Songs in Ordinary Time is set in the summer of 1960 - the last of quiet times and America's innocence. It centers on Marie Fermoyle, a strong but vulnerable woman whose loneliness and ambition for her children make her easy prey for the dangerous con man Omar Duvall.
"Don't waste your time."
In the midst of boomtown Chicago, two Jewish families have suffered terrible blows. The Lehrmans, who run a small hat factory, lost their beloved son, Harold, in a blizzard. The Chimbrovas, who run a saloon, lost three of their boys on the SS Eastland when it sank in 1915. Each family holds out hope that one of their remaining children will rise to carry on the family business. But Benny Lehrman has no interest in making hats. His true passion is piano - especially jazz.
After 25 years in prison for a senseless juvenile murder, Gordon Loomis returns to a changed world. His old neighborhood is blighted by drug dealers and neglected property. His brother, Dennis, a successful oral surgeon, tries to help but is torn by his own fears and failings. Gordon's persistent visitor, the flamboyant Delores Dufault yearns to be part of his new life, but he is as afraid of relationships as he is of being sent back to jail.
"A Hole in the Universe"
Light from a Distant Star is the moving and powerful story of innocence and betrayal told in the endearingly wise voice of 13-year-old Nellie Peck. It is early summer, and her beloved father’s business is failing. Her mother has to go back to work, and Nellie’s older half sister has launched a troubling search for her birth father. Forced to take care of her shy younger brother, Nellie is determined to make him—and herself—toughen up.
The place: rural Vermont. The time: the Great Depression. Henry Talcott's beautiful wife, Irene, has recently left him. He and their two young children, Thomas and Margaret, are spending the summer in a tent on the edge of Black Pond. It's a bittersweet idyll.
"Totally captivated me."
Finding herself even further estranged from relatives and friends, Fiona is drawn to the one man who wants nothing to do with her. He is her rumored father, Patrick Grady, so cruel and unstable that her Aunt Arlene and Uncle Charles Hollis fear for her safety. But, as always, Fiona will listen to no one. Determined to make Grady acknowledge their relationship, she pursues him in spite of his threats and increasingly erratic behavior.
Martha Horgan is unpredictable, obsessive, and “different.” Townspeople pity the strange young woman, but they are also frightened by her. Ruth Ann Phimister’s narration gives full voice to Martha’s collision course through life. A Dangerous Woman was made into a major motion picture and chosen as one of the best books of the year by the editors of ALA Library Journal and Time magazine.
Aubrey Wallace is the kind of man no one notices. Dotty Johnson is the kind of woman no one can ignore. One afternoon, they both disappear from the small Vermont town where they live. The next day, 200 miles away, a toddler is snatched from her Massachusetts home. For the next five years, Aubrey, Dotty, and the kidnapped child - bound together by strange love and desperate need - are trapped in a nomadic existence governed by their constant fear of discovery.
In The Last Secret, she tells the riveting story of Nora Hammond, a woman blessed with the perfect life: a charming husband, two bright teenage children, a successful career in the family's newspaper business, and an esteemed role in the charity work of her New England town. But Nora's comfortable existence threatens to unravel when she learns of her husband's longtime affair - and when the specter of a sordid incident from her youth returns with terrifying force.
"I wish I had my credit back!"
Martha Horgan is different. She stares at people. She can't stop telling the truth. She is prone to crushes so violent that she will call someone she likes dozens of times in a single night. The genius of Mary McGarry Morris's latest novel lies in its uncannily felt portrait of a woman who teeters on the edge of madness.
'The real war started for me today.' So begins the diary of 18-year-old Mary Mulry, a young Irish nurse, newly arrived in London in 1940. Over the next seven years she witnesses many of the pivotal events of the war at first hand. In London during the Blitz she sees a young woman die after a botched abortion, narrowly escapes from the bombing of the Alexandra Hotel, and nurses critically ill children during bombing raids in Woolwich. In Normandy in 1944, arriving on the heels of the D-Day invasion, she nurses Allied soldiers and German prisoners of war.