Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For December, we’re looking at various books about famous women–biographical fiction about Bonnie Parker of Bonnie and Clyde fame, a historic romance centered around Grace Kelly’s wedding dress, and a biography of 18th century African American poet Phillis Wheatley.
Christina Schwarz’s Bonnie: A Novel (2020)
Bonnie Parker was born in small-town Texas poverty, and her family’s move to Dallas didn’t improve their prospects. Bonnie is a bright student who dreams of fame as a singer or actress or poet, but she achieves a much more lasting infamy as she embarks on a crime spree during the Great Depression with her boyfriend, Clyde Barrow. There are lots of books and movies out there about Bonnie and Clyde, but Schwarz specializes in blending historical fiction with the qualities of psychological thrillers.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Jane Hamilton and Jacquelyn Mitchard.
Brenda Janowitz’s The Grace Kelly Dress (2020)
Grace Kelly’s 1950s wedding dress is an iconic one in the history of 20th century fashion. Its popularity inspired this book–the story of Rose, a seamstress who is asked to replicate the dress some 2 years later for a wealthy bride. Rose eventually falls for the bride’s brother. Decades later, high-powered CEO Rachel is less than thrilled with the 1950s Grace Kelly dress she inherits. Complications ensue when she starts to uncover the secretive family history surrounding it.
Recommended for those who enjoyed Jennifer Robson’s The Gown.
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’ The Age of Phillis (2020)
Phillis Wheatley was enslaved as a child, taken from her native Africa and sold to a merchant’s family in Boston in the 1700s. She became the first published African American poet, with her poems first appearing in print in 1773 when she was about twenty years of age. The Age of Phillis is the result of over a decade of scholarship and juxtaposes her poems with a biography and historical context of her life and times.
Recommended for those who enjoy both history and poetry.
What’s your favorite new-ish books? What books are you buzzing about these days? Have you read any of these books? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our fancy new online library catalog for more information on any of these items or to place them on hold.