Molly Greeley • The Heiress, The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh

The Heiress, The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh • Molly Greeley • Janvier 2020 • William Morrow • 357 pages

As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.


Je continue ma découverte de livres s’inspirant de l’univers de Jane Austen. En décembre, je lisais The Jane Austen Society, en me promettant de lire les romans de cette auteur. La moitié de l’année est bien passée et je n’ai toujours pas ouvert l’un d’entre eux. Je reviens avec la chronique d’un livre qui se déroule dans l’univers de Pride & Prejudice, puisque Molly Greeley s’intéresse à un personnage tertiaire, Anne de Bourgh, la cousine de Fitzwilliam Darcy, qu’il aurait dû épouser.

Ne pas avoir lu le roman de Jane Austen n’est pas un problème. Il y a juste quelques éléments principaux de l’intrigue qui sont dévoilés. Cependant, c’est une histoire assez connue, donc pas de réels spoilers. La lecture a été plutôt en demi-teinte. En effet, le roman présente beaucoup de longueurs dès le début. À la rigueur, cela me paraissait être un choix parfait pour la première partie. L’histoire est racontée à la première personne et les premières pages sont racontées alors qu’Anne de Bourgh est sous l’emprise du laudanum, une drogue largement utilisée durant l’époque victorienne. Pour Anne, elle est traitée avec ce « médicament » depuis qu’elle est bébé. Toutefois, quand elle parvient enfin à s’en passer, je m’attendais à ce que le livre devienne un peu plus rythmée, dynamique, mais, malheureusement, le tout reste très lent. En tant que lectrice, j’ai bien eu souvent l’envie de secouer Anne.

C’est un aspect intéressant du livre que l’écriture suive l’état de santé du personnage principal. Cela permet de voir à quel point le laudanum avait une emprise sur Anne, à quel point il changeait sa personnalité. Il y a une véritable évolution de cette dernière. Elle sort de sa chrysalide après son sevrage, même si parfois trop doucement à mon goût. Le roman a un côté initiatique, aspect renforcé par le contexte historique de la saison londonienne où toutes les filles de bonne famille se retrouvaient pour trouver un mari. C’est souvent un rite de passage obligé à cette époque. L’aspect historique est bien développé.

Le fait que l’intrigue est issue de l’univers de Jane Austen devient presque anecdotique. Pendant de longs passages, j’oubliais presque que la base de l’oeuvre est Pride & Prejudice. C’est quand on croise Darcy et Elizabeth que je me rappelais qu’Anne de Bourgh est un personnage tertiaire de ce roman. Tout comme dans le roman de Jane Austen, les relations sociales et amoureuses, la pression faite aux jeunes femmes de trouver le meilleur parti est au coeur de l’intrigue. Molly Greeley évoque également les relations homosexuelles au sein de cette société conservatrice et c’est un point assez intéressant du roman. Par ailleurs, j’ai aussi beaucoup aimé les passages où la mère d’Anne évoque la maladie de sa famille. Ce sont des passages qui m’ont profondément révolté, mais c’est ce qui se faisait à l’époque.

The Heiress, The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh est un roman historique intéressant, mais qui souffre de nombreuses longueurs. Cependant, il m’a plu par d’autres aspects : le personnage principal attachant, la description du contexte historique. Le fait fait que l’auteur trouve son inspiration dans l’oeuvre de Jane Austen ne change pas grand chose à cette intrigue. Personnellement, je l’ai plus vu comme un détail anecdotique.

Bilan des sorties VO lues • Janvier à Juin 2021

Depuis un peu plus d’un an, je propose un tour d’horizon des sorties VO (en anglais) qui me tentent énormément. J’en lis un certain nombre, mais sans toujours les chroniquer sur le blog. Le mois de Juin vient de toucher à sa fin et, avec lui, la moitié de l’année. L’occasion parfaite pour un petit bilan mi-parcours des parutions déjà lues et celles que j’aimerai encore découvrir.

