Bilan 2021

2021 a été une année chargée et cruciale, notamment sur le plan professionnel. Je suis retournée en Haute-Savoie, où j’ai pu accomplir d’autres missions. J’ai passé le concours de catégorie B dans la culture. Je ne l’ai pas eu d’un point, mais j’y suis allée sans réviser, donc je suis plutôt contente. D’autres projets n’ont pas abouti, comme mon entreprise, mais ce n’est que partie remise.

En cliquant sur [lien], vous avez accès à l’article correspondant.

Moins de confinements (non que je m’en plains) et un peu plus de responsabilité au travail… J’ai beaucoup moins lu que l’année précédente [Bilan 2020]. J’ai lu 185 livres pour un total d’environ 60.000 pages. Sur Goodreads, je m’étais fixée un objectif d’une centaine de livres lus… Largement dépassé ! Comme l’année, j’étais curieuse de connaître quel était le genre littéraire le plus lu, ou la thématique la plus représentée dans mes lectures…


Encore une fois, les essais représentent le plus gros de mes lectures, puisque j’en ai lu 43, soit environ 24% des livres lus cette année. Les thématiques varient très peu, en revanche : beaucoup d’histoire (Moyen-Âge et Renaissance, surtout pour le travail et Seconde Guerre mondiale, la période historique qui me fascine le plus), et d’art (je prépare le concours de conservateur du patrimoine) et un peu d’essais politiques ou de philosophie. Même si c’est le genre le plus lu, c’est clairement celui qui est le moins représenté sur le blog.

Mes trois essais préférés de 2021 : Eichmann à Jérusalem d’Hannah Arendt ; Le marché de l’art sous l’Occupation d’Emmanuelle Pollack ; Charlotte Salomon. Vie ? ou théâtre ?

En 2020, le deuxième genre littéraire le plus lu a été les classiques. J’en ai un peu moins lu cette année, seulement une vingtaine au compteur. J’ai continué ma découverte des Rougon-Macquart. J’avais pour objectif de terminer la série en 2021, mais cela n’a pas été le cas. J’ai bien avancé, il m’en reste une dizaine à lire. J’ai également relu un certain nombre de mes pièces de Shakespeare préférées, m’inspirant un objectif pour 2022.

Mes trois classiques de 2021 : Guerre & Paix de Léon Tolstoï [lien] ; Faust de Johann von Goethe ; L’Assomoir d’Emile Zola


Au niveau des thématiques, la Seconde Guerre mondiale reste en tête des thématiques, tous genres confondus. J’ai lu 43 ouvrages dans ce domaine. Je pensais, en revanche, avoir lu beaucoup plus de livres autour des réécritures mythologiques ou de contes, mais elles représentent en définitif même pas une dizaine de livres… J’ai eu quelques livres sur ce sujet à Noël et j’ai une idée de série d’articles dans ce domaine, donc sûrement plus de lectures à venir. En revanche, j’ai lu énormément autour d’un sujet bien spécifique : des thrillers psychologiques prenant place dans des lycées, mais surtout des universités… J’ai eu de nombreux coups de coeur dans le domaine !

Trois ouvrages coups de coeur autour de la Seconde Guerre mondiale : The Berlin Girl de Mandy Robotham [lien] ; Par amour de Valérie Tuong Cong ; Le fauteuil de l’officier SS de Daniel Lee

Trois ouvrages coups de coeur autour des réécritures : Lore d’Alexandra Bracken [lien] ; Near the bone de Christina Henry [lien] ; L’Odyssée de Pénélope de Margaret Atwood


Mes trois meilleures lectures de 2021

Il n’est malheureusement pas chroniqué sur le blog, mais ce petit ovni littéraire a su me passionner d’un bout à l’autre. Il retourne quelque peu le cerveau et il faut se laisser porter, accepter qu’il ne faut pas toujours tout vouloir comprendre pour apprécier ce roman. Cependant, l’univers est absolument incroyable et je lirai très prochainement le deuxième tome, Numérique.

Ce classique de la littérature américaine m’a terrorisé pendant des années, et j’ai enfin sauté le pas. Je m’en veux presque d’avoir attendu aussi longtemps avant de le découvrir. Il m’a tenu en haleine et j’ai adoré le personnage de Scout. Elle est d’une intelligence vive et elle est très attachante. Le fait que le procès ne prenne pas autant de place que ce à quoi je m’attendais ne m’a pas dérangé.

Le roman s’inspire d’une histoire vraie et n’est pas sans rappeler La vague de Todd Strasser que j’avais lu quand j’étais adolescente et qui m’avait profondément marqué. C’est également le cas pour celui-ci. Il permet au lecteur de se poser des questions, de s’intéresser à ce qu’il aurait fait à la place des différents personnages… Des mois après, il me trotte encore dans la tête.

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.

Sorties VO • Novembre 2021

Nouveau mois, nouvelles sorties VO… Encore des secrets de famille, des lectures fantastiques et de l’historique…

The Haunting of Leigh Harker • Darcy Coates • Poisoned Pen Press • 1 novembre • 272 pages

Sometimes the dead reach back…

Leigh Harker’s quiet suburban home was her sanctuary for more than a decade, until things abruptly changed. Curtains open by themselves. Radios turn off and on. And a dark figure looms in the shadows of her bedroom door at night, watching her, waiting for her to finally let down her guard enough to fall asleep.

Pushed to her limits but unwilling to abandon her home, Leigh struggles to find answers. But each step forces her towards something more terrifying than she ever imagined.

A poisonous shadow seeps from the locked door beneath the stairs. The handle rattles through the night and fingernails scratch at the wood. Her home harbours dangerous secrets, and now that Leigh is trapped within its walls, she fears she may never escape.

Do you think you’re safe?

You’re wrong.

Parting the veil • Paulette Kennedy • Lake Union Publishing • 1 novembre • 368 pages

Some houses hold secrets that are meant to be kept forever…

When Eliza Sullivan inherits an estate from a recently deceased aunt, she leaves behind a grievous and guilt-ridden past in New Orleans for rural England and a fresh start. Eliza arrives at her new home and finds herself falling for the mysterious lord of Havenwood, Malcolm Winfield. Despite the sinister rumors that surround him, Eliza is drawn to his melancholy charm and his crumbling, once-beautiful mansion. With enough love, she thinks, both man and manor could be repaired.

Not long into their marriage, Eliza fears that she should have listened to the locals. There’s something terribly wrong at Havenwood Manor: Forbidden rooms. Ghostly whispers in the shadows. Strangely guarded servants. And Malcolm’s threatening moods, as changeable as night and day.

