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Saturdays at the Café

Saturdays at the Café - Body

Saturdays at the Café is a weekly feature hosted here to talk about and discuss the books I’ve discovered during the past week, added to my shelf and am excited about reading. They may be new/scheduled releases I’ve seen on NetGalley, at the library, or from publishers or they may be older titles my friends have reviewed and shared on Goodreads or blogs.


Thick as Thieves

Twenty years ago in the dead of night, four seemingly random individuals pulled the ultimate heist and almost walked away with half a million dollars. But by daybreak, their plan had been shot to hell. One of them was in the hospital. One was in jail. One was dead. And one got away with it.

Arden Maxwell, the daughter of the man who disappeared all those years ago — presumably with the money, after murdering his accomplice — has never reconciled with her father’s abandonment of her and her sister. After countless personal setbacks she decides to return to her family home near mysterious Caddo Lake, and finally get answers to the many questions that torment her. Little does she know, two of her father’s co-conspirators — a war hero and a corrupt district attorney — are watching her every move.

Ledge Burnet, a rebellious teen at the time of the heist, evaded his jail sentence by enlisting in the army. Now he’s back in town to care for his ailing father — and to keep his eye on the county’s corrupt district attorney, whom he suspects was the real murderer. Although the two are bound to silence because of the crime they committed together, each has spent years waiting and hoping that the other will make a fatal misstep. But the arrival of their elusive accomplice’s daughter, Arden, who may know more about the missing money than she’s telling, sets them both on red alert. She ignites Ledge’s determination to expose the D.A.’s treachery . . . and sparks a desire he wishes to deny.

I love listening to this author’s books as she writes great romantic suspense. I’m waiting to recommend the audio version for library purchase. They typically do but I want to be first in the queue for the September release.

 


The Glass Hotel

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star hotel on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. On the night she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a hooded figure scrawls a message on the lobby’s glass wall: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for Neptune-Avradimis, reads the words and orders a drink to calm down. Alkaitis, the owner of the hotel and a wealthy investment manager, arrives too late to read the threat, never knowing it was intended for him. He leaves Vincent a hundred dollar tip along with his business card, and a year later they are living together as husband and wife.

High above Manhattan, a greater crime is committed: Alkaitis is running an international Ponzi scheme, moving imaginary sums of money through clients’ accounts. He holds the life savings of an artist named Olivia Collins, the fortunes of a Saudi prince and his extended family, and countless retirement funds, including Leon Prevant’s. The collapse of the financial empire is as swift as it is devastating, obliterating fortunes and lives, while Vincent walks away into the night. Until, years later, she steps aboard a Neptune-Avramidis vessel, the Neptune Cumberland, and disappears from the ship between ports of call.

In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.

As this involves a Ponzi scheme and at one time in my career I investigated financial crimes, I was drawn to this story, especially after one of my trusted Goodreads friends said this was so much more. It’s an audio review hopeful.

 


Before I Met You

After her grandmother Arlette’s death, Betty is finally ready to begin her life. She had forfeited university, parties, boyfriends, summer jobs – all the usual preoccupations of a woman her age – in order to care for Arlette in their dilapidated, albeit charming home on the English island of Guernsey. Her will included a beneficiary unknown to Betty and her family, a woman named Clara Pickle who presumably could be found at a London address. Now, having landed on a rather shabby street corner in ’90s Soho, Betty is determined to find the mysterious Clara. She’s ready for whatever life has to throw her way. Or so she thinks . . .

In 1920s bohemian London, Arlette De La Mare is starting her new life in a time of postwar change. Beautiful and charismatic, she is soon drawn into the hedonistic world of the Bright Young People. But two years after her arrival in London, tragedy strikes and she flees back to her childhood home and remains there for the rest of her life.

As Betty navigates the ups and downs of city life and begins working as a nanny for a rock star tabloid magnet, her search for Clara leads her to a man – a stranger to Betty, but someone who meant the world to her grandmother. Will the secrets of Arlette’s past help Betty find her own way to happiness in the present?

A rich detective story and a captivating look at London then and now, “Before I Met You” is an unforgettable novel about two very different women, separated by seventy years, but united by big hearts and even bigger dreams.

I’ve become obsessed with this author so I’m collecting her backlist. This audio version finally freed up at my library.

 


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.

Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.

Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him—allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.

And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy.

Thanks to Yvo @ It’s All About Books for this one. She had me at the comparison to Ove. I’m in the library queue for the audio version.

 


The Familiar Dark

Sometimes the answers are worse than the questions. Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.

The Familiar Dark is a story about the bonds of family—women doing the best they can for their daughters in dire circumstances—as well as a story about how even the darkest and most terrifying of places can provide the comfort of home.

