ON THE SHELF: Female authors in the New Adult Fiction section

Published 8:00 am Sunday, April 3, 2022

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

This week’s column features titles from the New Adult Fiction section.

Author Kianna Alexander novelizes the life of real estate magnate Josephine N. Leary in her book “Carolina Built.” After her emancipation in North Carolina, Josephine N. Leary is determined to build a life of her own and a better future for her family in the town of Edenton. When the demands of life begin pulling her attention away, Josephine finds it hard to concentrate on building her real estate business. The demands of her deepening marriage, motherhood to her daughters,and the duties as a daughter and granddaughter take up more of her time, yet she makes time to learn how to be a businesswoman, to manage her finances and to make smart investments in the local real estate market. She is determined to build a legacy from the ground up.

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Lucy Foley imbues her latest, “The Paris Apartment,” with enough mystery to keep you turning the pages. Jess finds herself in need of a fresh start. She’s broke, alone and had to leave her job under problematic circumstances. When she asked her half-brother Ben if she could crash at his place for a while, he didn’t seem thrilled, but he didn’t say no. Surely everything will be better in Paris. When Jess arrives at Ben’s place, she is surprised to find a very nice apartment which leaves her wondering, “How can he afford this?” He’s not there and as the days pass, she becomes more worried about her brother and begins to dig into his situation. She only seems to run into more questions. His neighbors, though an eclectic bunch, are not particularly friendly or helpful. There is the socialite, the nice guy, the alcoholic, the girl on the verge and the concierge. As Jess digs deeper into Ben’s disappearance, she finds that everyone is a suspect, and everyone knows something they are not telling.

Bestselling author Colleen Hoover tells the story of a troubled young mother who yearns for a shot at redemption with her latest book “Reminders of Him.” Kenna Rowan has finished serving five years in prison for a tragic mistake when she returns to the town where it all went wrong. She is hoping to reunite with her four-year-old daughter, but the bridges that Kenna burned are proving impossible to rebuild. Everyone involved in her daughter’s life is determined to shut Kenna out despite all the hard work she is doing to prove herself. The only person who offers a glimmer of hope is Ledger Ward, a local bar owner and one of the few remaining links to Kenna’s daughter. If anyone were to find out how important Ledger is becoming to Kenna’s life, both would risk losing the trust of everyone important to them. As the connection between the two grows, so does the pressure surrounding them. Kenna will have to find a way to absolve her past mistakes so that she can heal and build a future with her daughter.

“The Paris Bookseller” is by Kerri Maher. Sylvia Beach is a bookish young American who opens the Shakespeare and Company bookstore on a quiet Parisian street in 1919. She doesn’t have any idea how important her little shop will become to literature itself. As it turns out, writers like Ernest Hemingway consider it to be a second home and it becomes a place where many important literary friendships are formed. For example, the friendship formed between Irish writer James Joyce and Sylvia herself. When Joyce’s novel “Ulysses” is banned for being too controversial, Sylvia takes it upon herself to publish it under the auspices of Shakespeare and Company. The success and notoriety of publishing this infamous and influential book comes with steep costs. The future of her beloved store is threatened when the success of the book brings other publishers to woo Joyce away. Then, as Paris is plunged into a deep Depression, many of her expatriate friends return to America putting a strain on Sylvia’s most precious friendships. She must decide what Shakespeare and Company truly means to her as she faces both personal and financial crises. Will she still believe in her mission to honor the life-changing impact of books on ordinary people?

Anna Pitoniak tells the story of a mysterious first lady and the journalist writing her biography in her novel “Our American Friend.” Sofie Morse is a White House correspondent who is fed up with the dysfunction of Washington and the increasing antics of President Henry Caine. She decides to quit her job and leave politics behind, but she then gets a call from the office of the First Lady, Lara Caine. All that is known about the First Lady is that she was born in Soviet Russia, raised in Paris and worked as a model before moving to America and marrying the notoriously brazen future president. Lara asks Sofie to write her official biography and to fill in the gaps of her history. As Sofie spends more time in the White House, she develops a deep friendship with Lara. What surprises Sofie most is how candid Lara is about her mysterious past. The First Lady isn’t hesitant about speaking about her beloved father’s work as an undercover KGB agent in Paris and how he wasn’t the only person in her family working undercover during the Cold War. As Lara’s story unfolds, Sofie becomes privy to some sensitive information that puts her in the middle of a game of cat and mouse that could have far-reaching consequences — both personally and professionally. All Sofie wants to know is why her and why now?

Chloe Aridjis offers a heady portrait of Mexico in the 1980s with her novel “Sea Monsters.” Seventeen-year-old Luisa decides not to return home one autumn afternoon in Mexico City. Instead, she boards a bus bound for the Pacific coast with Tomas, a boy she barely knows. He represents the recklessness, impulse and independence she feels she is lacking in her life. Tomas may also help Luisa track down a traveling troupe of Ukrainian dwarfs who escaped a Soviet circus while touring Mexico. As Luisa settles in a beach community in Oaxaca, she finds herself imagining what happened to these performers, but the quest to find them is more easily envisioned than actually executed. She spends her days wandering the shoreline among the hippies, nudists, beachcombers and eccentric storytellers that populate Zipolite, the “Beach of the Dead.” Meanwhile, her father is frantic and sets out to find his wayward daughter.