Sorties VO • Février 2022

In New York City everybody needs a side hustle, and perfumer Vic Fowler has developed a delicate art that has proved to be very lucrative: creating bespoke scents that evoke immersive memories—memories that, for Vic’s clients, are worth killing for. But the city is expensive, and these days even artisanal murder doesn’t pay the bills. When Joseph Eisner, a former client with deep pockets, offers Vic an opportunity to expand the enterprise, the money is too good to turn down. But the job is too intricate—and too dangerous—to attempt alone.

Manipulating fellow struggling artists into acting as accomplices is easy. Like Vic, they too are on the verge of burnout and bankruptcy. But as relationships become more complicated, Vic’s careful plans start to unravel. Hounded by guilt and a tenacious private investigator, Vic grows increasingly desperate to complete Eisner’s commission. Is there anyone—friends, lovers, coconspirators—that Vic won’t sacrifice for art?


As the Nazis march toward Paris in 1940, American ballerina Lucie Girard buys her favorite English-language bookstore to allow the Jewish owners to escape. Lucie struggles to run Green Leaf Books due to oppressive German laws and harsh conditions, but she finds a way to aid the resistance by passing secret messages between the pages of her books.

Widower Paul Aubrey wants nothing more than to return to the States with his little girl, but the US Army convinces him to keep his factory running and obtain military information from his German customers. As the war rages on, Paul offers his own resistance by sabotaging his product and hiding British airmen in his factory. After they meet in the bookstore, Paul and Lucie are drawn to each other, but she rejects him when she discovers he sells to the Germans. And for Paul to win her trust would mean betraying his mission.


Her name is unimportant.

All you must know is that today she will become one of the four saints of Haven. The elders will mark her and place the red hood on her head. With her sisters, she will stand against the evil power that lives beneath the black mountain–an evil which has already killed nine of her village’s men.

She will tell no one of the white-eyed beasts that follow her. Or the faceless gray women tall as houses. Or the girls she saw kissing in the elm grove.

Today she will be a saint of Haven. She will rid her family of her mother’s shame at last and save her people from destruction. She is not afraid. Are you?


Chelsea Martin appears to be the perfect housewife: married to her high school sweetheart, the mother of two daughters, keeper of an immaculate home.

But Chelsea’s husband has turned their house into a prison; he has been abusing her for years, cutting off her independence, autonomy, and support. She has nowhere to turn, not even to her narcissistic mother, Patricia, who is more concerned with maintaining the appearance of an ideal family than she is with her daughter’s actual well-being. And Chelsea is worried that her daughters will be trapped just as she is–then a mysterious illness sweeps the nation.

Known as The Violence, this illness causes the infected to experience sudden, explosive bouts of animalistic rage and attack anyone in their path. But for Chelsea, the chaos and confusion the virus causes is an opportunity–and inspires a plan to liberate herself from her abuser. 


Russia, 1918: With the execution of Tsar Nicholas, the empire crumbles and Russia is on the edge of civil war—the poor are devouring the rich. Anna, a bourgeois girl, narrowly escaped the massacre of her entire family in Yekaterinburg. Desperate to get away from the Bolsheviks, she offers a peasant girl a diamond to take her as far south as possible—not realizing that the girl is a communist herself. With her brother in desperate need of a doctor, Evgenia accepts Anna’s offer and suddenly finds herself on the wrong side of the war.

Anna is being hunted by the Bolsheviks, and now—regardless of her loyalties—Evgenia is too.


An intriguing and twisty domestic suspense about loyalty and deceit in a tight-knit Texas community where parents are known to behave badly and people are not always who they appear to be.

Emily, a popular but bookish prep school senior, goes missing after a night out with friends. She was last seen leaving a party with Alex, a football player with a dubious reputation. But no one is talking.

Now three mothers, Catherine, Leslie and Morgan, friends turned frenemies, have their lives turned upside down as they are forced to look to their own children—and each other’s—for answers to questions they don’t want to ask.


Can you spot the difference?

Emma Caan is a fake.

She’s a forger, an artist who specializes in nineteenth-century paintings. But she isn’t a criminal; her copies are commissioned by museums and ultra-wealthy collectors protecting their investments. Emma’s more than mastered a Gauguin brushstroke and a van Gogh wheat field, but her work is sometimes a painful reminder of the artistic dreams she once chased for herself, when she was younger and before her family and her world fell apart.

When oligarch art collector Leonard Sobetsky unexpectedly appears with an invitation, Emma sees a way out—a new job, a new path for herself, and access to the kind of money she needs to support her unstable and recently widowed mother.

But every invitation incurs an obligation . . . and Emma isn’t prepared for what’s to come. As she’s pulled further into Leonard’s opulent scene, she will discover what’s lurking beneath the glitz and glamour. When she does, the past she’s worked hard to overcome will collide with the present, making her wonder how much of her carefully curated life is just as fake as her forgeries


During the reign of Louis XV, impoverished but lovely teenage girls from all over France are sent to a discreet villa in the town of Versailles. Overseen by the King’s favorite mistress, Madame de Pompadour, they will be trained as potential courtesans for the King. When the time is right, each girl is smuggled into the palace of Versailles, with its legendary Hall of Mirrors. There they meet a mysterious but splendidly dressed man who they’re told is merely a Polish count, a cousin of the Queen. Living an indulgent life of silk gowns, delicious meals, and soft beds, the students at this “school of mirrors” rarely ask questions, and when Louis tires of them, they are married off to minor aristocrats or allowed to retire to one of the more luxurious nunneries.

Beautiful and canny Veronique arrives at the school of mirrors and quickly becomes a favorite of the King. But when she discovers her lover’s true identity, she is whisked away, sent to give birth to a daughter in secret, and then to marry a wealthy Breton merchant. There is no return to the School of Mirrors.

This is also the story of the King’s daughter by Veronique—Marie-Louise. Well-provided for in a comfortable home, Marie-Louise has never known her mother, let alone her father. Capable and intelligent, she discovers a passion for healing and science, and becomes an accredited midwife, one of the few reputable careers for women like her. But eventually Veronique comes back into her daughter’s life, bringing with her the secret of Marie-Louise’s birth. But the new King—Louis XVI—is teetering on his throne and it’s a volatile time in France…and those with royal relatives must mind their step very carefully.


Once there was a young woman from a well-to-do New England family who never quite fit with the drawing rooms and parlors of her kin.

Called instead to the tangled woods and wild cliffs surrounding her family’s estate, Margaret Harlowe grew both stranger and more beautiful as she cultivated her uncanny power. Soon, whispers of “witch” dogged her footsteps, and Margaret’s power began to wind itself with the tendrils of something darker.

One hundred and fifty years later, Augusta Podos takes a dream job at Harlowe House, the historic home of a wealthy New England family that has been turned into a small museum in Tynemouth, Massachusetts. When Augusta stumbles across an oblique reference to a daughter of the Harlowes who has nearly been expunged from the historical record, the mystery is too intriguing to ignore.

But as she digs deeper, something sinister unfurls from its sleep, a dark power that binds one woman to the other across lines of blood and time. If Augusta can’t resist its allure, everything she knows and loves—including her very life—could be lost forever.


When Micah Wilkes was a senior in high school, her boyfriend was convicted of murdering her best friend, Emily. A decade later, Micah has finally moved on from the unforgivable betrayal and loss. Now the owner of a bustling coffee shop in her small hometown in Pennsylvania, she’s happily coupled up with another old high school friend, the two having bonded over their shared sorrow.

