The Paris Winter by Imogen Roberston

Maud Heighton came to Lafond's famous Academie to paint, and to flee the constraints of her small English town. It took all her courage to escape, but Paris, she quickly realizes, is no place for a light purse. While her fellow students enjoy the dazzling decadence of the Belle Epoque, Maud slips into poverty.

Quietly starving, and dreading another cold Paris winter, she stumbles upon an opportunity when Christian Morel engages her as a live-in companion to his beautiful young sister, Sylvie. Maud is overjoyed by her good fortune. With a clean room, hot meals, and an umbrella to keep her dry, she is able to hold her head high as she strolls the streets of Montmartre. No longer hostage to poverty and hunger, Maud can at last devote herself to her art.

But all is not as it seems. Christian and Sylvie, Maud soon discovers, are not quite the darlings they pretend to be. Sylvie has a secret addiction to opium and Christian has an ominous air of intrigue. As this dark and powerful tale progresses, Maud is drawn further into the Morels' world of elegant deception. Their secrets become hers, and soon she is caught in a scheme of betrayal and revenge.

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Girl Underwater by Claire Kells

Nineteen-year-old Avery Delacorte loves the water. Growing up in Brookline, Massachusetts, she took swim lessons at her community pool and captained the local team; in high school, she raced across bays and sprawling North American lakes. Now a sophomore on her university’s nationally ranked team, she struggles under the weight of new expectations but life is otherwise pretty good. Perfect, really.

That all changes when Avery’s red-eye home for Thanksgiving makes a ditch landing in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She is one of only five survivors, which includes three little boys and Colin Shea, who happens to be her teammate. Colin is also the only person in Avery’s college life who challenged her to swim her own events, to be her own person—something she refused to do. Instead she’s avoided him since the first day of freshman year. But now, faced with sub-zero temperatures, minimal supplies, and the dangers of a forbidding nowhere, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could’ve imagined.

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Spare Parts by Joshua Davis

In 2004, four Latino teenagers arrived at the Marine Advanced Technology Education Robotics Competition at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They were born in Mexico but raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where they attended an underfunded public high school. No one had ever suggested to Oscar, Cristian, Luis, or Lorenzo that they might amount to much―but two inspiring science teachers had convinced these impoverished, undocumented kids from the desert who had never even seen the ocean that they should try to build an underwater robot.

And build a robot they did. Their robot wasn't pretty, especially compared to those of the competition. They were going up against some of the best collegiate engineers in the country, including a team from MIT backed by a $10,000 grant from ExxonMobil. The Phoenix teenagers had scraped together less than $1,000 and built their robot out of scavenged parts. This was never a level competition―and yet, against all odds . . . they won!

But this is just the beginning for these four, whose story―which became a key inspiration to the DREAMers movement―will go on to include first-generation college graduations, deportation, bean-picking in Mexico, and service in Afghanistan.

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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


Jane Austen’s most popular title, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is a novel of manners and morals, exploring themes of social class, wealth and, most notably, romance. Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters court the attentions of assorted suitors, among them the imperious Mr Darcy.


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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte



Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor-qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?








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The Rent Collector by Cameron Wright

 
This fictional story, based on actual accounts, follows a Cambodian family that lives at--and makes their living from--Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. as her husband scavenge the dump for things to sell, Sang Ly tries to find a way to heal her ailing son. When she discovers that the bad-tempered rent collector can read, Sang LY begs the woman to teach her. The unlikely relationship is the beginning of a life-changing quest. It is a story of hope, determination, and the strength of family. It is the journey of one woman to save her son and another woman's chance at redemption. It demonstrates that even in a dump in Cambodia--perhaps especially in a dump in Cambodia--everyone deserves a second chance.

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Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she'll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry. From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing.


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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis. In The Red Tent, Anita Diamant brings this fascinating biblical character to vivid life.
Told in Dinah's voice, the novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood-the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of Dinah's mothers-Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah-the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

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Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Croke

Billy Williams came to colonial Burma in 1920, fresh from service in World War I, to a job as a “forest man” for a British teak company. Mesmerized by the intelligence, character, and even humor of the great animals who hauled logs through the remote jungles, he became a gifted “elephant wallah.” Increasingly skilled at treating their illnesses and injuries, he also championed more humane treatment for them, even establishing an elephant “school” and “hospital.” In return, he said, the elephants made him a better man. The friendship of one magnificent tusker in particular, Bandoola, would be revelatory.

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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson


Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

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The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

 
 
Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.



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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin






A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over--and see everything anew


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LitLovers reading guide

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.  To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears.  

Litlovers reading guide

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn



Huckleberry Finn, rebel against school and church, casual inheritor of gold treasure, rafter of the Mississippi, and savior of Jim the runaway slave, is the archetypal American maverick.
Fleeing the respectable society that wants to "sivilize" him, Huck Finn shoves off with Jim on a raft journey down the Mississippi River. The two bind themselves to one another, becoming friends and agreeing "there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft."
As Huck learns about love, responsibility, and morality, the trip becomes a metaphoric voyage through his own soul..

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Litlovers reading guide


Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

In this One Book/One County selection from 2014, Frank Drum, the son of a Methodist preacher in a small town in Minnesota, recalls the tragic events of his thirteenth year that tore apart his family and the other members of his community.

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The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann

Siri is a chef and restaurant owner; Jon is a famous novelist plagued by writer's block.  Spending summers on the coast of Norway with their two daughters, they lead an idyllic life. But their seemingly perfect lives take a troubled turn when the nanny they hire, Milla, vanishes one night then turns up dead.  When a suspect is identified, everyone who had a connection to her feels implicated in her fate and wonders what they could have done to prevent it.