En cliquant sur les mois, vous accédez à l’article sur les sorties VO correspondant.

Janvier

Livres lus

The House on Vesper Sands – Padraic O’Donnell

On the case is Inspector Cutter, a detective as sharp and committed to his work as he is wryly hilarious. Gideon Bliss, a Cambridge dropout in love with one of the missing girls, stumbles into a role as Cutter’s sidekick. And clever young journalist Octavia Hillingdon sees the case as a chance to tell a story that matters—despite her employer’s preference that she stick to a women’s society column. As Inspector Cutter peels back the mystery layer by layer, he leads them all, at last, to the secrets that lie hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.

J’avais hâte de pouvoir le lire, car il avait de bons arguments : un policier historique, la période victorienne, un meurtre qui semble mettre en oeuvre des forces occultes… Mais au bout d’un gros tiers, l’intrigue n’a toujours pas démarré et le livre commence à devenir trop lent et mon attention descendait en flèche. Même en dépassant la centaine de pages, je n’avais pas le sentiment que l’intrigue avait réellement commencé alors que quasiment un tiers était lu.

The Heiress, The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh – Molly Greeley

As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.

Le livre prend place dans l’univers de Jane Austen et notamment Pride & Prejudice, en s’intéressant à la cousine de Fitzwilliam Darcy, Anne de Bourgh. Pas un coup de coeur car, malheureusement, le roman souffre de trop nombreuses longueurs. Cependant, Anne est un personnage attachant à suivre, surtout quand elle sort de son cocon. L’aspect historique est également bien développé.

Lore – Alexandra Bracken

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

Lore est un roman d’action qui s’inspire de la mythologie grecque. Ce n’est pas totalement un coup de coeur, mais j’ai vraiment passé un bon moment. Il y a une bonne dose d’actions, de rebondissements… L’idée de départ est originale et bien développée.

Don’t tell a soul – Kirsten Miller

All Bram wanted was to disappear—from her old life, her family’s past, and from the scandal that continues to haunt her. The only place left to go is Louth, the tiny town on the Hudson River where her uncle, James, has been renovating an old mansion. But James is haunted by his own ghosts. Months earlier, his beloved wife died in a fire that people say was set by her daughter. The tragedy left James a shell of the man Bram knew—and destroyed half the house he’d so lovingly restored.

The manor is creepy, and so are the locals. The people of Louth don’t want outsiders like Bram in their town, and with each passing day she’s discovering that the rumors they spread are just as disturbing as the secrets they hide. Most frightening of all are the legends they tell about the Dead Girls. Girls whose lives were cut short in the very house Bram now calls home. The terrifying reality is that the Dead Girls may have never left the manor. And if Bram looks too hard into the town’s haunted past, she might not either.

En un seul mot… Creepy. L’histoire est dérangeante à souhaite et il y a quelques moments qui font bien frissonner. Il m’est arrivé à plusieurs reprises de devoir le mettre de côté, quand j’étais toute seule en soirée. L’auteur maîtrise parfaitement le suspens et à chaque page tournée, je voulais connaître la vérité, car il y avait quelques bizarreries qui interviennent durant la lecture… J’ai adoré l’évolution de l’intrigue et le livre est un coup de coeur.

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

Our darkest night de Jennifer Robson ; The Divines d’Ellie Eaton ; The last garden in England de Julia Kelly ; Faye, faraway d’Helen Fisher ; The Historians de Cecilia Eckbäck ; In the garden of spite de Camilla Bruce ; The Children’s train de Viola Ardone.

Février

Livres lus

The Paris Dressmaker – Kristy Cambron

Paris, 1939. Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila’s life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners of the city, the faithful pledge to resist. Lila is drawn to La Resistance and is soon using her skills as a dressmaker to infiltrate the Nazi elite. She takes their measurements and designs masterpieces, all while collecting secrets in the glamorous Hôtel Ritz—the heart of the Nazis’ Parisian headquarters. But when dashing René Touliard suddenly reenters her world, Lila finds her heart tangled between determination to help save his Jewish family and bolstering the fight for liberation.

