutely needs to be told. In a few short years, all of Evan Parker's predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says. As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his "sure thing" of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?"--

The woman with the blue star by Pam Jenoff

Inspired by the harrowing true stories of those who hid from the Nazis in the sewers, this emotional testament to the power of friendship follows Ella, an affluent Polish girl, as she helps Sadie and her pregnant mother survive despite the worsening dangers of the war.

Twenty : a Jack Swyteck novel by James Grippando

A nightmarish shooting at their daughter's school finds Jack Swyteck and his law-enforcement officer wife, Andie, investigating a chief suspect's alleged ties to Al Qaeda amid growing anti-Muslim fervor

Legacy by Nora Roberts

"#1 bestselling author Nora Roberts presents a new novel of a mother and daughter, of romance and ambition, and a traumatic past reawakened in Legacy"--

Young and damned and fair : the life of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of King Henry VIII by Gareth Russell

On the morning of July 28, 1540, a teenager named Catherine Howard began her reign as queen of an England simmering with rebellion and terrifying uncertainty. Sixteen months later, she would follow her cousin Anne Boleyn to the scaffold, having been convicted of adultery and high treason. The broad outlines of Catherine’s career might be familiar, but her story up until now has been incomplete. Unlike previous biographies, which portray her as a naïve victim of an ambitious family, Gareth Russell’s “excellent account puts the oft-ignored Catherine in her proper historical context” (Daily Mail, London) and sheds new light on her rise and downfall by showing her in her context, a milieu that includes the aristocrats and, most critically, the servants who surrounded her and who, in the end, conspired against her. By illuminating Catherine’s entwined upstairs/downstairs world as well as societal tensions beyond the palace walls, Russell offers a fascinating portrayal of court life in the sixteenth century and a fresh analysis of the forces beyond Catherine’s control that led to her execution.

The wife stalker : a novel by Liv Constantine

"Breezing into the upscale seaside paradise of Westport, Connecticut, gorgeous thirtysomething Piper Reynard sets down roots, opening a rehab and wellness space and joining a local yacht club. When she meets Leo Drakos, a handsome, successful lawyer, the wedding ring on his finger is the only thing she doesn't like about him. Yet as Piper well knows, no marriage is permanent. Meanwhile, Joanna has been waiting patiently for Leo, the charismatic man she fell in love with all those years ago, to re-emerge from the severe depression that has engulfed him. Though she's thankful when Leo returns to his charming, energetic self, paying attention again to Evie and Stelli, the children they both love beyond measure, Joanna is shocked to discover that it's not her loving support that's sparked his renewed happiness--it's something else. Piper. Leo has fallen head over heels for the flaky, New Age-y newcomer, and unrepentant and resolute, he's more than willing to leave Joanna behind, along with everything they've built. Of course, he assures her, she can still see the children. Joanna is devastated--and determined to find something, anything, to use against this woman who has stolen her life and her true love. As she digs deeper into Piper's past, Joanna begins to unearth disturbing secrets . . . but when she confides to her therapist that she fears for the lives of her ex-husband and children, her concerns are dismissed as paranoia. Can she find the proof she needs in time to save them?"--Amazon

Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann

"The Briscoe family is once again the talk of their small town when March returns to East Texas two years after he was caught having an affair with his brother's wife. His mother, June, hardly welcomes him back with open arms, and is no stranger to infidelity herself; she's tired of being the long-suffering wife thanks to her husband's many affairs. Within days of March's arrival, someone is dead, marriages are upended, and even the strongest of allies are divided. In the end, the ties that hold them together might be exactly what drag them all down. The Briscoes must reckon with their choices, their capacity for forgiveness, and the confines of family. An expansive tour de force, Olympus, TX combines the archetypes of Greek and Roman mythology with the psychological complexity of a messy family. After all, at some point, we all wonder: What good is this destructive force we call love?"--

Lincoln in private : what his most personal reflections tell us about our greatest president by Abraham Lincoln

