Category Archives: Fiction

Reunion of Ghosts


Title: A Reunion of Ghosts

Author:  Judith Claire Mitchell

Publisher:  Harper, March 2015

Summary/Review:  This book is an absolute perfect balance of humor and sadness, hope and despair, blessing and curse, past and present, reason and insanity.  The story of the Alter sisters and their relatives, living and dead, will not soon leave me.  It’s a family history filled with tragedy (loosely based on the story of the German chemist who invented the poisonous gas used in both world wars).   Lady, Vee and Delph Alter decide they can no longer live with this legacy of guilt, and decide to end it all on the same day in December of 1999. In an interview, the author Judith Claire Mitchell says that when writing “A Reunion of Ghosts” she felt like she was “alone in a bunker with this family.”  It’s that engrossing.  This expertly-written and unique family saga is not to be missed!

Who will like this?   Someone looking for a historical family saga that will cover a huge range of emotion for the reader

If you like this, try this:  Mitchell has written another book, “Last Day of the War” which covers Paris and World War I.  If you’re looking for female-centric family sagas, try Kate Morton or Isabel Allende.

Recommended by:  Mary, Reference

If this looks like a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!

Murder House



Author: James Patterson

Publisher: Little Brown and Company, 2015

Summary/Review: I know what you’re thinking: not another James Patterson book, he writes one every other month! I felt the same way until I read Murder House – it draws you in from the first page. Usually you find out right in the beginning who the killer is… boring, right? Not this time. There are several different characters. Even the Murder House – 7 Ocean Drive – is a character

There is a beautiful beachfront estate in the Hamptons which was the scene for some gruesome killings that have never been solved. Detective Jenna Murphy, who is from the Hamptons but hasn’t been back since she was a girl, returns after being forced to quit the NYPD. She is given a job by her uncle, the Chief of the South Hampton Police Department.

When a double murder occurs at 7 Ocean Drive and local resident Noah Walker is charged, Jenna takes an interest in the case. She starts to snoop around and that’s when it gets really interesting. There are a lot of questions and more suspects – even her partner Isaac Marks. Then her uncle is killed and another body is found, and there seems to be a pattern with this killer. He likes to cause pain with a sharp object into vital organs.

Jenna requests the help of a rookie, Ricketts, to find out about the owners of 7 Ocean Drive. Without giving too much away this opens up a whole new investigation that will keep you guessing right till the end. The twists and turns are perhaps the best made by James Patterson in a long time. Enjoy the ride. The ending was terrific too.

Who would like this book: A James Patterson lover like me, or anyone who enjoys a thrill ride right to the end!

If you like this, try this: Obviously James Patterson has a number of books out – you’re sure to like at least some of them!

Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation

Is this something you think you’d like?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!

Queen of the Tearling


Title: The Queen of the Tearling

Author: Erika Johansen

Publisher: HarperCollins, 2014

Summary / Review:    On Kelsea’s 19th birthday, nine of the Queen’s Guard  arrive at the remote cottage that has been her home to escort her to New London and her new life as Queen of the Tearling.  Kelsea’s life with her adoptive parents Barty and Carlin has been secluded.  She is a great reader and has been tutored by Carlin in the history of her kingdom and by Barty in basic forest survival skills but she is woefully unprepared in the skills necessary to survive in the political snake-pit she is about to enter. It’s uncertain whether she will even survive the journey. Her uncle has been living large as Regent of the kingdom and is loathe to give up the comfortable life style he’s been enjoying. Fueled by the support of the Red Queen of Mortmesne, his determination to make sure Kelsea is not crowned makes for a difficult journey.  The travelers are stalked by the Caden, crimson cloaked assassins that are feared through-out the kingdom and they are attacked by Mort hawks “black as midnight and big as dogs.”  Assistance comes in the unlikely form of a masked rogue known as the Fetch who will appear more than once in Kelsea’s life.
The group is splintered and against all odds Kelsea does make it to New London accompanied by the formidable Lazarus (a.k.a. Mace, for the deadly weapon he wields so effectively).  Her introduction to the capital is grim.  They ride in on the day the tributes are being loaded onto carts to be delivered to the evil Red Queen of Mortmesne.  Queen Elyssa, Kelsea’s vain and weak mother, signed the Treaty of Mort obligating the Tearling to provide 3,000 slaves per year, including children, divided into 12 shipments and delivered to Mortmesne . In return, the Red Queen would not invade and destroy the Tearling. Kelsea is enraged and orders the prisoners released and the carts burned.  When those that enforce the treaty hesitate to obey the Queen’s commands, we get a glimpse of the power she will learn to use. She has worn the Heir’s Jewel, a sapphire, for as long as she can remember and now she begins to understand what it can do.

