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April 8, 2011 Newsletter April 8, 2011

Key West --- 20 Years Later...

This week as part of my South Florida Spring Break adventure, we drove down to Key West. My first trip there had been back in 1978 when I still was in college. The weather was cloudy and cool in Lauderdale that year, so I grabbed some friends and drove south to explore Key West, a place I had read a bit about --- and we had a blast. The beaches were rockier than I was used to, but the town had a really cool vibe to it that was bohemian, eclectic and just plain fun. Made some great memories there, and thus I always wanted to go back, which I did in 1990 when my older son was about a year old. Then I found a very different place. It was built up. The town was more like a small city, the sunset celebrations on Mallory Square Dock did not just have Iguana Man, but now were a complete commercialized experience. Parking was worse than I had remembered it, and it was not great in the '70s.

There are some places where the good memories are so vivid that you cannot let them go --- you want to find them “one more time” --- thus 21 years after my last trip to Key West, I again found myself heading south wanting to see the place where Route 1 ends with a Mile Marker 0 (back in 1978, I remember a sign that said you are at the end of Route 1 that begins in Fort Kent, Maine, thinking that was just plain amazing). As we drove down streets where the traffic was bumper to bumper and there were way too many T-shirts that said "Spring Break Key West 2011," I decided that some memories need to be just that. The highlight of the day was my sprinting into Nest, a wonderful yarn shop, for some quick shopping where I fulfilled my slogan of “I came, I saw, I bought.” We passed the Hemingway House, and after reading THE PARIS WIFE, I would have liked to explore this part of Hemingway’s world, but by the time we got there it was too late in the day to make that work with our schedule. Let’s see….in 20 more years it will be what? 2031? Put me down to tour the house then!

Most of the week, I have been doing laps or reading, or quizzing fellow readers at the pool on everything from why they are reading what they are reading to how they like their iPads or Kindles. I packed about a dozen books to bring with me. You can see the bookshelf in our suite above. The books on top were in the room, the ones on the left on the second shelf are mine, and the ones on the right are my husband’s. Oh, and on our second night here, we dropped over to Books & Books to shop and I picked up LIFE by Keith Richards, which I have wanted to read. My husband got a signed copy of LONGITUDE by Dava Sobel, lest we run any chance of being without something to read.

Thus far I have finished IN STITCHES, a memoir by Anthony Youn and Alan Eisenstock, which will be in stores on April 26th. You may recognize Anthony Youn from his appearances on "The Rachel Ray Show." He chronicles his years in medical school, as an intern and in residency, giving a poignant and also humorous look into the making of a doctor. The story near the end of the book where he writes about his calling to become a plastic surgeon will stay with me for a while. It was not for any of the reasons I would have guessed.

Next up was Karin Slaughter’s FALLEN, which will be in stores on June 21st. Karin dropped me right back into the lives of Sara Linton, Faith Mitchell and Will Trent, with another well-plotted and action-driven thriller that I whipped through, but did not want to end. This is definitely her best book as she weaves many storylines and backstories together. Karin has set a high bar with each of her books --- and she delivers. So much happens in FALLENspan> that once you close it, you will need time to think about the story as you finally exhale.

Reading THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS, a debut novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, which will be in stores on August 23rd, in a setting like the Biltmore pool area is idyllic. Everywhere around me, flowers were in bloom and I felt like I was having a full-on sensory experience as I read the prose. In it, Victoria Jones is a foster child who has learned to understand flowers as interpreters of feelings and emotions. They represent far more than sweet-smelling nectars. At the beginning of the book, she has just been emancipated from the group home where she lived as it’s her 18th birthday. She finds work with a florist and touches people’s lives by creating arrangements that will touch on their deepest emotions. I love flowers and learned that, according to the Victorian language of flowers that is used to convey romantic expression, my favorite flowers --- peonies, hydrangeas and hibiscus --- translate to anger, dispassion and delicate beauty. Interesting. I can see book clubs and garden clubs both enjoying this book!

