In November 1950, Chinese troops cut off the advance guard of the American invasion of North Korea. Our troops had repelled the latter’s attack on South Korea and were sprinting to the Chinese border. General MacArthur and his staff, who dismissed word of massing Chinese troops and a looming winter front, found their men cut off near the Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir. Instead of claiming a victory, they now had to engineer a breakout. In The Frozen Hours, Author Shaara fictionalizes the battle, doing his usual trick of mingling imagined foot soldiers with real-life generals. Shaara “tells a good story’ but the definitive account of this campaign remains David Halberstam’s The Coldest Winter, also at the Nichols Library, which truly captures the desperate strait of the cut-off Americans.
Books for those who like a little fizz with their suspense. In The Girl who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick, Amanda, a reporter for a Hollywood gossip rag discovers more than she bargained for when her source ends up dead at the bottom of the pool at an exclusive resort. In Come Sundown by Nora Roberts, the murder of a barmaid disturbs the rustic charm of the Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana. Those looking for thrillers in a ‘straight, no chaser‘ mode can start with Full Wolf Moon by Lincoln Child, a writers conference is shaken by the grisly discovery of a dead hiker. The mauling suggests an animal attack, but writer Jeremy Logan thinks otherwise. In G-Man by Stephen Hunter, Bob Lee Swaggert discovers a Bob a lockbox clues to his grandfather’s FBI career.
For those who like Drama with a capitol D, Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf is a “breathless story of a young nurse who has lost everything after a tragic accident“ (the Publisher). All that changes when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by a river near her cabin and she is plunged into a disturbing mystery. In Against all Odds by Danielle Steel, a single mother tries to make the center hold as her children fall apart. New Boy by Tracy Chevalier is a re-telling of Othello, set in a modern prep school while House of Names by Colm Toibin makes Greek tragedy come alive in all its gory glory.
In The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer, a neurosurgeon takes leave to complete her brother’s research on research on the Black Death. She gets unexpected hands-on knowledge when she finds herself transported across time to Siena on the eve of the outbreak. Shades of Outlander?
In this true story, author William Hogeland tells how native raids on the Ohio frontier led to the creation our first standing army. In 1791, the escalating conflict between settlers and the Shawnee, Miami and Deleware tribes climaxed in the grisly defeat of a state militia sent to suppress them. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton used that defeat to raise support for a standing army. This was no slam dunk, as they faced popular resistance from “state sovereigntists” like Patrick Henry. Hoagland offers an “entertaining” but “devastatingly accurate” telling of an important turning point in our history (Salon).
With the arrival Dorothea Benton’ Frank’s Same Beach, Next Year, summer can be said to have officially begun. The story begins with a chance meeting of former lovers on the Isle of Palms, each now with new partners. Scott Turow’s Testimony spans from Kindle County to Bosnia as attorney Bill ten Boom investigates the disappearance of an entire refugee camp. Before we Sleep by Jeffrey Lent is a “sweeping, inter-generational story of a Vermont family” at the dawning of the ’60s. The Secret Wife by Paul Gill is a” cleverly crafted novel” (USA Today) about a young woman who discovers she is connected to from Russians aristocrats.
UPS delivered a big books of new books and CDs, just in time for Memorial Day weekend! There’s new fiction by Scott Turow and Jeffrey Lent, suspense by Lincoln Child and Clive Cussler, romantic suspense by Jayne Krentz and Nora Roberts, drama with a D by Danielle Steel, Heather Gudenkauf, and Tracy Chevalier, historical drama by Jeff Shaara, and a beach vacation escape by Dorothea Benton Frank!