Paris, 1943. Sandrine Paquet’s job is to catalog the priceless works of art bound for the Führer’s Berlin, masterpieces stolen from prominent Jewish families. But behind closed doors, she secretly forages for information from the underground resistance. Beneath her compliant façade lies a woman bent on uncovering the fate of her missing husband . . . but at what cost? As Hitler’s regime crumbles, Sandrine is drawn in deeper when she uncrates an exquisite blush Chanel gown concealing a cryptic message that may reveal the fate of a dressmaker who vanished from within the fashion elite.

Je ressors extrêmement déçue par ce roman. En soi, il avait de quoi me plaire : la mode et plus particulièrement la Maison Chanel, Paris sous l’Occupation, la Résistance et le destin de deux femmes… Malheureusement, l’auteur alterne non seulement les deux points de vue, et deux époques différentes : le début de la guerre et 1944. Cela fait quatre trames différentes, et elles ne sont pas d’égal intérêt. J’ai eu du mal à m’attacher à Simone et Lila.

The Shadow War – Lindsay Smith

World War II is raging, and five teens are looking to make a mark. Daniel and Rebeka seek revenge against the Nazis who slaughtered their family; Simone is determined to fight back against the oppressors who ruined her life and corrupted her girlfriend; Phillip aims to prove that he’s better than his worst mistakes; and Liam is searching for a way to control the portal to the shadow world he’s uncovered, and the monsters that live within it–before the Nazi regime can do the same. When the five meet, and begrudgingly team up, in the forests of Germany, none of them knows what their future might hold.

As they race against time, war, and enemies from both this world and another, Liam, Daniel, Rebeka, Phillip, and Simone know that all they can count on is their own determination and will to survive. With their world turned upside down, and the shadow realm looming ominously large–and threateningly close–the course of history and the very fate of humanity rest in their hands. Still, the most important question remains: Will they be able to save it?

Il y a de bonnes idées : la Seconde Guerre mondiale, des forces occultes et un monde parallèle, une mission impossible… L’intrigue possède beaucoup trop de personnages et de points de vues différents pour que la lecture soit agréable. Je m’y perdais. Par ailleurs, les personnages sont plus des archétypes que réellement travaillés et nuancés. L’histoire traine en longueur alors que je m’attendais à plus d’action.

The Witch’s Heart – Genevieve Gornichec

Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

J’adore les réécritures, que ce soit de contes ou de la mythologique. Genevieve Gornichec s’inspire d’une des épouses de Loki, Angrboda la sorcière. Ce type d’ouvrages se veut dans une lignée féministe, mais il rate quelque peu son effet. J’en ai lu la moitié avant d’abandonner. Le livre a été d’un tel ennui que je suis même étonnée d’avoir eu la patience de tenir jusque là.

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

While Paris slept de Ruth Druart ; The house upstairs de Julia Fine ; The invisible woman d’Erika Robuck ; A history of what come next de Sylvain Neuvel ; All Girls d’Emily Layden ; The kitchen front de Jennifer Ryan.

Mars

Livres lus

After Alice felll – Kim Taylor Blakemore

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. 

Un roman rempli de secrets de famille avec une atmosphère loure. Malgré quelques lenteurs qui peuvent parfois ponctuer le livre, les pages se tournent facilement, car l’envie de savoir ce qui est arrivé à Alice est plus forte, tout comme celle de découvrir le ou les secrets du frère de Marion et de son épouse. Pas un coup de coeur, mais une bonne lecture.

The Women of Château Lafayette – Stephanie Dray

A founding mother…
1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband’s political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must choose to renounce the complicated man she loves, or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.

A daring visionary…
1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Astor Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing–not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France and delivering war-relief over dangerous seas, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what’s right.

A reluctant resistor…
1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan’s self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become. 

