I’ve been having a little break, busily working away and ordering you lots of lovely new fiction. Here’s just a small selection of some of the new titles arriving at the library soon (well, the next three months or so). The books I’ve chosen for this post are about relationships, friendships and families. You can find them on the catalogue and reserve them if you don’t want to miss out!
Mrs Grant and Madame Jule
Jennifer Chiaverini is a pretty popular, block-busting author who doesn’t really need my recommendations, but I think her new titles sound really interesting. This book is about the wife of Civil War hero Ulysses S Grant, his wife Julia Grant and her slave Madame Jule. Obviously there is a conflict here in that Ulysses was an abolitionist who fought on the side of the Union against slavery. However, his Southern wife continued to keep her slave during the war and their married life. The story covers the complexities of both the war and society at the time, and the relationships between Julia and Ulysses, and Julia and Jule (who won her freedom with the Emancipation Declaration). Chiaverini also covered slavery and the Civil War in her previous novel Mrs Lincoln’s Dressmaker, putting a new, interesting, female perspective on the period.
Book of lost and found
This story spans decades and is a true relationship saga. It starts in 1928 when Tom and Alice meet and begin their love story. it then moves onto their marriage and relationship as it plays out against the beginning of WWII in Paris. It also follows a young woman, Kate, who in the 1980s begins a quest to find her true parentage. I’ll leave it there, only to say the story has been described as “lyrical, compulsive and haunting”, “the heartbreaking tale of loves lost and decades of regret, a story of life broken by wars, and how the dark secrets in your past can resonate through your future” (Bookseller website). Author Lucy Foley used to be a book editor and this debut was hotly bid by many publishers – so it must be good!
This is by Julia Kelly, an Irish writer and young mother, whose experiences as a new mum inspired this novel. Set in Dublin, it’s about Eve, who’s life has fallen apart – partner walked out, no job, moved to a little, grotty home. Despite the grim circumstances Eve has her baby daughter and together they settle into their new surroundings, becoming regular visitors to a dilapidated playground nearby. Eve is soon joined by other mums in the area, a small garden is planted and things start to look up. But when there is an accident and Eve is blamed she must face the consequences, and herself. The story becomes about growing up, a coming-of-age of sorts, and how to be a parent when you may not have ‘grown up’ yourself.