The Longest Night by Andria Williams

longest night

The Longest Night is an exceptional debut novel about a largely forgotten piece of American nuclear history – a fatal nuclear accident in Idaho in 1961. At the heart of the book is the relationship between main characters Nat and Paul, as they navigate the tensions and secrets within their marriage against a backdrop of nuclear disaster. Compelling, thrilling and deeply felt. You really come to care about these characters, with all of their flaws.

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Recommended by Amy W.

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

sound of gravel

The Sound of Gravel is an engrossing memoir that recounts Ruth Wariner’s experiences growing up in a polygamist community. There are many hardships – basic living conditions, poverty, abuse, and siblings with special needs – but her narrative resists self-pity or sentimentality. This is an unforgettable, beautifully written memoir that is ultimately about the power of family love. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys memoirs.

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Recommended by Amy W.

Spotlight on Book Related Mysteries

If you enjoy book-themed mysteries, check out one of these series recommended by Theresa!

murder is binding
Booktown Mysteries by Lorna Barrett
Series featuring Tricia Miles, who runs a mystery bookstore called Haven’t Got A Clue in fictional small-town Stoneham New Hampshire, a town full of bookstores.

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cherry cola book club
Cherry Cola Book Club Mysteries by Ashton Lee
Series featuring librarian Mary Beth Mayhew and set in the small town of Cherico, Mississippi.

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by book or by crook
Lighthouse Library Mysteries by Eva Gates
Featuring librarian Lucy Richardson and set in the Outer Banks

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murder in the mystery suite
Book Retreat Mysteries by Ellery Adams
Featuring resort manager Jane Steward, who runs a resort tucked away in the rolling hills of rural West Virginia that caters to book lovers who want to get away from it all.

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september fair
Murder by Month Mysteries by Jess Lourey
Featuring assistant librarian and part-time reporter Mira James, and set in the small town of Battle Lake in Minnesota.

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booked to die
Cliff Janeway Mysteries by John Dunning
Featuring antiquarian bookseller Cliff Janeway

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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

everything i never told youWe learn at the very beginning of this novel that Lydia, the favored teenage middle daughter of a Chinese American family, is dead. We don’t know how or why, but this novel is less a mystery and more a portrait of a family struggling to come to terms with their grief and to understand themselves. The story weaves back and forth in time and complex family dynamics are gradually revealed. Ng is a beautiful writer and a gifted storyteller, and she subtly explores issues of gender, race, identity, and family love.

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Recommended by Amy W.

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charles Lovett

first impressions

“Alternating chapters across the centuries tell the gradually intertwining stories of contemporary bibliophile Sophie Collingwood and budding author Jane Austen. Oxford graduate Sophie is mourning beloved Uncle Bertram, who introduced her to the world of books, after he suffers an untimely death in a fall, leaving her his flat and personal library. Jane, meanwhile, has a deepening relationship in 1796 with aged cleric Richard Mansfield, who offers encouragement and advice on her writing. Sophie is distressed about Bertram’s death, which she thinks was not accidental, and the unexpected sale of his books to cover debts. Working at a used bookstore, she is asked by two different customers to find the same obscure nineteenth-century book, one that raises the question of whether Jane Austen, Sophie’s favorite author, was a plagiarist. All of which makes Sophie suspicious of her two suitors, American Eric Hall and Englishman Winston Godfrey. Lovett, author of The Bookman’s Tale (2013), has another appealing combination of mystery, romance, and bibliophilism here. An absolute must for Austen fans, a pleasure for others. Leber, Michele.” – Booklist, 9/15/14

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Recommended by Theresa

Little Mercies by Heather Gudenkauf

little mercies

“As a social worker, Ellen Moore is regrettably familiar with the types of abuse adults can inflict on children. She’s seen burns, bruises, and deeper, psychological scars. Ellen’s casework has always bled into her home life as she plans routes to home visits while cooking breakfast or wakes up from a nightmare about one of her most violent cases. After Ellen accidentally leaves her one-year-old daughter in the family’s minivan during the hottest day of the year, Ellen finds herself on the other side of the law. Slapped with the liabilities that accompany such a terrible accident, Ellen is forced to confront the very system she knows so well. An unlikely ally enters her life, and Ellen’s mission to rebuild her relationships with her family, friends, and colleagues might be within her grasp. A story of motherhood, guilt, and redemption, Little Mercies examines our deepest fears and highest hopes. Gudenkauf’s prose is searingly raw, as Ellen’s confusion, guilt, and pain are laid bare. Thrilling and emotionally tender, this novel, with its driving pace, will appeal to fans of Lisa Scottoline and Jodi Picoult. Turza, Stephanie.” – Booklist, 6/1/14

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Recommended by Theresa