Women in World War II books

If World War II is an interest of yours, specifically the roles that women played in the War, then we have quite a few titles coming that you will enjoy.

The Queen’s Secret by Karen Harper is the story of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and her will of steel that helped her husband settle into his unexpected role of king and guided England through some of its darkest times.  Karen Harper is one of my favorite authors.  She chooses some of the most fascinating women in history, thoroughly researches their lives, and then writes books that shows us the more intriguing and little-known parts of their lives.  We have this book on order, so you can put it on hold so you’ll be the first to get it.

Daughter of the Reich by Louis Fein, is both poignant and spell binding, and will reinforce your belief that love is powerful and conquers everything.  It is the story of Hetty, the daughter of a high-ranking officer, who has to choose between family and her lifestyle when she begins feeling an intense attraction to a Jewish friend from her past.  The characters in this novel are rich and the reader feels their joys and pains as if they were experiencing them themselves. Daughter of the Reich will be published in May, but you can place a hold on it now.

Three Hours in Paris  by Cara Black is riveting, action-filled, and thrilling.  Kate Rees is a country girl from Oregon and an excellent markswoman who is recruited by British intelligence to drop into Paris during Hitler’s brief, three-hour visit just after Paris fell to Germany with one task:  to kill the Fuhrer.  She takes a shot at Hitler and misses, which then reveals the plan to kill him.  Kate must then run for her life, not knowing who to trust.  The rest of the story will take you for a fast, fascinating ride!

The Whispers of War by Julia Kelly is the story of three friends in England at the dawn of World War II.  One is a socialite, another is a home front war worker, and the last, Marie, is a German expat who worries about being imprisoned in an internment camp.  The three fight to keep Marie free.  This is a story of the power of friendship and women in the midst of conflict.

Exile Music by Jennifer Steil is an interesting read, a World War II story, with a couple of story lines that are fascinating.  It is the story of a musical Jewish family in Vienna.  The father plays in the Vienna Philharmonic, and the mother is an opera singer.  When the Germans invade Vienna, the family flees to La Paz, Bolivia and finds refuge there in an expat Jewish community.  What follows is the story of their acclimation to a new home, culture, and terrain – the beautiful Andes Mountains in Bolivia.  This story is powerful, strong, beautifully written, and will captivate you.

The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards is about a celebrated singer in Paris (Genevieve Dumont) who enjoys a position of privilege when the Germans occupy the city.  She uses that privilege to work with the Resistance.  When her estranged mother is captured by the Germans, Genevieve becomes frightened that her mother will be tortured and give away information about an upcoming Allied invasion.  She must find a way to rescue her mother while trying to keep her from giving away secrets about the invasion.  This is an exquisite novel about strength, courage, and unconditional love.  This book will not be published until June, I have an advance copy of it for the first person who emails me that they’re interested in it at sperry@uptexas.org.

Code Name Helene y Ariel Lawhon is the story of Nancy Wake, a young journalist living in Paris in the years just before World War II and at the inception of the War.  She falls in love with a wealthy French industrialist and marries him and becomes involved with the French Resistance.  She goes by a code name – Helene – and tries to protect not only her own identity, but to protect her loved ones from exposure.  Full of accurate and extremely researched information, this is a moving story, with action, suspense, and a love story.  If you haven’t read any of Lawhon’s previous books, we do have them here at the library (I Was Anastasia, Flight of Dreams, and The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress).  They’ve all been amazing.  Code Name Helene will be published in April, and we do have it on order, so you can place a hold on it now.

Hannah’s War by Jan Eliasberg is a debut novel.  It is the story of Dr. Hannah Weiss, a female Jewish scientist who is working on a research project to split the atom.  She’s conflicted, as she know the damage her discovery will inflict on innocent people, and she is treated poorly by the powers that be in the Third Reich.  While in exile to the United States, she works on the Manhattan Project and becomes a suspect in a series of leaks of information about the Project to the Germans.  Her interrogator, Major Jack Delaney, becomes a little more involved with her than he should, which makes for an interesting three days when he is called upon to interrogate her.  This is a Wartime story of loyalty and truth, and will draw the reader into Hannah’s and Jack’s lives.  Our copy of this book has not arrived, but the first person who emails me at sperry@uptexas.org  that they’re interested in it can claim an advance copy.

