First time novelist Harriet Lane produces a modern Daphne Du Maurier tale, with a heroine who is engaging, suspicious, sympathetic, calculating and subtle. The plot will grab you from the very start! Frances Thorpe, a young literary editor, chances upon an accident victim and shares some last moments of conversation with her before the paramedics arrive. Becoming more and more involved with the family of the now, deceased mother and wife, Thorpe begins to worm her way into the affections of just about all the family members. Admiring the lifestyle and possessions of the late, Alice Kyte, she is soon involved in a subtle campaign to possess what she has always wanted for herself. The descriptive prose, authentic conversations and plot twists will make for a page turning experience. Alys, Always can be found on our new fiction shelf and probably won't be the last offering from the talented Harriet Lane!
Another new fiction debut and described as "an absolute treat" by popular author, Janet Evanovich, is a debut novel by Sarah Healy titled Can I Get An Amen? Another best-selling author, Lisa Scottoline, describes it as "touching, funny, and full of heart." I would agree! There are a lot of faith issues in the story, but the tone is never preachy or austere. The heroine, Ellen Carlisle, is recovering from being dumped by her ambitious attorney husband, and seeks refuge with her fervently religious mom and conservative father. Ellen's attempts to get her life back on track and make a way for herself amidst family tensions, financial upset, and a new romantic interest comprise the basis for the plot. This is not your usual damsel in distress tale. It sweeps aside predictable outcomes and the dialogue is engaging and realistic.
Noted author, pastor and founder of North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Ga., Andy Stanley has written an insightful new book titled Enemies of the Heart, breaking free from the four emotions that control you. A handy group discussion guide is included at the back of the book. Son of noted, pastor and author, Charles Stanley, Andy has made his own mark in gospel literature with four previously published books. In "Enemies of the Heart," the emotions guilt, anger, greed and jealousy are examined and confronted. Strategies and examples from Andy's personal life help in making theological issues comprehensible. Andy's warm, humorous approach to life's problems and struggles is refreshing and comfortable. This book can be found in softcover format in our new nonfiction section.
Below Stairs, the classic kitchen maid's memoir that inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell is a recently added nonfiction book that entertains as it educates. If you enjoyed the PBS miniseries, you will definitely want to read this while you're waiting for another installment of "Downton Abbey." Powell was the oldest girl of seven children whose parents had a difficult time providing for them. At age 15, she went into domestic service to be able to support herself. Working her way up from a kitchen maid to a cook in a luxurious home, Margaret worked hard to improve her lot in life. Her descriptions of the sharp contrasts between her employers' lifestyles and those of the servants are shocking as well as illuminating. You will learn a lot about Victorian England and be inspired by her humor and work ethic.
For a look at another pioneering, courageous woman, check out, Mad Women, the Other side of life on Madison Avenue in the '60s and beyond by Jane Maas. The author dishes on life as a happily married copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather and the treatment of women in the work force. Her take on what was appropriate in dress, protocol and business sense in that era is entertaining, as well as informative. Jane shares her personal stories and her adventures as she rose from a beginner position in the agency to vice president. Rubbing shoulders with people from all walks of life, from celebrities and politicians to supermarket shoppers helped turn Maas into a master of successful ad campaigns. You'll recognize many of the slogans she helped to make famous.
- Shelley Janofski