Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 2011

Win an Advance Copy of THE LAST NUDE by Ellis Avery for Your Group
We are celebrating the forthcoming release of The Last Nude by Ellis Avery --- a stunning story of love, sexual obsession, treachery and tragedy, about an artist and her most famous muse in Paris between the world wars --- with a special contest. 100 readers will have the opportunity to each win one advance copy of the book, which will be in stores on January 5, 2012, for their group. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, July 6th at noon ET.

More about The Last Nude:
Paris, 1927. In the heady years before the crash, financiers drape their mistresses in Chanel, while expatriates flock to the avant-garde bookshop Shakespeare and Company. One day in July, a young American named Rafaela Fano gets into the car of a coolly dazzling stranger, the Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka. Struggling to halt a downward slide toward prostitution, Rafaela agrees to model for the artist, a dispossessed Saint Petersburg aristocrat with a murky past. The two become lovers, and Rafaela inspires Tamara's most iconic Jazz Age images, among them her most accomplished --- and coveted --- works of art. Inspired by real events in de Lempicka's history, The Last Nude is a tour de force of historical imagination.

Clickhere for the reading group guide.

New and Recommended - Fiction

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Dr. Marina Singh, a research scientist with a Minnesota pharmaceutical company, is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have all but disappeared in the Amazon while working on what is destined to be an extremely valuable new drug, the development of which has already cost the company a fortune. Nothing about Marina's assignment is easy: not only does no one know where Dr. Swenson is, but the last person who was sent to find her, Marina's research partner Anders Eckman, died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding her former mentor as well as answers to several troubling questions about her friend's death, the state of her company's future, and her own past.

Click here for the reading group guide.

Faith by Jennifer Haigh
Estranged for years from her difficult and demanding relatives, Sheila McGann has remained close to her older brother Art, the popular, dynamic pastor of a large suburban parish. When Art finds himself at the center of the maelstrom, Sheila returns to Boston, ready to fight for him and his reputation. What she discovers is more complicated than she imagined. Her strict, lace-curtain-Irish mother is living in a state of angry denial. Sheila's younger brother Mike, to her horror, has already convicted his brother in his heart. But most disturbing of all is Art himself, who persistently dodges Sheila's questions and refuses to defend himself.

Click here for the reading group guide.

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
As three generations of Kelleher women descend on the property one summer, each brings her own hopes and fears. Maggie is 32 and pregnant, waiting for the perfect moment to tell her imperfect boyfriend the news; Ann Marie, a Kelleher by marriage, is channeling her domestic frustration into a dollhouse obsession and an ill-advised crush; Kathleen, the black sheep, never wanted to set foot in the cottage again; and Alice, the matriarch at the center of it all, would trade every floorboard for a chance to undo the events of one night, long ago. By turns wickedly funny and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to Maine and to each other.

Click here for the reading group guide.

It’s 1968. The prestigious but cash-strapped Goode School in the town of Cape Wilde is run by its aging, philandering headmaster, Goddard Byrd, known to both his friends and his enemies as God. With Cape Wilde engulfed by the social and political storms of integration, coeducation and the sexual revolution, God has confidently promised coeducation “over my dead body.” And then, through a clerical error, the Goode School admits its first female student: Carole Faust, a brilliant, intractable 15-year-old black girl. Carolyn Cooke has written a ferociously intelligent, richly sensual novel about the lives of girls and women, the complicated desperation of daughters without fathers, and the erosion of paternalistic power in an elite New England town on the cusp of radical social change.

Click here for the reading group guide.

Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon
On a soft summer night in Vermont, 12-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen. Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams --- who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed --- a promise that could destroy them all.

Click here for the reading group guide.

The lives of two very different couples are irrevocably intertwined and forever changed in this stunning World War I epic of love and war. From the day in 1907 that 11-year-old Riley Purefoy meets Nadine Waveney, daughter of a well-known orchestral conductor, he takes in the difference between their two families: his, working-class; hers, "posh" and artistic. Just a few years later, romance and these differences erupt simultaneously with the war in Europe. In a fit of fury and boyish pride, Riley enlists in the army and finds himself involved in the transformative nightmare of the twentieth century. Moving among Ypres, London and Paris, this emotionally rich and evocative novel is both a powerful exploration of the lasting effects of war on those who fight --- and those who don't --- and a poignant testament to the power of enduring love.

Click here for the reading group guide.

The economic downturn has hit New Bern, Connecticut, and Tessa Woodruff's herbal apothecary shop, For the Love of Lavender, is suffering. So is her once-happy 34-year marriage to Lee. They'd given up everything to come back to New Bern from Boston and start their business, but now they're wondering if they made the right decision. To relieve the strain, Tessa signs up for a quilting class at the Cobbled Court Quilt Shop, and to her surprise, rediscovers the power of sisterhood --- along with the childhood friend she thought she'd lost forever. From New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick comes a beautiful novel of sisterhood lost and found --- and of the ways we create the rich tapestries that encompass the past and the future.

Click here for the reading group guide.

Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner
In the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, a young Orthodox Jewish woman in the holy city of Jerusalem is expected to marry and produce many sons to help hasten the Messiah's arrival. While the feisty Esther Kaminsky understands her obligations, her artistic talent inspires her to secretly explore worlds outside her religion, to dream of studying in Paris --- and to believe that God has a special destiny for her. When tragedy strikes her family, Esther views it as a warning from an angry God and suppresses her desires in order to become an obedient "Jerusalem maiden."

Click here for the reading group guide.

New and Recommended - Nonfiction

Oscar Hijuelos has enchanted readers with vibrant characters who hunger for success, love and self-acceptance. In his first work of nonfiction, Hijuelos writes from the heart about the people and places that inspired his international bestselling novels. Born in Manhattan's Morningside Heights to Cuban immigrants in 1951, Hijuelos introduces readers to the colorful circumstances of his upbringing. The son of a Cuban hotel worker and exuberant poetry-writing mother, his story, played out against the backdrop of an often prejudiced working-class neighborhood, takes on an even richer dimension when his relationship to his family and culture changes forever. During a sojourn in pre-Castro Cuba with his mother, he catches a disease that sends him into a Dickensian home for terminally ill children. The yearlong stay estranges him from the very language and people he had so loved.

Click here for the reading group guide.

For Christian Readers

Martha by Diana Wallis Taylor: The Biblical character of Martha of Bethany comes to life in this historical romance about one woman’s quest for true love while holding her family together.

Megan’sHero: The Callahans of Texas, Book Three by Sharon Gillenwater: An unwed mother-to-be is rescued from a tornado by a strapping cowboy, leaving both to wonder if this chance meeting was truly fate.

Registered Book Club Promotions

For June we have two very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles this month are The Summer We Came to Life by Deborah Cloyed and Broken Wings by Carla Stewart. Groups who have registered with us by Tuesday, June 21st have the chance to win an author chat and/or free books. If your group is not registered, click here to register.

Click here for details.

New Guides

The Bells by Richard Harvell: The life of fictional singer Moses Forben is chronicled, from his humble upbringing in a small Swiss town in the Alps to stardom in bustling Vienna during the 18th century.

Broken Wings by Carla Stewart: A singer finds herself pondering her future alone as her husband --- and duet partner --- succumbs to Alzheimer’s.

Daughters of the Revolution by Carolyn Cooke: The headmaster of a prestigious New England prep school vows never to desegregate his campus, until the school accidentally admits a 15-year-old black girl.

Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon: Family secrets and fairy lore create a shifting reality in Jennifer McMahon's unsettling novel about the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl who longed to become Queen of the Fairies.

Downfrom Cascom Mountain by Ann Joslin Williams: Newlywed Mary Hall brings her husband to settle in the rural New Hampshire of her youth to fix up the house she grew up in and to reconnect to the land that defined her, with all its beauty and danger.

Eromenos by Melanie McDonald: Eros and Thanatos converge in the story of a glorious youth, an untimely death, and an imperial love affair that gives rise to the last pagan god of antiquity.

Faith by Jennifer Haigh: Set in 2002 amid the sexual abuse crisis that has rocked the Catholic Church, and particularly the Boston archdiocese, Jennifer Haigh's novel reaches far beneath the headlines to imagine the impact of allegations on one priest's family.

Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott: The quiet, circumscribed world of divorcée Clara Purdy gets shaken up when she gets in a car accident with the Gage family, who are homeless and have been living in their car.

Healer by Carol Cassella: A housewife tries to hold her family together after her husband’s medical company loses a fortune.

Hello Goodbye by Emily Chenoweth: A family convenes at a posh New England hotel to celebrate the matriarch’s birthday, which may be her last due to an inoperable tumor.

Jerusalem Maiden by Talia Carner: A young woman is torn between her strict Orthodox Jewish heritage and her desire to explore the world, especially Paris, during the final days of the Ottoman Empire.

The Last Nude
by Ellis Avery: The unlikely pairing between an American expatriate and a Russian painter with a murky past leads to a classic work of Jazz Age art.

TheLondon Train by Tessa Hadley: A train ride proves fateful for a father searching for his long-lost daughter and a young woman returning home to claim her inheritance.

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan: Three generations of women share their hopes, dreams and fears at the family’s summer retreat along coastal Maine.

The Mighty Walzer by Howard Jacobson: A table-tennis prodigy hones his game with the paddle --- and the ladies --- thanks to sage advice from his father and teammates.

My Dear I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young: A young couple wonders if their love and relationship can survive through the horrors of World War I.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett: A pharmaceutical researcher treks into the Amazon to locate a colleague whose untimely death has raised several questions about his discoveries in the region.

by Susanna Daniel: While visiting southern Florida, a young woman falls madly in love with one of the locals from Stiltsville, a community of raised houses in Biscayne Bay.

The Summer We Came to Life by Deborah Cloyed: A group of friends try to enjoy their annual summer retreat but can’t help but notice the void left by a recently-deceased member.

Thoughts Without Cigarettes: A Memoir by Oscar Hijuelos: The award-winning novelist chronicles his childhood growing up the son of Cuban immigrants in New York City’s rough Washington Heights district.

Threading the Needle: A Cobbled Court Novel by Marie Bostwick: Two friends rekindle their relationship as each faces tough times during the recent economic depression.


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