Samantha's Picks

Samantha is one of our resident music experts.  She appreciates good books as well as good music.  She keeps our Classical Music discussion group going.  She loves the classics - and Diane Chamberlain's novels.  And if you are one of the folks who brings your dog in our store, do stop by and visit Sam, a big dog lover. 

The Stolen Marriage Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250087270
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - October 3rd, 2017

With The Stolen Marriage, Diane Chamberlain has reached a new height in her creative journey. Much of the story is set in Hickory, NC during the mid-1940s. The world is at war; divisions between the races are stark and the polio epidemic is rampant in the U.S.  Like many small towns, Hickory was charming but insular and wary of outsiders.  Nevertheless, compassion won out as its people  helped to build a polio treatment center that accepted victims from near and far. Against a meticulously researched factual backdrop, Diane creates a poignant tale of love and loss that brought me to tears more than once.  This is a great book and I could not put it down

The Little French Bistro Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451495587
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - June 13th, 2017

In her new novel, the author of the best selling Little Paris Bookshop ventures into the culture and vistas of Brittany.  The book centers on Marianne who, after years of a thankless, miserable marriage, has had enough. She makes her way from Paris to the coast with no purpose other than ending her life. In the quaint coastal town of Kerdruc, her suffocated soul collides with her will to live.   - Samantha

Absolutely on Music: Conversations Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385354349
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Published: Knopf Publishing Group - November 15th, 2016

What a fascinating, delightful read! The acclaimed writer and renowned conductor taped their conversations about many different musical topics: Glenn Gould's recordings of Brahms; the works of Mahler; how different conductors approach the same piece; Ozawa's decades-long career conducting many of the world's great orchestras. This book will be enjoyed by any every classical music lover -from the layman to the formally trained musician. By the way, it would make a terrific Father's Day gift!

Pretending to Dance Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250105011
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - October 18th, 2016

Molly Arnette and her husband, both in their late 30s and both attorneys, are trying to adopt a baby. In the process, Molly is forced to confront the painful events of her adolescence that caused her to turn away from her family and, in fact, to insist that her parents have died. The narration alternates between Molly the adult and Molly the fourteen year old, and Diane has convincingly captured the voices of both girl and woman. In the context of a fascinating story, she has skillfully tackled some of the difficult social/moral issues of our time, and you will keep thinking about them long after you've finished the book. This is Diane's best work to date.

Villa America Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316211352
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Published: Back Bay Books - June 7th, 2016

Villa America is a beautifully crafted, thoroughly entertaining work of historical fiction about Sara and Gerald Murphy, part of the so-called Lost Generation of the 1920s. As ex pats living in the south of France, the Murphys strove to create an idyllic world for themselves and their circle of friends that included Hemingway, Picasso and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. This carefully researched book tells a story of the charmed, extravagant lives of these people who, despite their efforts to escape, found themselves vulnerable to the realities of misfortune and tragedy. Klaussmann is a gifted writer with the ability to give voice to the most fundamental truths of humanity. There were passages I read again and again, marveling at their beauty and insight.

H Is for Hawk Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802124739
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - March 8th, 2016

Distraught over her father's death, Macdonald decides to train a goshawk. Mabel enters her life. This stunning book is resonating with readers everywhere. Macdonald is willing to feel, to the depths of her soul, and to share those feelings with the world. And, with her command of language, she has the ability to enable us to understand her hawk's, and her own, thoughts, emotions, moods and instincts and their extraordinary bond. This book is about so much: grief, identity, relationships with humans and other species, and tolerance of, and respect for, all living beings - including oneself. 

Anna Karenina (Margellos World Republic of Letters) Cover Image
By Leo Tolstoy, Marian Schwartz (Translator), Gary Saul Morson (Editor)
ISBN: 9780300216820
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yale University Press - July 14th, 2015

A well respected translator of Russian fiction, Schwartz was determined to give us Anna Karenina as Tolstoy wrote it: In the simple, unadorned language he preferred. I found this translation immensely powerful - bringing me to tears at times.  It is also illuminating -revealing nuances in the characters I'd never before grasped. The cogent introduction by Gary Saul Morson,  which summarizes the novel's central themes, provides a great starting point for book club discussion. 

Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connect Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316252119
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Published: Back Bay Books - July 21st, 2015

Marine biologist Nichols reveals groundbreaking neuroscience that proves what we intuitively know: We are emotionally, physically and spiritually healthier when we are near or in the water. He  presents the evidence in terms easily accessible to non-scientists and reminds us that it is imperative that we humans protect the waters of our planet for the good of all of the beings who inhabit it. 

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616204518
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - December 2nd, 2014

There is a fairy tale quality to this enchanting, quirky gem. Caustic, sarcastic A.J., the owner of an independent bookstore on little Alice Island, is one of the great characters of current literature. Sometimes laugh-out- loud funny, sometimes heart breaking, this story celebrates the human experience with all its trials. Above all, it is a heartening affirmation of the enduring value of books- real books- and a tribute to the people who write them, read them and sell them.

The Silent Sister Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250074355
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - October 6th, 2015

When Riley MacPherson takes on the task of executor of her father's estate, she finds evidence that causes her to doubt virtually everything she'd believed about her family. What ensues is a fast paced, engrossing story of her determination to learn the truth - no matter what that might be. There are so many twists and turns in this plot, I was up half the night to find out how it would end. I never saw it coming!

All the Light We Cannot See Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501173219
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - April 4th, 2017

As the Nazis relentlessly push for world domination, two young people try to comprehend it all as they go about a child's business of growing up:  A French girl, blind from early childhood; a German boy who succumbs to the moral sightlessness of the pure evil that is at work.  You cannot be indifferent to Doerr's characters. His vivid imagery will take your breath away. But the genius here is that woven throughout this compelling story is an inescapable truth: At every turn, each of us is called to make a decision about personal responsibility. This is an extraordinary book: so riveting, I couldn't put it down; so beautifully written, I didn't want it to end.   

Save the Date Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250019707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - May 5th, 2015

Beach trip checklist:
- sunscreen
- sunglasses
- lounge chair;
- great summer read:  Save the Date

A talented young florist tries to make a go of her business in Savannah and finds more than her share of challenges along the way. This latest from Mary Kay has everything you could want: Romance; break ups; drama; intrigue. Oh, did I mention Goldendoodles?  A total escape! I had so much fun reading this book!

Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307885920
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - March 31st, 2015

Written in elegant prose, brimming with gorgeous imagery, this memoir gives new insight into the woman who captivated us with her Tuscan books. But you needn't have read one of her other books to love this one. If you grew up in the South—or in any small town; if the 60's figured in your life; if your family had “issues”, you'll appreciate its poignancy, honesty and humor and, I dare say, find at least a little bit of yourself in these pages.

The Firebird Cover Image
ISBN: 9781402276637
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark - June 1st, 2013

Nicola possesses the gift of psychometry: divining facts about an object through touch. Reluctantly, she embraces her ability in order to help authenticate a wood carving thought to have belonged to Empress Catherine of Russia. Kearsley credibly moves to and from the 21st and 18th centuries to unravel the mystery of the Firebird and to tell the stories of two fascinating young women. I was particularly moved by her development of the historically based 18th century characters. This intriguing novel of historical fiction, romance and parapsychology was impossible to put down.

Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing with Others Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616200411
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Published: Algonquin Books - July 2nd, 2013

Listening to choral music has always been moving for me, but I never realized the profound emotions felt by the chorus members. In this delightful, charmingly self-effacing memoir, Horn explains how singing with the Choral Society of New York’s Grace Church has been life affirming, even life saving. Drawing on the reflections of other singers, composers of choral music and scientific evidence, as well as her own experience, she beautifully puts into words the joy of singing with others in harmony. Any lover of choral music would love this book.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Oxford World's Classics) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780199207558
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Published: Oxford University Press, USA - May 11th, 2008

Romance novel? Feminist manifesto? However you view it, this is a gripping novel which dared to expose the double standards and injustices suffered by women in 19th century England. Replete with intrigue, love, pain, infidelity and debauchery, this page turner unfolds in Brontë's elegant, very readable prose.

Caleb's Crossing Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143121077
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - April 24th, 2012

The remarkable truth that a young Native American from Martha's Vineyard graduated from Harvard in 1665 is the foundation for this extraordinary novel. The fictional character Bethia, a young girl of the English settlement on the island, tells the story of her friendship with native Caleb and the events that befall them and their peoples. There is such authenticity in her language that I had to continually remind myself that this is a work of fiction. Brooks' keen power of description enables one to visualize every feature of the characters and their surroundings. I came to care deeply for these characters, their joys and sorrows and the island that Bethia and Caleb so dearly love.

The Midwife's Confession Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780778329862
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Mira Books - April 26th, 2011

Three women – the best of friends. But the suicide of one leads to the discovery of an unspeakable deception and, suddenly, every assumption that underlies their world is suspect. How the remaining two women navigate the emotional upheaval left behind is told through Chamberlain's skillful shifting from the voice of one character to another. This is a page turner I simply could not put down.