As Eliza delves deeper into Malcolm’s troubling history, the dark secrets she unearths gain a frightening power. Has she married a man or a monster? For Eliza, uncovering the truth will either save her or destroy her. 

The London House • Katherine Reay • Harper Muse • 2 novembre • 368 pages

Caroline Payne thinks it’s just another day of work until she receives a call from Mat Hammond, an old college friend and historian. But pleasantries are cut short. Mat has uncovered a scandalous secret kept buried for decades: In World War II, Caroline’s British great-aunt betrayed family and country to marry her German lover.

Determined to find answers and save her family’s reputation, Caroline flies to her family’s ancestral home in London. She and Mat discover diaries and letters that reveal her grandmother and great-aunt were known as the “Waite sisters.” Popular and witty, they came of age during the interwar years, a time of peace and luxury filled with dances, jazz clubs, and romance. The buoyant tone of the correspondence soon yields to sadder revelations as the sisters grow apart, and one leaves home for the glittering fashion scene of Paris, despite rumblings of a coming world war.

Each letter brings more questions. Was Caroline’s great-aunt actually a traitor and Nazi collaborator, or is there a more complex truth buried in the past? Together, Caroline and Mat uncover stories of spies and secrets, love and heartbreak, and the events of one fateful evening in 1941 that changed everything.

Seven dirty secrets • Nathalie D. Richards • Sourcebooks Fire • 320 pages

I know seven secrets:
One caused the fall. One did nothing. One saw it all.
One didn’t care. One used their head. One played the hero.
One was left for dead.

On her eighteenth birthday, Cleo receives a mysterious invitation to a scavenger hunt. She’s sure her best friend Hope or her brother Connor is behind it, but no one confesses. And as Cleo and Hope embark on the hunt, the seemingly random locations and clues begin to feel familiar.

In fact, all of the clues seem to be about Cleo’s dead boyfriend, Cyrus, who drowned on a group rafting trip exactly a year ago. A bracelet she bought him. A song he loved. A photo of the rafting group, taken just before Cyrus drowned. And then the phone calls start, Cyrus’s voice taunting Cleo with a cryptic question: You ready?

As the clock on the scavenger hunt ticks down, it becomes clear that someone knows what really happened to Cyrus. And that person will stop at nothing to make sure Cleo and her friends pay. Can they solve the hunt before someone else winds up dead?

Watching Darkness Fall: FDR, His Ambassadors, and the Rise of Adolf Hitler • David McKean • Saint Martin’s Press • 2 novembre • 416 pages

As German tanks rolled toward Paris in late May 1940, the U.S. Ambassador to France, William Bullitt, was determined to stay put, holed up in the Chateau St. Firmin in Chantilly, his country residence. Bullitt told the president that he would neither evacuate the embassy nor his chateau, an eighteenth Renaissance manse with a wine cellar of over 18,000 bottles, even though “we have only two revolvers in this entire mission with only forty bullets.”

As German forces closed in on the French capital, Bullitt wrote the president, “In case I should get blown up before I see you again, I want you to know that it has been marvelous to work for you.” As the fighting raged in France, across the English Channel, Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph P. Kennedy wrote to his wife Rose, “The situation is more than critical. It means a terrible finish for the allies.”

Watching Darkness Fall will recount the rise of the Third Reich in Germany and the road to war from the perspective of four American diplomats in Europe who witnessed it firsthand: Joseph Kennedy, William Dodd, Breckinridge Long, and William Bullitt, who all served in key Western European capitals―London, Berlin, Rome, Paris, and Moscow―in the years prior to World War II. In many ways they were America’s first line of defense and they often communicated with the president directly, as Roosevelt’s eyes and ears on the ground. Unfortunately, most of them underestimated the power and resolve of Adolf Hitler and Germany’s Third Reich.

The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters • Rachel Trethewey • Saint Martin’s Press • 23 novembre • 320 pages

Bright, attractive and well-connected, in any other family the Churchill girls – Diana, Sarah, Marigold and Mary – would have shone. But they were not in another family, they were Churchills, and neither they nor anyone else could ever forget it. From their father – ‘the greatest Englishman’ – to their brother, golden boy Randolph, to their eccentric and exciting cousins, the Mitford Girls, they were surrounded by a clan of larger-than-life characters which often saw them overlooked. While Marigold died too young to achieve her potential, the other daughters lived lives full of passion, drama and tragedy.

Diana, intense and diffident; Sarah, glamorous and stubborn; Mary, dependable yet determined – each so different but each imbued with a sense of responsibility toward each other and their country. Far from being cosseted debutantes, these women were eyewitnesses at some of the most important events in world history, at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. Yet this is not a story set on the battlefields or in Parliament; it is an intimate saga that sheds light on the complex dynamics of family set against the backdrop of a tumultuous century.

Gilded • Marissa Meyer • Faber & Faber • 2 novembre • 512 pages

Cursed by the god of lies, a miller’s daughter has developed a talent for storytelling – but are all of her tales as false as they appear?

When one of Serilda’s stories draws the attention of the devastating Erlking, she finds herself swept away into a world of enchantment, where ghouls prowl the earth, and ravens track her every move. The king locks Serilda in a castle dungeon and orders her to spin straw into gold, or be killed for lying. In despair, Serilda unwittingly summons a mysterious young man to her aid. And he agrees to help her, for a price. But love wasn’t meant to be part of the bargain.

All of us villain • Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman • Tor Teen • 4 novembre • 400 pages

After the publication of a salacious tell-all book, the remote city of Ilvernath is thrust into worldwide spotlight. Tourists, protesters, and reporters flock to its spellshops and ruins to witness an ancient curse unfold: every generation, seven families name a champion among them to compete in a tournament to the death. The winner awards their family exclusive control over the city’s high magick supply, the most powerful resource in the world.

In the past, the villainous Lowes have won nearly every tournament, and their champion is prepared to continue his family’s reign. But this year, thanks to the influence of their newfound notoriety, each of the champions has a means to win. Or better yet–a chance to rewrite their story.

But this is a story that must be penned in blood.

Sorties VO • Août 2021

A lesson in vengeance • Victoria Lee • Delacorte Press • 3 août • 384 pages

Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

The Dead & the Dark • Courtney Gould • Wednesday Books • 3 août • 352 pages

Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.

Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.

The Turnout • Megan Abbott • Putnam’s Son • 3 août • 352 pages

Ballet flows through their veins. Dara and Marie Durant were dancers since birth, with their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, homeschooled and trained by their mother. Decades later the Durant School of Dance is theirs. The two sisters, together with Charlie, Dara’s husband and once their mother’s prize student, inherited the school after their parents died in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago. Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, back broken after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around each other, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school’s annual performance of The Nutcracker, a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration, an interloper arrives and threatens the delicate balance of everything they’ve worked for.

Once there were wolves • Charlotte McConaghy • Flatiron Books • 3 août • 272 pages

Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.

Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed—inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect?

The family plot • Megan Collins • Atria Books • 17 août • 320 pages

At twenty-six, Dahlia Lighthouse has a lot to learn when it comes to the real world. Raised in a secluded island mansion deep in the woods and kept isolated by her true crime-obsessed parents, she has spent the last several years living on her own, but unable to move beyond her past—especially the disappearance of her twin brother Andy when they were sixteen.

With her father’s death, Dahlia returns to the house she has avoided for years. But as the rest of the Lighthouse family arrives for the memorial, a gruesome discovery is made: buried in the reserved plot is another body—Andy’s, his skull split open with an ax.

Each member of the family handles the revelation in unusual ways. Her brother Charlie pours his energy into creating a family memorial museum, highlighting their research into the lives of famous murder victims; her sister Tate forges ahead with her popular dioramas portraying crime scenes; and their mother affects a cheerfully domestic façade, becoming unrecognizable as the woman who performed murder reenactments for her children. As Dahlia grapples with her own grief and horror, she realizes that her eccentric family, and the mansion itself, may hold the answers to what happened to her twin.

In my dreams I hold a knife • Ashley Winstead • Sourcebooks Landmark • 31 août • 368 pages

A college reunion turns dark and deadly in this chilling and propulsive suspense novel about six friends, one unsolved murder, and the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other—and themselves—for a decade.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent—not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year. Ten years ago, everything fell apart, including the dreams she worked for her whole life—and her relationship with the one person she wasn’t supposed to love.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

The Witch Haven • Sasha Peyton Smith • Simon & Schuster • 31 août • 448 pages

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?

The woods are always watching • Stephanie Perkins • Dutton Books • 31 août • 304 pages

A traditional backwoods horror story set–first page to last–in the woods of the Pisgah National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Two girls go backpacking in the woods. Things go very wrong.

And, then, their paths collide with a serial killer. 

The bookseller’s secret • Michelle Gable • Graydon House • 17 août • 400 pages

In 1942, London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss, the once sparkling Bright Young Thing is estranged from her husband, her allowance has been cut, and she’s given up her writing career. On top of this, her five beautiful but infamous sisters continue making headlines with their controversial politics.

Eager for distraction and desperate for income, Nancy jumps at the chance to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war. Between the shop’s brisk business and the literary salons she hosts for her eccentric friends, Nancy’s life seems on the upswing. But when a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, Nancy must decide if picking up the pen again and revealing all is worth the price she might be forced to pay.

Eighty years later, Heywood Hill is abuzz with the hunt for a lost wartime manuscript written by Nancy Mitford. For one woman desperately in need of a change, the search will reveal not only a new side to Nancy, but an even more surprising link between the past and present…

The Women of Troy • Pat Baker • Doubleday • 24 août • 304 pages

Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home victors, loaded with their spoils: their stolen gold, stolen weapons, stolen women. All they need is a good wind to lift their sails.

But the wind does not come. The gods have been offended – the body of Priam lies desecrated, unburied – and so the victors remain in limbo, camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, pacing at the edge of an unobliging sea. And, in these empty, restless days, the hierarchies that held them together begin to fray, old feuds resurface and new suspicions fester.

Largely unnoticed by her squabbling captors, Briseis remains in the Greek encampment. She forges alliances where she can – with young, dangerously naïve Amina, with defiant, aged Hecuba, with Calchus, the disgraced priest – and begins to see the path to a kind of revenge. Briseis has survived the Trojan War, but peacetime may turn out to be even more dangerous…

The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women • Nancy Marie Brown • St Martin’s Press • 31 août • 336 pages

In 2017, DNA tests revealed to the collective shock of many scholars that a Viking warrior in a high-status grave in Birka, Sweden was actually a woman. The Real Valkyrie weaves together archaeology, history, and literature to imagine her life and times, showing that Viking women had more power and agency than historians have imagined.

Brown uses science to link the Birka warrior, whom she names Hervor, to Viking trading towns and to their great trade route east to Byzantium and beyond. She imagines her life intersecting with larger-than-life but real women, including Queen Gunnhild Mother-of-Kings, the Viking leader known as The Red Girl, and Queen Olga of Kyiv. Hervor’s short, dramatic life shows that much of what we have taken as truth about women in the Viking Age is based not on data, but on nineteenth-century Victorian biases. Rather than holding the household keys, Viking women in history, law, saga, poetry, and myth carry weapons. These women brag, “As heroes we were widely known—with keen spears we cut blood from bone.” In this compelling narrative Brown brings the world of those valkyries and shield-maids to vivid life.

The last Mona Lisa • Jonathan Santlofer • Sourcebook Landmark • 17 août • 400 pages

August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now in the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911.

Present day: art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. His search attracts an Interpol detective with something to prove and an unfamiliar but curiously helpful woman. Soon, Luke tumbles deep into the world of art and forgery, a land of obsession and danger.

A gripping novel exploring the 1911 theft and the present underbelly of the art world, The Last Mona Lisa is a suspenseful tale, tapping into our universal fascination with da Vinci’s enigma, why people are driven to possess certain works of art, and our fascination with the authentic and the fake. 

Sorties VO • Juillet 2021

The Final Girl Support Group • Grady Hendrix • Berkley Books • 13 juillet • 352 pages

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

For your own good • Samantha Downing • Berkley Books • 20 juillet • 320 pages

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn’t be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way.

It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

The forest of vanishing stars • Kristin Harmel • Gallery Books • 6 juillet • 384 pages

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

Half sick of shadows • Laura Sebastian • Ace • 6 juillet • 448 pages

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

The Ice Swan • J’Nell Ciesielski • Thomas Nelson • 6 juillet • 400 pages

1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, Princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory. Svetlana and her family are forced into hiding in Paris’s underbelly, with little to their name but the jewels they sewed into their corsets before their terrifying escape.

Born the second son of a Scottish duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. After treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter. Intrigued by this mysterious, cold, and beautiful woman, Wynn follows Svetlana to an underground Russian club where drink, dance, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.

