Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb • Last Christmas in Paris (2017)

Last Christmas in Paris • Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb • William Morrow • 2017 • 400 pages

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…


Des ouvrages que j’ai pu présenter pour le challenge Il était neuf fois Noël, Last Christmas in Paris est celui que j’étais le plus impatiente de lire. Je l’ai découvert sur Pinterest et j’ai tout de suite craqué devant cette très belle couverture. Heureusement, le livre ne se limite pas qu’à cela.

Il y avait bien longtemps que je n’avais pas lu un roman épistolaire, genre littéraire que j’apprécie énormément. Le choix de rédiger uniquement par des lettres est judicieux pour plusieurs raisons. Il permet d’allier les événements ayant lieu sur le champ de bataille avec les lettres de Will et Tom, et ce qui se passe à l’arrière avec Evelyn et Alice. S’y ajoute aussi le personnage de John Hooper qui permet également d’avoir le point de vue d’un homme en âge de se battre, mais pour des raisons diverses restent à l’arrière. Cela permet d’aborder la manière dont ils étaient perçus. Les autrices nous offrent une belle galerie de personnages qui illustrent plutôt bien ce que pouvait être la société anglaise durant la Première Guerre mondiale. Il est dommage que tous les personnages que l’on croise soit tous issus de l’aristocratie.

Ces lettres sont également pleines d’émotions et de non-dits qui m’ont énormément plu. Le début peut être long à se mettre en place. La première année du conflit met vraiment les différents éléments en place : les relations entre les différents personnages, la manière dont le conflit est perçu dans les premiers mois, la naïveté et l’enthousiasme qui fait ensuite place à bien d’autres sentiments comme l’horreur, la mélancolie, les troubles traumatiques… En avançant dans les années, le roman devient plus sombre, passionnant et impossible à lâcher. Les relations changent et les personnages aussi, la vie à l’arrière et au front se fait plus difficile avec notamment la perte de certains personnages. Il y a quelques passages qui m’ont tiré des larmes.

Je l’avoue aussi, je me suis énormément attachée aux différents personnages, notamment Evie et Tom. Leur amitié, leur échange de lettres ainsi que leurs caractères en font des personnes plus que sympathiques et dont le destin m’a tenu en haleine du début à la fin. En tant que lectrice, j’ai espéré que Thomas s’en sorte, qu’ils se rendent compte qu’il y a plus que de l’amitié entre eux… J’ai admiré leurs forces et leurs courages, leurs droitures aussi. Alice apporte parfois une touche rafraîchissante par ses lettres et son humour. Elle a une personnalité pétillante qui change également au fur et à mesure des années.

J’ai apprécié la construction du roman. Il est divisé en plusieurs parties correspondant à un an de conflit, de 1914 à 1918. Chacune commence par une petite citation et elle se termine par un court chapitre qui n’est pas une lettre, mais un petit saut dans le temps, puisque les autrices nous transportent en 1968. J’avais peur que cela ne donne un peu trop d’indices pour la suite de l’intrigue, mais cela n’a pas été le cas. Au contraire, ces quelques pages ont plutôt attisé ma curiosité et donné envie de continuer le roman.

Last Christmas in Paris est un coup de coeur qui m’a emporté dans un tourbillon d’émotions. C’était très bien écrit et passionnant. Clairement un des meilleurs ouvrages que j’ai pu lire ce mois-ci dont le bilan est plutôt mitigé.

Anne Perry • Le curieux Noël de Mrs Ellison

Le curieux Noël de Mrs Ellison • Anne Perry • 2017 • 10/18 • 116 pages

Quand Mariah Ellison reçoit en guise de cadeau de Noël un boulet de canon sur le pas de sa porte, elle se rappelle un meurtre, survenu il y a vingt ans, qui a brisé l’une de ses plus fortes amitiés. Comprenant que cette vieille affaire refait surface, elle se rend dans le Surrey dans l’espoir de se réconcilier avec son amie et de résoudre enfin le crime qui les a séparées.


Je n’avais jamais lu un roman d’Anne Perry jusqu’à maintenant. Pourtant, ses romans m’ont toujours intéressée, étant amatrice de romans policiers historiques. Cette première incursion dans la bibliographie de cette autrice est plutôt en demi-teinte. Il y a des aspects que j’ai bien aimé et d’autres sur lesquels je suis plus déçue.

La première chose qui m’a dérangé concerne la manière dont l’intrigue est menée. Il m’a manqué des rebondissements et des révélations de dernière minute, ou des obstacles à surmonter. L’histoire est quelque peu plate et linéaire. Elle manque cruellement de suspens à mon goût. Il y a un petit retournement de situation à la fin, mais il ne fait pas vraiment l’objet d’une grande surprise. Il ne m’a pas fait l’effet d’une bombe et c’est dommage. L’intrigue est assez convenue et sans surprise.

Par ailleurs, la fin se devine malheureusement très rapidement. Une fois que l’intrigue a bien démarré, le lecteur se doute de la manière dont toute cette enquête va se terminer. Il n’y a pas de surprise non plus de ce côté-là. J’aurai espéré que le coupable tenterait de mettre plus de bâton dans les roues de Mariah Ellison et de ses amis. Il revient dans ce village pour défendre sa réputation, mais il ne le fait pas de manière très convaincante.

Malgré tout, l’histoire est prenante et elle se laisse lire d’un bout à l’autre. Le fait qu’elle soit relativement courte n’est pas forcément à son avantage, car elle aurait mérité d’être plus amplement développé. Par certains aspects, elle m’a aussi intrigué. Je voulais savoir comment le personnage principal va bien pouvoir aider ses amis pour faire entendre la vérité, la manière dont elle va mener l’enquête. Mariah Ellison parle aux gens, les amène à se confesser à elle et à avouer leurs secrets.

La thématique qui est évoquée n’est pas la plus facile. Anne Perry aborde les violences domestiques faites aux femmes et les prédateurs sexuels. Elle fait preuve d’une certaine pudeur et retenu quand elle parle de ce que Mariah Ellison a vécu auprès de son mari. Le lecteur comprend pourquoi cette histoire qui s’est déroulée quelques années en arrière la bouleverse autant.