But when reminders of her past begin appearing at her work and home, Micah begins to doubt what she knows about Emily’s death. Questions raised on a true crime blog and in an online web sleuthing forum force her to reexamine her memories of that fateful night. She told the truth to the investigators on the case, but was there another explanation for Emily’s murder? A stranger in the woods. An obsessive former classmate. Or the internet’s favorite suspect: Joshua, Emily’s outcast younger brother who hasn’t been seen since his sister’s death.

As Micah delves deeper into the case, she feels her grip on reality loosening, her behavior growing more and more secretive and unhinged. As she races to piece together the truth about that night ten years ago, Micah grapples with how things could have gone so wrong and wonders whether she, too, might be next to disappear. 


Ray McMillian loves playing the violin more than anything, and nothing will stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a professional musician. Not his mother, who thinks he should get a real job, not the fact that he can’t afford a high-caliber violin, not the racism inherent in the classical music world. And when he makes the startling discovery that his great-grandfather’s fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, his star begins to rise. Then with the international Tchaikovsky Competition—the Olympics of classical music—fast approaching, his prized family heirloom is stolen. Ray is determined to get it back. But now his family and the descendants of the man who once enslaved Ray’s great-grandfather are each claiming that the violin belongs to them. With the odds stacked against him and the pressure mounting, will Ray ever see his beloved violin again? 


Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.

Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.

Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?


Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

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.

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.

Sorties VO • Avril 2021

Le mois d’avril est rempli de nouvelles parutions plus prometteuses les unes que les autres avec des réécritures de la mythologie grecque, la publication d’un nouveau roman pour une auteur que j’adore, Christina Henry, des ouvrages autour de la Seconde Guerre mondiale qui ont l’air passionnant (dont une réécriture d’Hamlet qui est une de mes pièces de théâtre préférée)… Laquelle de ces nouvelles sorties VO vous fait le plus envie ?

Eva & Eve: A Search for My Mother’s Lost Childhood and What a War Left Behind • Julie MetzAtria Books • 6 avril • 320 pages

To Julie Metz, her mother, Eve, was the quintessential New Yorker. Eve rarely spoke about her childhood and it was difficult to imagine her living anywhere else except Manhattan, where she could be found attending Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera or inspecting a round of French triple crème at Zabar’s. 

In truth, Eve had endured a harrowing childhood in Nazi-occupied Vienna. After her mother passed, Julie discovered a keepsake book filled with farewell notes from friends and relatives addressed to a ten-year-old girl named Eva. This long-hidden memento was the first clue to the secret pain that Julie’s mother had carried as a refugee and immigrant, shining a light on a family that had to persevere at every turn to escape the antisemitism and xenophobia that threatened their survival. 

Interweaving personal memoir and family history, Eva and Evevividly traces one woman’s search for her mother’s lost childhood while revealing the resilience of our forebears and the sacrifices that ordinary people are called to make during history’s darkest hours.

Ariadne • Jennifer Saint • Wildfire • 29 avril • 400 pages

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

Near the bones • Christina Henry • Berkley Books • 13 avril • 331 pages

Mattie can’t remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they’re not alone after all.

There’s something in the woods that wasn’t there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws.

When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.

Sistersong • Lucy Holland • MacMillan • 15 avril • 400 pages

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.

Ophelia • Norman Bacal • Barlow Books • 15 avril • 312 pages

To be or not to be, that is the question Ophelia faces in this Hamlet modernization.

The story opens in Nazi-occupied Denmark: a fisherman and his son risk their lives on dark, stormy seas to transport the family of a Jewish merchant to safety. When the fisherman refuses any reward, the merchant makes a vow that will transcend generations.

Sixty years later the fisherman’s son, Geri Neilson has built an international pharmaceutical company. When Geri dies in mysterious circumstances, his son Tal is convinced that Geri’s business partner, Red King, orchestrated murder as part of a scheme to take control of the company. Geri’s voice in Tal’s head, urges him to fight for the legacy and seek vengeance.

Enter Ophelia, the granddaughter of the merchant Geri and his father saved. She is sworn to protect Tal without his knowledge, in accordance with the vow that has become a secret family obsession.

And she’s been trained to risk her life to do it.

The battles between good and evil, addiction and independence, ambition and love, play out in an international epic. Twists and turns abound in this study of obsession, secrecy, romance, and duty to family.

The Venice sketchbook • Rhys Bowen • Lake Union Publishing • 13 avril • 412 pages

Caroline Grant is struggling to accept the end of her marriage when she receives an unexpected bequest. Her beloved great-aunt Lettie leaves her a sketchbook, three keys, and a final whisper…Venice. Caroline’s quest: to scatter Juliet “Lettie” Browning’s ashes in the city she loved and to unlock the mysteries stored away for more than sixty years.

It’s 1938 when art teacher Juliet Browning arrives in romantic Venice. For her students, it’s a wealth of history, art, and beauty. For Juliet, it’s poignant memories and a chance to reconnect with Leonardo Da Rossi, the man she loves whose future is already determined by his noble family. However star-crossed, nothing can come between them. Until the threat of war closes in on Venice and they’re forced to fight, survive, and protect a secret that will bind them forever.

Key by key, Lettie’s life of impossible love, loss, and courage unfolds. It’s one that Caroline can now make right again as her own journey of self-discovery begins.

Courage, my love ! • Kristin Beck • Berkley Books • 13 avril • 336 pages

Rome, 1943

Lucia Colombo has had her doubts about fascism for years, but as a single mother in an increasingly unstable country, politics are for other people–she needs to focus on keeping herself and her son alive. Then the Italian government falls and the German occupation begins, and suddenly, Lucia finds that complacency is no longer an option. 

Francesca Gallo has always been aware of injustice and suffering. A polio survivor who lost her father when he was arrested for his anti-fascist politics, she came to Rome with her fiancé to start a new life. But when the Germans invade and her fiancé is taken by the Nazis, Francesca decides she has only one option: to fight back.

As Lucia and Francesca are pulled deeper into the struggle against the Nazi occupation, both women learn to resist alongside the partisans to drive the Germans from Rome. But as winter sets in, the occupation tightens its grip on the city, and the resistance is in constant danger. 

The Passenger • Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz • Metropolitan Books • 13 avril (réédition d’un livre de 1939) • 288 pages

Berlin, November 1938. Jewish shops have been ransacked and looted, synagogues destroyed. As storm troopers pound on his door, Otto Silbermann, a respected businessman who fought for Germany in the Great War, is forced to sneak out the back of his own home. Turned away from establishments he had long patronized, and fearful of being exposed as a Jew despite his Aryan looks, he boards a train.

And then another. And another . . . until his flight becomes a frantic odyssey across Germany, as he searches first for information, then for help, and finally for escape. His travels bring him face-to-face with waiters and conductors, officials and fellow outcasts, seductive women and vicious thieves, a few of whom disapprove of the regime while the rest embrace it wholeheartedly.

Clinging to his existence as it was just days before, Silbermann refuses to believe what is happening even as he is beset by opportunists, betrayed by associates, and bereft of family, friends, and fortune. As his world collapses around him, he is forced to concede that his nightmare is all too real.

The Mary Shelley Club • Goldy Moldavsky • Henry Holt & Company • 13 avril • 480 pages

New girl Rachel Chavez is eager to make a fresh start at Manchester Prep. But as one of the few scholarship kids, Rachel struggles to fit in, and when she gets caught up in a prank gone awry, she ends up with more enemies than friends.

