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Recently Reviewed

A selection of books recently reviewed in the Winnipeg Free Press. To see recent reviews, visit the Free Press website.


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Three

- by D.a. Mishani

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#1 International Bestseller  "Three is an outstanding thriller. From the first page, Mishani's addictive prose begins its work, drawing you into a devious plot where life, fate, and murder intertwine." -- Olivia Kiernan, author of Too Close to Breathe When Orna meets Gil on an online dating site, their lackluster affair seems like nothing more than a way to stave off the pain of her recent divorce. But soon it becomes clear that Gil may not be exactly who he claims. And Orna's own lies may be weaving an unexpected trap for her. Set against the backdrop of the gritty suburbs of Tel Aviv, Three is a slow-burning psychological thriller from the internationally celebrated master of crime and suspense D. A. Mishani. 

All the Devils Are Here

- by Louise Penny

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INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
PARADE MAGAZINE - ONE OF FALL'S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS
AN AMAZON BEST OF THE MONTH - SEPTEMBER
CRIMEREADS - ONE OF FALL'S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS
AARP'S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF FALL

The 16th novel by #1 bestselling author Louise Penny finds Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Quebec investigating a sinister plot in the City of Light


On their first night in Paris, the Gamaches gather as a family for a bistro dinner with Armand's godfather, the billionaire Stephen Horowitz. Walking home together after the meal, they watch in horror as Stephen is knocked down and critically injured in what Gamache knows is no accident, but a deliberate attempt on the elderly man's life.

When a strange key is found in Stephen's possession it sends Armand, his wife Reine-Marie, and his former second-in-command at the Sûreté, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, from the top of the Tour d'Eiffel, to the bowels of the Paris Archives, from luxury hotels to odd, coded, works of art.

It sends them deep into the secrets Armand's godfather has kept for decades.

A gruesome discovery in Stephen's Paris apartment makes it clear the secrets are more rancid, the danger far greater and more imminent, than they realized.

Soon the whole family is caught up in a web of lies and deceit. In order to find the truth, Gamache will have to decide whether he can trust his friends, his colleagues, his instincts, his own past. His own family.

For even the City of Light casts long shadows. And in that darkness devils hide.

Anxious People

- by Fredrik Backman

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#1 New York Times bestseller

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and "writer of astonishing depth" (The Washington Times) comes a poignant comedy about a crime that never took place, a would-be bank robber who disappears into thin air, and eight extremely anxious strangers who find they have more in common than they ever imagined.

Viewing an apartment normally doesn't turn into a life-or-death situation, but this particular open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes everyone in the apartment hostage. As the pressure mounts, the eight strangers begin slowly opening up to one another and reveal long-hidden truths.

First is Zara, a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else until tragedy changed her life. Now, she's obsessed with visiting open houses to see how ordinary people live--and, perhaps, to set an old wrong to right. Then there's Roger and Anna-Lena, an Ikea-addicted retired couple who are on a never-ending hunt for fixer-uppers to hide the fact that they don't know how to fix their own failing marriage. Julia and Ro are a young lesbian couple and soon-to-be parents who are nervous about their chances for a successful life together since they can't agree on anything. And there's Estelle, an eighty-year-old woman who has lived long enough to be unimpressed by a masked bank robber waving a gun in her face. And despite the story she tells them all, Estelle hasn't really come to the apartment to view it for her daughter, and her husband really isn't outside parking the car.

As police surround the premises and television channels broadcast the hostage situation live, the tension mounts and even deeper secrets are slowly revealed. Before long, the robber must decide which is the more terrifying prospect: going out to face the police, or staying in the apartment with this group of impossible people.

Rich with Fredrik Backman's "pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature" (Shelf Awareness), Anxious People's whimsical plot serves up unforgettable insights into the human condition and a gentle reminder to be compassionate to all the anxious people we encounter every day.

Aubrey McKee

- by Alex Pugsley

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I am from Halifax, salt-water city, a place of silted genius, sudden women, figures floating in all waters. "People from Halifax are all famous," my sister Faith has said. "Because everyone in Halifax knows each other's business."

From basement rec rooms to midnight railway tracks, Action Transfers to Smarties boxes crammed with joints, from Paul McCartney on the kitchen radio to their furious teenaged cover of The Ramones, Aubrey McKee and his familiars navigate late adolescence amidst the old-monied decadence of Halifax. An arcana of oddball angels, Alex Pugsley's long-awaited debut novel follows rich-kid drug dealers and junior tennis brats, émigré heart surgeons and small-time thugs, renegade private school girls and runaway children as they try to make sense of the city into which they've been born. Part coming-of-age-story, part social chronicle, and part study of the myths that define our growing up, Aubrey McKee introduces a breathtakingly original new voice.