While I have been idling here, the staff in New York has been keeping things going --- they are really terrific --- and thus we have our usual robust lineup for you this week. Among one of the many projects they've been working on has been a special site to celebrate the paperback release of THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett; it just came out this week. Anyone who's been following knows how we feel about this book, so we are very proud to share this special site here.

We also have a very special interview with bestselling author Ian McEwan, whose latest novel, SOLAR, recently came out in paperback. McEwan rarely does interviews, but here he answers questions from our readers and reviewers. Thanks to those of you who contributed questions, and many, many thanks to's John Hogan, a big McEwan fan, who pitched in here as a Contributing Editor to interview Ian for us by phone. You also can listen to the interview here, which is quite a treat.

If it's April, it's time for a new book by Mary Higgins Clark. And we know that her fans are as excited as we are about the release of I'LL WALK ALONE, which is about a mother trying to clear her name after accusations that she plotted her child's disappearance surface. Reviewer Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum says, "I’LL WALK ALONE is one of Mary Higgins Clark’s most suspenseful books. Fans and newcomers alike will find themselves staying up all night to find out what happens next."

We also have a review of THE SILVER BOAT by Luanne Rice, a book I read earlier this year and loved. It’s a very personal story about sisters coping with the death of a parent, and largely drawn from Luanne’s own experiences. When I was in San Diego for the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, I got to hear Luanne talk about THE SILVER BOAT and it was definitely a highlight of the trip. Melanie Smith has our review and says, “Luanne Rice’s THE SILVER BOAT is a nostalgic story of love and loss in which readers who typically enjoy dramatic fiction should find ample pleasure.” You can read an interview with Luanne here.

Melanie also reviewed Margaret George’s latest historical novel, ELIZABETH I. Margaret is known for her meticulous research --- it literally takes her years to research her books --- and has a talent for giving voices and personalities to some of history’s most influential people. I got to visit her when I was in Wisconsin a few years ago and enjoyed seeing her writing space. Known for her previous books, HELEN OF TROY, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF HENRY VIII and THE MEMOIRS OF CLEOPATRA, she now tackles the English monarchy with her precisely detailed story of Elizabeth I. Melanie says, “ELIZABETH I is historical fiction I'm sure you will not want to miss, especially for anyone who enjoys European history and can appreciate a wonderful heroine.” You can also visit Margaret’s website at

This week we’re bringing you four new featured titles. The first is THE BRIDE’S HOUSE by Sandra Dallas, who is always a fan favorite on It's our latest Women’s Fiction Author Spotlight feature and takes place in Dallas’s native state of Colorado. The story follows three generations, all of whom are connected to the same Victorian manor that is the setting for their loves, losses, secrets and betrayals. It’s always a pleasure to feature Sandra, and we feel good things are in store for THE BRIDE’S HOUSE! The book releases on April 26th, but we have 20 copies for readers who enter here by Friday, April 15th at noon ET.

Our latest Romantic Suspense Author Spotlight title is DEAD BY MORNING by Beverly Barton, another regularly featured author on the site. It follows two colleagues at a security agency as they piece together the clues left behind by a killer who’s terrorizing their offices before one of them turns up on the victim’s list. DEAD BY MORNING won’t be out until April 26th, but we have 20 copies for readers who enter here by Friday, April 15th at noon ET.

DISTURBED by Kevin O’Brien is now being featured in our Suspense/Thriller Author Spotlight. A newlywed tries to settle into her new, wealthy neighborhood at the same time that a brutal killer is stalking Seattle-area suburbs just like hers. I’ve met Kevin on my visits to the Seattle area and have always been struck by how such a nice guy can have such a gift for creepy, tense thriller novels. DISTURBED will be in stores April 26th, but you can win one of our 20 copies by entering here by Friday, April 15th at noon ET.

This week we’re also featuring PEARL OF CHINA by Anchee Min, which is now out in paperback. This historical novel imagines the friendship between a Chinese village girl and Pearl S. Buck, the legendary author who would write the classic THE GOOD EARTH. Despite their very different heritages and backgrounds, the two girls form a fast friendship against the backdrop of Chairman Mao’s rise to power. This one would also be a great book group pick for fans of Chinese culture and history.

THE FIFTH WITNESS by Michael Connelly also is reviewed this week as “Lincoln lawyer” Mickey Haller returns and finds himself embroiled in the case of a murdered mortgage broker. Coincidentally, Mickey just took on his first foreclosure client. Joe Hartlaub has our review and says, “If one wants an unvarnished look into the professional life of a criminal trial attorney, this is it.” I didn’t get a chance to see the film version of Connelly’s novel, THE LINCOLN LAWYER, but already have it queued up in my Netflix account for when it comes out on DVD! We also have an interview with him here.

We have also updated our Books into Movies feature, which spotlights films originating from books. Hitting theaters and TV screens this month are The Conspirator, Robert Redford’s dramatic take on the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, and the first installment of the two-part film version of Ayn Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED, which reveals the innovation and revolution within Taggart Transcontinental, the largest remaining railroad company in America. Coming to HBO on April 17th is Game of Thrones, inspired by George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice. If you’re in need of a heartwarming story, then you must check out Soul Surfer, the inspirational account of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who tries to bounce back from a vicious shark attack, or Water for Elephants, in which a 93-year-old is reminded of his colorful past when a circus rolls into town, prompting him to both recall his younger days and face the impending reality of his death.

And don’t forget our Books into Movies on DVD feature, which is currently spotlighting I Love You Phillip Morris, Gulliver’s Travels, and two of the year’s most highly anticipated releases: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One.

Some of you may have received’s new On Sale This Week newsletter earlier in the week. We started this project after several of you said you longed for a way to know what books were coming out on a weekly basis so you could plan your buying --- and reading. Well, we listened and are proud to offer this special newsletter. You can sign up here, and our next edition will mail on Tuesday, April 19th. The newsletter is also formatted so you can print it out to take to the store, hang on the fridge or on a local store's/library’s bulletin board!

Okay, the pool is beckoning. I have one more day to do laps and read some books before I fly home. I’m home for two days before I fly to Austin, Texas, for the Texas Library Association Convention. I have not been to Austin before and plan to visit BookPeople while I am there, as well as catch up with my old friend Jann, who worked with me back at Mademoiselle. While at this show, our website will be one of the sponsors, along with Diamond Book Distributors and Brodart of The Great Graphic Novel Library Giveaway worth $20,000 that includes 700 books, plus furniture, shelving, spinner racks and more! One lucky public or school library in Texas will be the winner. Pretty cool, eh?

Here’s to a great week wherever you are. Read on…

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: I’LL WALK ALONE by Mary Higgins Clark

I’LL WALK ALONE by Mary Higgins Clark (Thriller)
Identity theft stirs the quickly beating heart of Mary Higgins Clark’s latest offering. Beautiful Alexandra "Zan" Moreland has been suspected of kidnapping her own son. With the hope that he is still alive, she sets out to discover who is behind such a cruel hoax. But she is putting herself in mortal danger from the person who seems to watch her every step. Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum.

Click here to read a review of I’LL WALK ALONE.

An Interview with Michael Connelly, Author of THE FIFTH WITNESS

Michael Connelly, perhaps best known as the creator of private investigator Harry Bosch, continues his Mickey Haller series with THE FIFTH WITNESS. Here, the criminal defense attorney is expanding his law practice into foreclosure defense, only to find that one of his clients is accused of killing the banker she blames for trying to take her home. In this interview, Connelly, who has no law background, discusses his spot-on research and the decision to reflect what is currently happening in society. He also reveals the evolution and dual nature of his main character, as well as the fact that reading, to him, is about creating an empathic connection.

THE FIFTH WITNESS by Michael Connelly (Legal Thriller)
The Lincoln Lawyer, Mickey Haller, is back in action, this time specializing in foreclosure defense. When his first client becomes the prime suspect of a murder case, Haller must craft a defense that includes “the fifth witness” of the title. For Mickey, it's back to what he does best on the biggest stage of all. But is he ready for the verdict? Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub.