Magic jewels will go a long way in helping to make up for political naivete but Kelsea has broken the Treaty and there will be a price to pay.

Queen of the Tearling is the first in a proposed trilogy.  The second, Invasion of the Tearling, was released in June.  It would be wise to read the book soon before the hold list starts to build. Warner Bros. has acquired film rights to the entire series. Emma Watson has signed on as executive producer and star. The search is on for a cast to bring Johansen’s wonderful characters to life.

Who Will Like This Book:  Anyone who enjoys an action packed fantasy with a strong female protagonist.

If You Like This Try This: The Tearling series has been described as a “lighter” version of Game of Thrones. There have also been comparisons to Hunger Games and Divergent because of the strong female characters.

Recommended by: Sue D’Num

If this looks like a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold

My Sunshine Away


Title: My Sunshine Away

Author: M.O Walsh

Publisher: Penguin, 2015

Summary/Review: I really enjoyed this book for a lot of reasons, I have to say the first is because it starts off with the act which is the foundation for the book. There is a rape of a young beautiful girl named Lindy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. There are 4 suspects, all who live in the same neighborhood just a few houses apart. Bo Kern – a troubled boy, Jason – the adopted son of  psychiatrist, Jacques Landry – who is also a suspect, and the narrator of the book – who is my favorite character, and you never find out his name.

The story spans over 20 years, from the late 80’s until 2007. The author does a great job of sharing with us how each of the characters evolved over those years – the choices they made, some good and some bad. For some who read this it will feel like a walk down memory lane, from middle school all the way through college, and settling down and starting a family of their own.

There is a lot of sadness in this book, but the twist at the end really ties it all together. If you like coming of age stories, with good times and bad you will enjoy this book. There are some chapters that are hard to get through, but you must endure them to get the real feel for these kids and what they went through in their very young lives, and how it changed them forever.

Who will like this book?:  Someone who is interested in a mystery which focuses more on character development than clues and who-dunnit. Someone who won’t shy away from a disturbing topic which has a sweeping effect on an entire community.

If you like this, try this: If you’re looking for mysteries heavy on character development, try Paula Hawkin’s “Girl on the Train” or Garth Stein’s “A Sudden Light”.  If the location of Baton Rouge draws you in, try the mystery series by James Lee Burke.  This is M.O. Walsh’s debut novel, but keep an eye out for more in the works!

Recommended by: Virginia, Circulation

If this looks like something you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold.

Night Sister


Title: The Night Sister

Author: Jennifer McMahon

Publisher: Doubleday, August 2015

Summary/Review: “Do you believe in monsters?” You might after reading the creepy new novel by Jennifer McMahon. And by creepy I mean awesome.

Growing up in and around the decrepit Tower Motel in London, Vermont wasn’t all bad for friends Amy, Piper and Margot, at least not until they found the suitcase hidden in the tower. Why was the suitcase, hidden for two decades, not taken by Amy’s aunt Sylvie when she left town in 1955? The discovery only leads to more questions and eventually the dissolution of the friendship between Amy, Piper and Margot.

Fast forward to present day and the discovery of an unspeakable crime, allegedly committed by Amy at the Tower Motel. Sisters Piper and Margot struggle to find answers but everything leads back to the discovery of the suitcase so many years ago. Don’t bother asking Piper and Margot if they believe in monsters. I can tell you, the answer will be “yes”.