To her surprise, however, the prank attracts the attention of the Mary Shelley Club, a secret club of students with one objective: come up with the scariest prank to orchestrate real fear. But as the pranks escalate, the competition turns cutthroat and takes on a life of its own.

When the tables are turned and someone targets the club itself, Rachel must track down the real-life monster in their midst . . . even if it means finally confronting the dark secrets from her past.

The last night in London • Karen White • Berkley Books • 20 avril • 480 pages

London, 1939. Beautiful and ambitious Eva Harlow and her American best friend, Precious Dubose, are trying to make their way as fashion models. When Eva falls in love with Graham St. John, an aristocrat and Royal Air Force pilot, she can’t believe her luck – she’s getting everything she ever wanted. Then the Blitz devastates her world, and Eva finds herself slipping into a web of intrigue, spies and secrets. As Eva struggles to protect everything she holds dear, all it takes is one unwary moment to change their lives forever.

London, 2019. American journalist Maddie Warner travels to London to interview Precious about her life in pre-WWII London. Maddie, healing from past trauma and careful to close herself off to others, finds herself drawn to both Precious and to Colin, Precious’ enigmatic surrogate nephew. As Maddie gets closer to her, she begins to unravel Precious’ haunting past – and the secrets she swore she’d never reveal…

Lost in Paris • Elizabeth Thompson • Gallery Books • 13 avril • 352 pages

Hannah Bond has always been a bookworm, which is why she fled Florida—and her unstable, alcoholic mother—for a quiet life leading Jane Austen-themed tours through the British countryside. But on New Year’s Eve, everything comes crashing down when she arrives back at her London flat to find her mother, Marla, waiting for her.

Marla’s brought two things with her: a black eye from her ex-boyfriend and an envelope. Its contents? The deed to an apartment in Paris, an old key, and newspaper clippings about the death of a famous writer named Andres Armand. Hannah, wary of her mother’s motives, reluctantly agrees to accompany her to Paris, where against all odds, they discover great-grandma Ivy’s apartment frozen in 1940 and covered in dust.

Inside the apartment, Hannah and Marla discover mysterious clues about Ivy’s life—including a diary detailing evenings of drinking and dancing with Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, and other iconic expats. Outside, they retrace her steps through the city in an attempt to understand why she went to such great lengths to hide her Paris identity from future generations.

The Divide, The last watch • J.S. Dewes • Tor Books • 20 avril • 480 pages

The Divide.

It’s the edge of the universe.

Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it.

The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military.

At the Divide, Adequin Rake, commanding the Argus, has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted.

They’re humanity’s only chance.

Churchill’s secret messenger • Alan Hlad • John Scognamiglio Book • 27 avril • 304 pages

London, 1941: In a cramped bunker in Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms, underneath Westminster’s Treasury building, civilian women huddle at desks, typing up confidential documents and reports. Since her parents were killed in a bombing raid, Rose Teasdale has spent more hours than usual in Room 60, working double shifts, growing accustomed to the burnt scent of the Prime Minister’s cigars permeating the stale air. Winning the war is the only thing that matters, and she will gladly do her part. And when Rose’s fluency in French comes to the attention of Churchill himself, it brings a rare yet dangerous opportunity.

Rose is recruited for the Special Operations Executive, a secret British organization that conducts espionage in Nazi-occupied Europe. After weeks of grueling training, Rose parachutes into France with a new codename: Dragonfly. Posing as a cosmetics saleswoman in Paris, she ferries messages to and from the Resistance, knowing that the slightest misstep means capture or death.

Soon Rose is assigned to a new mission with Lazare Aron, a French Resistance fighter who has watched his beloved Paris become a shell of itself, with desolate streets and buildings draped in Swastikas. Since his parents were sent to a German work camp, Lazare has dedicated himself to the cause with the same fervor as Rose. Yet Rose’s very loyalty brings risks as she undertakes a high-stakes prison raid, and discovers how much she may have to sacrifice to justify Churchill’s faith in her…

The End of Men • Christina Sweeney-Baird • Double Day Canada • 27 avril • 416 pages

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a women’s world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the male plague; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.

The last bookshop in London • Madeline Martin • Hanover Square Press • 6 avril • 320 pages

August 1939: London prepares for war as Hitler’s forces sweep across Europe. Grace Bennett has always dreamed of moving to the city, but the bunkers and blackout curtains that she finds on her arrival were not what she expected. And she certainly never imagined she’d wind up working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop nestled in the heart of London.

Through blackouts and air raids as the Blitz intensifies, Grace discovers the power of storytelling to unite her community in ways she never dreamed—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of the war.

The Dictionary of lost words • Pip Williams • Ballantine Books • 6 avril • 400 pages

Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the « Scriptorium, » a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Young Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word « bondmaid » flutters to the floor. She rescues the slip, and when she learns that the word means slave-girl, she withholds it from the OED and begins to collect words that show women in a more positive light.

As she grows up, Esme realizes that words and meanings relating to women’s and common folks’ experiences often go unrecorded. And so she begins in earnest to search out words for her own dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words. To do so she must leave the sheltered world of the university and venture out to meet the people whose words will fill those pages.

The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos • Judy Batalion • William Morrow • 6 avril • 560 pages

Witnesses to the brutal murder of their families and neighbors and the violent destruction of their communities, a cadre of Jewish women in Poland—some still in their teens—helped transform the Jewish youth groups into resistance cells to fight the Nazis. With courage, guile, and nerves of steel, these “ghetto girls” paid off Gestapo guards, hid revolvers in loaves of bread and jars of marmalade, and helped build systems of underground bunkers. They flirted with German soldiers, bribed them with wine, whiskey, and home cooking, used their Aryan looks to seduce them, and shot and killed them. They bombed German train lines and blew up a town’s water supply. They also nursed the sick and taught children.

Yet the exploits of these courageous resistance fighters have remained virtually unknown.

Sorties VO • Mars 2021

The Ladies of the Secret Circus • Constance Sayers • RedHooks • 23 mars • 469 pages

Paris, 1925: To enter the Secret Circus is to enter a world of wonder-a world where women tame magnificent beasts, carousels take you back in time, and trapeze artists float across the sky. But each daring feat has a cost. Bound to her family’s strange and magical circus, it’s the only world Cecile Cabot knows-until she meets a charismatic young painter and embarks on a passionate love affair that could cost her everything.

Virginia, 2005: Lara Barnes is on top of the world-until her fiancé disappears on their wedding day. Desperate, her search for answers unexpectedly leads to her great-grandmother’s journals and sweeps her into the story of a dark circus and a generational curse that has been claiming payment from the women in her family for generations.

In the Quick • Kate Hope Day • Random House • 2 mars • 272 pages

June is a brilliant but difficult girl with a gift for mechanical invention, who leaves home to begin a grueling astronaut training program. Six years later, she has gained a coveted post as an engineer on a space station, but is haunted by the mystery of Inquiry, a revolutionary spacecraft powered by her beloved late uncle’s fuel cells. The spacecraft went missing when June was twelve years old, and while the rest of the world has forgotten them, June alone has evidence that makes her believe the crew is still alive.

