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Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

The following interviews, reviews and features began running on the website on Friday, April 8th.

The titles below are discussed in the Newsletter Opener, which can be read here:

THE PARIS WIFE by Paula Mclain
LIFE by Keith Richards
LONGITUDE by Dava Sobel
IN STITCHES by Anthony Yoon and Alan Eistenstock
FALLEN by Karin Slaughter
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Reviews and Excerpts
I’LL WALK ALONE Mary Higgins Clark (Thriller)
Identity theft stirs the quickly beating heart of Mary Higgins Clark’s latest offering. Beautiful Alexandra "Zan" Moreland has been suspected of kidnapping her own son. With the hope that he is still alive, she sets out to discover who is behind such a cruel hoax. But she is putting herself in mortal danger from the person who seems to watch her every step. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

THE FIFTH WITNESS by Michael Connelly (Legal Thriller)
The Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller, is back in action, this time specializing in foreclosure defense. When his first client becomes the prime suspect of a murder case, Haller must craft a defense that includes “the fifth witness” of the title. For Mickey, it's back to what he does best on the biggest stage of all. But is he ready for the verdict? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE FIFTH WITNESS.

THE SILVER BOAT by Luanne Rice
Three sisters face giving up their beachfront cottage on the picturesque island of Martha's Vineyard after being hit with an estate tax burden relating to the death of their beloved mother. From the sunny shores of New England to the rocky landscapes of ever-green Ireland comes a sweeping saga of one family, split between worlds and struggling to hold on. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SILVER BOAT.

ELIZABETH I by Margaret George
(Historical Fiction)
There seems to be no end to the fascination and continued appeal surrounding Queen Elizabeth I, the elusive monarch whose motives we still wonder about 500 years after she's gone. Bestselling novelist Margaret George delves deeply into Elizabeth's thoughts and struggles, giving audiences a striking vision of England's commanding queen and the monarchy that birthed the Golden Age of England. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.
-Click here to read an excerpt from ELIZABETH I.

SAY HER NAME by Francisco Goldman (Fiction)
In a novel that possesses the immediacy and power of a memoir, Francisco Goldman recounts the story of his passionate, if improbable, love affair with a woman two decades his junior and of the nearly insurmountable grief that stalked him after its tragic conclusion. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.
-Click here to read an excerpt from SAY HER NAME.

THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES by Jean M. Auel (Historical Fiction)
With THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES, Jean M. Auel brings her epic Earth’s Children series about family life in prehistoric times to a rich conclusion. Amid the ripening colors of a serene late-Pleistocene summer, Ayla, her leading character, completes a long journey of self-discovery that promises a new future for her people. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES

ONCE UPON A TIME, THERE WAS YOU by Elizabeth Berg (Fiction)
Even on their wedding day, John and Irene sensed they were about to make a mistake. Years later --- divorced and dating other people --- they are bound only by mutual love for their spirited 18-year-old daughter. When tragedy strikes, they must come together to support their daughter and, eventually, to remember how they feel about each other. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

TREASON AT LISSON GROVE: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel by Anne Perry (Historical Mystery)
Charlotte and Thomas Pitt are called out of London, to Ireland and France respectively, each chasing the person or group behind a sinister plot aimed directly at taking down the British government and Queen Victoria herself. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE UNCOUPLING by Meg Wolitzer
Will the women of Stellar Plains, NJ, ever have sex again? After the local high school begins rehearsals for Lysistrata (in which the ladies of Greece refuse to have sex until the men end a war), every woman in the community unconsciously decides to hold off in the bedroom. The play’s lead actress even stages a “sex strike” in protest of the war in Afghanistan. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE UNCOUPLING.

BRANCH RICKEY by Jimmy Breslin (Biography)
Sixty-four years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Pulitzer Prize winner and legendary New York reporter Jimmy Breslin has written a biography of the man who made that historic event possible: Brooklyn Dodger executive Branch Rickey. Robinson made history with the help of a deeply religious and conservative teetotaler who viewed racism as a sin but also saw how black players could win him championships. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

As teenagers, Miranda and Adam began a love affair that endured through college only to end in a painful betrayal. When a mutual friend brings them together in present-day Rome, they haven't seen each other in more than three decades. The two embark on daily walks, reconnecting in the heart of this beautiful city, which still holds passionate memories. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE LOVE OF MY YOUTH.

DEATH OF A CHIMNEY SWEEP: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery by M.C. Beaton (Mystery)
In the Scottish Highlands, a dead body is found stuffed inside a chimney. Was it the local chimney sweep, Pete Ray? Hamish Macbeth, the ever-endearing constable, doesn't think so. When Pete is found dead on the Scottish moors, the local police feel the case is open and shut, and it's up to Hamish to stop what might become a killing spree. Reviewed by Usha Rao.

