Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
On a foggy summer night, eleven people – ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter – depart Marth’s Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are the painter, Scott Burroughs, and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of a powerful media mogul’s family.
Was it by chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something more sinister at work? A storm of media attention brings Scott fame that quickly morphs into notoriety and accusation, and he scrambles to salvage truth from the wreckage. Amid trauma and chaos, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy grows and glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, morality, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff
Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma’s husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city’s decrepit Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Take to Krakow to live with Jacob’s Catholic aunt, Krysia, Emma takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile.
Emma’s already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. Urged by the resistance to use her position to access details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety – and her marriage vows – in order to help Jacob’s cause. As the atrocities of war intensify, so does Emma’s relationship with the Kommandant, building to a climax that will risk not only her double life, but also the lives of those she loves.
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Every family has its problems. Bet even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest”, which they are but months away from finally receiving. Meant by their now deceased father to be a modest midlife supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched the nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems.
Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and two looming college tuitions for her twin teenage daughters. Jack an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her over-due novel.
Can Leo rescue his siblings and by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone have to reimagine the futures they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a ‘gift from God’, and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
Book of the Month
Every month we will be featuring a new book to be showcased in our Book of the Month. Staff members and friends will be reading the book and posting their reviews. We’d love to hear what you thought of these books as well. Post your comments and let us know.
The Light Between Oceans is available at London Drugs along with many other great titles and is on sale for the month of September.
As the weather turns cooler and swimsuits get packed away in favour of sweaters, it’s a great time to start a fun fall read. Grab one of these great reads and de-stress with a quiet evening with a book. You deserve it!
Preview: We could summarize this novel in one word – EPIC. This multi-generational love story spans both space and time. It is global in scope and starts before the Second World War, keeping the reader wrapped up in the powerfully emotional story until it reaches present day. A word of advice, keep tissues handy.
Good For: Bathtub reading, Romance fans.
Preview: An Australian soldier returns home from WWI and takes a job as a lighthouse keeper with his young, vivacious wife. Unable to conceive, they one day find a baby alongside a dead man in a boat that washes ashore on their small island. They adopt the child in secret, but such choices always have consequences.
Good For: Rainy days, Book clubs.
Premise: This whirlwind tour through the 20th century demonstrates how it was deeply unlike the rest. The book covers everything from relativity to the internet, global wars to global warming, as Higgs, a truly gifted communicator of complex ideas, helps readers to finally unpack just what the heck happened.
Good For: Provoking thought, History buffs.
Premise: Providing a timely and much-needed point of view, this Pulitzer Prize-winning poet tells the true story of her youth and coming-of-age as a black, female artist. Raised by a fiercely loving single mother, Smith relates her struggles to define herself within and against complex cultural and historical forces.
Good For: Memoir lovers, Mothers & daughters.
Premise: What happens when Kimball, a plucky New York writer with no rural experience, takes up impulsively with a highly ambitious young farmer planning to revolutionize the industry? An amazing true-life success story.
The Dirty Life chronicles their first year together both as a couple and as business partners running their farm. The catch? They ethically produce complete weekly grocery plans for their customers.
They even use compost as fertilizer and horses instead of tractors!
Good For: Gardening buffs, Getting inspired.
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis and the world goes to war, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her overseas to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the son of the family’s Japanese gardener, and between them a tender love blossoms. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family – like thousands of other Japanese-Americans -are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.