-Click here to read a review of THE FIFTH WITNESS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE FIFTH WITNESS.


Click here to read an interview with Michael Connelly.

An Interview with Luanne Rice, Author of THE SILVER BOAT

After 28 novels, a staggering feat for any established writer, Luanne Rice has returned with THE SILVER BOAT, an emotional portrait of three sisters who revisit their Martha’s Vineyard home, full of family ghosts and memories, one last time. In this interview, Rice discusses the real-life inspiration for her book, and how she too had to confront her family beach cottage after her mother’s death. She also talks about her favorite poets, the seed for her next work of fiction, and how writing has been her lifelong solution to figuring things out.

THE SILVER BOAT by Luanne Rice (Fiction)
Three sisters face giving up their beachfront cottage on the picturesque island of Martha's Vineyard after being hit with an estate tax burden relating to the death of their beloved mother. From the sunny shores of New England to the rocky landscapes of ever-green Ireland comes a sweeping saga of one family, split between worlds and struggling to hold on. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to read a review of THE SILVER BOAT.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE SILVER BOAT.


Click here to read an interview with Luanne Rice. Talks to Ian McEwan, Author of SOLAR, Now Available in Paperback

Ian McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim, and he has won prestigious awards for ATONEMENT, SATURDAY and ON CHESIL BEACH. SOLAR, his most recent book now available in paperback, is an engrossing and satirical novel that focuses on climate change in correlation with one man’s ambitions and self-deceptions. John Hogan of recently spoke with this bestselling author, asking questions submitted by readers and reviewers. McEwan eagerly discusses his personal inspirations, his desire to “accelerate change” in his characters, Philip Roth's helpful advice, and the differences between the American and British novel. He also reveals his propensity for vaguely unsympathetic protagonists and how he still tempts readers to follow them.

SOLAR by Ian McEwan (Fiction)
Bestselling author Ian McEwan’s most recent novel uses a decidedly antiheroic protagonist to deliver a wickedly funny work that’s full of sly insights on the climate change controversy and equally perceptive ones on the follies of human nature. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read a review of SOLAR.
-Click here to listen to our interview with Ian McEwan.


Click here to read our interview with Ian McEwan.’s New Special Feature: THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett, Now Available in Paperback
More than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list…More than 2.5 million hardcovers in print…Available in more than 40 countries…and soon to be a major motion picture this summer…

And now THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett is available in paperback!

Set in the segregated South of the early 1960s, THE HELP tells the story of Skeeter, an ambitious young white woman, and the two African-American maids --- Aibileen and Minny --- whose lives she chronicles. The novel takes readers back to a time and place where not all people were treated equal and civil freedoms were not guaranteed. It is a deeply moving story of race, class and the meaning of family that unfolds during one of the most tumultuous time periods in American history. THE HELP is a book that sparks many emotions and debates about our country’s past while we continue to build a better future.

We hope you enjoy this special feature and tribute to THE HELP. Here you will find a wealth of information about the book, including our review, a reading guide, author tour dates, film information, and links to articles of interest. We also invite you to answer our question of the week for THE HELP.

Click here to see our special feature for THE HELP.

New Featured Women’s Fiction Author: Sandra Dallas, Author of THE BRIDE'S HOUSE

From New York Times bestselling author Sandra Dallas comes THE BRIDE'S HOUSE, a novel about the secrets and passions of three generations of women who have all lived in the same Victorian home.

We have 20 copies of THE BRIDE'S HOUSE, which will be in stores April 26th, to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, April 15th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BRIDE'S HOUSE.
-Click here to read Sandra Dallas’s bio.
-Click here to see Sandra Dallas’s backlist.
-Visit Sandra Dallas’s official website,

It’s 1880, and for unassuming 17-year-old Nealie Bent, the Bride’s House is a fairy tale come to life. It seems as if it is being built precisely for her and Will Spaulding, the man she is convinced she will marry. But life doesn’t go according to plan, and Nealie finds herself in the Bride’s House pregnant --- and married to another.

