Sarah's Staff Picks
Diana Bishop, a historian of alchemical texts, also happens to be a witch in denial of her abilities. While researching a particularly unremarkable book at the Bodleian Library, she finds something extraordinary that will alter her life, and the lives of all creatures, forever. From this discovery, Diana finds herself entangled with an unlikely ally: a vampire. This is the first book in the All Souls trilogy and I was hooked from chapter one! If you love a good romance immersed in well researched historical facts mixed with magic, you will devour this series!
The king and the wolf and the girl and the boy and the owl. It’s these 5 puppets that this fairy tale, in the fictional land of Norendy, revolves around. I was mesmerized by the first chapter, and once again under the spell of DiCamillo’s insightful writing. Through the eyes of the puppets and the adventures they find themselves on, she masterfully explores the idea of needing to feel understood and seen, how the actions of others can change us for better or worse and how sometimes things are not what they seem.
Elizabeth Gaskell’s NORTH AND SOUTH is an inspiring piece of Victorian Literature. When Margaret Hale's father relocates the family from the south of Europe to an industrial northern town, she finds herself feeling out of place. Soon, Margaret meets a mill owner by the name of John Thornton who is as strong willed as she and through their relationship a story of empathy, love and a changing world unfolds. A compelling novel that highlights both protagonists’ voices and the social divide of the time.
THE INVISIBLE HOUR is a story that emphasizes the power of the written word. Mia Jacob is desperate to escape the oppressive community she and her mother were bound to. It’s a world where books are forbidden and yet, when Mia was young, she secretly discovered the words of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Years later she finds the connection she has been searching for with a writer from another time. Will it be enough to free her from her fate? (And the author's note in the beginning is a must read too!)
Ann Patchett is always a must read for me! TOM LAKE was no exception! The book opens in Michigan at the beginning of the pandemic during lockdown. Lara has started to regale her three grown daughters with the story of her famous ex-boyfriend and her time spent as an actress many moons ago. Through the memories revisited and moments from present day, Patchett explores how the past holds sway over the present, the complicated relationships of mothers and daughters, and how life is full of wonder.
I was hesitant to read this prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy since the main focus is on President Snow, but I’m so glad I finally did! It begins with a young Coriolanus Snow looking to make a name for himself. He becomes a mentor to 12th district’s Lucy Gray in the 10th annual Hunger Games. Through many trials, Snow struggles with what is morally right for the survival of his country & loved ones. Though not a hero’s story, the philosophical explorations of Snow’s character & actions make this well worth the read!
WHERE ALL GOOD FLAPPERS GO is an intriguing collection of jazz age writers. All pulled from magazine publications of the time, these stories include contributions by Dorothy Parker (a personal favorite!), Zelda & F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Zora Neale Hurston. This quick peek at the younger generation’s need to defy the social norms and wanting to throw themselves at life unrestricted is reflected in their writing through humor, wit and a sense of abandon. A real treat for new and old fans of the writing of the time!
Angel. Demon. Antichrist. Hellhound. More angels. More demons. Witches. Witch finders. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse. God. Everything you need for one of the funniest stories for the end of times! Brought to you by two masters of the fantasy genre, this tale will have you riveted from the start. Much like Aziraphale and Crowley (the complex characters they brilliantly bring to life in GOOD OMENS), Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett are the perfect compliment to each other.
A beautifully tragic and intoxicating story full of passion, misery and heart. Though riddled with unlikeable characters, you will get swept away in their pain and triumphs. I find Heathcliff and Catherine to be one of the most fascinating and polarizing couples in classical literature. Catherine said “he is more myself than i am, whatever our souls are made of his and mine are the same” Whether you love or hate their tortured love story, the prose in this novel will touch your soul.
This novel is such an intriguing and creative take on Regency London. It contains mystery, adventure, humor and a love story! We follow twin sisters, Lady Augusta and Lady Julia, as they begin their journey as amateur sleuths. In a world where women’s lives are not always their own, the sisters strive to take matters into their own hands. Will they be successful in helping the women who require their assistance? One can only hope!