Tag Archives: Mystery

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!

 

 

Miniaturist

[Cover]

Title: The Miniaturist

Author: Jessie Burton

Publisher: Harper Collins, August 2014

Summary/Review: When 18 year old Nella Oortman travels to Amsterdam to meet her new husband, she finds her life will be very different than she could ever have imagined.

Nella’s new husband, Johannes Brandt, is a 39 year old merchant trader in the city of Amsterdam. His successful business has allowed Johannes to have a nice home, servants, and some of the finer things in life. Nella arrives to find Johannes’ sister, Marin, at home but not Johannes. In fact, Johannes deftly dodges his new bride for as long as he can, claiming his business keeps him away from home.

To make up for his absence, Johannes gives Nella a gift-a miniature replica of her new home. She is also given the means to furnish it as she wishes. As Nella orders pieces to complete the cabinet sized house, she receives more than she bargained, or paid, for. Somehow, the miniaturist she hires creates exact replicas of their real life counterparts as if he or she has been in the home before. Nella also receives pieces that she did not order, but still perfectly match items in her home. As her life in repressive Amsterdam starts to take dangerous twists and turns, Nella has to wonder whether the mysterious miniaturist is foretelling her future with each new reproduction or orchestrating her destruction.

Jessie Burton’s debut novel may be set in 1686, but the prejudices and discrimination that take place are still, shamefully, taking place in 2014. Burton’s writing will transport you to Amsterdam complete with the sights and sounds of the bustling city. A great choice for book clubs and historical fiction readers, The Miniaturist will give you plenty to think about and talk about.

Who will like this book? Someone looking for a book that will lend itself to conversation.  Someone looking to be transported to another time and place.

If you like this, try this: If you are looking for more good historical fiction, try Geraldine Brooks, Phillipa Gregory, or Ken Follett.  “Girl With the Pearl Earring”  may be another choice for you.  This is Burton’s first novel, but the buzz with this book is huge – so be on the lookout for more!

Recommended by:  Sue B, Circulation Coordinator

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!