 

Just a few short notes:  Several of you – Nine, to be exact, are on hold for JoJoMoyes’ The Giver of Stars.  We have ordered eight extra copies, and they should be in soon.  We’ll give the nine of you a call when they’ve arrived.  I’ve also ordered extra copies of Such a Fun Age and The Dutch House.

Stayed tuned early next week, as I will be posting about my all – time favorite “happy reads.”  Happy reading!  As always, let me know if you have questions or comments at sperry@uptexas.org.

So Sorry it’s been a while….

I’m so sorry it has been a while since my last post.  To be honest, I thought I had posted something new last week, but I must have failed to save the post.  Anyway, I’m so happy to be speaking with you again!  Please email me your questions or thoughts at sperry@uptexas.org.

Sorry that it’s been so long since our last post, but hopefully we’ll make up for it with some new titles by some of your favorite authors!  Let’s talk about most of your favorite genres:   Thrillers!

Harlen Coben’s newest, Boy From the Woods, is sure to keep you on your toes.  Thirty years ago, a man named Wilde was found as a feral young boy in the woods with no memory of where he came from.  Another child goes missing, and Wilde is thrust into a community where he doesn’t fit in, and must uncover secrets to find the missing child.

In Jonathan Kellerman’s newest Alex Delaware novel, LAPD Lietenant Milo Sturgis and Alex Delaware work to solve probably the most horrific and cruel murder case they’ve ever worked on.

J.D. Robb has written her 50th Eve Dallas novel, Golden in Death.  The book takes its title from a golden egg sent anonymously that when opened, it releases deadly toxic fumes.  Eve goes on a quest to find the madman who is sending the eggs.

James Grippando rips the theme of his next novel from the headlines in The Big Lie.  This story contains an Electoral College battle for the White House, a corrupt president, impeachment, and a winner of the popular vote who doesn’t win the presidency.

Preston and Child’s newest Agent Pendergast title, Crooked River, has Agent Pendergast solving his most difficult and horrifying murder ever.  Dozens of identical shoes, each containing a severed foot, wash up on the shore of Sanibel Island, Florida.

Surprise, Surprise!  James Patterson has a new title out – Blindside, a new installment in the Michael Bennett series.  Detective Michael Bennett is working against time to find the Mayor of New York’s daughter, who is missing, and to stop a serial killing spree that has national security implications.

For our western readers, we have two new William Johnstone titles in:  Bloody Trail of the Mountain Man and Preacher’s Frenzy.  Both are part of Johnstone’s Mountain Man series and contain plenty of action.

We have two novels coming in soon about Grace Kelly’s Life; The Girl in White Gloves by Kerri Maher and Grace Kelly’s Dress by Brenda Janowitz.  The first title, The Girl in White Gloves, attempts to show that no matter how glamorous her life appeared to us all, Princess Grace made great sacrifices to marry her prince and was terribly lonely.  The second title, The Grace Kelly Dress, is a story about how three generations of women are affected by their involvement with creating Princess Grace’s wedding dress.  If you enjoyed The Gown by Jennifer Robson, about the design and making of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress, then you will enjoy this book.  I’m so excited to tell you about more new books!  Check back with us in just a few days.

Sharon Perry

Ripped-From-The-Headlines Titles

I hope you’re still enjoying the Holiday season and that you are getting some extra reading time!  We’ve received some exciting new titles in, and there is something for everyone in this batch.