She seeks out James, her uncle’s former protégée, also brilliant, also difficult, who has been trying to discover why Inquiry’s fuel cells failed. James and June forge an intense intellectual bond that becomes an electric attraction. But the love that develops between them as they work to solve the fuel cell’s fatal flaw threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to create–and any chance of bringing the Inquiry crew home alive.

Under the light of the Italian Moon • Jennifer Anton • Amsterdam Publishers • 8 mars • 396 pages

Fonzaso Italy, between two wars

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.

When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.

As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…

The phone booth at the edge of the world • Laura Imai Messina • The Overlook Press • 9 mars 416 pages

When Yui loses both her mother and her daughter in the tsunami, she begins to mark the passage of time from that date onward: Everything is relative to March 11, 2011, the day the tsunami tore Japan apart, and when grief took hold of her life. Yui struggles to continue on, alone with her pain.

Then, one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone booth in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone booth spreads, people travel to it from miles around.

Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone booth, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Instead she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of her mother’s death. Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World is the signpost pointing to the healing that can come after.

The Girl in the painting • Tea Cooper • Thomas Nelson • 9 mars • 384 pages

Australia, 1906 

Orphan Jane Piper is nine years old when philanthropist siblings Michael and Elizabeth Quinn take her into their home to further her schooling. The Quinns are no strangers to hardship— having arrived in Australia as penniless immigrants, they now care for others as lost as they once were.

Despite Jane’s mysterious past, her remarkable aptitude for mathematics takes her far over the next seven years, and her relationship with Elizabeth and Michael flourishes as she plays an increasingly prominent part in their business.

But when Elizabeth reacts in terror to an exhibition at the local gallery, Jane realizes no one knows Elizabeth after all—not even Elizabeth herself. As the past and the present converge and Elizabeth’s grasp on reality loosens, Jane sets out to unravel Elizabeth’s story before it is too late.

From the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, this compelling novel takes us on a mystery across continents and decades as both women finally discover a place to call home.

The Vietri Project • Nicola DeRobertis-Theye • Harper • 23 mars • 240 pages

Working at a bookstore in Berkeley in the years after college, Gabriele becomes intrigued by the orders of signor Vietri, a customer from Rome whose numerous purchases grow increasingly mystical and esoteric. Restless and uncertain of her future, Gabriele quits her job and, landing in Rome, decides to look up Vietri. Unable to locate him, she begins a quest to unearth the well-concealed facts of his life.

Following a trail of obituaries and military records, a memoir of life in a village forgotten by modernity, and the court records of a communist murder trial, Gabriele meets an eclectic assortment of the city’s inhabitants, from the widow of an Italian prisoner of war to members of a generation set adrift by the financial crisis. Each encounter draws her unexpectedly closer to her own painful past and complicated family history—an Italian mother diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized during her childhood, and an extended family in Rome still recovering from the losses and betrayals in their past. Through these voices and histories, Gabriele will discover what it means to be a person in the world; a member of a family and a citizen of a country—and how reconciling these stories may be the key to understanding her own. 

Murder & Magic, The Conductors • Nicole Glover • Del Rey • 4 mars • 432 pages

As an escaped slave, Hetty Rhodes helped dozens of people find their own freedom north using her wits and her magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband, Benjy, still fight for their people by solving the murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. 

When they discover one of their friends brutally murdered in an alley, Hetty and Benjy mourn his loss by setting off to find answers. But the mystery of his death soon brings up more questions, more secrets, more hurt. To solve his death, they will have to not only face the ugly truths about the world but the ones about each other. 

After Alice fell • Kim Taylor Blakemore • Lake Union Publishing • 1 mars • 288 pages

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. 

The Women of Chateau Lafayette • Stephanie Dray • Berkley • 30 Mars • 576 pages

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. 

Red Island House • Andrea Lee • Scribner • 23 mars • 288 pages

Shay is surprised when her husband Senna declares his intention to build her a spectacular dream house on an idyllic beach in the tropical island nation of Madagascar.

But the Red Island House casts a spell from the moment she sees it, and before she knows it Shay has become the somewhat reluctant mistress of a sprawling household, caught between her privileged American upbringing and education, and her connection to the continent of her ancestors.

At first, she’s content to be an observer of the passionate affairs and fierce ambitions and rivalries around her. But as she and her husband raise children and establish their own rituals on the island, Shay finds herself drawn ever deeper into an extraordinary place with its own laws and logic, a provocative paradise full of magic and myth whose fraught colonial legacy continues to reverberate. Soon the collision of cultures comes right to Shay’s door, forcing her to make a life-altering decision.

Vera • Carol Edgarian • Scribner • 2 mars • 336 pages

Meet Vera Johnson, the uncommonly resourceful fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s most legendary bordello and ally to the city’s corrupt politicians. Vera has grown up straddling two worlds—the madam’s alluring sphere, replete with tickets to the opera, surly henchmen, and scant morality, and the violent, debt ridden domestic life of the family paid to raise her.

On the morning of the great quake, Vera’s worlds collide. As the shattered city burns and looters vie with the injured, orphaned, and starving, Vera and her guileless sister, Pie, are cast adrift. Vera disregards societal norms and prejudices and begins to imagine a new kind of life. She collaborates with Tan, her former rival, and forges an unlikely family of survivors. Together they navigate their way beyond disaster.

The Vines • Shelley Nolden • Freiling Publishing • 23 mars • 391 pages

In the shadows of New York City lies forbidden North Brother Island, where the remains of a shuttered hospital hide the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned by contagions and the doctors who torment her. When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past—and his own family’s dark secrets. By unraveling these mysteries, will he be able to save Cora? Will Cora meet the same tragic ending as the thousands who’ve already perished on the island?

The lost village • Camilla Sten • Minotaur Books • 23 mars • 352 pages

Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

But there will be no turning back.

Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

They are not alone. They’re looking for the truth… But what if it finds them first?

The Rose Code • Kate Quinn • William Morrow • 9 mars • 656 pages

1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart. 

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger–and their true enemy–closer…

The lost apothecary • Sarah Penner • Park Row • 2 mars • 320 pages

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

Sorties VO • Février 2021

The Paris Dressmaker • Kristy Cambron • Thomas Nelson • 400 pages • 16 février

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 headquartersBut 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.

The Shadow War • Lindsay Smith • Philomel Books • 416 pages • 23 février

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?

The Girl from Shadow Spring • Ellie Cypher • Simon Schuster • 320 pages • 9 février

Everyone in Shadow Springs knows that no one survives crossing the Flats. But the threat of a frozen death has never deterred the steady stream of treasure hunters searching for a legendary prize hidden somewhere in the vast expanse of ice. Jorie thinks they’re all fools, which makes scavenging their possessions easier. It’s how she and her sister, Brenna, survive.

Then Jorie scavenges off the wrong body. When the dead man’s enemy believes Jorie took something valuable from the body, he kidnaps Brenna as collateral. He tells Jorie that if she wants her sister back, she’ll have to trade her for the item he thinks she stole. But how can Jorie make a trade when she doesn’t even know what she’s looking for?

Her only source of information is Cody, the dead man’s nephew and a scholar from the South who’s never been hardened by the harsh conditions of the North. Though Jorie’s reluctant to bring a city boy out onto the Flats with her, she’ll do whatever it takes to save her sister. But anything can happen out on the ice, and soon Jorie and Cody find they need one another more than they ever imagined—and they’ll have to trust each other to survive threats beyond their darkest nightmares. 

The Witch’s Heart • Genevieve Gornichec • Ace Book • 368 pages • 9 février

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.