Out of money and options, Svetlana agrees to a marriage of convenience with the handsome and brilliant Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her family’s debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn cannot help but hope the marriage will turn into one of true affection. When Wynn’s life takes an unexpected turn, so does Svetlana’s—and soon Paris becomes as dangerous as Petrograd. And as the Bolsheviks chase them to Scotland and beyond, Wynn and Svetlana begin to wonder if they will ever be able to outrun the love they are beginning to feel for one another.

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer • Dean Jobb • Algonquin Books • 13 juillet • 432 pages

“When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals,” Sherlock Holmes observed during one of his most baffling investigations. “He has nerve and he has knowledge.” In the span of fifteen years, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream poisoned at least ten people in the United States, Britain, and Canada, a death toll with almost no precedents. Structured around Cream’s London murder trial in 1892, when he was finally brought to justice, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream exposes the blind trust given to medical practitioners, as well as the flawed detection methods, bungled investigations, corrupt officials, and stifling morality of Victorian society that allowed Cream to prey on vulnerable and desperate women, many of whom had turned to him for medical help.

Dean Jobb vividly re-creates this largely forgotten historical account against the backdrop of the birth of modern policing and newly adopted forensic methods, though most police departments still scoffed at using science to solve crimes. But then most police departments could hardly imagine that serial killers existed—the term was unknown at the time. As the Chicago Tribune wrote then, Cream’s crimes marked the emergence of a new breed of killer, one who operated without motive or remorse, who “murdered simply for the sake of murder.”

The War Nurse • Tracey Enerson Wood • Sourcebooks Landmark • 6 juillet • 304 pages

Superintendent of Nurses Julia Stimson must recruit sixty-five nurses to relieve the battle-worn British, months before American troops are ready to be deployed. She knows that the young nurses serving near the front lines of will face a challenging situation, but nothing could have prepared her for the chaos that awaits when they arrive at British Base Hospital 12 in Rouen, France. The primitive conditions, a convoluted, ineffective system, and horrific battle wounds are enough to discourage the most hardened nurses, and Julia can do nothing but lead by example―even as the military doctors undermine her authority and make her question her very place in the hospital tent.

When trainloads of soldiers stricken by a mysterious respiratory illness arrive one after the other, overwhelming the hospital’s limited resources, and threatening the health of her staff, Julia faces an unthinkable choice―to step outside the bounds of her profession and risk the career she has fought so hard for, or to watch the people she cares for most die in her arms.

The Book of Accidents • Chuck Wending • Del Rey Books • 20 juillet • 544 pages

Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.

Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.

Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.

Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver. And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.

This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another. 

Top 5 Wednesday • Recent purchases

Thème : Recent purchases

Voilà un autre thème qui m’inspire pour ce mois-ci. La question posée est quels sont les cinq livres que j’ai récemment acheté et que je suis excitée à l’idée de lire ou que j’ai aimé. Ça tombe bien, car j’ai refait mon stock le mois dernier en allant dans mes librairies strasbourgeoises préférées et en passant dans plusieurs Emmaüs. Certains ont déjà été lus, mais j’ai surtout envie de parler de ceux qui ne le sont pas encore, mais qui me tentent énormément.

La famille Karnovski – Israel Joshua Singer

La famille Karnovski retrace le destin de trois générations d’une famille juive qui décide de quitter la Pologne pour s’installer en Allemagne à l’aube de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Comment Jegor, fils d’un père juif et d’une mère aryenne, trouvera-t-il sa place dans un monde où la montée du nazisme est imminente?

Publié en 1943 alors que les nazis massacrent les communautés juives en Europe, le roman d’Israël Joshua Singer est hanté par ces tragiques circonstances et par la volonté de démêler le destin complexe de son peuple.

En 2021, j’avais très envie de découvrir la littérature israélienne que je ne connais absolument pas. J’ouvre le bal avec cette saga familiale, adorant ce genre de récits en temps normal. Il me tarde de le lire et il ne restera pas très longtemps dans ma PAL.

Sistersong – Lucy Holland

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.

Je l’avais déjà remarqué et il était présent dans un de mes articles sur les sorties VO. Cette histoire m’intrigue énormément et je suis totalement fan de cette couverture, de cette Bretagne magique et mythique. Je triche un peu, mais je suis déjà plongée dedans et j’en ai lu la moitié. Intriguant et, pour le moment, j’aime beaucoup.

Sumerki – Dmitry Glukhovsky

Quand Dmitry Alexeïevitch, traducteur désargenté, insiste auprès de son agence pour obtenir un nouveau contrat, il ne se doute pas que sa vie en sera bouleversée. Le traducteur en charge du premier chapitre ne donnant plus de nouvelles, c’est un étrange texte qui lui échoit : le récit d’une expédition dans les forêts inexplorées du Yucatán au XVIe siècle, armée par le prêtre franciscain Diego de Landa. Et les chapitres lui en sont remis au compte-gouttes par un mystérieux commanditaire. 

Aussi, quand l’employé de l’agence est sauvagement assassiné et que les périls relatés dans le document s’immiscent dans son quotidien, Dmitry Alexeïevitch prend peur. Dans les ombres du passé, les dieux et les démons mayas se sont-ils acharnés à protéger un savoir interdit ? A moins, bien entendu, que le manuscrit espagnol ne lui ait fait perdre la raison. Alors que le monde autour de lui est ravagé par des ouragans, des séismes et des tsunamis, le temps est compté pour découvrir la vérité.

Un auteur qui m’a largement été recommandé, surtout pour sa série Métro. Cependant, n’ayant pas envie de me lancer dans une nouvelle série alors que j’essaie d’en terminer un maximum, j’ai préféré choisir ce titre qui semble plus être un thriller ésotérique, ma marotte du moment.

Richard Oppenheimer, La vengeance des cendres – Harald Gilbers

Berlin, hiver 1946, le plus froid que la capitale ait connu au XXe siècle. La guerre est certes finie mais l’Allemagne commence à peine à panser ses plaies, et les Berlinois manquent de tout, surtout de nourriture. Dans cette atmosphère très tendue, des corps mutilés font mystérieusement surface aux quatre coins de la ville. Chacun a la peau couverte de mots écrits à l’encre, et une liste de noms inconnus fourrée dans la bouche. Le commissaire Oppenheimer est alors mobilisé pour mener l’enquête et découvre vite un point commun entre ces morts : ils avaient tous collaboré avec le régime nazi. À Oppenheimer de parvenir à retracer le passé du tueur, et à anticiper ses prochains meurtres.

Déjà le quatrième tome de cette série que j’aime beaucoup. Il me tardait de connaître la suite des aventures de Richard Oppenheimer. Le cinquième est sorti récemment en grand format.