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Interview with the author

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Quest for Epic Gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel Brown

A stirring account of the University of Washington rowing team's quest to win gold in the 1936 Olympics.  Drawing on the boys' journals, and especially on the story of one young man, Joe Rantz, Daniel Brown recounts how this depression era team composed of loggers, farmers and shipyard workers rose above the odds to win Olympic gold, capture the imaginations of the American public and transform the sport.

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Author Interview on Penguin.com

Book Trailer

The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Jackie and Paula picture a quiet life for their family in their new small-town home. But they begin to butt heads with their neighbor, Clementine, when their troubled daughter, Star, befriends her spirited horse, Comet.  Already opposed to her neighbors' lifestyle, Clem, who is no longer able to care for the horse, resents the bond that develops between her horse and Star.  The families are thrown together, however, when Star and the horse mysteriously disappear, and they all must put aside their differences and confront the choices that have driven their lives.

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My Name is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner

The heart-felt story of a woman struggling to find herself in the years preceding the American Revolution.  In 1729, Resolute Talbot and her siblings are captured by pirates, wrenched from their family in Jamaica, and taken to the New World. There, they are sold as slaves and taught the trades of spinning and weaving.  Eventually Resolute finally finds herself alone and tries to find her way in New England society.  As the seeds of rebellion grow, however, her talent in weaving place her at the center of a web of secrecy that drives the revolution.

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Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

In 2010, Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg, ranked on Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, delivered a trail-blazing TEDTalk in which she encouraged women to “sit at the table,” seek challenges, take risks, and actively pursue their career goals.
In Lean In she expands on this talk and explores the lives and choices of working women. She recounts her own struggles to make the right choices for herself, her career, and her family and provides practical advice on how women can build a satisfying career, describing specific steps women can take to combine professional achievement with personal fulfillment.   
LitGuide on LitLovers.com
Lean In Website LeanIn.org
Discussion Guide on Books for Better Living

I'll be Seeing You by Suzanne Hayes

Rita is a middle-aged professor’s wife in Iowa, and Glory is a young mother in Massachusetts. Through a pen-pal program, the two become fast friends in 1943 and share their fears, temptations, trials and triumphs as they move through the war years. An emotional, charming and beautifully rendered exploration of WWII on the home front and the type of friendship that helps us survive all manner of battles.


Reading Guide on Bookbrowse.com

Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

Lucie comes to, knee deep in San Francisco bay, with no knowledge of who she is or what her life is like. Claimed by her fiancé and lacking nearly any other family or personal connections, Lucie has to reclaim her identity and rebuild her life. This thoroughly engaging novel explores love, identity, and the complexities of relationships.


Discussion Guide on ReadingGroupChoices.com
Reading Group Guide on SimonandSchuster.com

Book Trailer on SimonandSchuster.com

The Time Between by Karen White

Seeking atonement over her guilt that she caused her sister's paralysis, Eleanor takes a job caring for an elderly woman and becomes caught up in the woman's life of passion, danger, heartache and deception in Hungary during World War II. Eleanor is given a chance to recover her lost self and perhaps a chance at love.


LitGuide on LitLovers.com

The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard Morais

After Hassan Haji's family is forced to leave India, they start a restaurant in the rural French village of Lumiere--much to the dismay of the haughty proprietor of the French restaurant across the way.   The rivalry between the family and Mademoiselle Mallory grows more and more bitter until she discovers Hassan's culinary gift in this charming and magical novel.

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Author's website

China Dolls by Lisa See

In 1938, the world's fair is being held in San Francisco and World War II is imminent.  Against this background, three women from very different backgrounds meet at Chinatown's Forbidden City nightclub and become fast friends.  Grace Lee is an American born Chinese woman who has fled a difficult family situation in the midwest;  Helen Fong is from a traditional, prominent Chinatown family; and Ruby Tom is an ambitious aspiring entertainer.  Together, they navigate success, challenges and misfortune, until a shocking betrayal divides them.

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Author on Facebook

The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

Set against a moral dilemma, this haunting novel explores questions of life, death and love.  Matt Beaulieu's pregnant wife, Elle, has suffered a fatal accident.  Despite his wife's previous wishes, he keeps her alive on life support.  His mother, however, believes that they should let her pass away and is determined to fight for what she believes in.  

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The Orphan Train by Christina Kline

When Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system she takes a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home.  As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, she learns that they aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children. Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life. The answers they find free both women in this powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.


LitGuide on LitLovers.com 
Reading Guide on ReadingGroupChoices.com  
ReadingGroupGuide on ReadingGroupGuides.com 

Interview with author on NPR 
Author’s blog  

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Georgie and Neal have been married for fifteen years.  Neal cares for their two girls while Georgie works at her job as a sitcom writer and it has worked well . . . so far.  But when Georgie lets Neal take the girls to their grandparents in Omaha for Christmas while she remains at home to work on a the project of a lifetime, she begins to discover what she has taken for granted during her marriage.  A mysterious and magical landline phone helps her relive the early days in her relationship and rethink her marriage and Neal.

Author Interview on NPR

The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

When in 1914 Kezia Marchant marries the brother of her childhood friend, Thea Brissenden, Thea wonders how well her educated friend will do as a farm housewife and gives her the ironic gift of a book on household management.  But when Tom enlists to fight in World War I and Kezia is left to manage the farm, she helps them both endure hardship by sending him imaginary descriptions of home life and meals she is preparing.  A moving story of love and friendship in the face of separation and the brutality of war.

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Reading Guide on Harper and Collins website

Author Website