We are the ashes, we are the fires • Joy McCullough • Dutton Books • 400 pages • 9 février

Em Morales’s older sister was raped by another student after a frat party. A jury eventually found the rapist guilty on all counts–a remarkable verdict that Em felt more than a little responsible for, since she was her sister’s strongest advocate on social media during the trial. Her passion and outspokenness helped dissuade the DA from settling for a plea deal. Em’s family would have real justice. 

But the victory is lived. In a matter of minutes, justice vanishes as the judge turns the Morales family’s world upside down again by sentencing the rapist to no prison time. While her family is stunned, Em is literally sick with rage and guilt. To make matters worse, a news clip of her saying that the sentence “makes me want to use a fucking sword” goes viral.

From this low point, Em must find a new reason to go on and help her family heal, and she finds it in the unlikely form of the story of a 15th-century French noblewoman, Marguerite de Bressieux, who is legendary as an avenging knight for rape victims.

Dearest Josephine • Caroline George • Thomas Nelson • 384 pages • 2 février

2020: Chocolate and Earl Grey tea can’t fix Josie De Clare’s horrible year. She mourned the death of her father and suffered a teen-life crisis, which delayed her university plans. But when her father’s will reveals a family-owned property in Northern England, Josie leaves London to find clarity at the secluded manor house. While exploring the estate, she discovers two-hundred-year-old love letters written by an elusive novelist, all addressed to someone named Josephine. And then she discovers a novel in which it seems like she’s the heroine…

1820: Novelist Elias Roch loves a woman he can never be with. Born the bastard son to a nobleman and cast out from society, Elias seeks refuge in his mind with the quirky heroine who draws him into a fantasy world of scandal, betrayal, and unconditional love. Convinced she’s his soulmate, Elias writes letters to her, all of which divulge the tragedy and trials of his personal life.

As fiction blurs into reality, Josie and Elias must decide: How does one live if love can’t wait? Separated by two hundred years, they fight against time to find each other in a story of her, him, and the novel written by the man who loves her.

While Paris slept • Ruth Druart • Grand Central Publishing • 464 pages • 23 février

After. Santa Cruz, California, 1953. Jean-Luc and Charlotte Beauchamps have left their war-torn memories of Paris behind to live a quiet life in America with their son, Sam. They have a house in the suburbs, they’ve learned to speak English, and they have regular get-togethers with their outgoing American neighbors. Every minute in California erases a minute of their lives before — before the Germans invaded their French homeland and incited years of violence, hunger, and fear. But their taste of the American Dream shatters when officers from the U.N. Commission on War Crimes pull-up outside their home and bring Jean-Luc in for questioning.

Before. Paris, France, 1944. Germany has occupied France for four years. Jean-Luc works at the railway station at Bobigny, where thousands of Jews travel each day to be « resettled » in Germany. But Jean-Luc and other railway employees can’t ignore the rumors or what they see on the tracks: too many people are packed into the cars, and bodies are sometimes left to be disposed of after a train departs. Jean-Luc’s unease turns into full-blown panic when a young woman with bright green eyes bursts from the train one day alongside hundreds of screaming, terrified passengers, and pushes a warm, squirming bundle into his arms.

The upstairs house • Julia Fine • Harper • 304 pages • 23 février

Ravaged and sore from giving birth to her first child, Megan is mostly raising her newborn alone while her husband travels for work. Physically exhausted and mentally drained, she’s also wracked with guilt over her unfinished dissertation—a thesis on mid-century children’s literature.

Enter a new upstairs neighbor: the ghost of quixotic children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown—author of the beloved classic Goodnight Moon—whose existence no one else will acknowledge. It seems Margaret has unfinished business with her former lover, the once-famous socialite and actress Michael Strange, and is determined to draw Megan into the fray. As Michael joins the haunting, Megan finds herself caught in the wake of a supernatural power struggle—and until she can find a way to quiet these spirits, she and her newborn daughter are in terrible danger.

The Invisible Woman • Erika Robuck • Berkley Books • 368 pages • 9 février

France, March 1944. Virginia Hall wasn’t like the other young society women back home in Baltimore–she never wanted the debutante ball or silk gloves. Instead, she traded a safe life for adventure in Europe, and when her beloved second home is thrust into the dark days of war, she leaps in headfirst.

Once she’s recruited as an Allied spy, subverting the Nazis becomes her calling. But even the most cunning agent can be bested, and in wartime trusting the wrong person can prove fatal. Virginia is haunted every day by the betrayal that ravaged her first operation, and will do everything in her power to avenge the brave people she lost.

While her future is anything but certain, this time more than ever Virginia knows that failure is not an option. Especially when she discovers what–and whom–she’s truly protecting.

The Family Ship • Sonja Yoerg • Lake Union Publishing • 412 pages • 23 février

Chesapeake Bay, 1980. Eighteen-year-old Verity Vergennes is the captain of the USS Nepenthe, and her seven younger siblings are her crew. The ship—an oyster boat transformed into a make-believe destroyer—is the heart of the Vergennes family, a place both to play and to learn responsibility. But Verity’s had it with being tied to the ship and secretly applies to a distant college. If only her parents could bear to let her go.

Maeve and Arthur Vergennes already suffered one loss when, five years earlier, their eldest son, Jude, stormed out and never returned. Now Maeve is pregnant again and something’s amiss. Verity yearns to follow her dreams, but how can she jump ship now? The problem, and perhaps the answer, lies with Jude.

When disaster strikes and the family unravels, Verity must rally her sibling crew to keep the Nepenthe and all it symbolizes afloat. Sailing away from home, she discovers, is never easy—not if you ever hope to find your way back.

A History of What come next • Sylvain Neuvel • Tor.com • 304 pages • 2 février

Always run, never fight. 
Preserve the knowledge.
Survive at all costs.
Take them to the stars.

Over 99 identical generations, Mia’s family has shaped human history to push them to the stars, making brutal, wrenching choices and sacrificing countless lives. Her turn comes at the dawn of the age of rocketry. Her mission: to lure Wernher Von Braun away from the Nazi party and into the American rocket program, and secure the future of the space race. 

But Mia’s family is not the only group pushing the levers of history: an even more ruthless enemy lurks behind the scenes.

A darkly satirical first contact thriller, as seen through the eyes of the women who make progress possible and the men who are determined to stop them…

The Girl from the Channel Islands • Jenny Lecoat • Graydon House • 304 pages • 2 février

The year is 1940, and the world is torn apart by war. In June of that year, Hitler’s army captures the Channel Islands—the only part of Great Britain occupied by German forces. Abandoned by Mr. Churchill, forgotten by the Allies and cut off from all help, the Islands’ situation is increasingly desperate.

Hedy Bercu is a young Jewish girl who fled Vienna for the island of Jersey two years earlier during the Anschluss, only to find herself trapped by the Nazis once more—this time with no escape. Her only hope is to make herself invaluable to the Germans by working as a translator, hiding in plain sight with the help of her friends and community—and a sympathetic German officer. But as the war intensifies, rations dwindle and neighbors are increasingly suspicious of one another. Hedy’s life is in greater danger every day. It will take a definitive, daring act to save her from certain deportation to the concentration camps.

Where madness lies • Sylvia True • Top Hat Books • 344 pages • 1 février

Germany, 1934. Rigmor, a young Jewish woman is a patient at Sonnenstein, a premier psychiatric institution known for their curative treatments. But with the tide of eugenics and the Nazis’ rise to power, Rigmor is swept up in a campaign to rid Germany of the mentally ill.

