The Night Visitor – July 3, 2018
by Lucy Atkins

From the Publisher.

Professor Olivia Sweetman has worked hard to achieve the life of her dreams, with a high-flying career as a TV presenter and historian, three children, and a talented husband. But as she stands before a crowd at the launch party for her new blockbuster book about a pioneering female surgeon of the Victorian era, she can barely pretend to smile. Her perfect life is in fact a desperate tangle of lies, and if the truth were to come out, she would lose everything.

Only one other person knows what Olivia has done: Vivian Tester, the socially awkward, middle-aged housekeeper of a Sussex manor who found the diary on which Olivia’s new biography is based. Vivian proved to be remarkably adept at hunting down obscure sources and eventually became Olivia’s unofficial research assistant.

But the seemingly chance circumstances that brought these two very different women together turn out to be far more complex–and far more sinister–than Olivia ever realized. In a gripping narrative that shifts between London, Sussex, and the idyllic South of France, Olivia and Vivian will learn knife-edged truths about themselves and discover just how far each will go to protect her reputation.

 

Worth Getting in Bed For:  An excellent novel that layers suspense throughout. Science vs history and what role does imagination play in the two. How does imagination impact credibility of the scientist and historian. Olivia is an historian with some role on tv. She is writing a book about a female doctor at a time when women were barely allowed in the profession. Vivian becomes her research assistant and creepiness sets in. A book about a book and dung beetles and it all works. Thought provoking and mysterious, a top read!

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley

 
All Grown Up
by Jami Attenberg

From the Publisher

“I read it twice, laughing, cringing, and even tearing up.” — Judy Blume, New York Times

“Powerful . . . All Grown Up is so intimately [and] sharply observed.” — Vogue

“Bravo to Attenberg, who, with hilarity and honesty, tells the story of an adult woman who wants what she wants, not what she’s supposed to want.” — Marie Claire

Who is Andrea Bern? When her dippy therapist asks the question, Andrea knows the right things to say: she’s a designer, a friend, a daughter, a sister. But it’s what she leaves unsaid—she’s alone, a drinker, a former artist, a shrieker in bed, captain of the sinking ship that is her flesh—that feels the most true. Everyone around her seems to have a different idea of what it means to be an adult, though. But when Andrea’s niece finally arrives, born with a heartbreaking ailment, the Bern family is forced to reexamine what really matters. Will this drive them together or tear them apart? Told in gut-wrenchingly honest, mordantly comic vignettes, All Grown Up is a breathtaking display of Jami Attenberg’s powers as a storyteller and a whip-smart examination of one woman’s life, lived entirely on her own terms.

 

Worth Getting in Bed For:   I loved this book. Witty and thought provoking, some chapters especially relevant to the me too movement. The main character, Andrea, has sex and the city like escapades but maintains her vulnerability without becoming pathetic. She evolves and is still surprised by the humanity of others. Sexy and sardonic on the surface but so much more, relatable to any woman who had grappled with her femininity. An easy contender for the read again list.

 

 
The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After Hardcover – April 24, 2018
by Clemantine Wamariya (Author), Elizabeth Weil (Author)

From the Publisher

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“The plot provided by the universe was filled with starvation, war and rape. I would not—could not—live in that tale.”

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive.

When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States; there, in Chicago, their lives diverged. Though their bond remained unbreakable, Claire, who had for so long protected and provided for Clemantine, was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, while Clemantine was taken in by a family who raised her as their own. She seemed to live the American dream: attending private school, taking up cheerleading, and, ultimately, graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and one hundred years old.

In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of “victim” and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her.

 

Worth Getting in Bed For:

This is the powerful and poignant memoir of a young girl as refugee and survivor of the Rwandan massacre. This is not a graphic horror story, but a thoughtful exploration of how this young girl evolves into a young woman in the U.S. White privilege, body image, soul searching and Oprah Winfrey factor in so that there is connection on many levels. The narration changes as Clemantine matures, evolving as she does from random child like observations to philosophy of Sebald. A wonderful book that has my mind and sense of soul whirring. There is much to offer many readers.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley