June 2021 - Staff Reading Suggestions
by Amanda M. Fairbanks
A riveting account of a fishing boat and its four crewmen lost at sea during a freak spring storm off the coast of Montauk in 1984. This tragedy has haunted the locals ever since and this book examines the reasons the Wind Blown was doomed from the get-go, the shift in Montauk from a working class village to the playground for the ultra-rich and the complicated dynamics between fathers and sons. Totally riveting, highly recommend!
by Joshua Henkin
Morningside Heights is the love story and family saga of Pru Steiner and Spence Robin that begins in the 1970s and spans to present day. In 1976 Spence is a brilliant Shakespeare professor who catches the eye of his student, Pru Steiner, who has moved to Manhattan as an ambitious young woman. Fast forward to present day and Pru has noticed the beginning signs of Alzheimer’s in her husband. Fans of The Altruists and The Most Fun We Ever Had will enjoy this touching story of love, endurance and disease.
by Jean Hanff Korelitz
Laura C's pick: 

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written -- let alone published – anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book-in-progress is a “sure thing,” Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then he hears the plot.

Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that – a story that absolutely needs to be told.

In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an email arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?
by Amanda Kloots & Anna Kloots
Morley's pick:

In the early spring of 2020, Broadway star and Tony Award nominee Nick Cordero was hospitalized for what he and his wife, Amanda Kloots, believed was a severe case of pneumonia. Entering Cedars-Sinai, there was no indication that Nick—a young man in the prime of life with no pre-existing conditions—would never return home. Diagnosed with Covid-19, this rising star—who only a few days earlier was the picture of health—soon deteriorated. Suffering a series of complicationsminor heart attacks, an amputation, sepsis—he was kept alive for weeks, hooked to a ventilator, bypass machines, dialysis, and a specialized heart-lung bypass machine.

Staying strong for Nick and their infant son, Elvis, Amanda shared their journey on social media, documenting Nick’s condition and the risks of Covid-19 for all ages. Her updates quickly went viral, inspiring millions of followers around the globe who offered positive thoughts and virtual prayers, and danced each day to Nick’s hit song Live Your Life. When Nick passed away after 94 grueling days in the ICU, the world grieved for Amanda and her family’s devastating loss.

Live Your Life is her and Nick’s story: of their love and fairy-tale marriage, of the disease that quickly upended it, of the fight for Nick’s survival—those sudden tragic months that permanently changed her world and ours—of her grief and how she came to terms with his death, of keeping Nick’s memory alive for Elvis and the world. In sharing her experience, she shows us that, through positivity and community, even the most impossible circumstances can be endured.
by Laurie Frankel
Frankel has gifted us with another story every bit as wonderful and heartwarming as her previous bestseller, This Is How It Always Is. Her writing is stunning and clever at the same time, and the final draft of One Two Three was written at Ragdale!
One, Two, and Three are triplets, (who also have given names) two of whom were born with congenital abnormalities. Before they were born, a chemical plant came to town, bringing runoff that turned the nearby river fluorescent green. The triplets unique differences, due to this exposure, are celebrated and put to use with the support of their mom and community. Their mother’s mission is to right the wrongs of the past, but hope is thin as she’s up against a Goliath. When the family who owns the chemical plant comes back to town, with a son the same age as the triplets, love and loyalty come into play. This story is deeply emotional and beautifully written. Do not miss!
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
From the author of Daisy Jones and the Six, comes a perfect beach read. It is 1983 and the four famous Riva siblings are throwing their annual beach party. The oldest, Nina Riva, is an introverted model who has recently been publicly abandoned by her pro-tennis player husband, brothers Hud and Jay are hiding a secret between the two of them that could upend their twin-like closeness and Kit, the youngest, is hoping for her first kiss and foray into what is perceived to be a glamorous world. By the end of the evening, the house has burned to the ground, and all four siblings lives have been changed. Fast paced from the beginning, you will be swept into the surfer- life of these Malibu siblings.
by Mary Kubica
Jackie and Kirsten's pick:
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl and The Other Mrs. comes a riveting new thriller about a series of disappearances that rock a small Chicago suburb.