USA, 1984. Sabine, battling crippling panic and depression commits herself to McLean Hospital, but in doing so she has unwittingly agreed to give up her baby.

Linking these two generations of women is Inga, who did everything in her power to help her sister, Rigmor. Now with her granddaughter, Sabine, Inga is given a second chance to free someone she loves from oppressive forces, both within and without.

Of Silver and Shadow • Jennifer Gruenke • Flux • 480 pages • 16 février

Ren Kolins is a silver wielder—a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a century. Ren is just trying to survive, sticking to a life of petty thievery, card games, and pit fighting to get by. But when a wealthy rebel leader discovers her secret, he offers her a fortune to join his revolution. The caveat: she won’t see a single coin until they overthrow the King.

Behind the castle walls, a brutal group of warriors known as the King’s Children is engaged in a competition: the first to find the rebel leader will be made King’s Fang, the right hand of the King of Erdis. And Adley Farre is hunting down the rebels one by one, torturing her way to Ren and the rebel leader, and the coveted King’s Fang title.

But time is running out for all of them, including the youngest Prince of Erdis, who finds himself pulled into the rebellion. Political tensions have reached a boiling point, and Ren and the rebels must take the throne before war breaks out.

Muse • Britanny Cavallaro • Katherine Tegen Books • 352 pages • 2 février

The year is 1893, and war is brewing in the First American Kingdom. But Claire Emerson has a bigger problem. While her father prepares to reveal the mighty weapon he’s created to showcase the might of their province, St. Cloud, in the World’s Fair, Claire is crafting a plan to escape.

Claire’s father is a sought-after inventor, but he believes his genius is a gift, granted to him by his daughter’s touch. He’s kept Claire under his control for years. As St. Cloud prepares for war, Claire plans to claim her life for herself, even as her best friend, Beatrix, tries to convince her to stay and help with the growing resistance movement that wants to see a woman on the throne. At any cost.

When her father’s weapon fails to fire on the fair’s opening day, Claire is taken captive by Governor Remy Duchamp, St. Cloud’s young, untried ruler. Remy believes that Claire’s touch bestows graces he’s never had, and with his governing power weakening and many political rivals planning his demise, Claire might be his only and best ally. But the last thing that Claire has ever wanted is to be someone else’s muse. Still, affections can change as quickly as the winds of war. And Claire has a choice to make: Will she quietly remake her world from the shadows—or bring it down in flames?

All girls • Emily Layden • Saint Martin’s Press • 320 pages • 16 février

A keenly perceptive coming-of-age novel, All Girls captures one year at a prestigious New England prep school, as nine young women navigate their ambitions, friendships, and fears against the backdrop of a scandal the administration wants silenced.

But as the months unfold, and the school’s efforts to control the ensuing crisis fall short, these extraordinary girls are forced to discover their voices, and their power. A tender and unflinching portrait of modern adolescence told through the shifting perspectives of an unforgettable cast of female students, All Girls explores what it means to grow up in a place that promises you the world––when the world still isn’t yours for the taking.

The Kitchen Front • Jennifer Ryan • Ballantine Books • 416 pages • 23 février

Two years into WW2, Britain is feeling her losses; the Nazis have won battles, the Blitz has destroyed cities, and U-boats have cut off the supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio program called The Kitchen Front is putting on a cooking contest–and the grand prize is a job as the program’s first-ever female co-host. For four very different women, winning the contest presents a crucial chance to change their lives.

For a young widow, it’s a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. For a kitchen maid, it’s a chance to leave servitude and find freedom. For the lady of the manor, it’s a chance to escape her wealthy husband’s increasingly hostile behavior. And for a trained chef, it’s a chance to challenge the men at the top of her profession.

These four women are giving the competition their all -even if that sometimes means bending the rules. But with so much at stake, will the contest that aims to bring the community together serve only to break it apart? 

The nature of fragile things • Susan Meissner • Berkley Books • 384 • 2 février

April 18, 1906: A massive earthquake rocks San Francisco just before daybreak, igniting a devouring inferno. Lives are lost, lives are shattered, but some rise from the ashes forever changed. 

Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin’s silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin’s odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn’t right.

Then one early-spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved.

The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear.

Bilan 2020

C’est avec aucun regret que je laisse 2020 se terminer. Comme pour beaucoup, cette année a été éprouvante à tout point de vue avec son lot de mauvaises nouvelles et de coups durs professionnels (je travaille dans la culture). Durant cette année, je me suis énormément réfugiée dans la lecture, à la fois pour faire passer le temps et supporter ces confinements qui m’ont pesé, je l’avoue. J’ai aussi repris en main de blog, abandonné pendant une bonne partie de 2019.

En janvier 2020, j’avais émis le souhait totalement fou et irréaliste de lire au moins 200 livres, soit le double de ce que je lis habituellement. Le pari n’a pas été si fou puisque j’ai lu très exactement 223 livres durant l’année, soit 72.205 pages. Merci les confinements !

2020 a été une année placée sous le signe des essais en histoire et en histoire de l’art. Ils représentent 28% de mes lectures. J’ai aussi redécouvert les classiques de la littérature française des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles avec Émile Zola, Voltaire et Rousseau et tête. Les classiques représentent 13,6% de ce que j’ai lu, soit 34 livres, dont une dizaine de classiques russes, allemands (dont le premier tome Guerre & Paix). Découverte de la littérature classique allemande avec un coup de coeur pour Les souffrances du jeune Werther.

Mon trois meilleures lectures de 2020

The Hollow Places de T. Kingfisher est un des meilleurs romans d’horreur que j’ai pu lire depuis bien longtemps. Je suis un petit en retard dans la publication de mes avis littéraires et celui-ci devrait arriver très prochainement. Je n’en dis donc pas plus. Mais c’est un de mes gros coups de coeur de l’année.

All the bad apples de Moïra Rowley-Doyle est un des livres qui m’a le plus marqué cette année : l’Irlande, la place de la femme, le réalisme magique qui se dégage de ce roman, une histoire de famille… J’ai adoré et je le relirai avec plaisir. Pour lire mon avis sur ce dernier, c’est par ici. [lien]

Enfin, The Year of the Witching d’Alexis Henderson… Un autre livre d’horreur, mais totalement différent du Kingfisher avec une société puritaine, des sorcières, des bains de sang… Gros coup de coeur pour ce premier roman d’horreur par une auteur à suivre. J’avais publié une chronique. [lien]

Mes trois plus grosses déceptions de 2020

Eoin Colfer signait son grand retour avec un roman pour les jeunes adultes, Highfire. J’ai adoré plus jeune les Artemis Fowl qui est une série avec laquelle j’ai grandi. Je n’ai pas du tout aimé ce nouveau livre. Pour savoir pourquoi je n’ai pas aimé cet ouvrage, voici mon billet. [lien]

Alors que je préparais cet article, je savais que Three Hours in Paris de Cara Black finirait dans mes déceptions de l’année. Je l’avais pourtant mis dans les sorties VO qui me tentaient, mais encore aujourd’hui, je ne sais pas si je dois rire ou pleurer devant ce livre… En tout cas, j’y ai lu la phrase la plus improbable de l’année. Ma chronique est à lire sur le blog. [lien]

Dernier livre dans mes déceptions, Cursed de Frank Miller et Thomas Wheeler. La série m’avait quelque peu laissé sur ma faim. J’avais envie d’avoir plus de développements et je me suis tournée vers le livre qui reste fidèle à la série… Et je n’y ai donc pas trouvé ce que j’espérais. J’avais publié un article sur le sujet. [lien]

J’en ai fini de mes coups de coeur et déceptions de l’année et j’avais envie de faire un tour d’horizons de mes résolutions prises début 2020 et si elles ont été tenues.