Cette lecture s’est certes révélée en demi-teinte, mais je ne suis pas assez déçue pour retenter l’expérience. J’ai Dans l’oeil du cyclone dans ma wish-list et je compte bien le découvrir. Le curieux Noël de Mrs Ellison est un roman relativement sympathique. J’aurais aimé que l’ambiance de Noël soit un brin plus présente.

Nancy Mitford • Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding • Nancy Mitford • 1932 • 10/18 • 264 pages

Un Noël à la campagne dans le Gloucestershire. La perspective est séduisante pour un groupe de jeunes mondains, un peu las de la routine londonienne, qui décident de séjourner à proximité du domaine de Lady Bobbin et de ses enfants.

Multipliant péripéties invraisemblables et dialogues mordants, Nancy Mitford dresse un portrait décalé de la société anglaise dans les années 1930.


Cela faisait un petit moment que ce livre traînait dans ma wish-list, mais j’attendais la période des fêtes de fin d’année pour enfin le découvrir. J’ai bien aimé ce roman, mais il n’était pas tout à fait ce à quoi je m’attendais, pour être honnête. J’avais à l’esprit un cosy mistery à l’anglaise. Or, Christmas Pudding se révèle plutôt être une comédie satirique.

Nancy Mitford dresse le portrait de l’aristocratie anglaise durant la période de l’entre-deux-guerres. Elle n’y va pas par le dos de la cuillère pour les décrire et offrir au lecteur une satire sociale. Elle ne cache rien des conversations pseudo-philosophiques et profondes d’une jeunesse désoeuvrée, de ce que les Anglais appellent le small talk. Ils passent également une bonne partie de leur temps à commenter et observer la vie des autres. Au niveau des dialogues, le livre peut paraître quelque peu vide. Cependant, j’ai trouvé que c’était aussi à l’image de cette noblesse.

Heureusement, la plume de l’autrice sauve les dialogues un peu creux du roman. Elle est pleine d’ironie. Les réflexions sont piquantes et apportent de l’humour qui est typiquement anglais et que j’ai vraiment aimé. C’est vraiment le point qui a énormément joué sur mon appréciation globale de ce livre. Ces petites flèches lancées à tout-va m’ont bien fait sourire et sont savoureuses.

Les personnages sont plutôt des archétypes. Leurs psychologies, leurs caractères sont très peu développés et nuancés. J’ai vraiment eu du mal à apprécier la galerie de personnages que l’auteur propose. Aucun lien ne se crée avec eux. Il n’y a pas que les dialogues qui sont creux et sans intérêt. Je crois que la palme d’or revient au personnage principal, Paul Fotheringay. Il est vaniteux, se pose comme un artiste torturé et incompris, mais également paresseux. Il n’a pas pris conscience de sa propre médiocrité. J’avais très envie de le gifler à tout bout de champ, et il n’était pas le seul.

Le roman s’appelle Christmas Pudding, mais je cherche encore l’ambiance de Noël. Le livre se déroule durant les fêtes de fin d’année. L’intrigue aurait pu se dérouler à une toute autre saison que l’ambiance et les propos ne changeraient pas. Au regard du titre, je m’attendais à retrouver une atmosphère beaucoup plus portée sur Noël. Petite déception de ce point de vue.

Pourtant, j’ai dit au début de cette chronique que j’avais apprécie ce roman, et bizarrement, c’est le cas. Il y a quelque chose dans ce livre qui m’a tout de suite happé. Je pense qu’il doit y avoir le côté satire de l’aristocratie anglaise, l’humour et les petites piques typiquement anglaises. Cela a un certain charme. Ce n’est pas un coup de coeur, mais une lecture divertissante et courte.

Présentation de ma pile à lire pour Il était neuf fois Noël

Cette année, je participe au challenge Il était neuf fois Noël. Le chalet ouvre ses portes le 29 novembre, pour ne les refermer que le 2 janvier. La nouveauté de cette année, ce sont les semaines thématiques.

Du 29 novembre au 5 décembre : Les Noëls du monde

Du 6 au 12 décembre : Si Noël m’était conté

Du 13 au 19 décembre : Noëls mystérieux

Du 20 au 26 décembre : La magie de Noël

Du 27 décembre au 2 janvier : Noëls blancs

Les organisatrices proposent également tout un programme, qui peut être trouvé ici, par exemple. Aujourd’hui, je présente donc ma pile à lire pour le challenge. Ce sont des livres que j’espère pouvoir lire et présenter durant le mois.

Ma PAL

Pauvre Andy Warner. L’ex-star contestataire des morts-vivants a passé une année entière soumis à des tests expérimentaux dans un laboratoire de recherches sur les zombies dans l’Oregon. Heureusement, un miracle se produit : à quelques jours de Noël, il parvient à s’échapper et fausse compagnie à ses poursuivants en enfilant un costume de Santa Claus. Le déguisement parfait… À deux réserves près : des collègues de décomposition le reconnaissent et exigent de lui qu’il soit leur chef ; et une adorable fillette solitaire le suit partout, convaincue qu’il est vraiment le père Noël… Une comédie horriblement délicieuse à lire sous le sapin.

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms. When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn.

Un Noël à la campagne dans le Gloucestershire. La perspective est séduisante pour un groupe de jeunes mondains, un peu las de la routine londonienne, qui décident de séjourner à proximité du domaine de Lady Bobbin et de ses enfants.

Multipliant péripéties invraisemblables et dialogues mordants, Nancy Mitford dresse un portrait décalé de la société anglaise dans les années 1930.