The Certainties

- by Aislinn Hunter

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A vivid, moving novel reminiscent of Anthony Doerr and Michael Ondaatje, about the entwined fates of two very different refugees.

In 1940, as the shadow of war lengthens over Europe, three mysterious travelers enter a village in Spain. They have the appearance of Parisian intellectuals, but the trio of two men and a woman are starving and exhausted from crossing illegally through the Pyrenees. Their story, told over a period of 48 tense hours, is narrated by one of the men, who slowly accepts his unthinkable fate. In a voice despairing and elegant, he calmly considers what he should do, and weighs what any one life means. As he does so, his attention is caught by a five-year-old named Pia who wanders near his cafe table. To Pia he begins to address all that he thinks and feels in his final hours--envisioning a rich future life for her that both reflects and contrasts with his own.

Meanwhile, in the 1980s, a woman named Pia seeks solitude on a remote island in the Atlantic, where she works at an inn and reflects on her chaotic childhood. As Pia's story begins, a raging storm engulfs the island and a boat flounders offshore. Pia and her fellow islanders rush to help--and past and present calamities collide.

By turns elegiac and heart-pounding, a love letter in the guise of a song of despair, The Certainties is a moving and transformative blend of historical and speculative fiction--a novel that shows us what it means to bear witness, and to attend to those who seek refuge, past and present.

Children of Ash and Elm

- by Neil Price

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The definitive history of the Vikings -- from arts and culture to politics and cosmology -- by a distinguished archaeologist with decades of expertise
The Viking Age -- from 750 to 1050 -- saw an unprecedented expansion of the Scandinavian peoples into the wider world. As traders and raiders, explorers and colonists, they ranged from eastern North America to the Asian steppe. But for centuries, the Vikings have been seen through the eyes of others, distorted to suit the tastes of medieval clerics and Elizabethan playwrights, Victorian imperialists, Nazis, and more. None of these appropriations capture the real Vikings, or the richness and sophistication of their culture.
Based on the latest archaeological and textual evidence, Children of Ash and Elm tells the story of the Vikings on their own terms: their politics, their cosmology and religion, their material world. Known today for a stereotype of maritime violence, the Vikings exported new ideas, technologies, beliefs, and practices to the lands they discovered and the peoples they encountered, and in the process were themselves changed. From Eirík Bloodaxe, who fought his way to a kingdom, to Gudrid Thorbjarnardóttir, the most traveled woman in the world, Children of Ash and Elm is the definitive history of the Vikings and their time.

Conviction

- by Denise Mina

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A true crime podcast sets a trophy wife's present life on a collision course with her secret past in this "blazingly intense" Reese Witherspoon book club pick and New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year (A. J. Finn).
The day Anna McDonald's quiet, respectable life exploded started off like all the days before: Packing up the kids for school, making breakfast, listening to yet another true crime podcast. Then her husband comes downstairs with an announcement, and Anna is suddenly, shockingly alone.
Reeling, desperate for distraction, Anna returns to the podcast. Other people's problems are much better than one's own -- a sunken yacht, a murdered family, a hint of international conspiracy. But this case actually is Anna's problem. She knows one of the victims from an earlier life, a life she's taken great pains to leave behind. And she is convinced that she knows what really happened.
Then an unexpected visitor arrives on her front stoop, a meddling neighbor intervenes, and life as Anna knows it is well and truly over. The devils of her past are awakened -- and they're in hot pursuit. Convinced she has no other options, Anna goes on the run, and in pursuit of the truth, with a washed-up musician at her side and the podcast as her guide.
Conviction is "daredevil storytelling at its finest" (NPR's Fresh Air), a breathtaking thriller from one of the most "superbly talented" writers of our time (Hank Phillippi Ryan, bestselling author of Trust Me).