Mystery readers, there are some new books in by some of your favorite authors.  M. C. Beaton’s latest title, Beating About the Bush, features Agatha Raisin looking into industrial espionage that turns into murder.  Also new on the shelves is The Peppermint Tea Chronicles, Alexander McCall Smith’s latest 44 Scotland Street novel.   Mary Higgins Clark draws from the headlines with a novel that combines elements of the #metoo movement with murder in Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry.  Sara Shepard’s new title, Reputation, also takes on a timely issue – a data breach – and blends it with murder.

We have a few new thrillers, including Criss Cross by James Patterson.  The creator of the Dexter character (which turned into a television series), Jeffry P. Lindsay, has created a new character in Just Watch Me.  Riley Wolfe is a master thief with Robin Hood tendencies: he only steals from the very rich but he doesn’t share them with the poor.  He’s also a violent killer when necessary.  Just Watch Me is the first in a series.  Robin Cook broaches another ripped-from-the-headlines topic, harnessing DNA from ancestry websites to catch a killer, in Genesis.  Something to think about in case you received one of those kits as a Holiday gift!  Thirty-six Righteous Men, by Steven Pressfield, is a murder novel with an apocalyptic twist – the men being murdered are the legendary 36 men who can preserve the world from destruction.

Bernard Cornwell has written the latest in The Saxon StoriesSword of Kings.  The Netflix series The Last Kingdom is based on these books.   Another historical fiction title just in is The Second Sleep by Robert Harris.  Set in 15th-century England, it is the story of a young priest who has his faith tested while determining the cause of death of an elderly priest.

Girl by Edna O’Brien is a fictional account of survival inspired by the 2014 mass kidnapping of Nigerian girls by Boko Haram.  O’Brien does not shy away from tough subjects or conversations, so expect a brutal narrative capped off by an inspiring, no-holds-barred survival of the toughest circumstances.

In nonfiction, I love Gwynne’s Grammar by N. M. Gwynne.  It’s a new edition; and it is the most enjoyable, concise guide to curing all of society’s ills (according to Mr. Gwynne) with proper grammar!  Read this book to hone your skills or just for fun; it will not disappoint.  Fascinated by the Cartier family and their jewelry empire?  Try The Cartiers: The Untold Story Behind the Jewelry Empire by Francesca Carter Brickell.  Brickell writes about the family’s history and their start in the jewelry business from Revolutionary France to the 1970s, covering four generations of the family.  Brickell has first-hand knowledge: her great-grandfather was one of the three brothers who propelled the business into international fame.  And just in time for the new Star Wars film, read I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story by Anthony Daniels.  Daniels was the actor behind the golden droid and the only actor to appear in every film in the franchise.  This book is a memoir of his journey during the Star Wars years.

As always, Happy Reading!  And be sure to let me know if you have any questions or comments about any of these titles.

Holiday Reading

Happy Holidays!  If you are looking something to cozy up with to put you in a Holiday mood, here are a few suggestions for you.

We have several Christmas-themed books by Mary Higgins Clark and her daughter, Carol, as well as Nancy Thayer, Fern Michaels, and Debbie Macomber.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a great Holiday read – it starts on Christmas Day, and there are a few other parts sets in Christmas throughout the story.  It will set the stage for the new Little Women movie, coming to theaters on December 25th.  Jeff Guinn, a former journalist for The Fort Worth Telegram, has written three novels that tell the history of Christmas with either Santa Claus or Mrs. Claus “telling the story.”  The first title, The Autobiography of Santa Claus, takes us from the earliest beginnings of a Christmas celebration more than 17 centuries ago up to the 20th century, with actual characters from history appearing. The next two titles cover Christmas during specific periods in history.  How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas is set during the 1600s when the Puritans attempted to ban the celebration of Christmas in England.  The Great Santa Search tells the story of Christmas in America and its commercialization.  All three novels are heavily researched, so the history is accurate; and all three are highly readable.  We have several editions of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, along with two versions of the movie on DVD.  If you’ve already read this classic, then try The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford.  It’s the back story of how and why Dickens wrote and self-published the book.  We also have the movie based on this book on DVD.