Habituellement, Basile, neuf ans, rentre de l’école avec son père ou un autre parent d’élève. Mais ce jour-là est un peu particulier… Ce jour-là, la maîtresse a reçu un coup de téléphone qui l’a forcée à abandonner sa classe plus tôt que prévu. Ce jour-là, le petit garçon a décidé que rentrer à pied pour aller voir les décorations de Noël était une bonne idée. Ce jour-là… c’est le jour où Basile va faire la connaissance d’un jeune homme d’apparence sympathique, et accepter sans le savoir de conduire un agresseur à sa victime…

Aux Galeries Hartmann, les Féeries sont le plus gros événement de l’année. Alors quand sept jours avant leur lancement, le nouveau directeur exige que la décoration de Noël soit intégralement refaite, le sang d’Agathe ne fait qu’un tour : personne ne touchera à son travail, et surtout pas cet arriviste arrogant. Mais le grand magasin est désormais sous la responsabilité d’Alexandre Hartmann, et aussi talentueuse que soit Agathe Murano, c’est avec lui qu’elle devra traiter. Lui et personne d’autre. Ces deux-là auraient préféré ne jamais se rencontrer, mais puisqu’un père Noël et son chat magique viennent d’être embauchés pour exaucer les souhaits, pourquoi ne pas en profiter pour s’amuser ? Mais aux dépens de l’un comme de l’autre, bien sûr…

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently… Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

Lors d’une terrible nuit d’hiver, la petite ville de Coventry fut frappée par une tempête de neige d’une rare violence, qui fit de nombreuses victimes et disparus, laissant une marque indélébile sur l’esprit des survivants. Douze ans après, alors que la vie a repris son cours à Coventry, se produit une série d’événements étranges : les disparus de cette fameuse nuit maudite semblent être de retour… et une nouvelle tempête s’annonce, cette fois-ci prête à tout dévaster sur son passage.

Jack, dix-sept ans, part à la conquête du Grand Nord pour devenir chercheur d’or. Plus intéressé par l’aventure que par la richesse, il espère se mesurer aux rigueurs du climat et affronter la nature sauvage. Mais Jack est loin de s’attendre aux obstacles qui se dresseront sur sa route: des bandits sans scrupules, prêts à tout pour faire fortune, et surtout des créatures redoutables qui incarnent ce que l’homme abrite de plus sombre en son coeur. Son animal-totem, le loup, l’aidera à traverser les épreuves… pourvu que Jack reste en vie.

Quand Mariah Ellison reçoit en guise de cadeau de Noël un boulet de canon sur le pas de sa porte, elle se rappelle un meurtre, survenu il y a vingt ans, qui a brisé l’une de ses plus fortes amitiés. Comprenant que cette vieille affaire refait surface, elle se rend dans le Surrey dans l’espoir de se réconcilier avec son amie et de résoudre enfin le crime qui les a séparées.

Sorties VO • Décembre 2021

Vivian Maier Developed: The Untold Story of the Photographer Nanny • Ann Marks • Atria Books • 7 décembre • 368 pages

Vivian Maier, the photographer nanny whose work was famously discovered in a Chicago storage locker, captured the imagination of the world with her masterful images and mysterious life. Before posthumously skyrocketing to global fame, she had so deeply buried her past that even the families she lived with knew little about her. No one could relay where she was born or raised, if she had parents or siblings, if she enjoyed personal relationships, why she took photographs and why she didn’t share them with others. Now, the full story of her extraordinary life is explored by the only person who has been given access to her personal records and archive of 140,000 photographs.

Based on meticulous investigative research, Vivian Maier Developed reveals the story of a woman who fled from a family with a hidden history of illegitimacy, bigamy, parental rejection, substance abuse, violence, and mental illness to live life on her own terms. Left with a limited ability to disclose feelings and form relationships, she expressed herself through photography, creating a secret portfolio of pictures teeming with emotion, authenticity, and humanity. With limitless resilience she knocked down every obstacle in her way, determined to improve her lot in life and that of others by tirelessly advocating for the rights of workers, women, African Americans, and Native Americans. No one knew that behind the detached veneer was a profoundly intelligent, empathetic, and inspired woman—a woman so creatively gifted that her body of work would become one of the greatest photographic discoveries of the century.

The Women of Pearl Island • Polly Crosby • Park Row • 7 décembre • 352 pages

When Tartelin answers an ad for a personal assistant, she doesn’t know what to expect from her new employer, Marianne, an eccentric elderly woman. Marianne lives on a remote island that her family has owned for generations, and for decades her only companions have been butterflies and tightly held memories of her family.

But there are some memories Marianne would rather forget, such as when the island was commandeered by the British government during WWII. Now, if Marianne can trust Tartelin with her family’s story, she might finally be able to face the long-buried secrets of her past that have kept her isolated for far too long. 

Smile and Look Pretty • Amanda Pellegrino • Park Row • 28 décembre • 368 pages

Online they’re the Aggressive One, the Bossy One, the Bitchy One and the Emotional One. In real life, best friends Cate, Lauren, Olivia and Max all have one thing in common–they’re overworked, overtired and underpaid assistants to some of the most powerful men in the entertainment industries. When they secretly start an anonymous blog detailing their experiences, their posts go viral and hundreds of other women come forward with stories of their own. Confronted with the risks of newfound fame and the possibility of their identities being revealed, they have to contend with what happens when you try to change the world.

Inheritance of Secrets • Sonya Bates • Harper Collins • 14 décembre • 432 pages

No matter how far you run, the past will always find you.

Juliet’s elderly grandparents are killed in their Adelaide home. Who would commit such a heinous crime – and why? The only clue is her grandfather Karl’s missing signet ring.

When Juliet’s estranged sister, Lily, returns in fear for her life, Juliet suspects something far more sinister than a simple break-in gone wrong. Before Juliet can get any answers, Lily vanishes once more.

Juliet only knew Karl Weiss as a loving grandfather, a German soldier who emigrated to Australia to build a new life. What was he hiding that could have led to his murder? While attempting to find out, Juliet uncovers some disturbing secrets from WWII that will put both her and her sister’s lives in danger…

The Sorority Murder • Allison Brennan • Mira Books • 28 décembre • 448 pages

Lucas Vega is obsessed with the death of Candace Swain, who left a sorority party one night and never came back. Her body was found after two weeks, but the case has grown cold. Three years later while interning at the medical examiner’s, Lucas discovers new information, but the police are not interested.