Who will like this book?: Someone looking for a VERY creepy read.  Someone who’s interested in a thriller/mystery that will leave you feeling haunted.

If you like this, try this: Jennifer McMahon has written other novels, including the well-received “Winter People” and “Promise Not to Tell”.  This book is reminiscent of “Help for the Haunted” by John Searles, although darker.  Tana French is also brought to mind.

Recommended by:  Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

If this looks like something you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!

Man Called Ove


Title:  A Man Called Ove

Author:  Fredrik Backman

Publisher:  Atria Books, 2014/Dreamscape Media, LLC. (audiobook), 2014

Summary/Review:  Ove is not someone you want to cross paths with.  He is an older man, set in his ways, and not afraid to tell people what he thinks whether they want to hear it or not.  Ove is a man on a mission.  He has only one goal left to accomplish, but it is not going to be easy to achieve it.

As the story switches back and forth from present to past, you get a better understanding of how certain experiences in Ove’s life, especially those involving his youth and wife, shaped his personality and outlook.  The supporting characters provide a unique link to Ove’s daily routine.  There is a great importance of how timing affects everything.

This book will make you laugh, cry, and appreciate the people (and animals) in your life.  The story will stay with you long after the book ends.  It is a strong read from start to finish and an excellent choice for book clubs.  It will easily top your favorites’ list.

Added note:  The reader (and known actor) on the audiobook is exceptional, painting a clear image of Ove and the rest of the cast.

Who will like this book: Anyone looking for the next best book.

 If you like this, try this:  The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Recommended by: Sharyn, Circulation

If you think this is a book you’d like to read, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!

Delicious Foods


Title: Delicious Foods

Author: James Hannaham

Publisher: Little Brown & Company, March 2015

Summary/Review: The story begins with Eddie, who has recently escaped a mysterious company called Delicious Foods. His mother, Darlene, is still working there. Eddie has no hands, he’s estranged from his relatives, he’s poor and distraught about his mother, but he is ultimately good-natured and ready to emerge with a new life. The real struggle is with Darlene, Eddie’s mother. In her past life she would be described as a grieving widow whose husband was murdered, a hard-working, educated, beautiful, and caring mother. In her new life Darlene is addicted to crack cocaine, prostituting herself, neglecting Eddie, abusing herself and others and, ultimately, losing her mind – until she is saved by Delicious Foods, who offer a wonderful new dream filled with hope, redemption, hard work, and a rampantly dark underbelly.

Reading reviews you might think this story is focused on drugs – after all, the drugs have their own chapters, told from their point of view. You might think it’s about a mysterious company, Delicious Foods, and all the horrible things that go on in a place where you keep people addicted to drugs and brainwashed. You might even think that it’s about Eddie, and his struggle to regain a new life. But the truth is that the book is about all of these things yet none of these things. It’s a beautifully written book. It’s the type of book you have to read slowly because it takes a long time to convince yourself you’re not there, experiencing these things. You could probably call it a mystery thriller, but that wouldn’t accurately describe its deep literary roots. The truth is that “Delicious Foods” is indescribable – you just need to read it. It’s wonderful, magnetic, heart-breaking, scary, thrilling, hilarious, and poetic.

Who will like this book?: Someone that doesn’t shy away from dark topics such as race, addiction, and hopelessness. Someone looking for a read that’s thrilling but deep and literary.

If you like this, try this: James Hannaham has written one other book, “God Says No”, which is probably worth a try. I honestly can’t think of a book similar to this one, so you’ll need to try it yourself!

Recommended by: Lauren O

If you think this is a book you’d like to try, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold.



Title: Aquarium

Author: David Vann

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press, March 2015

Summary/Review: David Vann is a master of family dysfunction. Hidden within his beautiful writing lurk some of the cruelest and manipulative characters you will ever meet. His newest novel, AQUARIUM, is no exception. This one, however, allows for some hope which isn’t always the case with Vann.