BAD DOG (A LOVE STORY) by Martin Kihn
The fur flies in this charming memoir, as author Martin Kihn discovers that his dog’s behavior isn’t the only thing troubling his marriage. In order to save both his pet and his wife, he must first save himself. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE OTHER LIFE by Ellen Meister (Fiction)
If you had another life, would you want to visit? Quinn Braverman has another life, a secret life she keeps hidden from everyone, even herself. When she finds out her second pregnancy isn’t going according to plan and something may be seriously wrong with the child, she begins to wonder about her choices and what her other life holds. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE OTHER LIFE.

THE MORNING STAR by Andre Schwarz-Bart
Acclaimed French novelist and Holocaust survivor Andre Schwarz-Bart’s last novel, discovered after his death, begins in the year 3000, in the aftermath of nuclear war. Combining fact, myth, folktale and fantasy, the plot spans several thousand years, weaving the heroic tale of the Jewish people from Abraham, to the Holocaust and its extermination camps, and into the future. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Author Interview
Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim, and he has won prestigious awards for ATONEMENT, SATURDAY and ON CHESIL BEACH. SOLAR, his most recent book now available in paperback, is an engrossing and satirical novel that focuses on climate change in correlation with one man’s ambitions and self-deceptions. John Hogan of recently spoke with this bestselling author, asking questions submitted by readers and reviewers. McEwan eagerly discusses his personal inspirations, his desire to “accelerate change” in his characters, Philip Roth's helpful advice, and the differences between the American and British novel. He also reveals his propensity for vaguely unsympathetic protagonists and how he still tempts readers to follow them.

Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly, perhaps best known as the creator of private investigator Harry Bosch, continues his Mickey Haller series with THE FIFTH WITNESS. Here, the criminal defense attorney is expanding his law practice into foreclosure defense, only to find that one of his clients is accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take her home. In this interview, Connelly, who has no law background, discusses his spot-on research and the decision to reflect what is currently happening in society. He also reveals the evolution and dual nature of his main character, as well as the fact that reading, to him, is about creating an empathic connection.

Luanne Rice
After 28 novels, a staggering feat for any established writer, Luanne Rice has returned with THE SILVER BOAT, an emotional portrait of three sisters who revisit their Martha’s Vineyard home, full of family ghosts and memories, one last time. In this interview, Rice discusses the real-life inspiration for her book, and how she too had to confront her family beach cottage after her mother’s death. She also talks about her favorite poets, the seed for her next work of fiction, and how writing has been her lifelong solution to figuring things out.

Special Feature
More than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list…More than 2.5 million hardcovers in print…Available in more than 40 countries…and soon to be a major motion picture this summer…
And now THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett is available in paperback!

Set in the segregated South of the early 1960s, THE HELP tells the story of Skeeter, an ambitious young white woman, and the two African-American maids --- Aibileen and Minny --- whose lives she chronicles. The novel takes readers back to a time and place where not all people were treated equal and civil freedoms were not guaranteed. It is a deeply moving story of race, class and the meaning of family that unfolds during one of the most tumultuous time periods in American history. THE HELP is a book that sparks many emotions and debates about our country’s past while we continue to build a better future.

We hope you enjoy this special feature and tribute to THE HELP. Below you will find a wealth of information about the book, including our review, a reading guide, author tour dates, film information and links to articles of interest. We also invite you to answer our question of the week for THE HELP.

Women's Fiction Author Spotlight
THE BRIDE'S HOUSE by Sandra Dallas
From New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas comes THE BRIDE'S HOUSE, a novel about the secrets and passions of three generations of women who have all lived in the same Victorian home.

It’s 1880, and for unassuming 17-year-old Nealie Bent, the Bride’s House is a fairy tale come to life. It seems as if it is being built precisely for her and Will Spaulding, the man she is convinced she will marry. But life doesn’t go according to plan, and Nealie finds herself in the Bride’s House pregnant --- and married to another. For Pearl, growing up in the Bride’s House is akin to being raised in a mausoleum. Her father has fashioned the house into a shrine to the woman he loved, resisting all forms of change. When the enterprising young Frank Curry comes along and asks for Pearl’s hand in marriage, her father sabotages the union. But he underestimates the lengths to which the women in the Bride’s House will go for love. Susan is the latest in the line of strong and willful women in the Bride’s House. She’s proud of the women who came before her, but the Bride’s House hides secrets that will force her to question what she wants and who she loves.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BRIDE'S HOUSE.
-Click here to read Sandra Dallas’s bio.
-Click here to see Sandra Dallas’s backlist.
-Visit Sandra Dallas’s official website,

Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight
DEAD BY MORNING by Beverly Barton
(Romantic Suspense)
Beverly Barton is back with DEAD BY MORNING, a book loaded with her trademark suspense and romance as two security officials race to uncover the clues that could lead them to the serial killer terrorizing their offices.

