Betsy's Picks

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Betsy is enjoying her semi-retirement and reading up a storm. Check out her latest new favorites. 

Those are her reviews you see with the books.


News of the World: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062409201
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - October 4th, 2016

News of the World by Paulette Giles is historical fiction set in Texas just after the Civil War.  Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd supports himself by reading from newspapers to Texans who either don’t know how to read or who don’t have access to newspapers from other parts of the country.  He charges a dime a listener.  He is asked to take a 10 year old girl back to the town where she had been kidnapped four years before.  She is rebellious and would rather stay with the Kiowa Indians where she had been lovingly raised.  After she tries to escape from Kidd and after she helps to save him from a band of renegades, she has bonded with him and doesn’t want to go to the aunt and uncle who wanted her to come back to them since the same Indians who kidnapped her had killed both her parents.  They travel the 400 miles only to find the aunt and uncle only wanted her to be their slave.  But there is a beautiful ending.

Everybody's Fool: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307270641
Availability: Special Order
Published: Knopf - May 3rd, 2016

Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo is a sequel to Nobody’s Fool and is equally entertaining with Upstate New York characters.

The Summer Before the War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812993103
Availability: Special Order
Published: Random House - March 22nd, 2016

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson was a sure pick for me when I read it would appeal to fans of Downton Abbey and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, two of my favorites.  It takes place in Sussex England 1n 1914.  The new Latin teacher (a woman!) has to fight for her position and the locals would fire her except for the onset of World War I.  English class warfare succumbs to the pressures of continental warfare.  Characters I cared about with an up-close look at  British social change.

Glory over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476748443
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 5th, 2016

Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom is a breathtaking and disturbing novel of 1830 Virginia and the slaves and slave owners who populated it.  An escaped slave who has been thriving as a silversmith in Philadelphia is asked to return 20 years after his escape to try to find the son of his black friend.  The fiendish face of slavery and the superhuman bravery of those who try to escape it via the Underground Railroad male it a memorable read.

The Nightingale: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312577223
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - February 3rd, 2015

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah has been on the New York Times Best Seller list ever since it was published in February.  It’s the story of a French girl who risks everything to find English and American airmen who had parachuted out of their downed planes.  Then she has to get them across the mountains to freedom in Spain.  Her sister has taken in the baby of a Jewish woman who was sent to a concentration camp and a German officer insists on living in her house as well.  I couldn’t put it down—reading through the night.  Courage and resourcefulness abound.

Monticello: A Daughter and Her Father; A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062320438
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow - September 6th, 2016

Monticello by Sally Cabot Gunning is the story of Martha Jefferson, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson.  After the death of her mother, Martha accompanies her father to France.  When they return, her father is distracted by upheavals in the government and hasn’t the needs of his home on his mind.  It’s up to his daughter to find a way to unburden Monticello of its debts.  Although she doesn’t believe in slavery she knows they need the slaves to save their home.  Her father’s relationship with their slave, Sally Hemings, has Martha perplexed as well.  Since there are many letters and papers of Thomas Jefferson to draw from, this book has a solid basis in research.  It’s a historical novel to sink your teeth into.