Lafayette revient à la mode après la sortie de la comédie musicale Hamilton. Stephanie Dray en fait l’élément central de son nouveau roman en explorant le destin de trois femmes durant la Révolution française, la Première et la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Même si les époques sont totalement différentes pour ne pas être confondues, certaines sont plus intéressantes que d’autres. Néanmoins, cela reste un livre que j’ai abandonné.

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

Under the light of the Italian moon de Jennifer Anton ; Vera de Carol Edgarian ; The lost village de Camilla Sten ; The Rose Code de Kate Quinn ; The lost apothecary de Sarah Penner.

Avril

Livres lus

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.

Le résumé me faisait penser à une pièce de Shakespeare : trois soeurs aux destins différentes et dramatiques. J’ai adoré suivre l’histoire de ces soeurs, d’apprendre à les connaître, leurs secrets, leurs rêves et leurs espoirs. Elles sont différentes et je ne saurai dire laquelle a été ma préférée. Elles m’ont plu pour des raisons diverses. J’ai adoré à la fois le contexte historique (la Grande-Bretagne après la chute de l’Empire romain) et fantastique (la présence de magie et de Merlin). Le coup de coeur n’était pas loin, mais c’est un très bon roman que je ne regrette pas d’avoir découvert.

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

Ariadne de Jennifer Saint ; Near the bone de Christina Henry ; Ophelia de Norman Bacal ; The Mary Shelley Club de Goldy Moldavsky ; The last bookshop of London de Madeline Martin ; The Dictionnary of lost words de Pip Williams.

Mai

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

The Radio Operator d’Ulla Lenze ; Madam de Phoebe Wynne ; The lights of Prague de Nicole Jarvis.

Juin

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

The Wolf and the Woodsman d’Ava Reid ; Daughter of Sparta de Claire M. Andrews ; The nature of the witches de Rachel Griffin ; The Maidens d’Alex Michaelides ; For the Wolf d’Hannah F. Whitten.

Natalie Jenner • The Jane Austen Society (2020)

The Jane Austen Society • Natalie Jenner • Mai 2020 • St Martin’s Press • 320 pages

Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.


Mes connaissances sur Jane Austen sont plutôt limitées. Je n’ai réellement lu d’elle que Pride & Prejudice alors que je devais être au lycée. C’est aussi le seul dont j’ai vu l’adaptation, celle avec Keira Knightley. Il faut absolument que je m’intéresse de plus près à cette auteur dont les livres ne cessent de passionner les lecteurs depuis des générations. Je ne compte plus les réécritures de ses romans ou mettant en scène des admirateurs de ses personnages. The Jane Austen Society fait partie de cette deuxième catégorie. Ce n’est pas tant l’aspect autour de cette écrivaine anglaise qui m’a décidé à le lire que l’aspect historique.

La première question que je me posais avant de commencer ce roman a été de savoir si j’allais tout de même l’apprécier à sa juste valeur, sachant que je ne suis pas une grande admiratrice de Jane Austen, et que ma connaissance de ses romans est limitée. La réponse est oui, dans la mesure où l’intrigue s’intéresse à la préservation d’un héritage et d’une collection importante pour la connaissance de cette autrice anglaise. Ne pas connaître sa vie et sa bibliographie ne m’a clairement pas empêché d’adorer ce roman. Toutes les informations essentielles sont présentes. Au contraire, j’ai refermé The Jane Austen Society avec l’envie de découvrir Emma, Raisons et sentiments ou Northanger Abbey… Je me suis rapidement investie dans cette aventure de quelques villageois désirant de sauver un patrimoine en danger, ayant travaillé moi-même dans la protection du patrimoine. C’est un sujet qui me tient particulièrement à coeur et j’ai suivi avec angoisse leur combat passionnant, parfois frustrant pour préserver cette part de Jane Austen.