He begins his work just before dawn, wielding a knife with the precision of a surgeon. Cunning and meticulous, he's always in control. Mercy is not an option. Maleah Purdue is tough, outspoken, and completely dedicated to her work at the Powell Security Agency. But her fearless exterior shatters when a madman begins killing her colleagues one by one, mimicking a notorious serial killer already behind bars. Working alongside top profiler Derek Lawrence, Maleah will do anything to find the murderer, even if it means playing a psychopath's twisted mind games. No one connected to the Agency is safe. No one is beyond suspicion. For as Maleah and Derek piece together the clues, they uncover a chilling legacy of lies and brutal vengeance --- and a killer who has been hiding in plain sight all along.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DEAD BY MORNING.
-Click here to read Beverly Barton’s bio.
-Click here to see Beverly Barton’s backlist.
-Visit Beverly Barton’s official website,

The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage. But coming home is harder than it looks. One vet will struggle with drugs and alcohol. One will lose his family and friends. One will die. Since their first meeting, Russ and Clare’s bond has been tried, torn, and forged by adversity. But when he rules the veteran’s death a suicide, she violently rejects his verdict, drawing the surviving vets into an unorthodox investigation that threatens jobs, relationships, and her own future with Russ.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-Click here to read critical praise for ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-Click here to read Julia Spencer-Fleming's bio.
-Click here to see Julia Spencer-Fleming's backlist.
-Click here to read more about ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-Visit Julia Spencer-Fleming's official website,

In DISTURBED, the latest pulse-pounding thriller from Kevin O'Brien, anewlywed tries to adjust to her new, affluent neighborhood only to learn that a brutal killer is lurking around, stalking his victims.

The houses in Willow Tree Court are sleek and modern--the kind designed to harbor happy families and laughing children. No one would guess the secrets that lurk beyond the neat lawns and beautiful facades. Molly Dennehy is trying to fit in to her new surroundings, though her neighbors are clearly loyal to her husband's ex-wife. But that's the least of Molly's worries. Her stepson's school has been rocked by a brutal slaying, and a psychopath known as the Cul-de-Sac Killer is murdering families in Seattle homes. Homes just like Molly's. With each passing day, Molly grows more convinced that someone is watching her family, someone consumed with rage and vengeance. On this quiet road, a nightmare has been unleashed, and the trail of terror will lead right to her door.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DISTURBED.
-Click here to read critical praise for DISTURBED.
-Click here to read Kevin O’Brien’s bio.
-Click here to see Kevin O’Brien’s backlist.
-Visit Kevin O’Brien’s official website,

Paperback Spotlight: PEARL OF CHINA

PEARL OF CHINA by Anchee Min
In the small southern China town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the 19th century, two young girls bump heads and become thick as thieves. Willow is the only child of a destitute family. Pearl is the headstrong daughter of Christian missionaries --- and will grow up to become Pearl S. Buck, Nobel Prize-winning writer and activist. This unlikely pair becomes lifelong friends, confiding their beliefs and dreams, experiencing love and motherhood, and eventually facing civil war and exile. PEARL OF CHINA brings new color to the remarkable life of Pearl S. Buck, illuminated by the sweep of history and an intimate, unforgettable friendship.

here to read a review of PEARL OF CHINA.
here to read an excerpt from PEARL OF CHINA.
-Click here to read critical praise for PEARL OF CHINA.
here to see the reading group guide for PEARL OF CHINA.
-Click here
to read Anchee Min’s bio.

Paperback Spotlight: THE POSTMISTRESS

THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake (Fiction)
In 1940, Iris James is the postmistress in coastal Franklin, Massachusetts. Iris knows more about the townspeople than she will ever say, and believes her job is to deliver secrets. Yet one day she does the unthinkable: slips a letter into her pocket, reads it, and doesn't deliver it.
Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow. Her dispatches beg listeners to pay heed as the Nazis bomb London nightly. Most of the townspeople of Franklin think the war can't touch them. But both Iris and Frankie know better...
-Click here to read a review of THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read our interview with Sarah Blake.
-Click here to read Sarah Blake’s bio.
-Click here to see the winners of THE POSTMISTRESS.
April offers the promise of both sunshine and showers, but our Books into Movies feature spotlights five films that will excite you no matter how the weather behaves. And in case rain does prevail, you can always surf your way through.
Fans of historical or dystopian flicks will be more than satisfied this month, with movies like The Conspirator, Robert Redford’s dramatic take on the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, and the first installment of the two-part film version of Ayn Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED, which reveals the innovation and revolution within Taggart Transcontinental, the largest remaining railroad company in America. But let’s rewind several centuries, when the struggle for the Iron Throne rages among kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men in the HBO drama Game of Thrones.

Inspired by George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice, this highly anticipated series premieres on Sunday, April 17th. If you’re in need of a heartwarming story, then you must check out Soul Surfer, the inspirational account of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who tries to bounce back from a vicious shark attack, or Water for Elephants, in which a 93-year-old is reminded of his colorful past when a circus rolls into town, prompting him to both recall his younger days and face the impending reality of his death.

And don’t forget our Books into Movies on DVD feature, which is currently spotlighting I Love You Phillip Morris, Gulliver’s Travels, and two of the year’s most highly anticipated releases: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One.

Click here to read the full newsletter.

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