The Diamond House

- by Dianne Warren

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From the winner of the Governor General's Literary Award, an engaging new novel about the unconventional Estella Diamond and her struggle with the expectations that bind her family Estella Diamond is the youngest child and only daughter of a successful brick-factory owner, a self-described family man who is not averse to being called a kingpin. Estella's precocious nature leads her to discover something none of her brothers know: that their father was once married to an aspiring ceramics artist named Salina, who dreamed big and turned her back on society's conventions. Estella grows up planning her future in the image of her father's daring first wife, rather than that of her traditional mother. When her plans are derailed again and again by the family patriarchy, she longs to rebel and be like Salina. Unable to openly challenge her father, and with a chorus of sisters-in-law passing judgment, she does the right thing instead, and plays the role of the good daughter. Until she doesn't. The effects of Estella's rebellion will stay with her and the family for years, until she is left alone in the house her father built with only her housekeeper, Emyflor, for company. When an uncompromising young woman named Hannah Diamond enters her world, Estella is forced to wrestle with the legacy she helped create and to confront the woman she has become, just in time for one last reinvention.

Fresh Water for Flowers

- by Valerie Perrin

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A 2020 INDIES INTRODUCE PICK

A POIGNANT RUNAWAY BESTSELLER full of French charm and memorable characters,Fresh Water for Flowers is Valérie Perrin's English debut.

Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Casual mourners, regular visitors, and sundry colleagues--gravediggers, groundskeepers, and a priest--visit her to warm themselves in her lodge, where laughter, companionship, and occasional tears mix with the coffee she offers them. Her life is lived to the rhythms of their funny, moving confidences.

Violette's routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of Julien Sole--local police chief--who insists on scattering the ashes of his recently deceased mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear that Julien's inexplicable gesture is intertwined with Violette's own difficult past.

WithFresh Water for Flowers, Valérie Perrin has given readers an intimately told story that tugs on the heartstrings about a woman who believes obstinately in happiness, despite it all. A number one bestseller in France,Fresh Water for Flowers is a heartwarming and tender story that will stay will readers for years after the final page is turned.

"Breathtaking."--Unidivers

"Thundering applause. And, believe us, the word 'thunder' is not too strong."--La Marseillaise

Friends and Strangers

- by J.courtney Sullivan

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A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK!

An insightful, hilarious, and compulsively readable novel about a complicated friendship between two women who are at two very different stages in life, from the best-selling author of Maine and Saints for All Occasions (named one of the Washington Post's Ten Best Books of the Year and a New York Times Critics' Pick).


Elisabeth, an accomplished journalist and new mother, is struggling to adjust to life in a small town after nearly twenty years in New York City. Alone in the house with her infant son all day (and awake with him much of the night), she feels uneasy, adrift. She neglects her work, losing untold hours to her Brooklyn moms' Facebook group, her "influencer" sister's Instagram feed, and text messages with the best friend she never sees anymore. Enter Sam, a senior at the local women's college, whom Elisabeth hires to babysit. Sam is struggling to decide between the path she's always planned on and a romantic entanglement that threatens her ambition. She's worried about student loan debt and what the future holds. In short order, they grow close. But when Sam finds an unlikely kindred spirit in Elisabeth's father-in-law, the true differences between the women's lives become starkly revealed and a betrayal has devastating consequences.

A masterful exploration of motherhood, power dynamics, and privilege in its many forms, Friends and Strangers reveals how a single year can shape the course of a life.

The Good German

- by Dennis Bock

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In November 1939, a German anti-fascist named Georg Elser came as close to assassinating Adolf Hitler as anyone ever had. In this gripping novel of alternate history, he doesn't just come close--he succeeds. But he could never have imagined the terrible consequences that would follow from this act of heroism. 

Hermann Göring, masterful political strategist, assumes the Chancellery and quickly signs a non-aggression treaty with the isolationist president Joseph Kennedy that will keep America out of the war that is about to engulf Europe. Göring rushes the German scientific community into developing the atomic bomb, and in August 1944, this devastating new weapon is tested on the English capital. 

London lies in ruins. The war is over, fascism prevails in Europe, and Canada, the Commonwealth holdout in the Americas, suffers on as a client state of the Soviet Union. Georg Elser, blinded in the A-bombing of London, is shipped to Canada and quarantined in a hospice near Toronto called Mercy House. Here we meet William Teufel, a German-Canadian boy who in the summer of 1960 devises a plan that he hopes will distance himself from his German heritage and, unwittingly, brings him face to face with the man whose astonishing act of heroism twenty-one years earlier set the world on its terrifying new path.

In this page-turning narrative, Bock has created an utterly compelling and original novel of historical speculation in the vein of Philip Roth's The Plot Against America, John Wyndham's The Chrysalids and Philip K. Dick's cult classic The Man in the High Castle

Here We Are

- by Graham Swift

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One of the best writers at work today, author of the internationally acclaimed Mothering Sunday, brings us another superbly conceived novel that, with astonishing economy, touches depths and evokes wonders--not least because its central theme is magic.

