“A total departure for the author of The Paris Wife, Paula McLain’s emotionally intense and exceptionally well-written thriller entwines its fictional crime with real cases.”—People (Book of the Week) Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with saving the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in. Weaving together true crime, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this tense, affecting story is about fate, unlikely redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives–and our faith in one another”–
A mystery that is more thought-provoking than murder and mayhem, When the Stars Go Dark touches on what makes a family, and what can break a family. A fallible, strong, female detective, Anna Hart tugs at you throughout the book, praying she solves the case but hoping it doesn’t tear her apart in the process. And if you are doing the 2021 yearly reading challenge, it can fit in categories 13,29, and 35!
Every year the World Science Fiction Society awards the Hugo award to outstanding works of Science fiction and Fantasy. The past several years have seen a boom of incredible new fiction in these genres, and last year was no different, featuring some standout work from both new and established authors. Some of my personal favorites from the finalists are Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, and Axioms End by Lindsay Ellis.
We’ve created a list featuring the nominees for Best Novel, Best Series, Best YA Novel, and Best New Writer which you can check out here. Winners are announced in December, so you have plenty of time to read them all before then!
Summary from the publisher: From the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir comes an unforgettable novel of a BBC-sponsored wartime cooking competition and the four women who enter for a chance to better their lives.
Two years into World War II, Britain is feeling her losses: The Nazis have won battles, the Blitz has destroyed cities, and U-boats have cut off the supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio program called The Kitchen Front is holding a cooking contest—and the grand prize is a job as the program’s first-ever female co-host. For four very different women, winning the competition would present a crucial chance to change their lives.
For a young widow, it’s a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. For a kitchen maid, it’s a chance to leave servitude and find freedom. For a lady of the manor, it’s a chance to escape her wealthy husband’s increasingly hostile behavior. And for a trained chef, it’s a chance to challenge the men at the top of her profession.
These four women are giving the competition their all—even if that sometimes means bending the rules. But with so much at stake, will the contest that aims to bring the community together only serve to break it apart?
The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan celebrates resilient women from various walks of life during the difficult years of WWII in England, when women were expected to do all the familiar female roles plus take over for the men that were involved in the war effort. This book honors these hard-working women and acknowledges the sacrifices that were made, even for years after the war, as food rationing in England began in 1940 and went until 1954, nine years after the war ended. I was not able to put The Kitchen Front down, and gave it my very first 5 star rating on Goodreads, plus it can be used for categories #6,7,10,13,and 29 if you are doing our 2021 Reading Challenge!