New fiction titles that we’ve recently acquired include The Andromeda Evolution by Michael Crichton, Final Option by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison, Code of Honor by Tom Clancy, 19th Christmas and Criss Cross, both by James Patterson, Robert B. Parker’s Angel Eyes by Ace Atkins, and Twisted Twenty-Six, the latest Stephanie Plum novel, by Janet Evanovich.

A few new non-fiction titles that have recently come in include Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom; The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History by Nathalia Holt; and Tim McGraw’s fitness book, Grit & Grace.  We have a couple of new history titles as well:  Vicksburg by Donald L. Miller and Edison by Edmund Morris.  And lastly, we have the delightful little book Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero by Christopher McDougall.

Check out (literally and figuratively) these books at the library!

New Book-Club-In-A-Bag Sets

The new Book-Club-In-A-Bag sets are here and will be ready for check out next week.  They’re listed below, with a bit of description and commentary:

I wrote about Whisper Network by Chandler Baker in an earlier post.  Once I finished the book, in retrospect, I liked it better than at first.  The reason I chose it as a Book Club set is that it lends itself to so many avenues of discussion:  women in the workplace, work-life balance, friendship and loyalty, and the #MeToo movement.  For discussion purposes, have someone in the group research examples of harassment in the workplace to compare to the story.

Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh is a spell-binding thriller that will keep a group discussing it for hours. There’s so much going on in this story! Just the subtitle gives you so much to discuss:  The Serial Killer Isn’t On Trial, He’s on the Jury.  This book kept me guessing about different parts of the story right up to the end.  The story is about a serial killer on a vendetta mission.  He goes through elaborate processes to have someone framed for murder and then to get on the jury to ensure that he’s convicted.

The Parisian by Isabella Hammad has been very popular (especially with book clubs).  The characters are rich in this story, and there’s such fascinating history and culture that it would be a joy to discuss.  The story shows the history of Palestine through the life experiences of one man, Midhat Kamal.  He leaves Palestine to study medicine in Paris and returns to his home country at the beginning of its fight for independence.  The history of Palestine and their culture are so relevant right now as well; it would be a very easy tie-in to current events.

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes is about the relationship between young widow and a major league pitcher who have both suffered losses and have secrets to keep.  Linda Holmes is a pop culture guru who produces a podcast and gives commentary on NPR, and this is her debut novel.  It would make for interesting discussion to listen to some of her podcasts; you can find them in the iTunes store.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane is full of emotion: dealing with tragedy, family and friendship, marriage, and forgiveness.  It’s the story of two next-door neighbor families in New York and a set of explosive events and their lingering effects.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land brings the term “working poor” to life.  Land was a single mother with very little skills or opportunity who cleaned houses, took online classes to work toward a writing degree, and relied on various government programs to support her and her daughter.  What I like best about this book is that Land is not complaining or making a political statement; she’s just exposing how a person can work hard and still live below the poverty line.  To add depth to your discussion, look at her website and blog:  www.stepville.com.

Probably my favorite book this year will be The Secrets That We Kept by Lara Prescott.  This is Prescott’s first novel; and it is the story behind the writing, printing, and distribution of Dr. Zhivago.  The story is told from several women’s point of view: Boris Pasternak’s mistress Olga Ivinskaya and the female U.S. spies who worked to get the novel distributed in the Soviet Union.  I loved this book – I even watched the movie version of Dr. Zhivago with Julie Christie and Omar Sharif after reading it!  You could include a movie-watching party as part of the discussion, but you may have to do it in two parts, as it is a long film.

Quichotte is Salman Rushdie’s modern re-telling of Don Quixote.  It’s bizarre, multi-faceted, imaginative, and compelling, all rolled into a great story.  Rushdie is a consummate story-teller, and he does this story justice.  There’s so much to discuss with this book:  obsessive behavior, moral and spiritual collapse, the influence of television and social media, and the construction of the story itself.  To add a different dimension to the discussion, have half of your group read Don Quixote and the other half read Quichotte.

I mention Hellhound on his Trail: The Electrifying Account of the Largest Manhunt in History by Hampton Sides and Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery last, as they are a special edition to the Book-Club-In-A-Bag set.  Sides is the keynote speaker at the 2020 Highland Park Literary Festival, and Montgomery is presenting as well.  The Festival committee asked if we could include at least one of the author’s books as a set, and we were happy to oblige.  Hellhound is an in-depth study of what happened in the months after Martin Luther King’s assassination by James Earl Ray.  It offers information about Ray’s early life and several unpublished documents, written in a thriller style.  Grandma Gatewood’s Walk is about the first woman to walk the entire trail alone; she was also the first person of any gender to walk it three times.  Montgomery interviewed family members and hikers who met her along the trail.  He also researched her diaries and trail journals to give readers a comprehensive study of this amazing woman.

As a reminder, our Book-Club-In-A-Bag sets contain eight copies of each title, along with discussion questions, author bios, and a list of suggested readings.  They check out for five weeks.  For more information, please email me at sperry@uptexas.org.

New titles for kids and teens

Diary of a Wimpy Kid #14: Wrecking Ball (Coming in November)In the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Greg’s family receives a surprise inheritance and starts to make changes to their house. Unfortunately, a lot of problems pop up. Is it worth all of the trouble? Even more importantly, is there something more sinister going on that will cause them to move away completely?

Keeper of the Lost Cities #8: Legacy (Coming in November)After honing her strengths and learning to fight in the seventh book in the series, Flashback, we find telepath Sophie Foster seeking answers and struggling to recover lost memories as she and her friends learn new things about each other. They must take on the responsibilities this knowledge brings, and discern their friends from their enemies.

Dog Man #8: Fetch-22 by Dav Pilkey (Coming in December)Dog Man is one of the most popular series in the library’s Chapter Book collection, appealing to readers with its themes of kindness and courage. Recently released from jail, Petey the Cat has a new lease on life while Li’l Petey struggles to see the good in the world. Can Petey and Dog Man over their differences long enough to work as a team and help Li’l Petey and the entire world?

Children of Virtue and Vengeance (#2 in the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy) by Tomi Adeyemi (Coming in December) Fans of J.K. Rowling and Nnedi Okorafor will enjoy this sequel to Children of Blood and Bone, Adeyemi’s fantasy book set in West Africa. In an Orïsha where the powers of the supernaturally-gifted maji as well as the nobles with magic ancestry have been reignited, Zélie must secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath, bringing their kingdom together before a civil war tears it apart.

Lots of new books in!

Sorry it’s been awhile since my last post; we weren’t getting a lot of new books for a short period of time.  The good news is that we now have a lot of new ones to tell you about!

Let’s start with new titles by your favorite suspense and thriller authors: Lee Child (Blue Moon), Stephen Chbosky (Imaginary Friend), Michael Connelly (Night Fire),  John Connolly (A Book of Bones), Stephen Coonts (The Russia Account), Patricia Cornwell (Quantum), Deborah Crombie (A Bitter Feast ), Nelson DeMille (The Deserter), Vince Flynn (Lethal Agent), Lisa Gardner (Never Tell), Tess Gerritson (The Shape of Night), Heather Graham (The Stalking), John Grisham (The Guardians),  Susan Isaacs (Takes One to Know One),  J. A. Jance (Sins of the Fathers), John Le Carre (Agent Running in the Field), John Sandford (Bloody Genius), Wilbur Smith (Ghost Fire), and Stuart Woods (Stealth).  In the pure mystery genre, Alexander McCall Smith has published the latest installment of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, To the Land of Long Lost Friends.

There are some pretty exciting titles in the romance genre: No Judgments by Meg Cabot, Hart’s Hollow Farm by Janet Dailey, Met Her Match by Jude Deveraux, What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand, Meant to be Yours by Susan Mallery, and Child’s Play by Danielle Steel.

Memoirs and biographies are hot this Fall, with several Hollywood stars, musicians, and various interesting people being featured.  Musical biographies/memoirs include The Beautiful Ones by Prince (based on the writings he left behind), My Name Is Prince by Randee St. Nicholas, Face It: A Memoir by Debbie Harry (I’m excited about this one!), and Wham! George Michael and Me by the other half of Wham, Andrew Ridgeley.  Really exciting is Me: Elton John, penned by Elton John himself. This will be an interesting read!  Janis: Her Life and Music, written by Holly George-Warren, should be good.  Holly George-Warren has written numerous books about music, serves as a consultant at several music-themed museums, and teaches musical journalism.  This book will appeal to anyone, whether or not they are Janis Joplin fans, as George-Warren will talk about the social aspects and the history behind the music.  On the Hollywood side, Julie Andrews has written a follow up to her previous book called Home.  This one is titled Home Work: A Memoir of my Hollywood Years, and it picks up after Andrews moved into films from stage work.  Demi Moore’s memoir is getting a lot of media attention.  It is titled Inside Out: A Memoir, and it is a tear-jerker.  Hollywood historian William J. Mann has turned his attention to Marlon Brando with The Contender: The Story of Marlon Brando.

Dogs are getting a fair amount of attention in the book world.  Dog is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You, by dog behaviorist and researcher Clive D. L. Wynne, PhD, offers scientific insight into just how much capacity dogs have for affection.  Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond by Alexandra Horowitz, explores the human-dog relationship from a social and historical point of view.  My favorite dog book this season is Rescue Dogs: Where They Come From, Why They Act the Way They Do, and How to Love Them Well by Pete Paxton.  Pete Paxton is an alias for an undercover investigator into puppy mills.  This book offers in-depth insight into rescue dogs, and the conditions from which they are often rescued.

All of these books are either on the shelf or coming in soon, so you can place requests for all of them now.  Next week’s post will be about our new book club sets, so stay tuned!

New series additions for kids

Zoe, our Youth Services Librarian, is still out for maternity leave, but she has provided us with information about some new installments in popular series and an illustrated version of a Harry Potter title!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling (Coming in October).  Harry Potter fans have loved the beautifully illustrated versions of the first three books in this ever-popular series. The library is adding the fourth installment to our collection this fall.

Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #3: Hidden Kingdom by Tui T. Sutherland (Coming in October).  The graphic novel version of the popular Wings of Fire series, which follows young dragons in their quests to fulfill prophecies, has been a hit with fans of the original books. In this third book, dragon Glory will do whatever it takes to find the RainWings that have gone missing from their forest, even if it means that she and the dragonets end up involved in a war.

Dork Diaries #14: Tales from a Not-So-Best Friend Forever by Rachel Renee Russell (Coming in October).  In the next book in the Dork Diaries series, Nikki and the band look forward to their summer on tour as openers for famous band Bad Boyz. What will Nikki do when she discovers that her frenemy MacKenzie Hollister is the new social media intern, and even worse, Nikki’s new roommate? Will she be able to turn the summer from something awful to awesome?

If you like Downton Abbey…

Who has seen the Downton Abbey movie?  Whether you watched every episode of the series or saw the movie and still need more, we have something for you all. I haven’t seen the movie yet, so don’t tell me too much if you have!

Most importantly, we have all six seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD to check out.  A few other movies that we have that you might enjoy include Howards End, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson; the 2012 version of Upstairs, Downstairs; Brideshead Revisited with Emma Thompson and Michael Gambon; and The Crimson Field, a BBC-produced saga about field-side doctors, nurses, and volunteers in France during World War I.

If you’re interested in fiction that covers the same time period or story line as Downton, consider Rutherford Park by Elizabeth Cooke, a story about an aristocratic family in England and their secrets on the eve of World War I.  Daisy Goodwin has written two novels that are about heiresses and English aristocracy, The Fortune Hunter and The American HeiressThe Fortune Hunter is about the real-life  love triangle between Empress Elisabeth of Austria, her lover Captain Bay Middleton, and the heiress Charlotte Baird.