For Pearl, growing up in the Bride’s House is akin to being raised in a mausoleum. Her father has fashioned the house into a shrine to the woman he loved, resisting all forms of change. When the enterprising young Frank Curry comes along and asks for Pearl’s hand in marriage, her father sabotages the union. But he underestimates the lengths to which the women in the Bride’s House will go for love.

Susan is the latest in the line of strong and willful women in the Bride’s House. She’s proud of the women who came before her, but the Bride’s House hides secrets that will force her to question what she wants and who she loves.


Click here to read more about Sandra Dallas and THE BRIDE'S HOUSE.

New Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Beverly Barton, Author of DEAD BY MORNING

Beverly Barton is back with DEAD BY MORNING, a book loaded with her trademark suspense and romance as two security officials race to uncover the clues that could lead them to the serial killer terrorizing their offices.

We have 20 copies of DEAD BY MORNING, which will be in stores April 26th, to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, April 15th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DEAD BY MORNING.
-Click here to read Beverly Barton’s bio.
-Click here to see Beverly Barton’s backlist.
-Visit Beverly Barton’s official website,

Maleah Purdue is tough, outspoken and completely dedicated to her work at the Powell Security Agency. But her fearless exterior shatters when a madman begins killing her colleagues one by one, mimicking a notorious serial killer already behind bars. Working alongside top profiler Derek Lawrence, Maleah will do anything to find the murderer, even if it means playing a psychopath's twisted mind games. No one connected to the Agency is safe. No one is beyond suspicion. For as Maleah and Derek piece together the clues, they uncover a chilling legacy of lies and brutal vengeance --- and a killer who has been hiding in plain sight all along.

Click here to read more about Beverly Barton and DEAD BY MORNING.

New Featured Suspense/Thriller Author: Kevin O’Brien, Author of DISTURBED

In DISTURBED, the latest pulse-pounding thriller from Kevin O'Brien, a newlywed tries to adjust to her new, affluent neighborhood only to learn that a brutal killer is lurking around, stalking his victims.

We have 20 copies of DISTURBED, which will be in stores April 26th, to give away to readers who would like to preview the book and comment about it. If you are interested, please fill out this form by Friday, April 15th at noon ET.

-Click here to read an excerpt from DISTURBED.
-Click here to read critical praise for DISTURBED.
-Click here to read Kevin O’Brien’s bio.
-Click here to see Kevin O’Brien’s backlist.
-Visit Kevin O’Brien’s official website,

More about DISTURBED:
The houses in Willow Tree Court are sleek and modern --- the kind designed to harbor happy families and laughing children. No one would guess the secrets that lurk beyond the neat lawns and beautiful facades. Molly Dennehy is trying to fit in to her new surroundings, though her neighbors are clearly loyal to her husband's ex-wife. But that's the least of Molly's worries. Her stepson's school has been rocked by a brutal slaying, and a psychopath known as the Cul-de-Sac Killer is murdering families in Seattle homes. Homes just like Molly's. With each passing day, Molly grows more convinced that someone is watching her family, someone consumed with rage and vengeance. On this quiet road, a nightmare has been unleashed, and the trail of terror will lead right to her door.

Click here to read more about Kevin O’Brien and DISTURBED.

New Paperback Spotlight: PEARL OF CHINA by Anchee Min
PEARL OF CHINA by Anchee Min (Historical Fiction)
In the small southern China town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the 19th century, two young girls bump heads and become thick as thieves. Willow is the only child of a destitute family. Pearl is the headstrong daughter of Christian missionaries --- and will grow up to become Pearl S. Buck, Nobel Prize-winning writer and activist. This unlikely pair becomes lifelong friends, confiding their beliefs and dreams, experiencing love and motherhood, and eventually facing civil war and exile. PEARL OF CHINA brings new color to the remarkable life of Pearl S. Buck, illuminated by the sweep of history and an intimate, unforgettable friendship.

-Click here to read a review of PEARL OF CHINA.
-Click here to read an excerpt from PEARL OF CHINA.
-Click here to read critical praise for PEARL OF CHINA.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for PEARL OF CHINA.
-Click here to read Anchee Min’s bio.

