On the Shelf: Stories of mystery, redemption, salvation

Published 6:29 pm Sunday, April 7, 2024

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

This week the library is featuring titles from our New Large Print collection.

“The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West,” is the newest by Sara Ackerman and it’s based on a true story. It’s 1927 and Olivia “Livy” West is a fearless young pilot yearning for adventure. When
she learns of the Dole Air Race, a high-stakes contest to be the first to make the 2,400-mile Pacific crossing from the West Coast to Hawaii, she sets her sights on qualifying. But it soon becomes clear that only men will make the cut. In a last-ditch effort to take part, Livy manages to be picked as a navigator for one of the pilots, before setting out on a harrowing journey that some will not survive. Fast forward to 1987 and Wren Summers is down to her last dime when she learns she has inherited a remote piece of land on the Big Island. She plans to sell the land and use the money to live on, but she is drawn in by the mysterious objects kept in the barn by her late great-uncle. These items are clues to a tragic piece of aviation history lost to time. Wren is determined to find out what happened all those years ago, so she enlists the help of residents at a nearby retirement home to piece together Olivia’s story. What she discovers is more earth-shattering and closer to home, than she could have ever imagined.

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The latest romance novel from Carolyn Brown is titled, “The Lucky Shamrock.” Family doesn’t mean everyone must like each other. That’s the case when cousins Taryn, Anna Rose and Jorja
return to Shamrock, Texas, to help manage their grandmother’s flower shop, the Lucky Shamrock. The reunion isn’t exactly a beautiful arrangement—considering they’re as compatible as ranchers and coyotes. Thank heaven for a handsome go-between like Clinton, who lives above the shop. The easygoing war vet and most eligible bachelor in Wheeler County, is now throwing romance into the mix and setting the local women to gossiping. But as the hot months wear on, hidden secrets begin to surface for the temperamental Irish trio. And it’s bringing them closer together than they ever thought possible. With a flurry of weddings, a love story in the making, a surprise baby and crazy good fortune, maybe that shamrock painted on the window does bring luck.

“The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip,” is by Sara Brunsvold. Aidyn Kelley is talented, ambitious and ready for a more serious assignment than the fluff pieces she’s been getting as a cub reporter for the Kansas City Star. In her eagerness, she oversteps boundaries and winds up being assigned the menial task of writing an obituary for an unremarkable woman who’s just entered hospice
care. But there’s more to Clara Kip than meets the eye. The spirited septuagenarian may be dying, but she’s not quite ready to cash it in yet. Not one to shy away from a project herself, Clara can see that God brought the young reporter into her life for a reason. And if it’s a story Aidyn Kelley wants, that’s just what Mrs. Kip will give her, but she’s going to have to work for it.

Sean Dietrich shows that the greatest gifts can come from unlikely encounters in his latest, “Kinfolk.” It’s the 1970s in Southern Alabama and sixty-two-year-old Jeremiah Lewis Taylor, or “Nub,” has spent his whole life listening to those he loves tell him he’s no good. First his ex- wife, now his always-disapproving daughter chief among them. Sure, his escapades have made him, along with his cousin and perennial sidekick, Benny, just a bit too familiar with law enforcement, but he’s never harmed anyone except himself. Nub never meant to change his ways, but when he and fifteen-year-old Waffle House waitress, Minnie, form an unlikely friendship, he realizes for the first time that there may be some good in him after all. Six-foot- five Minnie has been dealt nothing but bad luck, her father is a convicted murderer serving a life sentence, her mother is dead and buried and she has a brilliant singing voice with no place to perform. Oh and she’s unexpectedly pregnant, courtesy of a no-good high-school boy. Nub comes to realize the gift he’s been given: a second chance to make a difference.

In “Family Family,” by Laurie Frankel, we learn that not all stories of adoption are full of pain and regret in fact, not even most of them. India Allwood grew up wanting to be an actor. Armed
with a stack of index cards for research and line memorization, she goes from awkward sixteen- year-old to Broadway ingenue to TV superhero. Her new movie is a much-hyped picture about
adoption, but its spin is the same old tired story of tragedy. India is an adoptive mom in real life and she wants everyone to know there’s more to her family than pain and regret. She then does
something an actress should never do she tells a journalist the truth: it’s a bad movie. Suddenly, she’s in a media storm, battling accusations from the press and the paparazzi, from protesters on the right and advocates on the left. Her twin ten-year-olds know they need help–and who better to call than family? That’s where it gets more complicated because India is not just an adoptive mother.

“The Year of Goodbyes and Hellos,” by Kelly Irvin is based on the author’s own experiences with cancer. Determined to save Sherri’s life, Kristen drops everything to guide her sister on the
harrowing cancer treatment journey. When she’s unable to balance the strain of caring for her patients, being a wife and mother,and her frantic efforts to save her sister, Kristen’s carefully
balanced life crumbles, starting with her marriage. Desperate to regain her footing, she vows to rebuild her broken relationships as soon as she’s sure Sherri will beat the odds stacked against
her. Unlike her sister, Sherri Reynolds has worked to cultivate balance in her life. Her children, her job as a teacher and her strong faith keep her grounded until her diagnosis sends her spiraling into the scary world of what-ifs and unknown outcomes. Sherri faces the agonizing realization that family history may be about to repeat itself. With the clock ticking, she’s determined to use whatever time she has left to heal old wounds and restore relationships.