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At the Library: Reading their writes

By Staff | Mar 25, 2015

There is much left to be read at the Captiva Memorial Library

“Bellman and Black”

by Diane Setterfield

“Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget…Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn-and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business. And ‘Bellman and Black’ is born.” *

“The Sisters Weiss”

by Naomi Regen

“In 1950s Brooklyn, sisters Rose and Pearl Weiss grow up in a loving but strict ultra-Orthodox Jewish family, never dreaming of defying their parents or their community’s unbending and intrusive demands. Then, a chance meeting with a young French immigrant turns Rose’s world upside down, its once bearable strictures suddenly tightening like a noose around her neck. Defiantly, she begins to live a secret life that shocks her family when it is discovered. Out of guilt and an overwhelming desire to be reconciled with those she loves, she finally bows to her parents’ demands that she agree to an arranged marriage. But the night before her wedding, she commits an act of defiance so unforgivable it will exile her forever from her innocent young sister, her family, and all she has ever known. Forty years later, pious Pearl’s sheltered young daughter Rivka suddenly discovers the truth about the family outcast, her Aunt Rose, now a successful photographer. Inspired, but naive and reckless, she sets off on a dangerous adventure that will stir up the ghosts of the past and alter the future in unimaginable ways for all involved.” *

“Death of the Black-Haired Girl”

by Robert Stone

“In an elite college in a once-decaying New England city, Steven Brookman has come to a decision. A brilliant but careless professor, he has determined that for the sake of his marriage, and his soul, he must extract himself from his relationship with Maud Stack, his electrifying student, whose papers are always late and too long yet always incandescent. But Maud is a young woman whose passions are not easily contained or curtailed, and their union will quickly yield tragic and far-reaching consequences. As in Robert Stone’s most acclaimed novels, here he conjures a complex moral universe where nothing is black and white, even if the characters-always complicated, always compelling-wish it were. The stakes of Brookman and Maud’s relationship prove higher than either one could have anticipated, pitting individuals against one another and against the institutions meant to protect thema powerful tale of infidelity, accountability, the allure of youth, the promise of absolution, and the notion that madness is everywhere, in plain sight.”*

“Jeeves and the Wedding Bells: an homage to P.G. Wodehouse”

by Sebastian Faulks

“One B. Wooster, recently returned from a very pleasurable sojourn in Cannes, finds himself at the stately home of Sir Henry Hackwood in Dorset. Bertie is more than familiar with the country house set-up: he is a veteran of the cocktail hour and, thanks to Jeeves, his gentleman’s personal gentleman, is never less than immaculately dressed. On this occasion, however, it is Jeeves who is to be seen in the drawing room while Bertie finds himself below stairs-a role for which he has no discernable talent and a situation he doesn’t much like. The root cause of this role reversal is love. Bertie, you see, has met one Georgiana Meadowes on the Cte d’Azur. However, Georgiana is spoken for. Orphaned at young age, she is the ward of the impoverished Sir Henry Hackwood. In order to help Sir Henry maintain his beloved Melbury Hall, Georgiana is engaged to marry a man of sufficient means, one Rupert Venables. Meanwhile, Peregrine ‘Woody’ Beeching, one of Bertie’s oldest chums, is desperate to regain the trust of his fiance Amelia, Sir Henry’s tennis-mad daughter, and has approached Bertie-well, Jeeves, actually-for help. But why would this necessitate Bertie having to pass himself off as a servant when he has never so much as made a cup of tea? Could it be that the ever loyal, Spinoza-loving Jeeves has something up his sleeve?” *

“The Book of Strange New Things”

by Michel Faber

“It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings-his Bible is their ‘book of strange new things.’ But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter. Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.” *

“John the Pupil”

by David Flusfeder

“Set in thirteenth-century Europe, against the backdrop of a medieval world where beauty and violence, science and mysticism, carnality and faith, exist side by side, this is a masterful, mystery-laden novel from the author of ‘The Gift’Since he was a young boy, John has studied at the Franciscan monastery outside Oxford, under the tutelage of friar and magus Roger Bacon, an inventor, scientist, and polymath. In 1267, Bacon arranges for his young pupil to embark on a journey of penitence to Italy. But the pilgrimage is a guise to deliver scientific instruments and Bacon’s great opus to His Holiness, Pope Clement IV. Two companions will accompany John, both Franciscan friars: the handsome, sweet-tempered Brother Andrew, with whom everyone falls in love; and the more brutish Brother Bernard, with his secret compulsion for drawing imaginary monsters. Neither knows the true purpose of their expeditiona medieval road movie, recounting the journey taken from Oxford to Viterbo in 1267 by John and his two companions. Modeling themselves after Saint Francis, the trio treks by foot through Europe, preaching the gospel and begging for sustenance. In addition to fighting off ambushes from thieves hungry for the thing of power they are carrying, the holy trio are tried and tempted by all sorts of sins: ambition, pride, lust-and by the sheer hell and heaven of medieval life.” *

“The Asylum”

by Jeannette de Beauvoir

“Martine LeDuc is the director of PR for the mayor’s office in Montreal. When four women are found brutally murdered and shockingly posed on park benches throughout the city over several months, Martine’s boss fears a PR disaster for the still busy tourist season, and Martine is now also tasked with acting as liaison between the mayor and the police department. The women were of varying ages, backgrounds and body types and seemed to have nothing in common. Yet the macabre presentation of their bodies hints at a connection. Martine is paired with a young detective, Julian Fletcher, and together they dig deep into the city’s and the country’s past, only to uncover a dark secret dating back to the 1950s, when orphanages in Montreal and elsewhere were converted to asylums in order to gain more funding. The children were subjected to horrific experiments such as lobotomies, electroshock therapy, and psychotropic medication, and many of them died in the process. The survivors were supposedly compensated for their trauma by the government and the cases seem to have been settled. So who is bearing a grudge now, and why did these four women have to die?” *

* Book jacket/publisher description

-Senior Librarian Ann Bradley is branch manager Captiva Memorial Library