Click here to read more about PEARL OF CHINA.

Paperback Spotlight: THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake
THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake (Fiction)
In 1940, Iris James is the postmistress in coastal Franklin, Massachusetts. Iris knows more about the townspeople than she will ever say, and believes her job is to deliver secrets. Yet one day she does the unthinkable: slips a letter into her pocket, reads it, and doesn't deliver it.

Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow. Her dispatches beg listeners to pay heed as the Nazis bomb London nightly. Most of the townspeople of Franklin think the war can't touch them. But both Iris and Frankie know better...

-Click here to read a review of THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read critical praise for THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE POSTMISTRESS.
-Click here to read our interview with Sarah Blake.
-Click here to read Sarah Blake’s bio.
-Click here to see the winners of THE POSTMISTRESS.

Click here to read more about THE POSTMISTRESS.

Now in Stores: ELIZABETH I by Margaret George

ELIZABETH I by Margaret George (Historical Fiction)
There seems to be no end to the fascination and continued appeal surrounding Queen Elizabeth I, the elusive monarch whose motives we still wonder about 500 years after she's gone. Bestselling novelist Margaret George delves deeply into Elizabeth's thoughts and struggles, giving audiences a striking vision of England's commanding queen and the monarchy that birthed the Golden Age of England. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ELIZABETH I.
-Visit Margaret George’s official website,


Click here to read a review of ELIZABETH I.

Now in Stores: SAY HER NAME by Francisco Goldman

SAY HER NAME by Francisco Goldman (Fiction)
In a novel that possesses the immediacy and power of a memoir, Francisco Goldman recounts the story of his passionate, if improbable, love affair with a woman two decades his junior and of the nearly insurmountable grief that stalked him after its tragic conclusion. Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SAY HER NAME.

Click here to read a review of SAY HER NAME.


Featured Romantic Suspense Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming, Author of ONE WAS A SOLDIER

Julia Spencer-Fleming is back with ONE WAS A SOLDIER, her seventh mystery featuring Rev. Clare Fergusson and police chief Russ Van Alstyne. When Clare returns from a tour of duty in Iraq, she finds herself embroiled in the strange death of a veteran and her touch-and-go relationship with Russ.

-Click here to read a third excerpt from ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-Click here to read critical praise for ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
-Click here to read Julia Spencer-Fleming’s bio.
-Click here to see Julia Spencer-Fleming’s backlist.
-Visit Julia Spencer-Fleming’s official website,
-Click here to see the winners of ONE WAS A SOLDIER.
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The Rev. Clare Fergusson wants to forget the things she saw as a combat helicopter pilot and concentrate on her relationship with Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne. MP Eric McCrea needs to control the explosive anger threatening his job as a police officer. Will Ellis, high school track star, faces the reality of life as a double amputee. Orthopedist Trip Stillman is denying the extent of his traumatic brain injury. And bookkeeper Tally McNabb wrestles with guilt over the in-country affair that may derail her marriage.

But coming home is harder than it looks. One vet will struggle with drugs and alcohol. One will lose his family and friends. One will die. Since their first meeting, Russ and Clare’s bond has been tried, torn, and forged by adversity. But when he rules the veteran’s death a suicide, she violently rejects his verdict, drawing the surviving vets into an unorthodox investigation that threatens jobs, relationships, and her own future with Russ.

Click here to read more about Julia Spencer-Fleming and ONE WAS A SOLDIER.

This Week’s Reviews

THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES by Jean M. Auel (Historical Fiction)
With THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES, Jean M. Auel brings her epic Earth’s Children series about family life in prehistoric times to a rich conclusion. Amid the ripening colors of a serene late-Pleistocene summer, Ayla, her leading character, completes a long journey of self-discovery that promises a new future for her people. Reviewed by Pauline Finch.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE LAND OF PAINTED CAVES.