L’histoire en soi est très prenante. Pourtant, il n’y a pas réellement d’action, mais quelques révélations qui rythment l’intrigue. Le tout reste réaliste et il y a souvent un côté doux-amer dans certains secrets ou rebondissements. Tout n’est pas rose, tout n’est pas, au final, comme dans un roman de Jane Austen. Chacun des personnages a son lot de drames : des décès dans leurs entourages, notamment dus aux deux conflits mondiaux, des histoires de famille, et d’amour. Le lecteur apprend à les connaître progressivement, à les apprivoiser et à connaître leurs secrets, leurs espérances par l’alternance des points de vue entre ces quelques habitants et une actrice hollywodienne liés par leur amour de Jane Austen. Ils sont tous extrêmement différents (et attachants) pour ne pas s’emmêler les pinceaux. Alors que je refermais le livre, j’aurai bien été incapable de dire lequel d’entre eux j’ai préféré. Mais au moment où je publie cette chronique, de l’eau a coulé sous les ponts. Finalement, trois d’entre eux me restent en tête : Adeline et le docteur, mais surtout Mimi, l’actrice. J’ai beaucoup aimé son évolution au fil de l’histoire. Elle est le reflet de son époque et elle est allée dans la direction que j’espérais et qui me paraissant la plus logique. Il est difficile d’aborder et de développer les personnages sans trop en dévoiler de l’intrigue. Aussi, je vais m’arrêter là.

The Jane Austen Society a été une lecture parfaite pour le mois de décembre. Elle allie parfaitement des émotions comme la tristesse ou la colère, avec de l’espoir, de l’amour. Il y a tout de même un suspens présent et il réside notamment dans le fait de savoir si les personnages arriveront à préserver ce patrimoine lié à Jane Austen. Le coup de coeur n’a pas été loin pour ce roman, le premier de l’auteur.

Sorties VO • Janvier 2021

Après un mois de Décembre un peu léger, Janvier semble être tout le contraire. De nombreuses publications alléchantes sont proposées. N’hésitez pas à me dire en commentaire lesquelles vous font le plus envie !

Don’t tell a soul • Kirsten Miller • Delacorte Press • 384 pages • 26 janvier

People say the house is cursed.
It preys on the weakest, and young women are its favorite victims.
In Louth, they’re called the Dead Girls.

All Bram wanted was to disappear—from her old life, her family’s past, and from the scandal that continues to haunt her. The only place left to go is Louth, the tiny town on the Hudson River where her uncle, James, has been renovating an old mansion.
But James is haunted by his own ghosts. Months earlier, his beloved wife died in a fire that people say was set by her daughter. The tragedy left James a shell of the man Bram knew—and destroyed half the house he’d so lovingly restored.
The manor is creepy, and so are the locals. The people of Louth don’t want outsiders like Bram in their town, and with each passing day she’s discovering that the rumors they spread are just as disturbing as the secrets they hide. Most frightening of all are the legends they tell about the Dead Girls. Girls whose lives were cut short in the very house Bram now calls home.
The terrifying reality is that the Dead Girls may have never left the manor. And if Bram looks too hard into the town’s haunted past, she might not either.

Esnared in the wolf lair : Inside the 1944 Plot to Kill Hitler and the Ghost Children of His Revenge • Ann Bausum • National Geographic Kids • 144 pages • 12 janvier

« I’ve come on orders from Berlin to fetch the three children. »–Gestapo agent, August 24, 1944
With those chilling words Christa von Hofacker and her younger siblings found themselves ensnared in a web of family punishment designed to please one man-Adolf Hitler. The furious dictator sought merciless revenge against not only Christa’s father and the other Germans who had just tried to overthrow his government. He wanted to torment their relatives, too, regardless of age or stature. All of them. Including every last child.

