Ever Faithful

Ever Faithful: A Vintage National Parks Novel by Karen Barnett

This novel set in Yellowstone National Park in 1933 has a wonderful sense of time and place. Nate Webber has dyslexia and can barely read, but loves to learn. Elsie Brooks, daughter of a park ranger, is saving money for college as a hotel maid in the park when she gets the chance to teach Nate’s Civilian Conservation Corps crew part-time. Elsie’s friends Mary and Rose welcome the chance of a summer romance, while a young park ranger is interested in Elsie, who’s hiding a secret of her own. The city boys of the CCC, many from New York City, find the hard work in the park challenging, but settle in quickly. A couple of small fires had me suspecting a character of arson, but this mildly inspirational story isn’t as predictable as I thought. Warm-hearted, relaxing, and thoroughly enjoyable, this trip back in time has me looking forward to reading Barnett’s other novels set in Yosemite and Mount Rainier National Parks.


Lady Clementine

Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict

The struggles and triumphs of the wife of Winston Churchill make for an interesting biographical novel, especially the second half of the book, which covers World War II. The first half of the book doesn’t flow as well, as it covers the first thirty years of Clementine and Winston’s marriage. Clementine was always interested in politics, although she didn’t always share Winston’s views. He was moody and rather bombastic, but Clementine would stand up to him, soothe and support him, and they were a good team, at least according to this very well researched novel. Clementine struggled to balance being a supportive wife with being a good mother and running a household on a modest budget during the early years of their marriage, and occasionally took a rest cure to recharge. I really liked the chapters on Clementine’s work on the home front during the war, improving air raid shelters, helping Winston with his speeches, and being recognized internationally for her work with the Red Cross. Other recent books about the Winston and his mother Jennie include Hero of the Empire by Candice Millard and That Churchill Woman by Stephanie Barron. Readalikes include novels by Melanie Benjamin, Paula McLain, and Nancy Horan.




Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law by Haben Girma

This is a compelling memoir of a young black woman learning to advocate for her needs as she grows up. Haben is the daughter of Eritrean immigrants, where her grandmother still lives. She was born deafblind, with some vision and hearing, but both are getting worse. She frequently felt left out in group settings, and learning to connect well with others is a challenge she took on. With occasional humor, Haben’s triumphs and setbacks include sliding down an Alaskan glacier, struggling to train with seeing-eye dog Maxine, learning to dance, and finding out what food was being served in her college cafeteria. Her parents’ protectiveness, while understandable, occasionally felt stifling, especially when she wanted to travel with a student group. At Harvard Haben uses a text-to-braille system and becomes an accomplished public speaker and advocate for disability rights. Clearly and elegantly written, this refreshing and uplifting memoir is highly recommended.


New African American Fiction

We have a display of new African American fiction and non-fiction to celebrate Black History Month. Here are some of the new fiction titles:

New African American Fiction

 Adjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame. Friday Black

Billingsley, ReShonda Tate. More to Life

Bird, Sarah. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

Bump, Gabriel. Everywhere You Don’t Belong

Grey, Anissa. The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

Hall, Rachel Hozell. They All Fall Down

Hurston, Zora Neale. Hitting a Straight Lick with a Crooked Stick

Jones, Tayari. An American Marriage

McMillan, Terry. It’s Not All Downhill from Here (March 2020)

Monroe, Mary. Over the Fence

Moore, Wayéto. She Would be King

Norfleet, Celeste. One Night in Georgia

Porter, Regina. The Travelers

Sexton, Margaret Wilkerson. The Revisioners

Thompson-Spikes, Nafissa. Heads of the Colored Peoples: Stories

Washington, Bryan. Lot

Whitehead, Colson. The Nickel Boys

Wilkinson, Lauren. American Spy

Winslow, De’Shawn Charles. In West Mills

Woodson, Jacqueline. Red at the Bone


Clark, Tracy. Borrowed Time

Holloway, Karla. A Death in Harlem

Locke, Attica. Heaven, My Home

Mosley, Walter. Down the River Unto the Sea


Cole, Alyssa. An Unconditional Freedom

Guillory, Jasmine. Royal Holiday

Hickman, Trice. The Other Side

Hodges, Cheris. Tempted at Midnight

Jackson, Brenda. Finding Home Again

Jenkins, Beverly. Rebel

Pope, Jamie. One Warm Winter

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Clark, Djèli. The Black God’s Drums

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. The Water Dancer

James, Marlon. Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Jemisin, N.K. How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color. Edited by Nisi Shawl

Onyebuchi, Tochi. Riot Baby

Okorafor, Nnedi. Binti: Night Masquerade

Penelope, L. Whispers of Shadow & Flame

Solomon, Rivers. The Deep

Thompson, Tade. The Rosewater Redemption

Turnbull, Cadwell. The Lesson

Urban Fiction

A’Zayler. Heart of the Hustle

Bryant, Niobia. Madam, May I

Dickey, Eric Jerome. Bad Men & Wicked Women

K’Wan. Wrath

Saundra. If It Ain’t About the Money

February 2020 Book Discussions

In February, the book groups will be discussing two titles set in December, but in very different climates: the hot Australian outback and an upstate New York snowstorm. Take your pick and join us; copies of both books are available for checkout at the Circulation Desk.

The Tuesday Evening Book Group will be discussing The Lost Man by Jane Harper at 7:00 pm on February 25, about a rancher who seems to have everything but is found dead by a lone headstone in the summer heat. My earlier review is here.

The Crime Readers will meet at 7:00 pm on Thursday, February 20 at Home Run Inn Pizza in Darien to discuss In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming, the first book in the Clare Fergusson mysteries series. The Crime Readers are co-sponsored by the Indian Prairie Public Library. Optional dinner is at 6:00 p.m.

Happy reading! Brenda


The Rise of Magicks

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts

When a publisher announces a one million-copy printing of the conclusion to the Chronicles of the One trilogy, it’s fair to expect an awesome sequel to Year One and Of Blood and Bone. Some reviewers found this book to be brilliant, compulsively readable, and fully satisfying. I found this book to be not as fast-paced or as satisfying as the earlier books, though still enjoyable to read. Fallon Swift, born in the first book and trained to lead in the second, now travels the country finding small groups of people who have survived and thrived after the Doom, gathering troops for her battle against evil villains. Twins Duncan and Tonia are foretold to help Fallon in the final battle, back in Scotland near a stone circle. Fallon finds time for romance, and gets advice from her mother Lana and Lana’s friends, who have larger roles in the first book. I enjoyed reading about life in post-apocalyptic communities more than the battle scenes. Definitely start with the first book, and read this one to find out what happens to everyone who made it through the Doom and settled in charming New Hope, Virginia.



Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Most people in this future utopian society are content, but are their lives still meaningful? Death and old age are now reversible conditions, except for those gleaned by an order of scythes. Feared and celebrated, scythes can grant a year of immunity. Teens Citra and Rowan are selected to be apprentices to Scythe Faraday, but only one will be chosen to be a scythe. This is a unique, astounding blend of philosophy and high-octane adventure. First in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, this book is deservedly popular with teens and adults. The sequels are Thunderhead and The Toll.