Pages

Monday, March 27, 2017

Good New Reads

In recent months, I've been reading BookPage, a free book review publication distributed monthly to readers through subscribing bookstores and public libraries. Founded in 1988 and based in Nashville, TN, BookPage gives a broad-based introduction to newly published books. Content from the monthly print edition is available online at BookPageReading this publication led me to "discover" a couple of entertaining and enjoyable debut novels, each deals with completely different themes.


The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick tells the story of 69-year old widower and pensioner Arthur Pepper who lives in the small town of York. Each day, he gets out of bed at exactly the same time, dresses in the same gray slacks and sweater vest, and heads to his garden. 

On the one-year anniversary of his wife, Miriam's death, he finally decides to sort through her belongings. He discovers a gold bracelet with 8 charms that he's never seen in their 40 years of marriage. Arthur decides to learn the meaning of each charm and the role it played in the life of his late wife before they met. Arthur's journeys take him to London, Paris and India as he fends off a tiger, meets a famous author, who may or may not have been his wife’s lover, gets mugged in a Tube station, and poses naked for an art class. Through these adventures, he learns as much about himself as he does about Miriam. 

This charming first novel has also been enjoyed and posted about by other bloggers, Lenora of A Journal of Days and Lynn of Good Things Happened.

Readers of similarly themed novels, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, Lilac Girls and The Nightingale, may enjoy Jennifer Ryan's debut novel about the struggles, deceptions and triumphs of an all-female choir in an English Village during World War II.

The story is told through the letters and journal entries of several of the women: Mrs. Tilling, a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; Venetia Winthrop, the beautiful older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; Kitty her teenaged younger sister pining over an impossible crush; Silvie, a young Jewish refugee who is hiding a family secret; and Edwina Paltry, a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past by committing a baby swap. 

England is enmeshed in the early days of World War II and men are away fighting, when the women of Chilbury, a small English village, forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar’s edict to close the choir because there are no male voices. "Just because the men have gone to war, why do we have to close the choir? And precisely when we need it most!" becomes their mantra.

The women band together and rename themselves as "The Chilbury Ladies Choir." They  “carry on singing,” under the leadership of Primrose Trent, a newly arrived music professor. The ensemble story shuttles from romance, village intrigues and matters of life and death. 

Reading BookPage, I "found" both books before they were available in the local public library, and was first on the "hold" list. Anyone looking for a reading change of pace; however, they might appeal more to female readers.

Do you have any new good reads as well?

6 comments:

Emma Springfield said...

You have not steered me wrong yet. I will find each of them and read them.

William Kendall said...

There are similar publications found in libraries here. They are handy!

Connie said...

These sound like books I would like. I've gotten good book suggestions from Book Page many times. When I used to work at the library, we kept a stack of the most recent copies of Book Page on hand for our patrons.

Kathy said...

These sound good! I will have to look them up. I just finished reading "The Last Curtsey" by Margaret Rhodes who was the first cousin of Queen Elizabeth. What an adventurous life she led! Now I am reading "Backstairs Billy" by Tom Quinn about one of the Queen Mother's servants.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

These sound good! I haven't been reading much lately and am still trying to finish a couple of books that aren't really doing it for me. I have a huge to-be-read pile, though!

Lady Jane said...

I will look for these books as they are books I would read. Thanks for reminding me about book page. I haven't used it in forever. I have gotten very lazy about going to the library of late because I get most of my books at the online library for my tablet. I do miss going to the library. I have made a pact with myself to make a visit soon. Hugs, LJ

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