The Living Infinite: A Novel by Chantel AcevedoIn 1893, the Infanta Eulalia of Spain travels to the U.S. by way of Cuba. Although her stated plan is to attend the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Eulalia has a secret agenda: to find a publisher for her scandalous autobiography. In addition to recounting the adventurous life of an unconventional woman, this atmospheric novel by Cuban-American author Chantel Acevedo examines the turbulent events surrounding the Bourbon Restoration in Spain and Cuba's War for Independence.
The Vengeance of Mothers: The Journals of Margaret Kelly & Molly McGill by Jim FergusIn this sequel to One Thousand White Women, participants in a federal "Brides for Indians" program have lost their Cheyenne husbands in a brutal attack by the U.S. Army. The Vengeance of Mothers describes the experiences of two widowed sisters and their rebellion against the U.S. government, interspersing their diary entries with accounts of the events up to the Great Sioux War of 1876.
Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Elizabeth MillerReports of abundant land in Kansas Territory convince Charles Ingalls that his family's future lies west of the Mississippi. His (pregnant) wife Caroline is apprehensive, but dutifully packs up their belongings and prepares for a 700-mile covered wagon journey. Authorized by the Little House literary estate, Caroline unfolds from the perspective of Ma Ingalls; the narrative bridges the events of Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prairie, in case you're inspired to revisit the original series.
The Boat Runner: A Novel by Devin MurphyThe son of a successful Dutch industrialist, 14-year-old Jacob Koopman enjoys a privileged upbringing that includes sailing lessons and...a summer at Hitler Youth Camp? Jacob's father, eager to cultivate business contacts, encourages his sons to embrace German culture -- until Holland is invaded and the Koopman family loses everything. Should they flee the country? Collaborate with the Nazis? Join the resistance? There are no easy answers in this dramatic coming-of-age story.
Unforgivable Love: A Retelling of Dangerous Liaisons by Sophfronia ScottSet in 1947 Harlem, this retelling of Les Liaisons Dangereuses centers around a pact between scheming heiress Mae Malveaux and charming nightclub owner Valiant "Val" Jackson: if Val seduces Cecily, Mae's virginal cousin and the fiancée of her ex-lover, Mae will sleep with him. However, Cecily has fallen in love with a jazz musician, while Val's got his eye on Elisabeth Thompson, a married woman who believes (wrongly) that Val can be redeemed. The stage is set for high society scandal.
Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli BrownKidnapped in 1819 by notorious pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot, chef Owen "Wedge" Wedgewood wonders why his life has been spared. It turns out that fine dining experiences are few and far between on the high seas. Charged (on pain of death) with creating sumptuous spreads from such unpromising provisions as gruel, rat meat, and moldy potatoes, Wedge gradually becomes a vital member of the crew. Atmospheric and rich in tantalizing culinary descriptions, Cinnamon and Gunpowder also provides a fast-paced, swashbuckling sea story.
The Wedding Officer by Anthony CapellaAlthough James Gould's official title is "wedding officer," his actual duties require him to prevent marriages between the Allied soldiers stationed in Naples and their Italian girlfriends. The locals, perplexed by the polite young British captain who won't accept bribes, send widow Livia Pertini to cook for him, hoping that she'll distract him from their illegal activities. So Livia sets to work seducing James with her cooking, never expecting to fall for him. Lavish descriptions of food and cooking make this World War II love story a sensual feast for readers.
White Truffles in Winter: A Novel by N. M. KelbyLegendary chef Auguste Escoffier -- creator of such culinary masterpieces as Peach Melba -- has never invented a dish for his wife, Delphine (though he has named at least two after his longtime mistress, actress Sarah Bernhardt). Can Delphine persuade him to honor her before she dies? Interwoven with scenes from the Escoffiers' marriage are flashbacks that reveal how Auguste, a former army cook, revolutionized French haute cuisine by combining military discipline in the kitchen with a scientific approach to food preparation. With its vivid depiction of early 20th-century France and its mouth-watering descriptions of meals, White Truffles in Winter is a treat for foodies, Francophiles, and fans of historical fiction.
John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence NorfolkAfter the death of his mother -- an accused witch in a pre-Civil War England where the Protestant Reformation is beginning to take hold -- John Saturnall becomes a kitchen boy at Buckland Manor, the estate of Sir William Fremantle, where his refined palate and culinary talents ensure his eventual promotion to head cook -- and attract the attention of Sir William's headstrong daughter, Lucretia. But when Lucretia's father promises her hand in marriage to her loutish cousin, Lucretia's protest takes the form of a hunger strike -- and it's up to John to entice her to break her fast. For another lush, dramatic tale about an orphan boy who rises to the rank of master chef and employs his talents to woo his lady love, try Elle Newmark's The Book of Unholy Mischief, set in Venice during the Renaissance.
The Arrangement by Ashley WarlickUnfulfilled in her marriage to academic Al Fisher, aspiring writer Mary Frances Kennedy pursues married painter Dillywn "Tim" Parrish -- who, unlike Al, supports her literary ambitions while satisfying her physical desires. Set in 1930s Los Angeles, Paris, and the Swiss Alps, this lush and atmospheric biographical novel stars pioneering food writer M.F.K. Fisher, of whom W.H. Auden once said, "I do not know of anyone in the United States who writes better prose." For another fictionalized account of a real-life love triangle, try Lily King's Euphoria, inspired by the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead.
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