La Sorcière – Jules Michelet

Michelet sait prêter sa voix aux parias du passé, à ceux qui n’ont pas eu d’histoire. À travers les siècles la femme tient-elle donc toujours le même rôle, celui de la mal aimée ? En embrassant d’un seul regard toute l’étendue du Moyen Âge, de la Renaissance et du Grand Siècle, Michelet discerne pour la première fois la suite rigoureuse d’une tragédie dont l’héroïne serait une femme à la fois révérée et persécutée : la sorcière.

La figure de la sorcière me fascine. J’avais adoré l’essai de Mona Chollet, Sorcières ! La puissance invaincue des femmes, que je recommande chaudement. J’avais très envie de découvrir celui de Michelet, qui date certes un peu, car il est publié pour la première fois en 1862, mais qui a fait autorité pendant longtemps. La recherche a depuis évolué sur le sujet.

Top 5 Wednesday #2 • Backlist Book

Thème : Backlist Book

Le premier thème du mois de juin concerne les livres qui ont été publiés il y a un ou plus, mais qui n’ont pas encore été lu et/ou achetés. Voici mes cinq livres prioritaires en ce moment.

Les thèmes du mois peuvent être trouvés ici.


1. The Poppy & the Rose – Ashlee Cowles

1912: Ava Knight, a teen heiress, boards the Titanic to escape the shadow of her unstable mother and to fulfill her dream of becoming a photographer in New York. During the journey she meets three people who will change her life: a handsome sailor, a soldier in the secret Black Hand society that will trigger World War I, and a woman with clairvoyant abilities. When disaster strikes the ship, family betrayals come to light.

2010: When Taylor Romano arrives in Oxford for a summer journalism program, something feels off. Not only is she greeted by a young, Rolls Royce-driving chauffeur, but he invites her to tea with Lady Mae Knight of Meadowbrook Manor, an old house with a cursed history going back to the days of Henry VIII. Lady Knight seems to know a strange amount about Taylor and her family problems, but before Taylor can learn more, the elderly woman dies, leaving as the only clue an old diary. With the help of the diary, a brooding chauffeur, and some historical sleuthing, Taylor must uncover the link between Ava’s past and her own….

Je suis une grande lectrice de romans historiques. Celui-ci me tente énormément, car il est plutôt rare que je lise autour du Titanic, pourtant un événement qui m’intéresse.

2. Mercy House – Alena Dillon

In the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn stands a century-old row house presided over by renegade, silver-haired Sister Evelyn. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, Evelyn and her fellow sisters makes Mercy House a safe haven for the abused and abandoned.

Women like Lucia, who arrives in the dead of night; Mei-Li, the Chinese and Russian house veteran; Desiree, a loud and proud prostitute; Esther, a Haitian immigrant and aspiring collegiate; and Katrina, knitter of lumpy scarves… all of them know what it’s like to be broken by men.

Little daunts Evelyn, until she receives word that Bishop Robert Hawkins is coming to investigate Mercy House and the nuns, whose secret efforts to help the women in ways forbidden by the Church may be uncovered. But Evelyn has secrets too, dark enough to threaten everything she has built.

Evelyn will do anything to protect Mercy House and the vibrant, diverse women it serves—confront gang members, challenge her beliefs, even face her past. As she fights to defend all that she loves, she discovers the extraordinary power of mercy and the grace it grants, not just to those who receive it, but to those strong enough to bestow it.

J’aime les histoires où la maison, demeure… prend une place importante. À cela s’ajoute le destin de femmes hors du commun et que tout semble opposé pour sauver leur refuge. Je suis impatiente de pouvoir le découvrir.

3. Daughter of the Reich – Louise Fein

As the dutiful daughter of a high-ranking Nazi officer, Hetty Heinrich is keen to play her part in the glorious new Thousand Year Reich. But she never imagines that all she believes and knows about her world will come into stark conflict when she encounters Walter, a Jewish friend from the past, who stirs dangerous feelings in her. Confused and conflicted, Hetty doesn’t know whom she can trust and where she can turn to, especially when she discovers that someone has been watching her.

Realizing she is taking a huge risk—but unable to resist the intense attraction she has for Walter—she embarks on a secret love affair with him. Together, they dream about when the war will be over and plan for their future. But as the rising tide of anti-Semitism threatens to engulf them, Hetty and Walter will be forced to take extreme measures.

Il doit sortir prochainement en français. Le résumé m’a tout de suite plu, car il me rappelle les Mandy Robotham que j’aime beaucoup. Je l’avais déjà mis en avant dans un article sur les sorties en anglais qui me tentent énormément, il y a un an. Depuis, il traîne dans ma wish-list et il n’a toujours pas été acheté et lu. Sûrement un de mes prochains achats avec le prochain.

4. The Ratline – Philippe Sands

As Governor of Galicia, SS Brigadeführer Otto Freiherr von Wächter presided over an authority on whose territory hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles were killed, including the family of the author’s grandfather. By the time the war ended in May 1945, he was indicted for ‘mass murder’. Hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the Poles and the British, as well as groups of Jews, Wächter went on the run. He spent three years hiding in the Austrian Alps, assisted by his wife Charlotte, before making his way to Rome where he was helped by a Vatican bishop. He remained there for three months. While preparing to travel to Argentina on the ‘ratline’ he died unexpectedly, in July 1949, a few days after spending a weekend with an ‘old comrade’.

In The Ratline Philippe Sands offers a unique account of the daily life of a senior Nazi and fugitive, and of his wife. Drawing on a remarkable archive of family letters and diaries, he unveils a fascinating insight into life before and during the war, on the run, in Rome, and into the Cold War. Eventually the door is unlocked to a mystery that haunts Wächter’s youngest son, who continues to believe his father was a good man – what happened to Otto Wächter, and how did he die?

J’ai beaucoup aimé son premier essai, East West Street, sur le dévéloppement des notions de génocide, crimes contre l’humanité. Il retourne sur ce terrain fertile de la Seconde Guerre mondiale en parlant du réseau de fuite nazi. Je connais cet aspect du conflit, mais sans être réellement rentrée dans les détails. Cela fait un an qu’il est sorti et je ne l’ai toujours pas acheté, mais prochainement.

5. Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.

Ce livre a beaucoup fait parler de lui et il m’intéresse énormément, car il parle de Shakespeare. Ce dernier a toujours été un de mes auteurs préférés. Il est sorti l’année dernière et il a été traduit récemment en français, aux éditions Belfond.

