Carole Barrowman is back with book recommendations to squeeze in before the summer ends! Carole is an English Professor at Alverno College. Her book reviews appear in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Star Tribune.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (Tor Books)
Every summer, there’s always one book that gets shared more than any other among my family and friends. This was this summer’s book. It’s an enchanting love story, smart and silly and suspenseful, and your heart will grow at least three sizes after reading it. Set in a world where magic exists, but those who practice it are segregated from the public, Linus Baker is a quiet no-nonsense inspector for The Department in Charge of Magical Youth when he’s sent on a secret mission to inspect an orphanage on an isolated island, he finds far more than he bargained for and everything he didn’t know he needed. Pass it on!
Hiding Place by Meghan Holloway (Polis Books)
Set in a small town in and around Yellowstone National Park, this gripping Tilt-A-Whirl thriller is about two people trying to hide from their pasts. They can’t. Hector thinks the person responsible for the death of his wife is prison until he discovers a message that changes everything. Faye Anders thinks she’s found a safe haven to raise her son, but she hasn’t. This book is a perfect travel companion.
Velvet Was the Night by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey)
Despite the novel’s matter-of-fact Pulp Fiction kind of violence, this is an entertaining, slyly feminist noir novel set during the Dirty War that ravaged Mexico’s shaky democracy in the 1970s. The main female character is an unassuming secretary who needs her routines. She’s taken for granted and taken advantage of. She survives with a rich fantasy life drawn from romance novels, comics, and her eclectic record collection. Elements from all of these infuse the story with so much swagger I couldn’t put it down.
Clark & Division by Naomi Hirahara (Soho Crime)
Hirahara’s beautifully written and deeply moving historical family saga is set in 1943 and focuses the lives of two sisters after their release from a Japanese concentration camp and their forced relocation to Chicago. Hirahara’s novel is an accomplished and important book about a time in American history that I felt privileged bearing witness to through this story. A perfect Book Club read.
You can join Carole in conversation with Naomi Hirahara for a virtual event on September 14! To register, go to boswellbooks.com.