In the summer of 1959, at the pier theatre in Brighton, England, a variety show unfurls every night, held together by Jack Robinson, its master of ceremonies. At 28, already a veteran of the stage, he introduces the performers with some showmanship of his own, and he knows how to send the audience home happy. But the true stars of the evening are Pablo and Eve. "Pablo" is really Ronnie, a magician who prefers to be called an "illusionist," Jack's friend from army days; "Eve" is Evie, Pablo's "delightful, delicious, delorable" assistant. Through the summer season, their act shifts from mere stock trickery to truly unfathomable wizardry, with Jack providing the encouragement they need on stage--and the personal entanglement none of them saw coming. As the novel explores the essential experiences of their lives--apart and together, past and present and deep into their old age--we understand their enduring inseparability, bound together by a mix of truth and deception to which they all contribute.
     Here We Are is both hauntingly moving and vividly comic. A love story involving more than one love, a vision of the world lingering at the edge of change and emerging slowly from the aftermath of war, it dazzles with Swift's own ability to conjure in a brief space the complexities, mysteries and moments of living magic at the heart of existence itself.

Hurry Home

- by Roz Nay

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From the bestselling author of Our Little Secret comes a suspenseful new thriller featuring two estranged sisters desperate to keep their deepest and darkest secret where it belongs--in the past.

When I open the door, I see a face more than anything, the paleness of it stark against the dark hair. Long hair, familiar. Blue, damaged eyes. Immediately, I feel my knees might give out, like I might fall to the ground. I cover my mouth with both hands and stare.

It's her. It's Ruth Van Ness. My sister.

Alexandra Van Ness has the perfect life. She lives in an idyllic resort town tucked away in the Rocky Mountains, shares a designer loft with her handsome boyfriend, Chase, and has her dream job working in child protection. Every day, Alex goes above and beyond to save children at risk.

But when her long-lost sister, Ruth, unexpectedly shows up at her door asking for help, Alex's perfect life is upended. Growing up, Ruth was always the troublemaker, pulling Alex into her messes, and this time will be no different. Their relationship is fraught with hurts and regrets from their childhood that bind them to silence, but they can't outrun them forever.

Alex lets Ruth stay under one condition: we will never, ever, talk about the past. But when a local child is in danger, Alex becomes very involved and the secrets from long ago come back to haunt her with terrible consequences for everyone.

A gripping look at the inescapable bond between sisters--and the devastating cost of a single mistake--Hurry Home will keep readers guessing who is telling the truth and who is lying until the very last page.

Intimations

- by Zadie Smith

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Deeply personal and powerfully moving, a short and timely series of essays on the experience of lock down, by one of the most clear-sighted and essential writers of our time


"There will be many books written about the year 2020: historical, analytic, political and comprehensive accounts. This is not any of those--the year isn't half-way done. What I've tried to do is organize some of the feelings and thoughts that events, so far, have provoked in me, in those scraps of time the year itself has allowed. These are above all personal essays: small by definition, short by necessity."

Crafted with the sharp intelligence, wit, and style that have won Zadie Smith millions of fans, and suffused with a profound intimacy and tenderness in response to these unprecedented times, Intimations is a vital work of art, a gesture of connection, and an act of love--an essential book in extraordinary times.

The Lying Life of Adults

- by Elena Ferrante

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ANEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A NATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER. Soon to be a NETFLIX Original Series.

A POWERFUL NEW NOVEL set in a divided Naples by ELENA FERRANTE, theNew York Times best-selling author ofMy Brilliant Friend andThe Lost Daughter.

"There's no doubt [the publication ofThe Lying Life of Adults] will be the literary event of the year."--ELLE Magazine

Giovanna's pretty face is changing, turning ugly, at least so her father thinks. Giovanna, he says, looks more like her Aunt Vittoria every day. But can it be true? Is she really changing? Is she turning into her Aunt Vittoria, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father clearly despise? Surely there is a mirror somewhere in which she can see herself as she truly is.

Giovanna is searching for her reflection in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves from one to the other in search of the truth, but neither city seems to offer answers or escape.

Named one of 2016's most influential people byTIME Magazine and frequently touted as a future Nobel Prize-winner, Elena Ferrante has become one of the world's most read and beloved writers. With this new novel about the transition from childhood to adolescence to adulthood, Ferrante proves once again that she deserves her many accolades. InThe Lying Life of Adults, readers will discover another gripping, highly addictive, and totally unforgettable Neapolitan story.

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