En premier lieu, je souhaitais lire une dizaine de pièces de théâtre. Même si j’en ai lu quelques unes, elles se comptent sur les doigts d’une seule main… Et encore. J’ai redécouvert quelques classiques comme Le mariage de Figaro de Beaumarchais ou Cyrano de Bergerac d’Edmond de Rostand. En revanche, j’ai réussi à lire les dix recueils de poésie avec autant des classiques que de la poésie contemporaines. J’ai relu Les Contemplations de Victor Hugo, Les fleurs du mal de Charles Baudelaire. J’ai dévoré le dernier recueil de Rupi Kaur, Home Body.

Je voulais également terminer quatre séries en cours. J’en ai fini trois, donc je suis plutôt contente.

J’espérai avoir une pile à lire à zéro à la fin du mois de décembre. Je termine l’année avec 21 livres qui attendent d’être lus. J’ai pas mal craqué la dernière semaine et j’ai fait quelques achats.

Le plus gros objectif de lecture que je m’étais fixée pour 2020 était de commencer et finir les Rougon-Macquart d’Émile Zola. J’en ai lu que cinq cette année, de La fortune des Rougon à La faute de l’abbé Mouret. La suite sera pour 2021, ayant déjà commandé le prochain, Son Excellence Eugène Rougon.

Une autre résolution, la dernière, était de lire une cinquantaine de romans ou essais en anglais. Record battu ! J’ai lu 86 romans en anglais. Je ne suis pas encore à 50/50, mais c’est tout de même un beau score. Je ne m’y attendais pas.

2020 n’a pas été une année aussi riche culturellement que je l’espérais, mais j’ai pu commencer l’année en allant aux ballets russes voir Casse-Noisette, qui est un de mes préférés (je vénère Tchaikovsky). Un merveilleux moment partagé avec l’une de mes petites soeurs. J’ai aussi visité quelques coins de la France que je ne connaissais pas, et notamment la Haute-Savoie. J’ai pu visiter le château de Montrottier, les Jardins Secrets de Vaulx, un endroit totalement hors du temps, le musée de la Résistance haut-savoyarde à Morette ainsi que la ville d’Annecy. En août, j’ai pris la direction d’Albi pour découvrir cette magnifique cité médiéval ainsi que les petites villes d’Ambialet et de Cordes-sur-Ciel. [article sur ces quelques jours dans le Tarn]

J’ai pu visiter le musée Toulouse-Lautrec ainsi que la rétrospective Christo et Jeanne-Claude au musée Würth d’Erstein. [compte-rendu de l’exposition]

Sorties VO • Septembre 2020

 

Quelques sorties VO pour septembre : beaucoup d’historiques, notamment autour de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, sujet qui inspire toujours les auteurs, du fantastique…

The Paris Children • Gloria Goldreich • Sourcebooks Landmark • 1 septembre • 363 pages

Paris, 1935. A dark shadow falls over Europe as Adolf Hitler’s regime gains momentum, leaving the city of Paris on the brink of occupation. Young Madeleine Levy—granddaughter of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish World War I hero—steps bravely into a new wave of resistance women and becomes the guardian of lost children.

When Madeleine meets a small girl in a tattered coat with the hollow look of one forced to live a nightmare—a young Jewish refugee from Germany—she knows that she cannot stand idly by. Madeleine offers children comfort and strength while working with other members of the resistance to smuggle them out of Paris and into safer territories.

As the Paris Madeleine loves is transformed into a theater of tension and hatred, many are tempted to abandon the cause. Amidst the impending horror and doubt, Madeleine and Claude, a young Jewish Resistance fighter who shares her passion for saving children, are drawn fiercely together. With a questionable future ahead of them, all Madeleine can do is continue fighting and hope that her spirit—and the nation’s—won’t be broken.

Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy • Ben McIntyre • Crown Publishing Group • 15 septembre • 400 pages

In 1942, in a quiet village in the leafy English Cotswolds, a thin, elegant woman lived in a small cottage with her three children and her husband, who worked as a machinist nearby. Ursula Burton was friendly but reserved, and spoke English with a slight foreign accent. By all accounts, she seemed to be living a simple, unassuming life. Her neighbors in the village knew little about her.

They didn’t know that she was a high-ranking Soviet intelligence officer. They didn’t know that her husband was also a spy, or that she was running powerful agents across Europe. Behind the facade of her picturesque life, Burton was a dedicated Communist, a Soviet colonel, and a veteran agent, gathering the scientific secrets that would enable the Soviet Union to build the bomb.

This true-life spy story is a masterpiece about the woman code-named “Sonya.” Over the course of her career, she was hunted by the Chinese, the Japanese, the Nazis, MI5, MI6, and the FBI—and she evaded them all. Her story reflects the great ideological clash of the twentieth century—between Communism, Fascism, and Western democracy—and casts new light on the spy battles and shifting allegiances of our own times.

The Tolstoy Estate • Steven Conte • 4th Estate • 2 septembre • … pages

In the first year of the doomed German invasion of Russia in WWII, a German military doctor, Paul Bauer, is assigned to establish a field hospital at Yasnaya Polyana – the former grand estate of Count Leo Tolstoy, the author of the classic War and Peace. There he encounters a hostile aristocratic Russian woman, Katerina Trusbetzkaya, a writer who has been left in charge of the estate. But even as a tentative friendship develops between them, Bauer’s hostile and arrogant commanding officer, Julius Metz, starts becoming steadily more preoccupied and unhinged as the war turns against the Germans. Over the course of six weeks, in the terrible winter of 1941, everything starts to unravel…

The talented Miss Farwell • Emily Gray Tedrowe • Custom House • 29 septembre • … pages

At the end of the 1990s, with the art market finally recovered from its disastrous collapse, Miss Rebecca Farwell has made a killing at Christie’s in New York City, selling a portion of her extraordinary art collection for a rumored 900 percent profit. Dressed in couture YSL, drinking the finest champagne at trendy Balthazar, Reba, as she’s known, is the picture of a wealthy art collector. To some, the elusive Miss Farwell is a shark with outstanding business acumen. To others, she’s a heartless capitalist whose only interest in art is how much she can make.

But a thousand miles from the Big Apple, in the small town of Pierson, Illinois, Miss Farwell is someone else entirely—a quiet single woman known as Becky who still lives in her family’s farmhouse, wears sensible shoes, and works tirelessly as the town’s treasurer and controller.

No one understands the ins and outs of Pierson’s accounts better than Becky; she’s the last one in the office every night, crunching the numbers. Somehow, her neighbors marvel, she always finds a way to get the struggling town just a little more money. What Pierson doesn’t see—and can never discover—is that much of that money is shifted into a separate account that she controls, “borrowed” funds used to finance her art habit. Though she quietly repays Pierson when she can, the business of art is cutthroat and unpredictable.