ONCE UPON A TIME, THERE WAS YOU by Elizabeth Berg (Fiction)
Even on their wedding day, John and Irene sensed they were about to make a mistake. Years later --- divorced and dating other people --- they are bound only by mutual love for their spirited 18-year-old daughter. When tragedy strikes, they must come together to support their daughter and, eventually, to remember how they feel about each other. Reviewed by Jennifer McCord.

TREASON AT LISSON GROVE: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel by Anne Perry (Historical Mystery)
Charlotte and Thomas Pitt are called out of London, to Ireland and France respectively, each chasing the person or group behind a sinister plot aimed directly at taking down the British government and Queen Victoria herself. Reviewed by Ray Palen.

THE UNCOUPLING by Meg Wolitzer (Fiction)
Will the women of Stellar Plains, NJ, ever have sex again? After the local high school begins rehearsals for Lysistrata (in which the ladies of Greece refuse to have sex until the men end a war), every woman in the community unconsciously decides to hold off in the bedroom. The play’s lead actress even stages a “sex strike” in protest of the war in Afghanistan. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE UNCOUPLING.

BRANCH RICKEY by Jimmy Breslin (Biography)
Sixty-four years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, Pulitzer Prize winner and legendary New York reporter Jimmy Breslin has written a biography of the man who made that historic event possible: Brooklyn Dodger executive Branch Rickey. Robinson made history with the help of a deeply religious and conservative teetotaler who viewed racism as a sin but also saw how black players could win him championships. Reviewed by Tom Callahan.

THE LOVE OF MY YOUTH by Mary Gordon (Fiction)
As teenagers, Miranda and Adam began a love affair that endured through college only to end in a painful betrayal. When a mutual friend brings them together in present-day Rome, they haven't seen each other in more than three decades. The two embark on daily walks, reconnecting in the heart of this beautiful city, which still holds passionate memories. Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE LOVE OF MY YOUTH.

DEATH OF A CHIMNEY SWEEP: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery by M.C. Beaton (Mystery)
In the Scottish Highlands, a dead body is found stuffed inside a chimney. Was it the local chimney sweep, Pete Ray? Hamish Macbeth, the ever-endearing constable, doesn't think so. When Pete is found dead on the Scottish moors, the local police feel the case is open and shut, and it's up to Hamish to stop what might become a killing spree. Reviewed by Usha Rao.

BAD DOG (A LOVE STORY) by Martin Kihn (Memoir)
The fur flies in this charming memoir, as author Martin Kihn discovers that his dog’s behavior isn’t the only thing troubling his marriage. In order to save both his pet and his wife, he must first save himself. Reviewed by Kate Ayers.

THE OTHER LIFE by Ellen Meister (Fiction)
If you had another life, would you want to visit? Quinn Braverman has another life, a secret life she keeps hidden from everyone, even herself. When she finds out her second pregnancy isn’t going according to plan and something may be seriously wrong with the child, she begins to wonder about her choices and what her other life holds. Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski.

-Click here to see the reading group guide for THE OTHER LIFE.

THE MORNING STAR by Andre Schwarz-Bart (Fiction)
Acclaimed French novelist and Holocaust survivor Andre Schwarz-Bart’s last novel, discovered after his death, begins in the year 3000, in the aftermath of nuclear war. Combining fact, myth, folktale and fantasy, the plot spans several thousand years, weaving the heroic tale of the Jewish people from Abraham, to the Holocaust and its extermination camps, and into the future. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.


Click here to read this week's reviews.


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Those who are subscribed to the newsletter by April 30, 2011 automatically are entered in our Monthly Newsletter Contest. This month, one winner will be selected to win the following five books: CHASING FIRE by Nora Roberts, EVE by Iris Johansen, THE FIFTH WITNESS by Michael Connelly, I'LL WALK ALONE by Mary Higgins Clark, and THE SILVER BOAT by Luanne Rice. Michele from Midlothian, VA was last month's winner. She won A LESSON IN SECRETS: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear, LIVE WIRE by Harlan Coben, NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah, THE SATURDAY BIG TENT WEDDING PARTY: The New No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Novel by Alexander McCall Smith, and SILENT MERCY by Linda Fairstein.

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