Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas shopping is in full swing. If you have book lovers on your shopping list I have a few suggestions…
For grownups who enjoy thrillers, a good fit might be The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I know the movie has just recently come out in theaters and many have seen it but the book is a marvelous ride and I admit I didn’t see the end coming. It builds and builds and with the unreliable narrative you are never sure if you are getting reality or some skewed drunken perspective from the protagonist, Rachel, as she tries to discover what happened to a girl she used to see every day in passing from her commuter train window.
For a story with a completely different feel, take a look at Poison by Sara Poole. Renaissance Rome is the setting for this historical mystery and it follows the story of Francesca Giordano who is trying to figure out a way to avenge her father’s death. When she takes her father’s place as the poisoner for Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia, she is thrust into the middle of political and religious intrigue that rocks Rome from the Jewish ghetto to the Vatican. This is an interesting foray into the world of the renaissance poisoner and the house of Borgia was a keen user of their talents. Poison was a favored type of political assassination since, if the poisoners were skillful, the poison could mimic so many natural diseases.
If you think your reader might enjoy fact rather than fiction The Hotel on Place Vendome by Tilar J. Mazzeo is a wonderful choice. Paris during the occupation was a crazy time and The Ritz Hotel was in the center of it all, quite literally.. While Paris was in the throes of war, those who occupied the Ritz lived a very different life. Actresses and spies rubbed shoulders with top Nazi leaders. Secrets were traded, murders committed and loyalties were tested. From Coco Chanel and Goring to Hemingway and Dietrich, they all passed through the doors of The Ritz and left a story…and it is all here in this masterful piece of work by the author of The Widow Cliquot.
My latest favorite find is the beautifully written creation by journalist, Sandy Tolen , called The Lemon Tree. While you might not think another look at the Israeli Palestinian Conflict is something anyone wants to read during the holidays…I found it inspiring and compelling and once I started I couldn’t put it down. When a Palestinian family has to leave their family home and find they can’t return is upturns their world. Years later a family member returns to his hometown to meet the current Jewish owners. It is heart wrenching and will make you look at how two opposing sides can speak with kindness and love in the face of their countries conflict. I applaud the authors attempt to present both sides of the argument with equanimity and gentleness.
May you all experience the love and joy of this season and hopefully I will see you in the bookstore!!