The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames • Justine Cowan • Harper • 320 pages • 12 janvier

Justine had always been told that her mother came from royal blood. The proof could be found in her mother’s elegance, her uppercrust London accent—and in a cryptic letter hinting at her claim to a country estate. But beneath the polished veneer lay a fearsome, unpredictable temper that drove Justine from home the moment she was old enough to escape. Years later, when her mother sent her an envelope filled with secrets from the past, Justine buried it in the back of an old filing cabinet.

Overcome with grief after her mother’s death, Justine found herself drawn back to that envelope. Its contents revealed a mystery that stretched back to the early years of World War II and beyond, into the dark corridors of the Hospital for the Maintenance and Education of Exposed and Deserted Young Children. Established in the eighteenth century to raise “bastard” children to clean chamber pots for England’s ruling class, the institution was tied to some of history’s most influential figures and events. From its role in the development of solitary confinement and human medical experimentation to the creation of the British Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts, its impact on Western culture continues to reverberate. It was also the environment that shaped a young girl known as Dorothy Soames, who bravely withstood years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of a sadistic headmistress—a resilient child who dreamed of escape as German bombers rained death from the skies.

The Children’s Train • Viola Ardone • HarperVia • 320 pages • 12 janvier

Though Mussolini and the fascists have been defeated, the war has devastated Italy, especially the south. Seven-year-old Amerigo lives with his mother Antonietta in Naples, surviving on odd jobs and his wits like the rest of the poor in his neighborhood. But one day, Amerigo learns that a train will take him away from the rubble-strewn streets of the city to spend the winter with a family in the north, where he will be safe and have warm clothes and food to eat. 

Together with thousands of other southern children, Amerigo will cross the entire peninsula to a new life. Through his curious, innocent eyes, we see a nation rising from the ashes of war, reborn. As he comes to enjoy his new surroundings and the possibilities for a better future, Amerigo will make the heartbreaking choice to leave his mother and become a member of his adoptive family.

In the Garden of Spite • Camilla Bruce • Berkley • 480 pages • 19 janvier

They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams–their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte. The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she’d given up, what was taken from her, how she’d suffered, surely they’d understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That’s all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive.

The House on Vesper Sands • Paraic O’Donnell • Tin House Books • 408 pages • 12 janvier

On the case is Inspector Cutter, a detective as sharp and committed to his work as he is wryly hilarious. Gideon Bliss, a Cambridge dropout in love with one of the missing girls, stumbles into a role as Cutter’s sidekick. And clever young journalist Octavia Hillingdon sees the case as a chance to tell a story that matters—despite her employer’s preference that she stick to a women’s society column. As Inspector Cutter peels back the mystery layer by layer, he leads them all, at last, to the secrets that lie hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.

The Historians • Cecilia Eckbäck • Harper Perennial • 464 pages • 12 janvier

It is 1943 and Sweden’s neutrality in the war is under pressure. Laura Dahlgren, the bright, young right-hand of the chief negotiator to Germany, is privy to these tensions, even as she tries to keep her head down in the mounting fray. However, when Laura’s best friend from university, Britta, is discovered murdered in cold blood, Laura is determined to find the killer.

Prior to her death, Britta sent a report on the racial profiling in Scandinavia to the secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jens Regnell. In the middle of negotiating a delicate alliance with Hitler and the Nazis, Jens doesn’t understand why he’s received the report. When the pursuit of Britta’s murderer leads Laura to his door, the two join forces to get at the truth.

But as Jens and Laura attempt to untangle the mysterious circumstance surrounding Britta’s death, they only become more mired in a web of lies and deceit. This trail will lead to a conspiracy that could topple their nation’s identity—a conspiracy some in Sweden will try to keep hidden at any cost.

Faye, Faraway • Helen Fischer • Gallery Books • 304 pages • 26 janvier

Faye is a thirty-seven-year-old happily married mother of two young daughters. Every night, before she puts them to bed, she whispers to them: “You are good, you are kind, you are clever, you are funny.” She’s determined that they never doubt for a minute that their mother loves them unconditionally. After all, her own mother Jeanie had died when she was only seven years old and Faye has never gotten over that intense pain of losing her.