I almost gave this one a pass but decided to read the review by Kyra @ Roots & Reads and immediately added it to my shelf. Another audio review hopeful.

 


Resistance Women

This is a historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin.

After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.

As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weitz, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.

For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.

Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader put this on my radar last year. It’s taken this long for the audiobook to free up at my library. I love these little known stories based on women heroes of WWII.

 


I’ve Got You Under My Skin

In this gripping #1 New York Times bestseller from Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark, a Manhattan ER doctor is brazenly murdered in front of his young son in a city playground. Five years later, his killer is still at large.

When Laurie Moran’s husband was brutally murdered, only three-year-old Timmy saw the face of his father’s killer. Five years later his piercing blue eyes still haunt Timmy’s dreams. Laurie is haunted by more—the killer’s threat to her son as he fled the scene: “Tell your mother she’s next, then it’s your turn…”

Now Laurie is dealing with murder again, this time as the producer of a true-crime, cold-case television show. The series will launch with the twenty-year-old unsolved murder of Betsy Powell. Betsy, a socialite, was found suffocated in her bed after a gala celebrating the graduation of her daughter and three friends. The sensational murder was news nationwide. Reopening the case in its lavish setting and with the cooperation of the surviving guests that night, Laurie is sure to have a hit on her hands. But when the estranged friends begin filming, it becomes clear each is hiding secrets…small and large.

And a pair of blue eyes is watching events unfold, too…

News of the author’s death reminded me of her early influence on my developing love of the genre. I have a lot of her books but not this first in one of her series. Again, my library came through with the audiobook.

 


The Darkness We Hide

Some secrets are worth dying for.

For months, Doctor Rowan Dupont has been staring death in the face. It followed her back to her hometown of Winchester, Tennessee, ten months ago, cloaking the walls of her family’s Victorian funeral home like a shroud. In investigating the mysterious deaths of her loved ones, Rowan has unearthed enough family secrets to bury everything she’d previously thought true. But each shocking discovery has only led to more bodies and more questions; the rabbit hole is deeper than she ever imagined.

Despite settling in to a comfortable life with Police Chief Billy Brannigan, Rowan knows dangerous serial killer Julian Addington is still out there. She can’t let her guard down now. Not when she’s this close to ending it once and for all. But with a storm brewing on the horizon, she’ll get only one shot before the impending darkness takes hold, threatening to wipe away every truth she’s uncovered—and everything she holds dear.

This is the last book in The Undertaker’s Daughter series and I got it after receiving an offer to participate in the blog tour in late March.

 


A Place to Belong

Millie Jo Gordon cannot remember a time before she loved Wyatt Rawley – at age five, she told her parents that she would marry him someday, a tale retold since her childhood. Now, many years later, Millie is seventeen and more deeply in love than ever. At twenty-three, sweet, passionate Wy, only a few semesters away from practicing veterinary medicine, secretly returns those feelings. In the ripe heat of summer, Wy at last confesses and the two share a week of sublime happiness before a heartbreaking revelation forces them apart.

Years pass, following each in their separate lives – Wy a talented and well-respected vet whose marriage to another is only an aching reminder of what he could have had with Millie. Meanwhile, Millie attends college to become an equine therapist, grappling with her enduring and unspoken connection to Wy, a love that refuses to wither and leave her in peace. An emotional love story about the momentous ways that even the smallest of choices can forever shape our lives.

I am an ardent fan of this author whose two series captivated me. As I was rereading the synopsis, it dawned on me that the main character, Millie Jo, was the young daughter in her Shore Leave Cafe series, all grown up!!! I get to revisit these beloved characters. This is a NetGalley hopeful.

 


What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?

25 thoughts on “Saturdays at the Café”

  1. some fantastic choices this week! I’d love to listen to The glass Hotel as I loved Station eleven by the author. I’ve had Before I Met You on my bookshelf for years and just haven’t got around to reading it yet. Harold Fry was one of my favourite audios a couple of years ago as Jim Broadbent is the perfect narrator! Hope you enjoy them all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read Harold Frye back when it first came out, but the audio sounds really good. I will be checking my library for some of these audiobooks. Great list. I am not familiar with the Glass Hotel, but it sounds really good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Resistance Women was interesting and packed with historical details. I loved that the main character was married to the cousin of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and he’s briefly mentioned. I always wonder what I would have done.
    I loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage!!! A memorable character and some excellent story telling!
    Looks like a great haul! Enjoy!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lovely pretty books. I am a fan of Sandra Brown and Lisa Jewell and some others like Peter Swanson who write stand along thrillers. But I usually get them at the library and don’t have quite the drive to read them as a series for some odd reason, even though I love them.

    Have an amazing week and happy reading!

    Anne – Books of My Heart

    Liked by 1 person

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