Book Buzz: Historic Scandals, Dancing Visions, Suburban Thrillers, WWII Heroes, and Willie Nelson

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For November, we’re looking at an infamous romance in literary history, a thought-provoking YA romance, an unsettling new thriller, a nonfiction history of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and an audiobook courtesy of the one and only Willie Nelson.

If you love historical fiction:

Finola Austin’s Brontë’s Mistress (2020)

The Brontë family is easily one of the most famous in literary history. Charlotte (author of Jane Eyre) and Emily (author of Wuthering Heights) are the best-known, but their sister Anne was a novelist in her own right as well. If you’ve delved deeper into the family’s dynamics, you also know about their troubled only brother Branwell.

This novel is a fictional chronicle of Branwell’s story, specifically his notorious stint as the tutor at Thorp Green Hall, where Anne also worked as governess. Hired to tutor a reverend’s child, Branwell also quickly fell in love with his employer’s wife Lydia, who was fifteen years his senior and rather above his social situation, and embarked on an affair with her. To put it mildly, things did not end well. But you can experience all the Victorian scandal and dysfunction via Lydia’s perspective in this well-written, well-researched historical novel.

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Gill Hornby.

If you enjoy YA romance:

Nicola Yoon’s Instructions for Dancing (2021)

Evie’s already pretty jaded about love, even as a high school senior. What’s love got to do it? Well, not really anything compared to the visions she sees about every couple she encounters. She’s able to see their past and their future, and seeing other people’s romances eventually nose-dive into an Edward Albee play doesn’t do wonders for her own opinions on love. But then, she meets X, an intriguing guy in her dance classes, with whom she starts training for a ballroom dance competition. He’s adventurous and optimistic and might he be worth lowering her defenses for?

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Robin Talley and Stacey Lee.

If you prefer thrillers:

Joy Fielding’s Cul-de-Sac (2021)

On the surface, all is well with five families in an upscale suburban neighborhood. But if you know your fiction, you know nothing is ever well in this kind of story. For the five families chronicled in this book, secrets and dysfunction lurk under the surface, and the tense intersections between family members and neighbors inevitably erupt into a shocking act of violence on a hot July evening. But who’s the victim and who’s the perpetrator? You’ll have to read to find out.

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Patricia MacDonald.

If you like nonfiction:

Daniel James Brown’s Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II (2021)

Daniel James Brown vaulted to nonfiction writing fame with The Boys in the Boat, the story of 9 American rowers at the Olympics held in Nazi Germany in 1936. For his latest book, Brown turns his attention to four members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a unit comprised of Japanese Americans who were highly decorated for their service in the European Theater of WWII. Brown chronicles both the lives of the veterans, as well as that of their families, who spent the war in American internment camps.

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Laura Hillenbrand.

If you need an audiobook:

Willie Nelson’s Letters to America (2021)

Part memoir and part letter anthology, Willie Nelson pens his thoughts on everything from his family to his heroes to his music in his latest book. He’s specifically focused on the most significant influences in his life, both the good and the bad. Lyrics from some of his most famous songs round out the compilation, which is read by Turk Pipkin.

Recommended for Willie Nelson fans.

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 online library catalog for more information on any of these items or to place them on hold.

Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

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