HILF Book Club recommends

The HILF book club meets monthly (online) to read something new. So we are letting you see what we have been reading that is worth your time. We did not discuss an individual book because we could not check it out from the library for March – June, 2020.

December 2022 – A Surprise for Christmas and other seasonal mysteries edited by Martin Edwards.

November 2022 – The Lying Game by Ruth Ware –

October 2022 – Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict – a novel of Lady Clementine, wife of Sir Winston Churchill from the time she marries in the early 1900’s thru May 1945. This novel focuses on the effort that Lady Clementine made to help Winston Churchill in his political life. During World War 2, she worked to improve the conditions of the English in bomb shelters and helped improve working conditions for working women. It made us all want to read an actual biography of this very remarkable woman.

September 2022 – The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Jeannette Walls led a difficult and unusual childhood. By the end of the book club discussion, we were not sure if parts of the memoir had been fabricated. The story just did not seem real.

August 2022 – Four Aunties and a Wedding by Jesse Q. Sutanto. A sequel to “Dial A for Aunties”, this book was not as funny as her first book and was not a favorite of our book club.

July 2022 – An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine. This novel is set over several decades in Beirut, Lebanon. It is an unusual story of a woman who gets divorced at a young age and then is considered by her family to be unnecessary. She focuses her efforts on translating books from English and French into Arabic but never gets them published. Be aware that this book has no chapters, it just runs together.

June 2022 – The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien – Set in 1939 to the 1980’s. This novel looks at the Paris Library founded by Americans after World War 1 thru the eyes of young French girl, Odile Souchet, who starts at the library in 1939 just before the beginning of World War 2. We saw how Odile and her family deal with the German occupation of Paris thru to 1945. In 1945, Odile leaves Paris after marrying an American soldier and moves to Montana. A book well worth reading.

May 2022 – Don’t Eat Me by Colin Cotterill. “Between getting into a tangle with a corrupt local judge, and discovering a disturbing black-market business, Dr. Siri and his friend Inspector Phosy have their hands full in the thirteenth installment of Colin Cotterill’s quirky, critically acclaimed series. Dr. Siri Paiboun, the ex-national coroner of Laos, may have more experience dissecting bodies than making art, but when he manages to smuggle a fancy movie camera into the country he devises a plan to shoot a Lao adaptation of War and Peace with his friend Civilai. The only problem? The Ministry of Culture must approve the script before they can get rolling. That and they can’t figure out how to turn on the camera. This is fun filled murder mystery set in Laos.

April 2022 – Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood. “When a mysterious invitation arrives for the redoubtable Miss Phryne Fisher from an unknown retired Captain Herbert Spencer, Phryne’s curiosity is piqued. Spencer runs a retreat in Victoria’s rural spa country for shell-shocked veterans of World War I. It’s a cause after Phryne’s own heart, but what can Spencer want from her? Phryne and her faithful servant Dot set out for Daylesford, viewing their rural sojourn as a short holiday. But the pair barely have time to unpack before they are thrown into treacherous Highland gatherings, a mysterious case of disappearing women, and a string of murders committed under their very noses.

March 2022 – The Queen’s Fortune by Allison Pataki. This historical novel is about the life of Desiree Clary, a young girl from Marseilles who gets involved with Napoleon Bonaparte as he is climbing the ranks of the military during the French Revolution. He proposes to marry her but ends up marrying Josephine instead. Her sister marries Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon. Desiree continues to see Napoleon from time to time and eventually marries a military officer who becomes the King of Sweden. This is true story made into a historical novel.

February 2022 – Fallout by V. I. Warshawski. This thriller is set in Chicago and Kansas. A PI is asked to find two missing persons but instead stumbles into a coverup of a secret government research project that went wrong. You just never know what you will find when visit small town Kansas.

January 2022 – The Night Portrait by Laura Morelli. This World War 2 novel focuses on a famous painting that is stolen from a Polish family by the German Army during WW2 and the efforts of a young German museum art conservationist to protect and return the art to it’s lawful owner.

December 2021 – The Mistletoe Murder and other short stories by P. D. James. Nothing says Christmas like a series of short stories about murder during the holidays. P.D. James is the master at writing these collections and each short story is a gem to read.