Lucas knows he has several credible pieces of the puzzle. He just isn’t sure how they fit together. So he creates a podcast to revisit Candace’s last hours. Then he encourages listeners to crowdsource what they remember and invites guest lecturer Regan Merritt, a former US marshal, to come on and share her expertise.

New tips come in that convince Lucas and Regan they are onto something. Then shockingly one of the podcast callers turns up dead. Another hints at Candace’s secret life, a much darker picture than Lucas imagined–and one that implicates other sorority sisters. Regan uses her own resources to bolster their theory and learns that Lucas is hiding his own secret. The pressure is on to solve the murder, but first Lucas must come clean about his real motives in pursuing this podcast–before the killer silences him forever.

Hidden Treasures • Michelle Adams • William Morrow • 7 décembre • 384 pages

Then…

Once upon a time, in a small village in southern France, a pretty, willful English girl is falling in love.  Francis Langley has fallen under Benoit’s romantic spell, so sure is she that he is everything she’s ever wanted—a self-assured, sexy man, experienced and just a little bit mysterious. But Francis is hiding a secret—one that would surely separate them if he ever knew the truth. And to hold on to his love, she is willing to do anything for him, even put herself at risk by hiding a precious object, stolen by the Nazis decades before.

Now…

Years later, Francis’s son, Harry, opens the door of his late mother’s home, never expecting to see Tabitha—the lost love of his life—on the other side. Their angry parting had broken his heart, but  now she holds a letter, sent by his mother just before her death, begging the pair to search—together—for a priceless jewelry box, hidden somewhere in her little Cotswold cottage.

Harry quickly dismisses the search, but as an art historian, Tabitha cannot risk the chance to recover something so valuable that was long thought to be lost. And so they embark on a journey of discovery, but soon find themselves searching for much more than a missing piece of art. Together they learn that the true riches are not those buried in the clutter of Francis’s cottage, but are instead the treasures they each hold, buried deep inside their hearts.  

A History of Wild Places • Shea Ernshaw • Atria Books • 7 décembre • 368 pages

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

Called Pastoral, this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it… he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

The Ballerinas • Rachel Kapelke-Dale • St Martin’s Press • 7 décembre • 304 pages

Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she’s been away…and some secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Moving between the trio’s adolescent years and the present day, The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won’t see coming, with magnetic characters you won’t soon forget.

The Bright Ages: A New History of Medieval Europe • Matthew Gabriele • Harper • 7 décembre • 320 pages

The word “medieval” conjures images of the “Dark Ages”—centuries of ignorance, superstition, stasis, savagery, and poor hygiene. But the myth of darkness obscures the truth; this was a remarkable period in human history. The Bright Ages recasts the European Middle Ages for what it was, capturing this 1,000-year era in all its complexity and fundamental humanity, bringing to light both its beauty and its horrors. 

The Bright Ages takes us through ten centuries and crisscrosses Europe and the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa, revisiting familiar people and events with new light cast upon them. We look with fresh eyes on the Fall of Rome, Charlemagne, the Vikings, the Crusades, and the Black Death, but also to the multi-religious experience of Iberia, the rise of Byzantium, and the genius of Hildegard and the power of queens. We begin under a blanket of golden stars constructed by an empress with Germanic, Roman, Spanish, Byzantine, and Christian bloodlines and end nearly 1,000 years later with the poet Dante—inspired by that same twinkling celestial canopy—writing an epic saga of heaven and hell that endures as a masterpiece of literature today.  

The Bright Ages reminds us just how permeable our manmade borders have always been and of what possible worlds the past has always made available to us. The Middle Ages may have been a world “lit only by fire” but it was one whose torches illuminated the magnificent rose windows of cathedrals, even as they stoked the pyres of accused heretics.  

Blood at the Root • Ciahnan Darrell • Atmosphere Press • 10 décembre • 258 pages

College student Christopher Fairchild, the son of a white billionaire, disappears, and is next seen being savagely tortured in a video that surfaces online. When it comes to light that he planned the incident as a sacrifice of atonement for America’s racial sins, the news detonates a bomb that rips through a country already rife with demonstrations and social unrest.

Blood at the Root tracks the fallout from Fairchild’s video through a lush universe populated by drug dealers, priests, police officers, civilians, and a talking pretzel bag. With the city on the precipice of chaos, the lives and livelihoods of individuals come under threat, forcing them to go to extremes in the name of self-preservation. The novel explores the human capacity for endurance in a society haunted by the ghosts of George Floyd, Andrew Goodman, Clementa Pickney, Erik Salgado, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright, and so many others.

Accidental Gods: On Men Unwittingly Turned Divine • Anna Della Subin • Metropolitan Books • 7 décembre • 480 pages

Ever since 1492, when Christopher Columbus made landfall in the New World and was hailed as a heavenly being, the accidental god has haunted the modern age. From Haile Selassie, acclaimed as the Living God in Jamaica, to Britain’s Prince Philip, who became the unlikely center of a new religion on a South Pacific island, men made divine—always men—have appeared on every continent. And because these deifications always emerge at moments of turbulence—civil wars, imperial conquest, revolutions—they have much to teach us.

In a revelatory history spanning five centuries, a cast of surprising deities helps to shed light on the thorny questions of how our modern concept of “religion” was invented; why religion and politics are perpetually entangled in our supposedly secular age; and how the power to call someone divine has been used and abused by both oppressors and the oppressed. From nationalist uprisings in India to Nigerien spirit possession cults, Anna Della Subin explores how deification has been a means of defiance for colonized peoples. Conversely, we see how Columbus, Cortés, and other white explorers amplified stories of their godhood to justify their dominion over native peoples, setting into motion the currents of racism and exclusion that have plagued the New World ever since they touched its shores.

Learwife • J.R. Thorpe • Pegasus Books • 7 décembre • 304 pages

Word has come. Care-bent King Lear is dead, driven mad and betrayed. His three daughters too, broken in battle. But someone has survived: Lear’s queen. Exiled to a nunnery years ago, written out of history, her name forgotten. Now she can tell her story.