Like the Duchess of Grantham (Cora Crawley), many American heiresses took their inheritances to Europe in search of a title.  Consuelo Vanderbilt was one of the most famous of those, and you can read her autobiography, The Glitter and the Gold: The American Duchess – In Her Own Words.  For a lighter, fiction version of her story, try American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt by Karen Harper.  Harper is a prolific author of historical fiction, and her books always deliver interesting views of women in history.   One of my favorite books about these American heiresses is To Marry An English Lord by Gail MacColl.  It’s a fun nonfiction book with tidbits of information about the more than 100 heiresses who “swapped dollars for titles.”

Another famous American heiress who married into English nobility was Jenny Jerome, the mother of Winston Churchill.  She was fiercely independent at a time when it wasn’t socially acceptable for a women to be, and her life makes for an interesting read.  We have a great novel about her, That Churchill Woman by Stephanie Barron.  For those interested in the more scandalous parts of Jenny Churchill’s life, the try Edward VII: The Prince of Wales and the Women He Loved, which included Jenny Churchill.

On a lighter note, Danielle Steel’s Beauchamp Hall is about an American woman who goes to England to work on a Downton Abbey-like show and finds love.  The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson is set in the English countryside right before and during World War I.

Downton Abbey was filmed at Highclere Castle in England where the current Earl and Countess of Carnarvon live.  The Countess has written two books about previous Countesses of Carnarvon:  Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle and Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey.   Lady Almina delves into changes that took place in English society during and immediately after World War I, while Lady Catherine covers the family during the years of World War II.To learn more about the staff that made life possible for the aristocracy, Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid’s Memoir That Inspired “Upstairs, Downstairs” and “Downton Abbey” by Margaret Powell offers an inside view of working in the kitchens of some of England’s grand houses.  Think about Daisy crossed with Mrs. Patmore!  Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge is a comprehensive study of those in service.  Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor by Rosina Harrison is a story of the woman who served as personal maid to Lady Nancy Astor.  It was fascinating to hear about Lady Astor’s travels, clothes, and jewelry.  This book also offers an in-depth view of the differences between the lifestyles of those who lived in wealth “upstairs” and those who worked tirelessly “downstairs.”

We have many more — just email me (sperry@uptexas.org) if you want more titles or ideas.

Happy reading!

New Fall Titles for Kids

If you have an elementary student, you know that kids love book series (and tend to be very loyal followers of their favorite authors!) Several books coming this fall that continue popular series:

Last Kids on Earth #5: The Last Kids on Earth and the Midnight Blade by Max Brallier (Out in September, coming to the library in October)

Jack is back to battling evil monsters with his superpower blade in the next installment of this popular series set in a post-zombie apocalypse world. When an unexpected villain challenges them, will Jack and his friends be able to save the world and themselves from defeat?

Magic Misfits: Minor Third by Neil Patrick Harris (Out in September, coming to the library in October)

Kids will recognize the first Magic Misfits book as part of the 2019-2020 Bluebonnet Master list. In the third book of the series, violin player Theo Stein-Meyer completes the team with his levitation skills and calm, friendly demeanor. When a girl named Emily joins the group, Theo finds a friend with a mutual love of music and magic. A creepy ventriloquist comes to town and the Magic Misfits must come together to stop the villainous Emerald Ring. This series introduces kids to the fun of stage magic, adventure, friendship, and teamwork with plenty of twists along the way.

Trials of Apollo #4: Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan (Out in September, coming to the library in October)

On his way to restoring ancient oracles and reclaiming his powers, Apollo (Lester Papadopoulos) journeys to Camp Jupiter near San Francisco, where Roman demigods are making a last stand against the evil Roman emperors. Can Apollo find the answer to overcoming them in the tomb of a forgotten Roman ruler, or will he and his friends face someone even more sinister?