Top 5 Wednesday #2 • Family Dynamics

Le thème de cette semaine m’inspire énormément. Le 15 mai a eu lieu la journée mondiale de la famille, d’où ce sujet pour ce mercredi. Il est pris dans un sens très large, car il est autant question des liens du sang que de la famille que l’on se crée. J’ai essayé, dans la mesure du possible, de piocher dans mes récentes lectures. La semaine dernière, sur le thème des « lieux communs », j’écrivais que j’aimais beaucoup les sagas familiales… Cet article est un peu la continuité de ce dernier.

Thème : Family dynamics

Among the leaving and the dead d’Inara Verzemnieks

Inara Verzemnieks was raised by her Latvian grandparents in Washington State, among expatriates who scattered smuggled Latvian sand over coffins, the children singing folk songs about a land none of them had visited. Her grandmother Livija’s stories vividly recreated the home she fled during the Second World War, when she was separated from her sister, Ausma, whom she wouldn’t see again for more than fifty years.

Journeying back to their remote village, Inara comes to know Ausma and her trauma as an exile to Siberia under Stalin, while reconstructing Livija’s survival through her years as a refugee. In uniting their stories, Inara honors both sisters in a haunting and luminous account of loss, survival, resilience, and love.

Cet ouvrage est un plus un essai autour de la famille, l’importance de cette dernière dans la construction d’un individu et de son histoire. L’auteur écrit à propos de sa grand-mère et de la soeur de cette dernière, de sa volonté de comprendre ses racines, leurs histoires. Il est dommage que parfois l’écriture poétique et lyrique de l’auteur prend trop le pas sur le sujet abordé, apportant des longueurs.

L’Assommoir d’Émile Zola

Qu’est-ce qui nous fascine dans la vie « simple et tranquille » de Gervaise Macquart ? Pourquoi le destin de cette petite blanchisseuse montée de Provence à Paris nous touche-t-il tant aujourd’hui encore? Que nous disent les exclus du quartier de la Goutte-d’Or version Second Empire? L’existence douloureuse de Gervaise est avant tout une passion où s’expriment une intense volonté de vivre, une générosité sans faille, un sens aigu de l’intimité comme de la fête. Et tant pis si, la fatalité aidant, divers « assommoirs » – un accident de travail, l’alcool, les « autres », la faim – ont finalement raison d’elle et des siens. Gervaise aura parcouru une glorieuse trajectoire dans sa déchéance même. Relisons L’Assommoir, cette « passion de Gervaise », cet étonnant chef-d’oeuvre, avec des yeux neufs.

Comment ne pas parler de dynamiques familiales sans évoquer Zola ? Sa série Les Rougon-Macquart rentre pleinement dans cette catégorique. Elle est en l’exemple même, car Zola étudie à travers une famille les prédispositions à l’alcoolisme, par exemple, ou à la folie… J’en suis au septième tome, L’Assommoir et jusqu’à présent, rares sont les tomes qui m’ont déçue.

After Alice fell de Kim Taylor Blackemore

New Hampshire, 1865. Marion Abbott is summoned to Brawders House asylum to collect the body of her sister, Alice. She’d been found dead after falling four stories from a steep-pitched roof. Officially: an accident. Confidentially: suicide. But Marion believes a third option: murder.

Returning to her family home to stay with her brother and his second wife, the recently widowed Marion is expected to quiet her feelings of guilt and grief—to let go of the dead and embrace the living. But that’s not easy in this house full of haunting memories.

Just when the search for the truth seems hopeless, a stranger approaches Marion with chilling words: I saw her fall.

Now Marion is more determined than ever to find out what happened that night at Brawders, and why. With no one she can trust, Marion may risk her own life to uncover the secrets buried with Alice in the family plot.

Sorti cette année, ce roman serait presque un huis clos au sein d’une famille. En effet, la mort de la plus jeune soeur, Alice, rend les relations tendues entre Marion et son frère et sa belle-soeur. Il n’y a pas que la mort de la plus jeune des soeurs qui empoisonne l’atmosphère, mais bien d’autres sombres secrets. C’est un roman que j’ai beaucoup aimé.

Quand Hitler s’empara du lapin rose de Judith Kerr

Imaginez que le climat se détériore dans votre pays, au point que certains citoyens soient menacés dans leur existence. Imaginez surtout que votre père se trouve être l’un de ces citoyens et qu’il soit obligé d’abandonner tout et de partir sur-le-champ, pour éviter la prison et même la mort. C’est l’histoire d’Anna dans l’Allemagne nazie d’Adolf Hitler. Elle a neuf ans et ne s’occupe guère que de crayons de couleur, de visites au zoo avec son « oncle » Julius et de glissades dans la neige. Brutalement les choses changent. Son père disparaît sans prévenir. Puis, elle-même et le reste de sa famille s’expatrient pour le rejoindre à l’étranger. Départ de Berlin qui ressemble à une fuite. Alors commence la vie dure – mais non sans surprises – de réfugiés. D’abord la Suisse, près de Zurich. Puis Paris. Enfin Londres. Odyssée pleine de fatigues et d’angoisses mais aussi de pittoresque et d’imprévu – et toujours drôles – d’Anna et de son frère Max affrontant l’inconnu et contraints de vaincre toutes sortes de difficultés – dont la première et non la moindre: celle des langues étrangères! Ce récit autobiographique de Judith Kerr nous enchante par l’humour qui s’en dégage, et nous touche par cette particulière vibration de ton propre aux souvenirs de famille, quand il apparaît que la famille fut une de celles où l’on s’aime…

J’ai déjà eu l’occasion d’évoquer ce roman et son adaptation cinématographique sur le blog. [lien] C’est une très belle histoire d’une famille qui reste unie malgré les épreuves et qui fait preuve d’une grande résilience. Il y a un beau message dans ce roman, où la famille, le fait de rester ensemble malgré les difficultés sont les choses les plus importantes.

Guerre & Paix de Léon Tolstoï

1805 à Moscou, en ces temps de paix fragile, les Bolkonsky, les Rostov et les Bézoukhov constituent les personnages principaux d’une chronique familiale. Une fresque sociale où l’aristocratie, de Moscou à Saint-Pétersbourg, entre grandeur et misérabilisme, se prend au jeu de l’ambition sociale, des mesquineries, des premiers émois.

1812, la guerre éclate et peu à peu les personnages imaginaires évoluent au sein même des événements historiques. Le conte social, dépassant les ressorts de l’intrigue psychologique, prend une dimension d’épopée historique et se change en récit d’une époque. La “Guerre” selon Tolstoï, c’est celle menée contre Napoléon par l’armée d’Alexandre, c’est la bataille d’Austerlitz, l’invasion de la Russie, l’incendie de Moscou, puis la retraite des armées napoléoniennes.