November 2021 – Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James. P. D. James meets Jane Austin as Elizabeth and Darcy host their first dinner party. When throwing a party, you don’t expect uninvited guests or a murder but that is the dilemma facing the Darcy’s. Darcy is accused of murder and Elizabeth and guests have to solve the murder mystery. Quite a twist on the usual murder mystery by P. D. James.

October 2021 – The Return by Nicholas Sparks. Trevor Benson never intended to move back to New Bern, North Carolina. But when a mortar blast outside the hospital where he worked sent him home from Afghanistan with devastating injuries, the dilapidated cabin he’d inherited from his grandfather seemed as good a place to regroup as any.
Tending to his grandfather’s beloved beehives, Trevor isn’t prepared to fall in love with a local . . . yet, from their very first encounter, Trevor feels a connection with deputy sheriff Natalie Masterson that he can’t ignore. But even as she seems to reciprocate his feelings, she remains frustratingly distant, making Trevor wonder what she’s hiding.

September 2021 – The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear. In this latest book in the Maisie Dobbs is asked to investigate the mysteries death of American war correspondent. This is during the Blitz but before America enters the war. A fine addition to a long running series.

August 2021 – Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah. This is a new Hercule Poirot murder mystery in the style of Agatha Christie.

Plot summary:Lady Athelinda Playford, author of a popular series of children’s mystery novels, summons her children, lawyers, and Poirot and Edward Catchpool, Scotland Yard detective, to her home in Clonakilty, Ireland, where she plans to announce a change to her will that may shock those closest to her: she intends to leave everything to her secretary, a man with only weeks to live due to a terminal illness, cutting out her son and daughter completely.

July 2021 – Squeeze Me by Carl Hiaasen. A novel set in Palm Beach where every night is a charity dinner for some cause. At one of those dinners, a guest goes missing and the murder suspect is a boa constrictor. The story of the coverup involves Carl’s usual mix of characters who are larger than life and yet are probably based on true people.

June 2021 – Furious Hours by Casey Cep. A non-fiction book about a murder trial in Alabama involving insurance fraud and Harper Lee. Harper Lee attended the trial and intended to write a book about it but it never happened.

May 2021 – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. A novel set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The tale of young girl abandoned by her family who raises herself with the help of kindly neighbors.

April 2021 – Daughters of the Samurai by Janice Nimura. A non-fiction account of young Japanese girls who were sent from Japan to the United States in 1871 to get an education. An amazing true story about the power of education and how it can change your life.

March 2021 – The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks – a historical novel set in Israel. It is a fictionalized biography of King David.

February 2021 – China Doll by Fiona Davis – a historical novel set in San Francisco from 1939 thru the 1980’s about 3 Chinese American women who meet at entertainers at a night club in China town.

Jan. 2021 – The Masterpiece by Fiona Davis – a historical novel set in New York set in the 1920’s and then later in the 1970’s. The Masterpiece is a painting created by an art teacher at the Grand Central Terminal Art School.

Dec. 2020 – Five Carat Soul by James McBride. A collection of short stories covering everything from poor boys in a small town near Pittsburgh, to the Civil War to animals in a zoo. It has a little bit of everything to make you think and ponder life.

Nov. 2020 – Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis. A novel that covers World War 2 to the 1960’s. This is a departure for Fiona Davis because the book is fairly linear in it’s story telling. It focuses on two women. Hazel and Maxine who meet in Naples at a B string USO touring company. After the war, Hazel writes a play which Maxine is to star. This novel mixes the theater, the McCarthy era hearings and Russian spies. It is an entertaining read.

Oct. 2020 – And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. A novel set in Afghanistan from the 1940’s thru the present day. The story of a family torn apart before war tears apart the country.

Sept. 2020 – Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen. A wild and crazy novel set in Key West, Florida. A woman who stages car wrecks gets involved with a restaurant inspector who wants to get his deputy’s job back become involved with the mob and a reality TV star. Light hearted reading fun during these dark times.

August 2020 – The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See. The newest book by one of our favorite authors. Set on an island off the south coast of South Korea this multi-generational books covers from 1937 to the present.

July 2020 – Stirring It Up with Molly Ivins: A Memoir with Recipes. A charming memoir about Ellen Sweets and her good friend Molly Ivins with a healthy dose of recipes and good stories.

Feb. 2020 – Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. A classic mystery made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940.

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