But one day, her life is turned upside down when she finds herself in 1977, the year before her mother died. Suddenly, she has the chance to reconnect with her long-lost mother, and even meets her own younger self, a little girl she can barely remember. Jeanie doesn’t recognize Faye as her daughter, of course, even though there is something eerily familiar about her…

As the two women become close friends, they share many secrets—but Faye is terrified of revealing the truth about her identity. Will it prevent her from returning to her own time and her beloved husband and daughters? What if she’s doomed to remain in the past forever? Faye knows that eventually she will have to choose between those she loves in the past and those she loves in the here and now, and that knowledge presents her with an impossible choice.

The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh • Molly Greeley • William Morrow • 368 pages • 5 janvier

As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.

Last Garden in England • Julia Kelly • Gallery Books • 368 pages • 12 janvier

Present day: Emma Lovett, who has dedicated her career to breathing new life into long-neglected gardens, has just been given the opportunity of a lifetime: to restore the gardens of the famed Highbury House estate, designed in 1907 by her hero Venetia Smith. But as Emma dives deeper into the gardens’ past, she begins to uncover secrets that have long lain hidden.

1907: A talented artist with a growing reputation for her ambitious work, Venetia Smith has carved out a niche for herself as a garden designer to industrialists, solicitors, and bankers looking to show off their wealth with sumptuous country houses. When she is hired to design the gardens of Highbury House, she is determined to make them a triumph, but the gardens—and the people she meets—promise to change her life forever.

1944: When land girl Beth Pedley arrives at a farm on the outskirts of the village of Highbury, all she wants is to find a place she can call home. Cook Stella Adderton, on the other hand, is desperate to leave Highbury House to pursue her own dreams. And widow Diana Symonds, the mistress of the grand house, is anxiously trying to cling to her pre-war life now that her home has been requisitioned and transformed into a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers. But when war threatens Highbury House’s treasured gardens, these three very different women are drawn together by a secret that will last for decades. 

The Divines • Ellie Eaton • William Morrow • 320 pages • 19 janvier

The girls of St John the Divine, an elite English boarding school, were notorious for flipping their hair, harassing teachers, chasing boys, and chain-smoking cigarettes. They were fiercely loyal, sharp-tongued, and cuttingly humorous in the way that only teenage girls can be. For Josephine, now in her thirties, the years at St John were a lifetime ago. She hasn’t spoken to another Divine in fifteen years, not since the day the school shuttered its doors in disgrace.

Yet now Josephine inexplicably finds herself returning to her old stomping grounds. The visit provokes blurry recollections of those doomed final weeks that rocked the community. Ruminating on the past, Josephine becomes obsessed with her teenage identity and the forgotten girls of her one-time orbit. With each memory that resurfaces, she circles closer to the violent secret at the heart of the school’s scandal. But the more Josephine recalls, the further her life unravels, derailing not just her marriage and career, but her entire sense of self. 

Our darkest night • Jennifer Robson • William Morrow • 384 pages • 5 janvier

It is the autumn of 1943, and life is becoming increasingly perilous for Italian Jews like the Mazin family. With Nazi Germany now occupying most of her beloved homeland, and the threat of imprisonment and deportation growing ever more certain, Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive—to leave Venice and her beloved parents and hide in the countryside with a man she has only just met.

Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to leave the seminary to run his family’s farm. A moral and just man, he could not stand by when the fascists and Nazis began taking innocent lives. Rather than risk a perilous escape across the mountains, Nina will pose as his new bride. And to keep her safe and protect secrets of his own, Nico and Nina must convince prying eyes they are happily married and in love.

But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbors are wary of this soft and educated woman they do not know. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico. The more he learns of Nina, the more his suspicions grow—and with them his determination to exact revenge.

As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their feelings deepen, transforming their relationship into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart . . .

Lore • Alexandra Bracken • Disney Hyperion • 480 pages • 5 janvier

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.