Entre les deux romans de sa fresque, le portrait d’une classe sociale et le récit historique, Tolstoï tend une passerelle, livrant une réflexion philosophique sur le décalage de la volonté humaine aliénée à l’inéluctable marche de l’Histoire ou lorsque le destin façonne les hommes malgré eux.

Un autre auteur spécialisé dans les chroniques familiales, Léon Tolstoï. Dans ce récit, il s’intéresse à plusieurs familles de l’aristocratie russe. Il montre les relations au sein d’une même famille et celles qu’elles entretiennent entre elles. C’est une très bonne lecture que je recommande. Mon avis est disponible sur le blog. [lien]

Au banc des essais #2

Je vous propose une petite sélection de trois essais que j’ai lus dernièrement. Deux sont relativement proches et un autre change de sujet du tout ou tout. J’essaie, dans la mesure du possible, de présenter des ouvrages qui soient accessibles à tous, qui n’ont pas besoin de connaissances poussées dans le domaine pour les apprécier. Ma volonté est vraiment de mettre plus en avant ce genre littéraire, parfois boudé des blogs.

La voiture du peuple et le sac Vuitton de Éve Charrin

Glisser dans un sac à main le désarroi de nos classes moyennes. Caser dans une petite voiture low-cost la croissance rapide et inégalitaire des grands pays émergents, ou montrer qu’un climatiseur peut souffler, à l’occasion, l’air frais de la démocratie… Dire le monde en une quinzaine d’objets, c’est le pari de ce livre. Porteurs de désirs et d’espoirs, nés du travail et de l’argent, les objets reflètent notre imaginaire et trahissent les rapports de force qui façonnent une époque. Luxueux ou modestes, ils sont les héros de ces fables contemporaines qui mènent de Paris à Bombay en passant par Londres et Dubaï. Dans le prolongement des Mythologies de Roland Barthes, Ève Charrin combine la lucidité de l’enquête et la subjectivité du récit pour explorer ce que nous révèlent les choses.

L’idée de départ est d’établir des liens avec des objets iconiques avec un fait de société. Elle aborde, par exemple, le sac Pliage Longchamp qui parle à toutes les générations et à toutes les classes sociales. C’est un texte qui m’a, du coup, énormément plu, car j’en possède moi-même pas moins de cinq ou six différents. J’ai ainsi pu m’identifier à ses propos, voir dans quelle catégorie elle allait me mettre… Dans un autre texte, elle se pose la question suivante : comment la pomme, un des fruits les plus accessibles, peut également devenir un objet de luxe ou qui véhicule un message politique ?

Ce sont des courts textes qui ne sont pas sans rappeler les Mythologies de Roland Barthes, mais en plus accessibles, et passionnants, car elle se situe réellement dans notre époque. Nous connaissons les objets dont elle parle, ce qui n’est pas toujours le cas avec Barthes. Cet essai fut vraiment une bonne surprise, malgré des textes d’une qualité très variable, dont un qui m’a semblé quelque peu hors sujet. Certains m’ont paru très justes dans l’analyse de notre société, notamment celui sur le sac Vuitton. Je n’ai pas spécialement de notions de sociologie, ce qui ne m’a pas empêché de comprendre ce qu’elle voulait dire.

Mythologies de Roland Barthes

Notre vie quotidienne se nourrit de mythes : le catch, le striptease, l’auto, la publicité, le tourisme… qui bientôt nous débordent. Isolés de l’actualité qui les fait naître, l’abus idéologique qu’ils recèlent apparaît soudain. Roland Barthes en rend compte ici avec le souci – formulé dans l’essai sur le mythe aujourd’hui qui clôt l’ouvrage – de réconcilier le réel et les hommes, la description et l’explication, l’objet et le savoir. « Nous voguons sans cesse entre l’objet et sa démystification, impuissants à rendre sa totalité : car si nous pénétrons l’objet, nous le libérons mais nous le détruisons ; et si nous lui laissons son poids, nous le respectons, mais nous le restituons encore mystifié ».

Un des classiques du genre et qui a inspiré de nombreuses générations de sociologues après lui, dont l’essai que j’ai évoqué plus haut. Ce sont des textes plus ou moins longs sur différentes thématiques, comme la nouvelle Citroën, le plastique qui venait d’apparaître et d’être très largement produit, les pages horoscope du magazine Elle (qui semble un bon sujet d’étude, car il revient souvent)… Il réagit à l’actualité de son temps.

Du coup, certains textes peuvent nous sembler légèrement dépassés, et nous ne savons plus vraiment de quoi il parle. Cependant, juste pour la méthodologie, la manière de penser, de construire le propos, je pense qu’il reste passionnant à lire voire essentiel. D’autres peuvent encore avoir des échos à l’heure actuelle. J’avoue avoir eu parfois du mal avec quelques textes et j’ai mis plusieurs mois à le terminer. Ce n’est pas un ouvrage que j’ai réussi à lire d’un bout à l’autre, mais par petits essais. J’en avais pourtant déjà lu et étudié. Toutefois, ce n’est pas un ouvrage qui se laisse facilement appréhendé, par moment.

Le musée disparu d’Hector Feliciano

Printemps 1940 : au fur et à mesure de la progression de la Wehrmacht sur le territoire français, des services nazis de confiscation, spécialement institués, entreprennent, à partir de listes établies bien avant le déclenchement de la guerre, le pillage et la confiscation, qui dureront tout le temps de l’Occupation, de milliers d’œuvres d’art. Des collections publiques et privées, des tableaux mais aussi des millions de livres, manuscrits, meubles et objets de valeur partent vers l’Allemagne. Volés systématiquement et méthodiquement, ou plus fortuitement par les officiers et les soldats, nombre n’ont aujourd’hui encore pas été retrouvés. En 1995, Hector Feliciano publiait en France le fruit de huit années d’enquête, au terme desquelles il avait retrouvé la trace de certaines œuvres. Les traductions de cet ouvrage à l’étranger l’enrichirent chaque fois de découvertes nouvelles, puisqu’elles s’inscrivaient dans le mouvement international de restitution aux héritiers des biens confisqués et presque toujours récupérés après la guerre par les États nationaux, mais pas par les familles, faute le plus souvent d’informations. 