"The first full-color facsimile edition of Lincoln's private notes, Abraham Lincoln's Diary is a deluxe collection of some of his most revelatory private writings. An essential archive, here presented exactly as Lincoln wrote them on scraps of paper, these "notes to self" appear alongside original, contextualizing essays by New York Times bestselling presidential biographer Ronald C. White. A deeply private man, closed off to even those who worked closely with him, Lincoln often captured "his best thoughts" in these notes--never wanting "one of those ideas to escape." In Abraham Lincoln's Diary, White offers this rare glimpse into the thought process of one of our nation's most important orators and presidents. The book selects ten of Lincoln's most revealing notes, reproduced here in full color, allowing us to see this little-known but vital body of Lincoln's writing, in which he grapples with the problem of slavery; attempting to find convincing rebuttals to those who supported the evil institution; orprepares for his historic debates with Stephen Douglas in the midst of his 1858 senatorial campaign. In one fragment, written on the eve of his inauguration, we see Lincoln develop an argument for national unity amidst a secession crisis that would ultimately rend the nation in two. Arranged in chronological order, beginning in 1848 with a note that was written just one year into Lincoln's Congressional term as an Illinois representative, Abraham Lincoln's Diary is a wholly original volume that grants usfresh insight into our nation's greatest president."--

Sooley : a novel by John Grisham

After seventeen-year-old Samuel "Sooley" Sooleymon receives a college scholarship to play basketball for North Carolina Central, he moves to Durham from his native, war-torn South Sudan, enrolls in classes, joins the team, and prepares to sit out his freshman season, but Sooley has a fierce determination to succeed so he can bring his family to America, working tirelessly on his game until he dominates everyone in practice, and when Sooley is called off the bench, the legend begins

Win : a novel by Harlan Coben

"Over twenty years ago, the heiress Patricia Lockwood was abducted during a robbery of her family's estate, then locked inside an isolated cabin for months. Patricia escaped, but so did her captors -- and the items stolen from her family were never recovered. Until now. On the Upper West Side, a recluse is found murdered in his penthouse apartment, alongside two objects of note: a stolen Vermeer painting and a leather suitcase bearing the initials WHL3. For the first time in years, the authorities have alead -- not only on Patricia's kidnapping, but also on another FBI cold case -- with the suitcase and painting both pointing them toward one man. Windsor Horne Lockwood III -- or Win, as his few friends call him -- doesn't know how his suitcase and his family's stolen painting ended up with a dead man. But his interest is piqued, especially when the FBI tells him that the man who kidnapped his cousin was also behind an act of domestic terrorism -- and that the conspirators may still be at large. The two cases have baffled the FBI for decades, but Win has three things the FBI doesn't: a personal connection to the case; an ungodly fortune; and his own unique brand of justice"--

Eternal : a novel by Lisa Scottoline

"Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta's heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy's Fascists with Hitler's Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear--their families, their homes, and their connection to one another--is tested in ways they never could have imagined. As anti-Semitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, the threesome realizes that Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city's Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal. Against this backdrop, the intertwined fates of Elisabetta, Marco, Sandro, and their families will be decided, in a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer. Unfolding over decades, Eternal is a tale of loyalty and loss, family and food, love and war--all set in one of the world's most beautiful cities at its darkest moment. This moving novel will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of readers"--

Band of sisters : a novel by Lauren Willig

Eschewed by her wealthy Smith College classmates, a former scholarship student reluctantly volunteers to join a group of graduates who travel to Europe to help World War I French civilians before finding herself surrounded by desperate families in villages decimated by German bombs.

The midnight library by Matt Haig

Nora Seed finds herself faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, or realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist, she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

Dutch girl : Audrey Hepburn and World War II by Robert D Matzen

Near the end of 1939, ten-year-old Audrey Hepburn flew from boarding school in England into the Netherlands, which would soon become a war zone. What she experienced in five years of Nazi occupation has never been explored until now. Dutch Girl sets the story straight, revealing the Nazi past of Audrey's parents and how their daughter dealt with this information. The book examines her career as an acclaimed young ballerina, her involvement with the Dutch Resistance, an active role tending wounded, and dark months in the line of fire as the end drew near for the Nazi regime

The warmth of other suns : the epic story of America's great migration by Isabel Wilkerson

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America

One mile under : a Ty Hauck novel by Andrew Gross

"A pulse-pounding thriller from New York Times bestselling author Andrew Gross, about a whitewater rafting guide who investigates a suspicious death and uncovers a multinational conspiracy"--

American princess : a novel of first daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Thornton

Alice may be the president's daughter, but she's nobody's darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves—oceans of them. With the canny sophistication of the savviest politician on the Hill, Alice uses her celebrity to her advantage, testing the limits of her power and the seductive thrill of political entanglements. But Washington, DC is rife with heartaches and betrayals, and when Alice falls hard for a smooth-talking congressman it will take everything this rebel has to emerge triumphant and claim her place as an American icon. As Alice soldiers through the devastation of two world wars and brazens out a cutting feud with her famous Roosevelt cousins, it's no wonder everyone in the capital refers to her as the Other Washington Monument—and Alice intends to outlast them all.

Black Bottom saints : a novel by Alice Randall

"From the Great Depression through the post-World War II years, Joseph "Ziggy" Johnson, has been the pulse of Detroit's famous Black Bottom. A celebrated gossip columnist for the city's African-American newspaper, the Michigan Chronicle, he is also the emcee of one of the hottest night clubs, where he's rubbed elbows with the legendary black artists of the era, including Ethel Waters, Billy Eckstein, and Count Basie. Ziggy is also the founder and dean of the Ziggy Johnson School of Theater. But now the doyen of Black Bottom is ready to hang up his many dapper hats. As he lays dying in the black-owned-and-operated Kirkwood Hospital, Ziggy reflects on his life, the community that was the center of his world, and the remarkable people who helped shape it."--Amazon

Always the last to know by Kristan Higgins

"Sometimes you have to break a family to fix it. From the New York Times bestselling author of Life and Other Inconveniences comes a new novel of heartbreaking truths and hilarious honesty about what family really means. Barb and John Frost are testy andbored with each other after fifty years of marriage. At least they have their daughters- Barb's favorite, Juliet; and John's darling, Sadie. The girls themselves couldn't be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. Until the day John has a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down. Now Sadie has to come home to care for her beloved dad-and face the love of her old life. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect life, she's spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks. And now Barb and John will finally have to face what's been going on in their marriage all along"--

The hardest job in the world : the American presidency by John Dickerson

"Imagine you have just been elected president. You are now commander-in-chief, chief executive, chief diplomat, chief legislator, chief of party, chief voice of the people, first responder, chief priest, and world leader. You're expected to fulfill your campaign promises, but you're also expected to solve the urgent crises of the day. What's on your to-do list? Where would you even start? The American presidency is in trouble. It has become overburdened, misunderstood, almost impossible to do. "The problems in the job unfolded before Donald Trump was elected, and the challenges of governing today will confront his successors," writes John Dickerson. After all, the founders never intended for our system of checks and balances to have one superior Chief Magistrate, with Congress demoted to "the little brother who can't keep up." In this eye-opening book, John Dickerson draws on history and contemporary times to show why we need to reevaluate how we view the presidency, how we choose our presidents, and whatwe expect from them once they are in office. Think of the presidential campaign as a job interview. Are we asking the right questions? Are we looking for good campaigners, or good presidents? Once a candidate gets the job, what can they do to thrive? Drawing on research and interviews with current and former White House staffers, Dickerson defines what the job of president actually entails, identifies the things that only the President can do, and analyzes how presidents in history have managed the burden. What qualities make for a good president? Who did it well? Why did Bill Clinton call the White House "the crown jewel in the American penal system"? And what lessons can we draw from past successes and failures? Ultimately, in order to evaluate candidates properly for the job, we need to adjust our expectations, and be more realistic about the goals, the requirements, and the limitations of the office."--

The children's blizzard : a novel by Melanie Benjamin

Draws on oral histories of the Great Plains blizzard of 1888 to depict the experiences of two teachers, a servant, and a reporter who risk everything to protect the children of immigrant homesteaders.
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