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Hannah, Kristin (author).
Feb. 2015. 448p. St. Martin's, hardcover, $27.99 (9780312577223); St. Martin's, e-book (9781466850606).
First published December 15, 2014 (Booklist).
Hannah (Fly Away, 2013) departs from the contemporary novels she’s known for with this engrossing tale of two sisters’ bravery in occupied France during WWII. Viann and Isabelle Rossignol took very different paths after their mother’s death devastated their family and war turned their father into a distant and withdrawn parent. Older sister Viann sought comfort in the arms of a schoolmate, getting pregnant and marrying at just 16. Rebellious Isabelle gets herself kicked out of multiple boarding schools. Then the Germans conquer France, and the sisters’ lives change drastically. When her husband is captured and detained as a prisoner of war in Germany, Viann is forced to take in a German captain. Soon she finds herself relying on him to ensure there is food on the table for her daughter. Isabelle joins the Resistance, boldly leading fallen airmen fighting for the liberation of France over the mountains to Spain to safety. Hannah’s latest is a page-turner that will no doubt have readers reaching for tissues. This moving, emotional tribute to the brave women who fought behind enemy lines during the war is bound to gain the already immensely popular Hannah an even wider audience.
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With a 350,000 initial print run and a multiplatform promotional campaign, best-selling Hannah’s new novel is positioned to take the book world by storm.
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ONLY ONE THING CAN SAVE US
A union lawyer offers radical
prescriptions to resuscitate a moribund labor movement.
In a book that suggests
that a revival of labor is necessary to the survival of democracy,
Geoghegan (Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model
Can Help You Get a Life, 2010, etc.) admits from the outset that
prospects look grim in a country that seems to regard Big Labor as an
anachronism. But with the “drop-by-drop disappearance of the middle class,”
with wages slashed and job security replaced by contract work, desperate times
require desperate measures: “Some say that our current income inequality is no
longer like the Roaring Twenties or even the Gilded Age: we’re reaching
inequality that we haven’t known since feudalism. Charlemagne, not J.P. Morgan,
is the relevant comparison.” The author suggests moving the battle lines from
union-corporation (where the latter has won) to the political arena, where the
Democratic Party has failed to represent the interests of its longtime
constituents, and to the government, where the Civil Rights Act should be
extended to encompass union busting. He finds hope in service professions such
as nursing and teaching, where battles are fought over conditions that can
benefit the community at large (greater resources, smaller class size) beyond
narrower concerns such as salary and security, and where public opinion is the
ultimate arbiter. Some of Geoghegan’s suggestions might seem counterintuitive:
that globalization can save American labor rather than simply deport jobs, that
unions would be better off representing those who join enthusiastically rather
than representing all, and that the Democratic Party’s emphasis on education is
misplaced (resulting in greater student debt rather than necessarily higher
salaries). However, he insists that since the stakes are so high, a new
labor resurgence cannot succeed with the old game plan.
A manifesto that provokes
even when it doesn’t convince and tempers its broadsides with humor and a
SHOW ME THE GOLD
Another case for a former CIA agent and her gal pals.
Reserve Deputy and former CIA agent Phoenix Smith and her friend and host,
Acting Sheriff Annalynn Keyser, are called to help law enforcement officials in
a neighboring county contain a gang of bank robbers hiding in a deserted
farmhouse. Together with Phoenix’s dropout police dog, Achilles, they surround
the house, but at least two of the men escape, and only Achilles’ sharp nose
keeps Phoenix from getting blown up in the booby-trapped house. The robbers are
members of the Cantree family, locals with a grudge against the county sheriff
and a network of friends and family who could be helping them. Since Phoenix
killed one of them and wounded another during the escape attempt, she’s sure to
be added to their hit list. The gang stole cash but also targeted a safety
deposit box filled with gold coins, and the FBI agents suspect Phoenix because,
as consultant to a venture capital firm, she has the expertise to sell the
gold. Meanwhile, another sleuthing friend, Connie Diamante, who’s directing Oklahoma! for
the local community college, asks Phoenix to play the piano for the auditions.
One of the kids who’s auditioning pulls a gun but claims it was just a prop to
help get him in character. After a video of the incident shows up on YouTube,
Phoenix and Connie are shot at in a local restaurant. They’re also presented
with a case of elder neglect that involves a Cantree family friend. Although
Phoenix would prefer to get on with her work establishing a foundation to
assist crime victims, she’s forced to investigate the robbery to get the FBI
off her back.
Mulford (Show Me the Deadly Deer, 2014, etc.) confronts her troupe of
reluctant crime solvers with plenty of action and a few surprises.
RAVEN HEIGHTS MANOR
A teenager adjusting to a new home searches for clues to a
Claire Temple’s first glimpse of Raven Heights Manor, grimly
perched on a rock on the north Cornwall coast, fills her with foreboding.
Lonely and despondent since her parents’ deaths nine years earlier, Claire has
suffered the common fate of late-18th-century orphans and been put to school—until
her bachelor uncle invites her to the manor. When she arrives, he’s still
abroad, and Claire is left in the care of his second cousin, the kindly
housekeeper. Vitus and Roman, two boys about her age who live on the
neighboring estate, claim her acquaintance, and Roman tells her all about the
smugglers who hide their treasures in caves along the coast. With the natural
resilience of not quite 16 years, Claire soon begins to enjoy exploring the
manor and its grounds, although she’s warned away from the cliff where young
Zillah recently fell to her death. Zillah was close to a little blind girl,
Alice, who boarded with her at Miss Bethany Coulter’s inn. When Alice confides
in Claire about a couple of notes Zillah left behind in case anything happened
to her, Claire is increasingly curious about the young woman’s unfortunate
fate. She takes a break from sleuthing to try to match up Bethany and Malcolm
Randall, an aspiring chef, as business partners. She’s resourceful for one so
young and enjoys unusual independence for a girl of her time, but it’s not her
fault that her readers will probably be one step ahead of her most of the
For an author with a list of
historical romances to her name, Louise (RoseHill Manor, 2010, etc.) doesn’t write very
convincingly about her chosen period or show much originality in a slight tale
that’s likely to have the most appeal for young adults.