Fruit de huit années de recherches et d’enquêtes, Hector Feliciano aborde le pillage des musées, mais surtout des collections privées de marchands d’art, de banquiers, d’industriels juifs… Son ouvrage est très amplement documenté et absolument passionnant. Il se lit presque comme un roman, une saga historique dramatique où l’Histoire se fait implacable. À la lecture, j’ai pu croiser les Rotschild, Paul Rosenberg, mais également Braque, Picasso… Ce sont des noms de collectionneurs et marchands d’art que je connaissais. Ils ont joué un rôle primordial en faisant connaître et en supportant des artistes de l’avant-garde. En revanche, j’ignorais tout du sort de leurs collections.

C’est un sujet qui était relativement peu abordé. Malgré quelques années à dévorer tout ce que je pouvais (ou presque) autour de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, l’art, les collections privées et publiques et le patrimoine n’ont quasiment jamais été abordés. J’en ai seulement pris conscience avec la sortie du film Monument Men, inspiré d’une autre enquêté, réalisée par Robert M. Edsel, puis d’un autre film, La femme au tableau qui aborde la question de la restitution des oeuvres. Le musée disparu s’intéresse surtout au cas de la France, une raison de plus de le lire. J’ai aussi appris que certaines oeuvres n’ont jamais été retrouvées. Parfois, des visuels existent permettant de se faire une idée. Mais, au final, combien d’oeuvres ne pourrons-nous jamais voir ? Où sont les oeuvres qui ont disparu ?

Sincèrement, je recommande cette lecture enrichissante qui m’a appris plein de choses que j’ignorais… Le tout dans un style très accessible qui peut faire penser aux romans d’enquête. Si ces questions vous intéressent, c’est le premier à lire, je pense.

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La Culture avec un grand A et du latte #3

Mon mois d’avril fut pris par mon stage, qui fut intense, mais qui m’a permis d’apprendre de nouvelles compétences professionnelles, comme la rédaction de communiqués de presse. J’ai pu vraiment m’investir dans la vie de la Fondation, faire des propositions. J’ai adoré chaque minute passé là-bas. Du coup, j’en ai un peu oublié certaines choses.

Honte à moi ! En tant qu’étudiante dans le domaine de la culture, je n’ai visité aucun musée ni exposition durant le mois. Je compte bien me rattraper durant le mois de mai. Je compte aller voir la nouvelle exposition du Centre Pompidou de Metz, Couples modernes. J’aimerais aussi voir un peu plus d’oeuvres de l’incroyable exposition se déroulant dans la ville de Strasbourg, Industrie magnifique. Je suis déjà allée voir le mammouth se situant à côté de la cathédrale. Le 19 mai, c’est également la Nuit européenne des musées. Je n’ai pas encore arrêté de programme, mais j’y réfléchis.

Du point de vue des lectures, j’ai enchaîné avec des livres moyens ou des grosses déceptions. Je n’ai eu littéralement aucun coup de coeur ce mois-ci où j’ai presque joué de malchance ! Parmi les romans que je qualifierai de sympathique, mais sans plus, j’ai pu lire le premier tome de la trilogie Wicked de Jennifer L. Armentrout, auteur que je découvrais par la même occasion. Je retiens l’univers qui se développe autour des faës et de la Nouvelle-Orléans. Malheureusement, j’ai trouvé que la romance prenait parfois toute la place, au détriment de l’intrigue. De plus, la fin fut sans surprise également. C’est le reproche que je fais également à Poppy de Mary Hooper. Je pense en reparler plus longuement sur le blog en novembre, car je développe un petit projet dans lequel ce roman s’intègre parfaitement. Toutefois, si je devais retenir un seul ouvrage, ce serait Le musée disparu d’Hector Feliciano. C’est une enquête menée par un journaliste sur les oeuvres disparues durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, très bien écrit et accessible.

En revanche, grosse déception pour le premier tome de L’amie prodigieuse d’Elena Ferrante. J’en avais entendu tellement de bien sur la blogosphère et il était absolument partout. J’ai fini par craquer, après avoir longuement hésité. Le prologue m’avait quelque peu charmé, mais, très vite, je me suis ennuyée. J’ai trouvé le style de l’auteur mécanique et froid, voire impersonnel, des faits sans sentiments. Je ne me suis jamais attachée aux deux amies et j’ai fini par abandonner. Autre grosse déception pour The Muse de Jessie Burton. Il fera l’objet d’un prochain article, aussi, je ne vais pas m’étendre dessus.

Pour finir sur le récapitulatif de mes lectures du mois, je signale également Release de Patrick Ness (un article viendra dans quelques jours), Mrs Dalloway de Virginia Woolf que j’ai abandonné. Je n’ai jamais réussi à dépasser les cinq premières pages et j’ai essayé plusieurs fois, sans grand succès. Cela faisait presque un an que j’avais commencé The travels de Marco Polo. Même avec toute la bonne volonté du monde, je n’ai jamais réussi à dépasser les vingt pages lus…

En revanche, j’ai eu plus de chance avec les films et les séries que j’ai pu voir. Clairement, le mois d’avril fut placé sous le signe des zombies avec la sortie de la deuxième saison de Santa Clarita Diet, que j’ai dévoré en quelque jour. Encore un coup de coeur pour cette série qui change un peu de ce qui se fait autour des morts-vivants. C’est drôle, complètement loufoque et déjanté. Je ris franchement à chaque épisode. J’ai aussi regardé deux saisons de Z Nation, qui restera un de mes plaisirs coupables. Du côté des films, j’avoue ma passion pour les comédies horrifiques autour des zombies. Plus c’est nul, plus j’aime… Manuel de survie à l’apocalypse zombie était plutôt sympathique, avec des scènes bien comiques, frôlant parfois le grand n’importe quoi. J’ai également revu World War Z. Il se laisse voir.

Cependant, mon coup de coeur absolu du mois est dans un tout autre registre. J’ai plus qu’adoré… Roulements de tambour… Pierre Lapin. Oui, oui, Pierre Lapin. Je ne savais pas à quoi m’attendre en le voyant. Certainement pas à adorer chaque minute de ce dernier, à rire tout du long. Un article est déjà préparé pour vous expliquer le pourquoi du comment. J’ai commencé le mois avec un autre film sur les animaux, qui reste un classique du genre, sans vraiment de surprise. La fin est connue avant même d’avoir débuté le film. Benji reste toutefois un film adorable à voir, mais qui ne me laissera pas de souvenirs impérissable. Je dirai la même chose du troisième Pitch Perfect. Je ne regrette pas de ne pas l’avoir vu au cinéma. Il est mieux que le deuxième, mais moins bien que le premier.

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