Though her grief and rage may threaten to crack the earth open, she knows she must seek answers. Why was she sent away in shame and disgrace? What has happened to Kent, her oldest friend and ally? And what will become of her now, in this place of women? To find peace she must reckon with her past and make a terrible choice – one upon which her destiny, and that of the entire abbey, rests.

Top 5 Wednesday • Les livres que j’aimerais lire avant la fin de l’année

Ce n’est pas un thème officiel du groupe, mais j’avais envie de parler des livres que j’aimerais beaucoup pouvoir lire avant la fin de l’année…

Ceux de ma pile à lire

La Passe-Miroir, La Tempête des échos • Christelle Dabos

Outre le fait d’avoir enfin le dernier mot sur ces quatre tomes qui m’ont tenu en haleine, je termine aussi une série parmi toutes celles que j’ai commencé.

Babylon Berlin • Volker Kutscher

J’ai adoré la première saison qui en est tiré et j’aimerai beaucoup découvrir le roman. Il s’agit du premier tome d’une nouvelle série, par contre… J’en termine une pour en commencer une autre.

Les frères Ashkenazi • Israël Joshua Singer

J’ai lu il y a quelques mois La famille Karnovski que j’avais adoré, un véritable coup de coeur. J’avais aussi cet autre roman de l’auteur dans ma pile à lire qu’il me tarde de lire.

Trois étages • Eshkol Nevo

Je continue de découvrir la littérature israélienne ou en yiddish et celui-ci me tente énormément. Je ne connais pas du tout l’auteur donc une totale découverte.

1793 • Niklas Natt Och Dag

J’adore les policiers historiques, mais je n’en ai jamais lu autour de la Révolution française. Celui-ci me permettrait de sortir quelque peu de ma zone de confort.

Ceux de ma wish-list

La plupart des livres que j’évoque ne sont même pas dans ma liseuse ou pile à lire…

Ariadne • Jennifer Saint

Adorant les réécritures de la mythologie grecque, je ne peux pas passer à côté de cette lecture. Le résumé a piqué ma curiosité et la couverture est absolument sublime.

Dracula’s Child • J.S. Barnes

Il traîne depuis un moment dans ma wish-list. J’adore cet éditeur, Titan Books. Il publie beaucoup de fantastique et fantasy, horreur dont les Christina Henry. Pour le moment, je n’ai jamais été déçue et celui-ci s’inspirant de Dracula me tente énormément.

A Game of Lies • Rebecca Cantrell

Il s’agit du troisième tome d’une série que j’ai commencé l’année dernière et que j’aimerai continuer (et terminer). Les deux premiers avaient été des coups de coeur.

Annelies • David Gillham

Un autre roman qui traîne depuis bien trop longtemps dans ma wish-list et que j’aimerais beaucoup lire.

Hamnet • Maggie O’Farrell

Un roman qui a souvent été vu sur la blogosphère mais que je n’ai pas encore eu l’occasion de découvrir.

Top 5 Wednesday • Great Leaders

Le thème de cette semaine fait écho à l’actualité américaine de ces derniers jours, puisque des élections ont lieu, notamment pour trois postes de gouverneurs. Pour marquer cet événement, il nous est proposé de répondre à la question suivante : parmi nos personnages préférés, lesquels sont ou feraient de grands leaders ? Il m’en manquerait un, mais j’ai beaucoup réfléchir et je n’en ai aucune idée.

Scout • Ne tirez pas sur l’oiseau moqueur de Harper Lee

Elle est certes très jeune dans ce roman, mais je pense sincèrement qu’en grandissant, elle fera un grand leader. Elle mène déjà son petit monde à la baguette et fait preuve d’une grande intelligence, notamment émotionnelle. Elle est honnête et loyale, des qualités que j’attends d’une meneuse.

Ethel Williams • Le Siècle de Ken Follet

Une femme de caractère qui a ses convictions et qui n’a pas peur de les crier haut et fort. C’est un personnages sans concession qu’il me tarde de retrouver dans le deuxième tome cette trilogie de Ken Follet. Elle a déjà parcouru beaucoup de chemin dans La chute des géants.

Keyne • Sistersong de Lucy Holland

De par son histoire dans ce livre, je pense qu’iel rentre parfaitement dans cette catégorie des grands leaders. Iel ferait preuve de fermeté, mais surtout de justesse et de tolérance envers son peuple. J’aimerai beaucoup que l’auteur lui consacre un roman après les événements de Sistersong.

Melora Persedeus • Lore d’Alexandra Bracken

Tout au long du roman, elle démontre qu’elle est une grande meneuse d’homme, loyale et juste. Elle a toutes les qualités que l’on peut attendre d’un tel personnage.

Lucy Holland • Sistersong (2021)

Sistersong • Lucy Holland • MacMillan • 400 pages • Avril 2021

535 AD. In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, King Cador’s children inherit a fragmented land abandoned by the Romans.

Riva, scarred in a terrible fire, fears she will never heal.
Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, when born a daughter.
And Sinne, the spoiled youngest girl, yearns for romance.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold – a last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. But change comes on the day ash falls from the sky, bringing Myrddhin, meddler and magician, and Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear the siblings apart. Riva, Keyne and Sinne must take fate into their own hands, or risk being tangled in a story they could never have imagined; one of treachery, love and ultimately, murder. It’s a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.


Sistersong est le genre d’oeuvre que j’apprécie énormément et que je recherche. Je suis une passionnée des légendes arthuriennes, de l’Empire romain et de cette Bretagne (actuellement Grande-Bretagne) à la fois historique et mythique. C’est un sujet qui revient progressivement à la mode. Il y a eu celui-ci qui a été publié cette année, mais également Half sick of shadows de Laura Sebastian, que je suis également impatiente de découvrir.

