ON THE SHELF: Mystery and Intrigue in convenient Large Print

Published 8:00 am Sunday, May 22, 2022

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

This week’s column features titles in our New Adult Large Print Collection.

Anita Abriel delivers a thrilling novel of World War II intrigue in her book “A Girl During the War.” In Rome, in 1943 university student Marina Tozzi is on her way back home when she learns that her father was killed for hiding a Jewish artist in the family home. Afraid that she will suffer consequences for her father’s actions, Marina fleas to Florence and the villa of her father’s American friend Bernard Berenson. She learns that Florence, too, is an epicenter of conflict as partisans and Germans fight for control of the city. As an art expert, Marina helps Bernard catalog his library as he makes the arduous trek to neutral Switzerland. Their goal is to hide these precious cultural artifacts from the Germans. A young neighbor and partisan named Carlos seeks out Marina as much for her art expertise as for her charm. As Marina allows herself to dream of a life with Carlos after the war, he suddenly disappears, and she begins to question her own assumptions about her life in Florence. She will need to travel halfway around the world to get the answers she desires.

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“Sankofa” is a fascinating and funny novel about a woman looking for her father, written by Chibundu Onuzo. Anna is in her forties and at a point in her life where she is really wondering who she is. She has separated from her husband, her daughter is grown up and her mother — who was her sole caregiver — is now dead. As she goes through her mother’s belongings, she discovers clues about the African father she never knew. His student diaries reveal his ties to the radical politics of 1970s London. Anna discovers that he eventually became the president — some say dictator — of a small nation in western Africa. She also finds out that he is still alive, so she decides to track him down. Anna will learn the importance of reaching back to the knowledge of the past and bringing it to the present to address modern questions of belonging and the search for hidden roots. She will also learn that when you go looking for a clear identity or home, you may find something more complex instead.

Jane Green uses the true story of troubled icon Talitha Getty as the basis for her novel “Sister Stardust.” From the outside, Talitha’s life seems perfect. It’s the swinging 60s and Talitha is in her 20s and already a famous model and actress. She moved from London to the palace in Marrakesh, with her husband Paul Getty — the famous heir to the Getty oil empire. There she became hostess to the ex-pat scene filled with music, art, free love and the counterculture taking hold around the world. When a young woman named Claire arrives in London from her small town, she doesn’t expect to cross paths with someone as charming and glamorous as Talitha Getty. Claire winds up being swept off to Marrakesh where she becomes Talitha’s friend and confidante. But Talitha’s glamorous façade has a dark underbelly that many would not understand. As the friendship between the two women grows, the realities of Talitha’s life could set off a series of events that will forever change Claire’s life.

“The Chase” by bestselling author Candice Fox is a modern tale along the lines of “The Fugitive.” In response to a hostage situation, more than 600 inmates were set free from the Pronghorn Correctional Facility and into the Nevada Desert. This includes everyone on Death Row. The worst of the worst, monsters with dark, violent pasts and they are getting further away with the tick of the clock. One of those released is John Kradle who was convicted of murdering his wife and son. Kradle is determined to find out what really happened that night, but he will have to avoid being captured and work quickly to prove his innocence. Celine Osbourne is the Death Row Supervisor-turned-fugitive hunter who is tasked with catching Kradle. Celine knows exactly where Kradle will go, but she also has very personal reasons for hating him. Can she catch him and return him to Death Row or will Kradle find the evidence he thinks will clear his name?

Donna Everhart sets her latest novel, “The Saints of Swallow Hill” in the turpentine camps and pine forests of the American South during the Great Depression. In the dense pine forests of North Carolina, turpentiners work hard, hacking into tree trunks to draw out the sticky sap — that gives the Tar Heel State its nickname — then hauling the resin to stills to be refined. Among these hard-working folks are Rae Lynn Cobb and her husband Warren, who run a small turpentine farm together. Rae Lynn, who spent her childhood in an orphanage, is very grateful for their little corner of the world and for her kind — if a bit careless — husband. When Warren becomes a victim of his own carelessness, Rae Lynn makes the decision to provide a desperate act of mercy. To keep herself out of jail, she disguises herself as a man named “Ray” and heads to a turpentine camp in Georgia known as Swallow Hill. This is no easy haven; however, the camp is isolated and wretched. The commissary owner Otis Riddle takes out his frustrations on his wife, Cornelia. Although Rae Lynn works tirelessly, she draws the ire of Crow, the cagey woods rider who checks each laborer’s daily quota. A newcomer named Delwood Reese offers “Ray” a bit of protection and he is determined to see the workers’ conditions improve. Rae Lynn grows closer to both Del and Cornelia, but in order for her to move forward, she must deal with her past and her pain before she can seize the opportunity her new life can afford her.