Staff Picks

The Swift and the Harrier, by Minette Walters

Dorset, 1642. England is on the cusp of civil war.

Jayne Swift, a daughter of the Dorset gentry, has resisted all offers of marriage and instead trained as a physician, using her skills to tend to her Royalist father's tenants and the local population. When civil war sweeps England she vows to remain neutral and aid the injured whether they be Royalist or Parliamentarian.

William Harrier is first introduced to Jayne as footman to Lacy Alice, a Dorchester parliamentarian, but every time she encounters him, he seems to be in a different guise, and it's not always clear which side of the war he's fighting for.

As the battles continue to rage, bringing pain and suffering to both sides, Jayne never wavers in her vow of neutrality. Throughout it all, from the terrifying siege of Lyme Regis, to the execution of the King, she always seems to find herself drawn back to William. But what does she really know of him? His past is a mystery, and his future seems uncertain.

The Swift and the Harrier is a sweeping tale of adventure and loss, sacrifice and love with a unique and unforgettable heroine at its heart.

(Reviewed by Good Reads)

The Happiest Man on Earth, by Eddie Jaku

Life can be beautiful if you make it beautiful. It is up to you.

Eddie Jaku always considered himself a German first, a Jew second. He was proud of his country. But all of that changed in November 1938, when he was beaten, arrested and taken to a concentration camp.

Over the next seven years, Eddie faced unimaginable horrors every day, first in Buchenwald, then in Auschwitz, then on a Nazi death march. He lost family, friends, his country.

Because he survived, Eddie made the vow to smile every day. He pays tribute to those who were lost by telling his story, sharing his wisdom and living his best possible life. He now believes he is the 'happiest man on earth'.

Published as Eddie turns 100, this is a powerful, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful memoir of how happiness can be found even in the darkest of times.

(Reviewed by Good Reads)

The Moroccan Daughter, by Deborah Rodriguez

In Morocco, behind the ancient walls of the medina, secrets will be revealed . . .

Amina Bennis has come back to her childhood home in Morocco to attend her sister's wedding. The time has come for her to confront her strict, traditionalist father with the secret she has kept for more than a year - her American husband Max.

Amina's best friend Charlie, and Charlie's feisty grandmother Bea, have come along for moral support, staying with Amina and her family in their palatial riad in Fès, and enjoying all that the city has to offer. But Charlie is also hiding someone from her past - a mystery man from Casablanca.

And then there's Samira, the Bennis's devoted housekeeper for many decades. Hers is the biggest secret of all - and the one that strikes at the very heart of the family . . .

From the twisted alleyways of the ancient medina of Fès to a marriage festival high in the Atlas Mountains, Deborah Rodriguez's entrancing new bestseller is a modern story of forbidden love set in the sensual landscape of North Africa.

(Reviewed by Good Reads)

The Cartographer's Secret, by Tea Cooper

The Hunter Valley, 1880. Evie Ludgrove loves to chart the landscape around her home—hardly surprising since she grew up in the shadow of her father’s obsession with the great Australian explorer Dr. Ludwig Leichhardt. So when an advertisement appears in The Bulletin magazine offering a thousand-pound reward for proof of where Leichhardt met his fate, Evie is determined to use her father’s papers to unravel the secret. But when Evie sets out to prove her theory, she vanishes without a trace, leaving behind a mystery that haunts her family for thirty years.

Letitia Rawlings arrives at the family estate in her Ford Model T to inform her great-aunt Olivia of a loss in their family. But Letitia is also escaping her own problems—her brother’s sudden death, her mother’s scheming, and her dissatisfaction with the life planned out for her. So when Letitia discovers a beautifully illustrated map that might hold a clue to the fate of her missing aunt, Evie Ludgrove, she sets out to discover the truth. But all is not as it seems, and Letitia begins to realize that solving the mystery of her family’s past could offer as much peril as redemption.

(Reviewed by Good Reads)