C’est vraiment le premier point que j’ai adoré dans ce roman. L’auteur situe son histoire peu de temps après que les Romains aient quitté l’île de Bretagne et le début des invasions saxonnes. Cela ajoute également un peu de tensions dans l’intrigue, car, au début, le royaume des trois soeurs semblent plutôt épargné, alors que proche de la mer. Cependant, les Saxons se rapprochent. Des éléments de la légende arthurienne interviennent également, puisqu’il y a la présence de magie, mais aussi d’un personnage mythique, Merlin. J’ai adoré cette adjonction à l’histoire, les explications sur la manière dont la magie fonctionne, son lien avec la terre… Autre point positif concerne le contexte et cette bataille entre la sauvegarde des anciennes traditions et divinités et le nouveau dieu unique, celui des Catholiques. Cet aspect du roman participe également au drame, en créant des clivages au sein du royaume et de la famille.

Ce drame qui se noue progressivement m’a énormément fait penser aux tragédies de Shakespeare, comme Hamlet et Roméo et Juliette que j’ai relu récemment. Sistersong est un drame familial où la notion de destin est cruciale. La tension se construit progressivement jusqu’à l’élément déclencheur. Il est surprenant et je ne pensais pas que l’auteur irait jusque-là. En y réfléchissant, après avoir terminé le roman, c’était presque logique. La précipitation de la tragédie ne pouvait que commencer ainsi. La fin a été à la hauteur de mes attentes, avec beaucoup d’émotions et de tristesse. La première partie peut souffrir de quelques longueurs, mais rien de bien méchant. L’intrigue se tourne beaucoup plus vers les personnages, leurs caractères et la réalisation de leurs rêves qu’à l’action. Il y aussi quelques révélations finales qui se devinent aisément, notamment autour d’un des personnages principaux. Je n’en ai pas pour autant bouder mon plaisir durant cette lecture.

Le destin de ses trois soeurs. Keyne, Riva et Sinne m’a passionné d’un bout à l’autre. Il m’est impossible de dire laquelle j’ai préféré. Elles sont toutes les trois extrêmement différentes du point de vue du caractère, et de leurs rêves que le lecteur ne peut les confondre. Elles ont une chose en commun : une volonté farouche de liberté, et de ne pas être entravées par les diktats, les convenances de leurs positions en tant que filles du roi. Le personnage de Keyne apporte une certaine représentation de la communauté LGBQ+. Quant aux deux autres soeurs, leur histoire s’inspire notamment d’une balade, The Twat Sisters.

Sistersong a presque été un coup de coeur. L’univers est riche, amplement détaillé et avec des personnages attachants. J’ai adoré le mélange mythique et historique. J’espère voir d’autres livres dans cette veine de la part de l’auteur.

Sorties VO • Octobre 2021

The Lighthouse Witches • C.J. Cooke • Berkley Books • 368 pages • 1 octobre

When single mother Liv is commissioned to paint a mural in a 100-year-old lighthouse on a remote Scottish island, it’s an opportunity to start over with her three daughters–Luna, Sapphire, and Clover. When two of her daughters go missing, she’s frantic. She learns that the cave beneath the lighthouse was once a prison for women accused of witchcraft. The locals warn her about wildlings, supernatural beings who mimic human children, created by witches for revenge. Liv is told wildlings are dangerous and must be killed.

Twenty-two years later, Luna has been searching for her missing sisters and mother. When she receives a call about her youngest sister, Clover, she’s initially ecstatic. Clover is the sister she remembers–except she’s still seven years old, the age she was when she vanished. Luna is worried Clover is a wildling. Luna has few memories of her time on the island, but she’ll have to return to find the truth of what happened to her family. But she doesn’t realize just how much the truth will change her.

The First Christmas • Stephen Mitchell • St Martin’s Essential • 224 pages • 12 octobre

In The First Christmas, Stephen Mitchell brings the Nativity story to vivid life as never before. A narrative that is only sketched out in two Gospels becomes fully realized here with nuanced characters and a setting that reflects the culture of the time. Mitchell has suffused the birth of Jesus with a sense of beauty that will delight and astonish readers.

In this version, we see the world through the eyes of a Whitmanesque ox and a visionary donkey, starry-eyed shepherds and Zen-like wise men, each of them providing a unique perspective on a scene that is, in Western culture, the central symbol for good tidings of great joy. Rather than superimposing later Christian concepts onto the Annunciation and Nativity scenes, he imagines Mary and Joseph experiencing the angelic message as a young Jewish woman and man living in the year 4 bce might have experienced it, with terror, dismay, and ultimate acceptance. In this context, their yes becomes an act of great moral courage.

Why We Fought: Inspiring Stories of Resisting Hitler and Defending Freedom • Jerry Borrowman • Shadow Mountain • 208 pages • 5 octobre

The struggle to combat the Nazis during World War II encompassed front lines far beyond conventional battlefields. In a panoramic and compelling account, author Jerry Borrowman shares seven largely untold stories of people who undertook extraordinary efforts to defeat the Third Reich at enormous personal risk.

Some were soldiers like the Ghost Army, an eclectic group of former artists, actors, and engineers who engaged in top-secret tactical deceptions by staging ingenious decoy armies. Using inflatable tanks, radio transmissions, and sound effects, they were able to trick the Germans throughout the course of the war, often working close to the front lines of the fiercest fighting.

Some were ordinary citizens like William Sebold, a German immigrant and US citizen, who could have been a deadly foe, but instead chose the Allied cause. When he was coerced by the Gestapo into becoming a spy in America, he instead approached the FBI and offered to become a double agent. His efforts successfully helped bring down a dangerous German spy network that was dedicated to stealing industrial and wartime secrets and sabotaging America on home soil.

These dramatic and inspiring personal stories shed light on some of the darkest days of World War II and one of the most perilous times in human history. As the Nazis swept through Europe, citizens around the world faced an individual and national complex moral question: How do you respond to the tyranny and bloodthirsty madness of the Nazis? These are stories of ordinary men and women who would not surrender or compromise. They resisted and fought with total commitment for freedom and democracy despite the personal cost. 

