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Archived Staff Picks - April 2019


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The California Wife
By: Kristen Harnisch
Recommended by Marilyn

In the sweeping, poignant sequel to The Vintner s Daughter, the Lemieux family s ambition to establish an American winemaking dynasty takes Sara and Philippe from pastoral Napa to the Paris World s Fair and into the colorful heart of early 20th-century San Francisco. 

It is 1897, and Sara and Philippe Lemieux, newly married and full of hope for the future, are determined to make Eagle s Run, their Napa vineyard, into a world-renowned winemaking operation. But the swift arrival of the 20th century brings a host of obstacles they never dreamed of: price wars and the twin threats of phylloxera and Prohibition endanger the success of their business, and the fiercely independent Sara is reluctant to leave the fields behind for the new and strange role of wife and mother. 
An invitation to the World’ s Fair in 1900 comes just in time to revive the vineyard s prospects, and amid the jewel-colored wonders of Belle Epoque Paris, Sara and Philippe s passion is rekindled as well. But then family tragedy strikes, and, upon their return to California, a secret from Philippe s past threatens to derail their hard-won happiness in one stroke. 
Sara gains an ally when Marie Chevreau, her dear friend, arrives in San Francisco as the first female surgery student to be admitted to prestigious Cooper Medical College. Through Marie, Sara gets a glimpse of the glittering world of San Francisco s high society, and she also forges friendships with local women s rights advocates, inciting new tensions in her marriage. Philippe issues Sara an ultimatum: will she abandon the struggle for freedom to protect her family s winemaking business, or will she ignore Philippe and campaign for a woman s right to vote and earn a fair wage? 
Fate has other plans in store in the spring of 1906, which brings with it a challenge unlike any other that the Lemieux family or their fellow Northern Californians have ever faced. Will the shadow of history overwhelm Sara and Philippe s future, despite their love for each other? In The California Wife, Kristen Harnisch delivers a rich, romantic tale of wine, love, new beginnings, and a family s determination to fight for what really matters sure to captivate fans of The Vintner s Daughter and new readers alike."

This title is available in Regular Print format.

Son of a Trickster
By: Eden Robinson
Recommended by Rachel 

With striking originality and precision, Eden Robinson, the Giller-shortlisted author of the classic Monkey Beach and winner of the Writers Trust Engel/Findley Award, blends humour with heartbreak in this compelling coming-of-age novel. Everyday teen existence meets indigenous beliefs, crazy family dynamics, and cannibalistic river otter . . . The exciting first novel in her trickster trilogy.
Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)--and now she's dead.
Jared can't count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can't rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family's life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat...and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he's the son of a trickster, that he isn't human. Mind you, ravens speak to him--even when he's not stoned. 
You think you know Jared, but you don't. 

This title is available in Regular Print and Downloadable eBook formats.
This review from

The Temptation of Forgiveness
By:  Donna Leon
Recommended by Pauline

In the twenty-seventh novel in Donna Leon's bestselling mystery series, a suspicious accident leads Commissario Guido Brunetti to uncover a longstanding scam with disturbing unintended consequences.
The memorable characters and Venetian drama that have long captivated Donna Leon’s many readers are on full display in The Temptation of Forgiveness.  Commissario Guido Brunetti is surprised by the appearance of a friend of his wife’s, fearful that her son is using drugs and hopeful Brunetti can somehow intervene. When Tullio Gasparini, the woman’s husband, is found unconscious and with a serious brain injury at the foot of a bridge in Venice after midnight, Brunetti is drawn to pursue a possible connection to the boy’s behavior. But the truth, as Brunetti has experienced so often, is not straightforward.
As the twenty-seventh novel unfolds in Donna Leon’s exquisite chronicle of Venetian life in all its blissful and sordid aspects, Brunetti pursues several false and contradictory leads while growing ever more impressed by the intuition of his fellow Commissario, Claudia Griffoni, and by the endless resourcefulness and craftiness of Signorina Elettra, Patta’s secretary and gate-keeper.

This title is available in Regular Print and Downloadable eBook formats.

The Little Old Lady Strikes Again (League of Pensioners #2)
By: Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
Recommended by Kim

You're never too old to have some fun . . .

The little old lady is back! This time, Martha Andersson and her friends - the League of Pensioners - have left behind their dreary care home in Stockholm and are enjoying the bright lights of Las Vegas.
This is their opportunity for a new lease of life and they plan to make the most of it. But before long, they are up to their old tricks and with ingenious tactics, a pair of false teeth and a wheelchair each, they plot to outwit the security system at one of the casinos.
As their antics become more and more daring, Martha and her friends head back to Sweden full of ideas for more money making schemes. However, they aren't the only ones planning on stealing bucket loads of cash and soon find themselves pitted against a gang of dangerous criminals.
Can the group of elderly friends work together to outsmart the younger robbers and get away with their biggest heist yet? Or will this job be a step too far for The League of Pensioners?

This title is available in Regular Print and Downloadable eBook formats.
Review is from Good Reads.

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules (League of Pensioners #1)
By: Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg
Recommended by Kim

79-year-old Martha Anderson dreams of escaping her care home and robbing a bank. She has no intention of spending the rest of her days in an armchair and is determined to fund her way to a much more exciting life-style. Along with her four oldest friends - otherwise known as the League of Pensioners - Martha decides to rebel against all of the rules imposed upon them. Together, they cause an uproar with their antics:  protesting against early bedtimes and plastic meals.  As the elderly friends become more daring, their activities escalate and they come up with a cunning plan to break out of the care home and land themselves in a far more attractive Stockholm establishment. With the aid of their Zimmer frames, they resolve to stand up for old aged pensioners everywhere - Robin Hood style. And that's when the adventure really takes off.

This title is available in Regular Print and Downloadable eBook formats.
This review is from

The Alice Network
By: Kate Quinn
Recommended by Janet

The year is 1947. Charlie's posh Bennington College existence gets derailed by an unwanted pregnancy. Her domineering French mother hauls her off to Europe to a clinic that will take care of her "Little Problem"------but Charlie has an alternative plan that involves tracking down her beloved cousin Rose, lost somewhere in France. She manages to escape from her overbearing mother and solicit the help of Eve Gardiner, a raging, hard-drinking, foul-mouthed WW1 espionage agent along with her driver, Finn (a charming war-stunned Scotsman with an Aston Martin Lagonda).
Through their myriad treks to locate Rose, Charlie lets her guard down enough to find kinship with both Eve and Finn.
The true story of the covert Alice Network is based on a real woman, Lili, and other courageous women and men who infiltrated the German lines in rural France. Their stories of courage and tragedy are intertwined with those of Charlie and Eve in a plot crackling with suspense. 

This title is available in Regular Print, Book on CD, Downloadable eBook and Audiobook formats.


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