Shelby Tebow is the first to go missing. Not long after, Meredith Dickey and her six-year-old daughter Delilah disappear just blocks away from where Shelby was last seen, striking fear into their once-peaceful community. Are these incidents connected? After an elusive search that yields more questions than answers, the case eventually goes cold.

Now, eleven years later, Delilah shockingly returns. Everyone wants to know what happened to her, but no one is prepared for what they’ll find…. In this smart and chilling thriller, master of suspense Mary Kubica shows that some people will stop at nothing to keep their secrets buried.
by Alka Joshi
(releases June 22, 2021)
Laura C and Ellie's pick:

New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi's sequel to The Henna Artist, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur once again showcases Joshi's rich storytelling and talent for transporting readers to a different cultural place and time with themes that are universal. Here the year is 1969 and Malik, Lashmi's young helper from the first novel, is now an educated young man apprenticed at the Jaipur Palace and working on building the state-of-the-art public movie house when he becomes ensnared in a smuggling scheme that threatens all he aspires to, including the woman he loves.

Twelve years after Lakshmi leaves Jaipur to work at Dr. Kumar's clinic in Shimla, she is now happily married and has taken under her wing a young tribal widow, Nimmi, who is raising her two young children on her own. Gold smuggling is rampant in the nearby mountains and Nimmi's brother has fallen to its temptations. Afraid that her enterprising helper Malik, now a young man who has recently finished his education, will also be lured into this treacherous business, Lakshmi arranges for him to apprentice in Jaipur at the Palace. She is also concerned about the romantic attachment Malik has formed with Nimmi, as she doesn't approve.

Back in the Pink City where he was once a wily street urchin, Malik again encounters the wealthy Singhs, including Samir Singh's feckless son Ravi, who caused Lakshimi's younger sister Radha so much heartache. Malik's is assigned to help Ravi Singh build the new pubic cinema. But when the cinema balcony collapses on opening night, it signals trouble for Malik and for Lakshmi too. Malik is implicated in a ruthless scandal of Ravi's making that will ultimately threaten his livelihood, his reputation and the people he loves most.
by Alex Michaelides
All Staff pick:

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life. The staff loved this highly anticipated release from the author of The Silent Patient.
by Francis Spufford
In 1944 A German rocket bombed Woolworths in London killing 168, many of them children in one of the worst civilian casualties of WWII. This is the fictional story of the imagined life of five of those children had they survived and lived through the changes to come in the 20th century. This novel is filled with life’s disappointments, triumphs, loves, missteps and ultimately the truth of how everyday small decisions change the fate and trajectory of one’s life.
by Clare Mackintosh
(Releases June 22, 2021)
In this gripping thriller, Mina, flight -attendant and mom to Sophia, is enroute from London to Sydney in the inaugural non-stop flight. When Sophia’s life saving Epi-Pen, photograph, then a note telling Mina to carry out its instructions or lose Sophia show up on board, the tension mounts. At home, Dad and Sophia are having troubles of their own. Suspenseful story that you may want to read while on solid ground! 
by Camille Aubray
Let me introduce the Godmothers: Petrina, the stunning and stoic only daughter, Filomena, a young immigrant from Italy who has been matched, sight unseen, to marry Mario (the family’s golden son), Amie, married to Johnny after escaping a horribly abusive marriage and Lucy, a who was forced into a home for unwed mothers at an early age in her native Ireland prior to wedding Frankie. These four women become godmothers to one another’s children during the 1940s in Greenwich Village and find themselves running the mid-level mob family business while their husbands are away. They navigate wartime troubles, family drama, love, heartbreak, searing secrets and ultimately survival. Their willingness to not give in to the male-dominated world they find themselves in is inspiring!
by Zakiya Dalila Harris
A timely and evocative debut featuring two young black women who meet in the starkly white backdrop of the book publishing world. Quickly, Harris leads her readers to question whether these young women are allies or enemies. A pulse racing, thought provoking book with a twist worthy of Jordon Peele!
-Laura S
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