Best New Books: Week of 12/12/17



FICTION



In the Fall They Come Back by  Robert Bausch

in the fall they come backA brilliantly observed prep school novel about fraught teacher-student relationships—and about coming into adulthood.

Ben Jameson begins his teaching career in a small private school in Northern Virginia. He is idealistic, happy to have his first job after graduate school, and hoping some day to figure out what he really wants out of life. And in his two years teaching English at Glenn Acres Preparatory School, he comes to believe this really is his life’s work, his calling. He wants to change lives.

But his desire to “save” his students leads him into complicated territory, as he becomes more and more deeply involved with three students in particular: an abused boy, a mute and damaged girl, and a dangerous eighteen-year-old who has come back to school for one more chance to graduate.

In the Fall They Come Back is a book about human relationships, as played out in that most fraught of settings, a school. But it is not only a book about teaching. It is about the limits and complexities of even our most benevolent urges—what we can give to others and how we lose ourselves.

Description from Goodreads.

“Bausch perceptively explores the complexities and dangers of idealism and the motivations behind altruism.” – Publishers Weekly

“Robert Bausch’s simple but never simplistic story pours off the page with a fluidity gained from decades of experience.” – Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered

Available Formats:

Print Book



MYSTERY / SUSPENSE



Bloodstains with Bronte by  Katherine Bolger Hyde

bloodstains with bronteClassic novels and crime solving intertwine in Katherine Bolger Hyde’s charming series. Bloodstains with Bronte is the second in a series that will puzzle and please fans of mystery and masterpieces alike.

It’s a dark and stormy autumn on the Oregon coast. Windy Corner, the Victorian mansion Emily Cavanaugh inherited in Arsenic with Austen, is being remodeled into a writers’ retreat. Two of the young workers, Jake and Roman, are showing too much of the wrong kind of interest in Katie, Emily’s young single-mother housekeeper. Their boss, Jeremiah, is a disturbing presence in a different way with his obsessive, tormented piety. Soon the passions in the house grow as dark and stormy as the weather, and Emily begins to feel as if she’s living in a Brontë novel.

Meanwhile, to raise money for the local clinic, Emily and Katie host a murder mystery dinner on Halloween night. All goes well until the supposed corpse turns up actually dead—with Katie standing over him, a bloody knife in her hand.

Luke Richards, local sheriff and Emily’s true love, is forced to regard Katie as a suspect, but Emily refuses to accept the situation. Her loyalty to Katie crashes against her duty to Luke and to the truth as she fights to save Katie from a murder charge.

Description from Goodreads.

Available Formats:

Print Book

Audiobook



NONFICTION



The Only Girl in the World by  Maude Julien

the only girl in the worldMaude Julien’s childhood was defined by the iron grip of her father, who was convinced his daughter was destined for great deeds. His plan began when he adopted Maude’s mother and indoctrinated her with his esoteric ideals. Her mission was to give him a daughter as blonde as she was, and then to take charge of the child’s education. That child was Maude, on whom her father conducted his outrageous experiment—to raise the perfect ‘super-human’ being.

The three lived in an isolated mansion in northern France, where her father made her undergo endless horrifying endurance tests. Maude had to hold an electric fence without flinching. Her parents locked her in a cellar overnight and ordered her to sit still on a stool in the dark, contemplating death, while rats scurried around her feet.

How did this girl, with her loveless and lonely childhood, emerge so unscathed, so full of the empathy that was absent in her childhood? How did she manage to escape?

Maude was sustained by her love of nature and animals and her passion for literature. In writing this memoir, Maude Julien shows that it is possible to overcome severe trauma. She recounts her chilling and deeply moving story in a compelling and compassionate voice.

Description from Goodreads.

“In the hierarchy of traumatic memoir, Maude Julien has something to write home about. . . The Only Girl in the World is the haunting story of a girl whose survivalist parents locked her away and subjected her to ‘training’ starting at the age of three. But it is also proof that love is in our nature regardless of our nurture.” – Vanity Fair

“This story is never maudlin-it is so absorbing that you have to remind yourself to breathe from time to time.” – Le Point

“A living testimony of resilience… An account as gripping as it is inspiring.” – Elle

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