The secret French recipes of Sophie Valroux • Samantha Verant • Berkley Books • 8 septembre • … pages

French-born American chef Sophie Valroux had one dream: to be part of the 1% of female chefs running a Michelin-starred restaurant. From spending summers with her grandmother, who taught her the power of cooking and food, to attending the Culinary Institute of America, Sophie finds herself on the cusp of getting everything she’s dreamed of.

Until her career goes up in flames.

Sabotaged by a fellow chef, Sophie is fired, leaving her reputation ruined and confidence shaken. To add fuel to the fire, Sophie learns that her grandmother has suffered a stroke and takes the red-eye to France. There, Sophie discovers the simple home she remembers from her childhood is now a luxurious château, complete with two restaurants and a vineyard. As Sophie tries to reestablish herself in the kitchen, she comes to understand the lengths people will go to for success and love, and how dreams can change.

The Book of Hidden Wonders • Polly Crosby • Park Row • 1 septembre • … pages

Romilly Kemp and her eccentric father have happy but sheltered lives in a ramshackle mansion in the English countryside. To help make ends meet, he creates an illustrated book with Romilly—striking girl with red hair and a mole on her cheek—as the heroine with her cat, Monty. The book becomes an instant success and their estate is overrun with tourists and adventure seekers after rumors spread that hidden within its pages is an elaborate treasure hunt.

As Romilly gets older and her father writes more books, he starts disappearing within himself. She returns to his illustrations, looking for a way to connect with her ailing father, and finds a series of clues he’s left just for her. But this treasure hunt doesn’t lead her to gold or precious stones, but something worth far more—a shocking secret that is crucial to understanding her family.

The left-handed booksellers of London • Gareth Nix • Katherine Tegen Books • 22 septembre • 416 pages

In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Watch over me • Nina LaCour • Dutton Books • 15 septembre • 272 pages

Newly graduated from high school, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. So when she’s offered a job and a place to stay at a farm on an isolated part of the Northern California Coast, she immediately accepts. Maybe she will finally find a new home, a real home. The farm is a refuge, but also haunted by the past traumas its young residents have come to escape. And Mila’s own terrible memories are starting to rise to the surface.

Fable, Fable (1) • Adrienne Young • Wednesday Books • 1 septembre • 368 pages

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Scholomance, A deadly education • Naomi Novik • Del Rey Books • 336 pages

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

Jordyn Taylor • The Paper Girl of Paris (2020)

The Paper Girl of Paris • Jordyn Taylor • HarperTeen • Mai 2020 • 368 pages

Now. Sixteen-year-old Alice is spending the summer in Paris, but she isn’t there for pastries and walks along the Seine. When her grandmother passed away two months ago, she left Alice an apartment in France that no one knew existed. An apartment that has been locked for more than seventy years. Alice is determined to find out why the apartment was abandoned and why her grandmother never once mentioned the family she left behind when she moved to America after World War II. With the help of Paul, a charming Parisian student, she sets out to uncover the truth. However, the more time she spends digging through the mysteries of the past, the more she realizes there are secrets in the present that her family is still refusing to talk about.

Then. Sixteen-year-old Adalyn doesn’t recognize Paris anymore. Everywhere she looks, there are Nazis, and every day brings a new horror of life under the Occupation. When she meets Luc, the dashing and enigmatic leader of a resistance group, Adalyn feels she finally has a chance to fight back. But keeping up the appearance of being a much-admired socialite while working to undermine the Nazis is more complicated than she could have imagined. As the war goes on, Adalyn finds herself having to make more and more compromises—to her safety, to her reputation, and to her relationships with the people she loves the most.

•••

The Paper Girl of Paris est le premier roman de Jordyn Taylor. Elle aborde le thème de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, en s’intéressant plus particulièrement à la Résistance dans le Paris occupé. Un sujet largement traité et sur lequel il peut être difficile d’être original. Je partais avec quelques préjugés, surtout avec l’alternance des points de vue et des époques. Il y a tout de même un certain nombre d’aspects sur lesquels je suis un peu plus réservée. Globalement, ce roman n’a pas été aussi terrible que ce à quoi je m’attendais. 

En effet, le livre reste prenant du début à la fin, notamment grâce au point de vue d’Adalyn, la jeune résistante. Il est connu à la fois de manière directe et par le biais de son journal intime qu’Alice, le deuxième personnage principal, trouve dans l’appartement parisien que sa grand-mère lui a donné en héritage. Ce sont les passages que j’ai préférés et sur lesquels j’ai peut-être le moins de reproches à formuler. L’aspect historique est vraiment bien maîtrisé et traité. Elle évoque l’Occupation avec les privations, les queues devant les magasins, le rationnement, la collaboration avec les avantages que certains en tirent, ceux qui veulent juste ne pas se faire remarquer, la Résistance… Sur ce dernier point, elle n’a rien oublié : le secret entourant les activités d’Adalyn et de son groupe, les trahisons… Cet aspect du roman est celui que je retiens principalement. 

Jordyn Taylor montre bien la révolte d’Adalyn contre l’occupation de son pays, l’impact des mots du général Charles de Gaulle et la manière dont elle est entrée au sein de la Résistance. Avoir un accès direct à ses pensées, par son journal intime et la narration à la première personne, permet au lecteur de comprendre son engagement et les difficultés qu’elle rencontre au quotidien : le fait de toujours trouver des excuses pour pouvoir sortir accomplir ses missions sans éveiller les soupçons de ses parents, ses amis qui disparaissent… Cependant, l’aspect qui m’a le plus bouleversé, voire brisé le coeur, est la relation entre Adalyn et sa soeur Chloé. Cette dernière n’a jamais su, connu la vérité sur sa grande soeur, ni sur ce qui lui est arrivé à la fin de la guerre. Il y a un côté profondément triste à cela.

Adalyn concentre à elle seule toute l’émotion du roman, mais également le suspens. Au fur et à mesure qu’Alice avance dans le journal de sa grande-tante, commence à relier les informations, parfois contradictoires, et à se renseigner sur le Paris de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, la tension monte et le lecteur veut connaître certains réponses : pourquoi Adalyn est-elle présente sur une photographie prise, lors d’une soirée, entourée d’officiers nazis ? Pourquoi Chloé, la grand-mère d’Alice, n’a-t-elle jamais évoqué sa soeur ? etc…

Le point de vue d’Alice sert plutôt de moteur à la narration, car c’est elle qui pose les principales questions. C’est sur cette partie que j’émets quelques critiques. La première est que j’ai trouvé que la jeune fille tirait trop vite des conclusions par rapport à ce qu’elle voyait et non ce qu’elle lisait. Cela était notamment dû à son manque de connaissances, me demandant comment la Seconde Guerre mondiale est abordée aux États-Unis. Ce n’est pas la première fois que je me fais la réflexion sur un personnage d’origine américaine. Deuxièmement, je n’ai pas apprécié la manière dont la dépression de la mère d’Alice est abordée. Le sujet est important et je l’ai trouvé mal abordé. Ce n’est pas ce qui est le plus important au final. Il y a déjà tellement d’émotions, de moments difficiles, qui, malheureusement, éclipsent ce sujet. Or, c’est un thème important qui aurait mérité plus de place.

The Paper Girl of Paris est un roman qui m’a étonné, en définitif, et dont mon avis final est positif. Il y a des aspects très intéressants et bien abordés, d’autres moins bien. Je pense que Jordyn Taylor montre ici un potentiel et je suis curieuse de savoir ce qu’elle peut produire par la suite.