Summer is a time for romance and adventure. You’re undoubtedly having your own memorable experiences during these fleeting warm-weather months (carpe diem, no?) and to enhance that experience, why not back it up with several amazing books? Why not turn the pages of a riveting novel where themes like young love, magic, mystery and historical suspense transport you to another world?
For this week’s Shelfie Picks, we turn to Chappaqua Public Library, a library in the suburbs an hour north of New York City. Chappaqua counts certain former White House residents among their neighbors. From independent book stores to great libraries, we support champions of great books and Chappaqua was nice enough to participate. Reference Librarian Vicki Fuqua recommended three novels that will captivate the mind and spirit: First love is a common theme, as is an exotic atmosphere and magical sentimentality.
The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig (NAL, August 4, 2015)
This is the final Pink Carnation novel from New York Times bestselling author of The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla and it’s loaded with wonderful history, suspense, and of course, plenty of romance. Set in Portugal in 1807 during the time of Napoleon’s reign, Jack Reid – the French agent turned British agent known as the Moonflower – is about to meet the legendary Pink Carnation. Will sparks fly? Author Christina Dodd calls it “Jane Austen for the modern girl” and another bestselling author, Meg Chabot, claims this “genre-bending” book has it all.
“Combining history, romance and humor, the Pink Carnation series by Willig has long been a favorite. This series finale can be read as a standalone but why not start with the first, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation? It’s a delight.”
Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, 2015)
It’s just magic. So many critics have wanted a fantasy book that reads like a modern-day classic, filled with moving, even heartbreaking emotion, and they got it with Naomi Novik’s Uprooted. A bold new world inspired by folk stories and legends, it’s a Grimm fairy tale with every possible base covered. Much like The Lure of the Moonflower, it’s a definite genre-bender. NPR calls it “the fantasy novel I’ve been waiting a lifetime for” and those who loved Novik’s Temeraire novels should dive in with gusto.
“It’s not exactly a traditional love story but a magical one, which may be even better. Novik handles not only magic beautifully, which she’s proven in her Temeraire books, but also the relationship between a prickly magician and the unlikely heroine.”
The Lake House by Kate Morton (Simon & Schuster, October 20, 2015)
Mark your calendars because Kate Morton’s latest riveting tale is just around the corner. It begins with 16-year-old Alice Edevane who lives in her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England. Alice is bright, curious, a bit precocious and she loves to write mysteries. But nothing she can write can equal what’s about to happen to her family. It involves the loss of her 11-year-old brother, Theo, and decades pass without closure. Alice, a grown successful author, must solve a mystery filled with shocking truths.
“I can’t wait for this October release by the author of atmospheric books such as The House at Riverton and The Distant Hours (which reminded me of Rebecca, another favorite). A Cornwall country house, a decades old mystery — what could be better?”
Great reads fill our minds. Whether it’s the strange love felt between a magician and an unlikely heroine; the exotic, historically echoing relationship between spies; or the longstanding desire to solve a family tragedy, prepare to escape to a land of young romance and excitement for many nights to come. Thanks again to Chappaqua Public Library for the recommendations and please support your local library.