kitchensWhen Lars Thorvald's wife, Cynthia, falls in love with wine--and a dashing sommelier--he's left to raise their baby, Eva, on his own. He's determined to pass on his love of food to his daughter. As Eva grows, she finds her solace and salvation in the flavors of her native Minnesota. Eva’s life is told through the points of view of those who know her: family, friends, rivals and acquaintances, giving the story a unique perspective. Each chapter acts as a stand-alone short story with Eva, the central character, aging along the timeline. Humorous, poignant, quirky characters. A joy to read for foodies, with lots of recipes and food references! This is a wonderful portion of fiction from a fresh, new voice.

flower moonThis is a powerful, important and very sad chapter in our American history about the Osage Indians who were murdered following the discovery of massive oil fields on their reservation in the 1920’s.

Upon discovery of oil, members of the tribe became the wealthiest people per capita in the world. They rode in chauffeured cars and sent their children to schools in Europe. But as dozens of tribe members begin dying under suspicious circumstances, the new director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, steps in to investigate and in so doing shapes the FBI as we know it today.

Grann has done extensive, meticulous research to expose the atrocities committed against the Osage that is not widely known nor written about in history books-but should be. The author’s suspenseful writing makes this is a page turner and knowing that it is true makes it even more compelling. A must read. Grann is also the author of the Lost City of Z.

 

DimpleThis book made my heart so happy. I found myself chuckling and grinning at various points throughout the book. I listened to the audiobook during a particularly stressful week, and I felt my anxiety ease every time I would get a chance to listen to this book. A real winner!

perfume collectorEva D'orsay has left her very sizable estate to Grace Monroe. However, Grace has no idea who her benefactress is. Thus begins a story of two women, one a hotel maid prior to WWII, the other a 1950's London socialite whose marriage is struggling. Chapters go back and forth between Grace and Eva and slowly the tale of these two and their connection becomes clear. Each of their stories, individually, is very interesting but how they come together is even more fascinating.  Perfume is the driving force that will solve this mystery between these two vastly different women. The settings for this historical fiction novel unfolds in New York, Paris, and London during the aftermath of WWI and WWII. Unique plot with rich character development and depth. Descriptive, elegant writing style.

500 houseIf you have ever lived in the City of Detroit, you certainly won’t want to miss reading Drew Philp’s memoir of refurbishing a house in the Poletown section of Detroit beginning in 2007. Philp, a young and idealistic graduate of the University of Michigan, decides to make his home in the city to make a difference and lead a more authentic life. His fascinating story of rebuilding the house he bought at an auction details the crumbling surroundings of homes in the neighborhood, suspicious fires, crack houses on his street, break ins, police harassment and more but, it is also the story about the wonderful neighbors that befriend him and the tight community that exists set amid this neighborhood of 'urban prairie' with a few houses here and there. It is a hopeful story of neighbors helping out neighbors, watching out for each other and the strong connections they form.

The Queen Anne styled home he purchased was basically a shell sitting on a  crumbling brick foundation, missing windows, heat, water, electricity, and a very leaky roof. It makes the refurbishing of homes on This Old House look like a breeze. Through sheer determination and some help from his father and grandfather, Drew slowly begins the process of rebuilding his home after a rough start of removing 10,000 pounds of trash. Through recycling and restoring pieces that were given to him or even pilfering pieces out of abandoned houses, he gave his home a new life.

On second thought, even if you have never lived in the city, this is a book well worth the time to read on many levels from a history of the downfall of Detroit, to a single young man’s efforts to try and improve his city, to the strong interconnectedness of a community.

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