Medusa • Jessie Burton • Bloomsbury • 224 pages • 28 octobre

Exiled to a far-flung island by the whims of the gods, Medusa has little company except the snakes that adorn her head instead of hair. But when a charmed, beautiful boy called Perseus arrives on the island, her lonely existence is disrupted with the force of a supernova, unleashing desire, love, betrayal and destiny itself.

Filled with glorious full-colour illustrations by award-winning Olivia Lomenech Gill, this astonishing retelling of Greek myth is perfect for readers of Circe and The Silence of the Girls. Illuminating the girl behind the legend, it brings alive Medusa for a new generation. 

Midnight in Everwood • M.A. Kuzniar • HQ • 384 pages • 28 octobre

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms.

When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary.

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.

The Grimrose Girl • Laura Pohl • Sourcebooks Fire • 384 pages • 26 octobre

After the mysterious death of their best friend, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Académie. The police ruled it a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened.

When Nani Eszes arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events they couldn’t have imagined. As the girls retrace their friend’s last steps, they uncover dark secrets about themselves and their destinies, discovering they’re all cursed to repeat the brutal and gruesome endings to their stories until they can break the cycle.

This contemporary take on classic fairytales reimagines heroines as friends attending the same school. While investigating the murder of their best friend, they uncover connections to their ancient fairytale curses and attempt to forge their own fate before it’s too late.

The City Beautiful • Aden Polydoros • Inkyard Press • 480 pages • 5 octobre

Chicago, 1893. For Alter Rosen, this is the land of opportunity, and he dreams of the day he’ll have enough money to bring his mother and sisters to America, freeing them from the oppression they face in his native Romania.
 
But when Alter’s best friend, Yakov, becomes the latest victim in a long line of murdered Jewish boys, his dream begins to slip away. While the rest of the city is busy celebrating the World’s Fair, Alter is now living a nightmare: possessed by Yakov’s dybbuk, he is plunged into a world of corruption and deceit, and thrown back into the arms of a dangerous boy from his past. A boy who means more to Alter than anyone knows.
 
Now, with only days to spare until the dybbuk takes over Alter’s body completely, the two boys must race to track down the killer—before the killer claims them next.

Little Thieves • Margaret Owen • Henry Holt & Company • 512 pages • 29 octobre

Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother’s love–and she’s on the hook for one hell of a debt. Vanja, the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, was Princess Gisele’s dutiful servant up until a year ago. That was when Vanja’s otherworldly mothers demanded a terrible price for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her future back… by stealing Gisele’s life for herself.

The real Gisele is left a penniless nobody while Vanja uses an enchanted string of pearls to take her place. Now, Vanja leads a lonely but lucrative double life as princess and jewel thief, charming nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Then, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to an untimely end: turning into jewels, stone by stone, for her greed.

Vanja has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and make her getaway. And with a feral guardian half-god, Gisele’s sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja’s tail, she’ll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.

The Death of Jane Lawrence • Caitlin Starling • St Martin’s Press • 368 pages • 5 octobre

Practical, unassuming Jane Shoringfield has done the calculations, and decided that the most secure path forward is this: a husband, in a marriage of convenience, who will allow her to remain independent and occupied with meaningful work. Her first choice, the dashing but reclusive doctor Augustine Lawrence, agrees to her proposal with only one condition: that she must never visit Lindridge Hall, his crumbling family manor outside of town. Yet on their wedding night, an accident strands her at his door in a pitch-black rainstorm, and she finds him changed. Gone is the bold, courageous surgeon, and in his place is a terrified, paranoid man—one who cannot tell reality from nightmare, and fears Jane is an apparition, come to haunt him.

By morning, Augustine is himself again, but Jane knows something is deeply wrong at Lindridge Hall, and with the man she has so hastily bound her safety to. Set in a dark-mirror version of post-war England, Starling crafts a new kind of gothic horror from the bones of the beloved canon. This Crimson Peak-inspired story assembles, then upends, every expectation set in place by Shirley Jackson and Rebecca, and will leave readers shaken, desperate to begin again as soon as they are finished.

Nothing but blackened teeth • Cassandra Khaw • Nightfire • 128 pages • 19 octobre

A Heian-era mansion stands abandoned, its foundations resting on the bones of a bride and its walls packed with the remains of the girls sacrificed to keep her company.

It’s the perfect wedding venue for a group of thrill-seeking friends.

But a night of food, drinks, and games quickly spirals into a nightmare. For lurking in the shadows is the ghost bride with a black smile and a hungry heart.

And she gets lonely down there in the dirt.

Sorties VO • Septembre 2021

Seven visitations of Sydney Burgess • Andy Marino • RedHook • 28 septembre • 304 pages

Sydney’s spent years burying her past and building a better life for herself and her eleven-year old son. A respectable marketing job, a house with reclaimed and sustainable furniture, and a boyfriend who loves her son and accepts her, flaws and all. But when she opens her front door, and a masked intruder knocks her briefly unconscious, everything begins to unravel. 

She wakes in the hospital and tells a harrowing story of escape. Of dashing out a broken window. Of running into her neighbors’ yard and calling the police. What the cops tell her is that she can no longer trust her memories. Because they say that not only is the intruder lying dead in her guest room, but he’s been murdered in a way that seems intimately personal. 

When she returns home, Sydney can’t shake the deep darkness that hides in every corner. There’s an unnatural whisper in her ear, urging her back to old addictions. And as her memories slowly return, she begins to fear that her new life was never built on solid ground-and that the secrets buried beneath will change everything. 

These toxic things • Rachel Howzell Hall • Thomas & Mercer • 1 septembre • 415 pages

Mickie Lambert creates “digital scrapbooks” for clients, ensuring that precious souvenirs aren’t forgotten or lost. When her latest client, Nadia Denham, a curio shop owner, dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors the old woman’s last wish and begins curating her peculiar objets d’art. A music box, a hair clip, a key chain―twelve mementos in all that must have meant so much to Nadia, who collected them on her flea market scavenges across the country.

But these tokens mean a lot to someone else, too. Mickie has been receiving threatening messages to leave Nadia’s past alone.