Twelve year old Caitlin lives with her single mother, Sheri, in Seattle. Sheri is struggling as a single mother, working full time while trying to build a good life for herself and her daughter. Since, according to Sheri, they are all alone in the world, Caitlin is left alone for long periods while Sheri is at work. Caitlin is dropped off at school early in the morning and heads to the local aquarium after to school to wait for her ride home. It is at the aquarium that she meets a very kind elderly man who takes an interest in Caitlin and keeps her company while she waits for Sheri to pick her up. When Sheri learns of this friendship, she is consumed with an uncontrollable rage and her haunted past comes roaring back with a vengeance.

Sometimes there’s just no way to tell how damaged a person really is until they are forced to confront the demons from their past.

 Who will like this?:  Someone who’s not turned off by dysfunction.  Someone looking for a thrilling read.

 If you like this, try this: other David Vann novels, FATHER OF THE RAIN BY Lily King, DROWNED, by Therese Bohman, and DISQUIET by Julia Leigh.

If you think you’d like this book, visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold.

Paying Guests



Title: The Paying Guests

Author: Sarah Waters

Publisher: Riverhead Books, September 2014

Summary/Review: I have never read the fiction of Sarah Waters before, but I am happy to have now read The Paying Guests.  She writes beautifully – creating characters that you can literally see and hear in your own head as you read the book.

The story begins at the dusk of the Edwardian era, a few years after the end of World War I.  Frances lives with her mother in what was previously a grand house.  They have fallen on hard times.  Frances’ father is dead, after having mismanaged the family fortune and a brother has died in the War.  In order to make ends meet, they must take in paying guests — a matter of some shame.

The Barbers, a young middle class, perhaps lower middle class couple, take rooms on the second floor.  They are young, stylish in their way, and are a product of a new society growing in England that has tossed aside the trappings of propriety of the past.

The author slowly unfolds the plot to reveal events that would never be understood or tolerated at this time in English society. Then the final unforgivable act takes place– and it is a fast and furious ride all the way to the end of the novel. So hang on.

Who will like this?: Those interested in period novels that describe post WWI-era. Someone looking for a gripping novel.

If you like this, try this: If you’re interested in the 1920’s, the standard is “Great Gatsby”. However, you could also try Hemingway or Fitzgerald. If you liked Sarah Waters’ writing, you could try her other novels including “The Night Watch” and “Affinity”.

Recommended by: Susan Z, Reference

Does this look like a book you’d like?  Visit the Fairfield Public Library catalog to see if it’s available and/or to place a hold!


At the Water’s Edge

Title: At the Water’s Edge

 Author: Sara Gruen

 Publisher: Penguin Random House, June 2015

Summary/Review: Sara Gruen has taken on elephants, bonobos, and now the Loch Ness Monster.

It’s the height of WWII in Europe as Maddie and Ellis Hyde, along with their friend Hank, travel from Philadelphia to Scotland to find the elusive Loch Ness Monster. Why, you might ask, are they making this dangerous Atlantic crossing? For money, of course. Ellis, unable to serve in the war due to his colorblindness, is already an embarrassment to his colonel father. When Ellis publicly mocks his father during a drunken rant, Ellis and Maddie are cut off financially and unsure what to do next. Without really thinking it through, Ellis decides the best way to get back into his father’s good graces, is to succeed where his father failed. Years ago the colonel tried, and failed, to find the Loch Ness Monster. It turns out the colonel didn’t make any friends over in Scotland during his quest. He did manage to anger quite a few people, though. And that is what Maddie, Ellis, and Hank walk into when they arrive in the village of Drumnadrochit. While Maddie is left alone for days at a time as the men are out monster hunting, she discovers that the life she has been living with Ellis might not be the life she wants to live after all.

This novel is part drama, part romance, and part mystery. Maddie’s reawakening to what is really important in life is the focus of this story, as the monster hunt fades into the background.

Who will like this? If you like historical romance, complete with heroes and villains, you will like At the Water’s Edge. 

If you like this, try this: If you liked Sara Gruen’s writing style, then try her other books – most famous is “Water for Elephants”, but “Ape House” and “Riding Lessons” also gave positive reviews.

 This book isn’t published yet, but be on the lookout come June!  How did we review a book that’s not published?  Publishers often donate copies of books for an honest review – like this one!