To continue the theme from my last post, I’d like to introduce you to some more novels with which you may be unfamiliar. Enjoy!
The Gravity of Birds by Tracy Guzeman
It’s the summer of 1963 and teen-aged sisters Natalie and Alice, as different as can be, are at the lake for their family’s annual holiday. There’s a newcomer to the community this year, a struggling artist named Thomas Bayber, and new relationships cause the summer to end in misery. Fast forward to 2007 and Bayber is now a reclusive, world-renowned artist. He calls together an art history professor and an art authenticator to sell a never-before-seen work — a portrait of Natalie, Alice and himself from that long ago summer. One catch, though, is that they must first locate Alice and Natalie. Memories, history, pain, secrets and forgiveness are all unearthed as the search unfolds and re-connections are created.
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
Truly Plaice was so huge when she was born that her father blamed her for her mother’s death in childbirth. And she just kept growing. Her older sister Serena Jane, meanwhile, was the epitome of beauty and the feminine ideal. As they go their separate ways into the adult world, the sisters’ lives stay entwined and assumptions of success and happiness seem to shift. Truly continues to grow larger and to be berated by those around her, until she discovers her salvation in an ancient myth and the secrets of herbal healing.
The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott
An ordinary day in a small town and folks have gathered to watch the air show when disaster strikes. When the dust clears after the plane crash, the sheriff discovers his 13-year-old daughter, Ava, and her best friend, Wash, are trapped under the rubble and Wash is badly hurt. Too frightened to wait for help, Ava lays her hands on him and his wounds disappear. The whole town witnesses the miracle. In this age of instant information, word spreads and the town is overrun with people looking for cures, looking to make money, and just looking for hope. The sheriff is torn between trying to protect his town and trying to do what’s best for his daughter, and he’s not even sure what that is. Meanwhile, Ava may be paying the highest price of all.
The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton
For many years, Hamilton was a journalist who traveled the world reporting from Russia, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa. She became intrigued with the Camel Bookmobile of Kenya when her daughter learned about it in school and decided to write the story in novel form. Of course, she traveled to Kenya to research the subject thoroughly first. One thing that struck me about this novel (besides the fact of bringing library books to desert dwellers on camel-back!) is the array of voices and viewpoints that are expressed so clearly and evenly: the clash of cultures encountered by the young American librarian who goes to help, the traditionalists who fear the loss of their way of life by the intrusion of Western books, those who wish to modernize the lives of the nomads by exposing them to the wider world, the government agent who feels a responsibility to protect the books above all else, and the children caught up in it all.