It’s becoming a mystery Mickie is driven to solve. Who once owned these odd treasures? How did Nadia really come to possess them? Discovering the truth means crossing paths with a long-dormant serial killer and navigating the secrets of a sinister past. One that might, Mickie fears, be inescapably entwined with her own.

The slow march of light • Heather B. Moore • Shadow Mountain • 7 septembre • 368 pages

In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing Berlin. Aware of the many whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking her life to help East Germans escape across the Berlin Wall and into the West.

Bob Inama, a soldier in the US Army, is stationed in West Germany. He’s glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he doesn’t get the chance to say goodbye.

With a fake identity, Bob’s special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany, identifying possible targets for the US military. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and the danger of being caught and sent to a brutal East German prison lurks on every corner.

The Collector’s Daughter • Gill Paul • William Morrow • 7 septembre • 384 pages

Lady Evelyn Herbert was the daughter of the Earl of Carnarvon, brought up in stunning Highclere Castle. Popular and pretty, she seemed destined for a prestigious marriage, but she had other ideas. Instead, she left behind the world of society balls and chaperones to travel to the Egyptian desert, where she hoped to become a lady archaeologist, working alongside her father and Howard Carter in the hunt for an undisturbed tomb.

In November 1922, their dreams came true when they discovered the burial place of Tutankhamun, packed full of gold and unimaginable riches, and she was the first person to crawl inside for three thousand years. She called it the “greatest moment” of her life—but soon afterwards everything changed, with a string of tragedies that left her world a darker, sadder place.

Newspapers claimed it was “the curse of Tutankhamun,” but Howard Carter said no rational person would entertain such nonsense. Yet fifty years later, when an Egyptian academic came asking questions about what really happened in the tomb, it unleashed a new chain of events that seemed to threaten the happiness Eve had finally found.

The Matzah Ball • Jean Meltzer • MIRA • 28 septembre • 416 pages

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.

The Corpse Queen • Heather Herrman • GP Putnam • 14 septembre • 320 pages

Soon after her best friend Kitty mysteriously dies, orphaned seventeen-year-old Molly Green is sent away to live with her « aunt. » With no relations that she knows of, Molly assumes she has been sold as free domestic labor for the price of an extra donation in the church orphanage’s coffers. Such a thing is not unheard of. There are only so many options for an unmarried girl in 1850s Philadelphia. Only, when Molly arrives, she discovers her aunt is very much real, exceedingly wealthy, and with secrets of her own. Secrets and wealth she intends to share–for a price.

Molly’s estranged aunt Ava, has built her empire by robbing graves and selling the corpses to medical students who need bodies to practice surgical procedures. And she wants Molly to help her procure the corpses. As Molly learns her aunt’s trade in the dead of night and explores the mansion by day, she is both horrified and deeply intrigued by the anatomy lessons held at the old church on her aunt’s property. Enigmatic Doctor LaSalle’s lessons are a heady mixture of knowledge and power and Molly has never wanted anything more than to join his male-only group of students. But the cost of inclusion is steep and with a murderer loose in the city, the pursuit of power and opportunity becomes a deadly dance. 

The Magicians • Colm Toibin • Scribner • 7 septembre • 512 pages

Colm Tóibín’s new novel opens in a provincial German city at the turn of the twentieth century, where the boy, Thomas Mann, grows up with a conservative father, bound by propriety, and a Brazilian mother, alluring and unpredictable. Young Mann hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone. He is infatuated with one of the richest, most cultured Jewish families in Munich, and marries the daughter Katia. They have six children. On a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story Death in Venice. He is the most successful novelist of his time, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, a public man whose private life remains secret. He is expected to lead the condemnation of Hitler, whom he underestimates. His oldest daughter and son, leaders of Bohemianism and of the anti-Nazi movement, share lovers. He flees Germany for Switzerland, France and, ultimately, America, living first in Princeton and then in Los Angeles.

The Girl behind the wall • Mandy Robotham • Avon • 7 septembre • 416 pages

A city divided. When the Berlin Wall goes up, Karin is on the wrong side of the city. Overnight, she’s trapped under Soviet rule in unforgiving East Berlin and separated from her twin sister, Jutta.

Two sisters torn apart. Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the Wall. But Karin finds one reason to keep going: Otto, the man who gives her hope, even amidst the brutal East German regime.

One impossible choice… When Jutta finds a hidden way through the wall, the twins are reunited. But the Stasi have eyes everywhere, and soon Karin is faced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West and be with her sister, or sacrifice it all to follow her heart?

The last legacy • Adrienne Young • Wednesday Books • 7 septembre • 336 pages

When a letter from her uncle Henrik arrives on Bryn Roth’s eighteenth birthday, summoning her back to Bastian, Bryn is eager to prove herself and finally take her place in her long-lost family.

Henrik has plans for Bryn, but she must win everyone’s trust if she wants to hold any power in the delicate architecture of the family. It doesn’t take long for her to see that the Roths are entangled in shadows. Despite their growing influence in upscale Bastian, their hands are still in the kind of dirty business that got Bryn’s parents killed years ago. With a forbidden romance to contend with and dangerous work ahead, the cost of being accepted into the Roths may be more than Bryn can pay. 

All these bodies • Kendare Blake • Quill Tree Books • 16 septembre • 304 pages

Summer 1958—a string of murders plagues the Midwest. The victims are found in their cars and in their homes—even in their beds—their bodies drained, but with no blood anywhere. 

September 19- the Carlson family is slaughtered in their Minnesota farmhouse, and the case gets its first lead: 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is found at the scene. She is covered in blood from head to toe, and at first she’s mistaken for a survivor. But not a drop of the blood is hers.

Michael Jensen, son of the local sheriff, yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town. He never imagined that the biggest story in the country would fall into his lap, or that he would be pulled into the investigation, when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to. 

As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies? 

Summers Sons • Lee Mandelo • Tordotcom • 28 septembre • 384 pages

Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that mutters of revenge.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers for him. 

Cloud Cuckoo Land • Anthony Doerr • Scribner • 28 septembre • 640 pages

Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna’s will cross.

Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet.