ON THE SHELF: Eye-popping Large Print Fiction Favorites

Published 8:00 am Sunday, January 23, 2022

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features a variety of fiction from our New Large Print collection.

Jason Allen’s debut novel, “The East End,” is an ethereal novel of family secrets and scandals, love and heartache, working-class struggles and opulent privileges all set in a place where people would die for love, kill for the truth and daydream of escaping forever. Corey Halpern is a Hamptons local from a broken home who breaks into mansions at night just for the thrill of it. On a night just before Memorial Day, he breaks into the Sheffield estate where he and his mother work. When billionaire CEO Leo Sheffield unexpectedly arrives with his lover, Henry, Corey witnesses a poolside accident that leaves Henry dead. Leo knows he must bury the truth, but a swarm of family and other guests will be arriving in the morning, including Leo’s boorish wife, Gina. No one can know there’s a dead man in the woods and Leo knows his life is on the line. It becomes a race against time where each critical moment leads Corey, Gina and Leo toward a common breaking point.

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Nancy Campbell Allen sets her latest, “The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart,” in Victorian London. Amelie Hampton is a hopeless romantic, which makes her the perfect choice to answer the lonely heart letters for “The Marriage Gazette.” Amelie plays matchmaker for two of her anonymous lonely hearts and decides to observe the couple’s blind date in secret. She is surprised to learn that the gentleman is Harold Radcliffe — a grieving widower who is a member of Amelie’s book club. Michael Baker is a police detective who has been struggling since the death of his brother-in-law in the line of duty. Michael has vowed never to marry so as not to subject a wife to the dangers and uncertainty of his job. When he meets Amelie, however, he is attracted to her innocence, beauty and her quick wit. As Michael begins investigating the death of a woman whose body was found in the river, he suspects the husband — Harold Radcliffe. Amelie refuses to believe that Harold is guilty of such a violent act and decides to use her society connections to sleuth out the truth. Will Michael be able to resolve the case before Amelie becomes a victim?

For those who enjoy historical fiction and westerns, there is “Flintlock” by Jason Manning. It’s 1806 and early days for the fledgling republic of the United States. Aaron Burr, the charismatic and ambitious vice president is thought to be plotting treason against America. He has devised a heinous plot to carve out his own private empire in the western states of the Union. President Thomas Jefferson suspects Burr is up to no good, but he has no proof. Unsure of who to trust in government, Jefferson turns to Flintlock Jones, a young but already famous Kentucky frontiersman. Flintlock enlists the help of a young naval officer, Lt. Jonathan Grove, to help on his mission to pursue Burr and his gang of criminal brutes. Their pursuit will take them across the dark and bloody frontier of Kentucky and down the infamous Natchez Trace. Before the President’s men can stop Burr, Flintlock is confronted by a ghost from the past hell-bent on revenge.

Nigerian-American Lola Akinmade Akerstrom tells the story of how three Black women are linked to the same influential white man in Stockholm in her latest “In Every Mirror She’s Black.” Kemi Adeyemi, a successful marketing exec, is lured from her job in the U.S. by Jonny von Lundin — CEO of that Sweden’s largest marketing firm — to help fix a public relations nightmare involving a racially tone-deaf ad campaign. Kemi sees the move as a way to reclaim her shriveling social life. Brittany-Rae Johnson is a model-turned-flight-attendant who met Jonny in business class en route to the United States. She is propelled into a life of wealth, luxury and privilege — a life she’s not sure she wants — and becomes an object of Jonny’s unhealthy obsession. Finally, there’s refugee Muna Saheed, who lost her entire family but has found a job cleaning the toilets at Jonny’s office while working on establishing her residency in Sweden. Most importantly, she is seeking connection and a place to call home.

Real-life literary icon Nancy Mitford is the subject of “The Bookseller’s Secret” by author Michelle Gable. In 1942, in London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. She is still recovering from a terrible loss and the once bright young woman has become estranged from her husband and had her allowance cut. She has also given up her writing career. To add insult to injury, her five beautiful and infamous sisters are making waves with their controversial politics. Is it any wonder that Nancy jumps at the chance to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war? Amid the shop’s vigorous business and the literary events she hosts for her offbeat friends, Nancy’s life seems to be improving. Then, a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, and Nancy must decide whether picking up her pen and telling all is worth the price she may have to pay.

Angela Jackson-Brown introduces a small Southern town that must grapple with foreboding questions in her book, “When Stars Rain Down.” It’s an unseasonably hot summer in 1936 in Parsons, Ga. Opal Pruitt senses a storm brewing on the wind. She doesn’t want the haunting feeling she has to overshadow her upcoming eighteenth birthday or the annual Founder’s Day celebration. Though her employer, Miss Peggy, expects Opal to work hard, the young woman enjoys having something to look forward to. All that changes when the Ku Klux Klan descends on Opal’s neighborhood of Colored Town and shakes the tight-knit community to its core. To top it all off, Opal finds herself torn between two unexpected romantic interests that awaken so many emotions. She will learn that becoming a woman can bring some very complicated decisions about what type of person she wants to be.