Connie’s May Reads

cherokeeroseCherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts by Tiya Miles
This is a fascinating fictional account of a little known aspect of America’s past. Using historical sources about the Chief Vann House Historic site and a Moravian mission in 1800s Georgia, Miles uncovered the practice of slaveholding by southern Creeks and Cherokees.  The lives of three young contemporary women are drawn to the Georgia plantation where scenes of cruelty and compassion were equally common.  This well written modern-day tale pulls readers back into the 19th century with the discovery of an old diary written by a missionary who once lived on the land recently purchased by a young urban professional seeking to find out more about her ancestry.

sevenforasecretSeven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye (sequel to The Gods of Gotham)
1846: In New York City, slave catching isn’t just legal—it’s law enforcement.
Six months after the formation of the NYPD, its most reluctant and talented officer, Timothy Wilde, learns of the gruesome underworld of lies and corruption ruled by the “blackbirders,” who snatch free Northerners of color from their homes, masquerade them as slaves, and sell them South to toil as plantation property. Told from the viewpoint of Timothy, who fights for what is right in the face of corruption, the dialogue is sprinkled with “flash,” a colloquial dialogue full of New York expressions and slang of the times. The third book that just came out is called The Fatal Flame.

queenofthetearlingQueen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Although the setting resembles medieval times, this story takes place far in the future. Following a mysterious cataclysmic event referred to as the Crossing, humans now exist without modern technology and have reverted back to feudalism. At the story’s opening, Kelsea, the rightful Queen of the Tearling, turns 19 (the age of ascension) and is escorted by the Queen’s Guard from her forest home to claim her throne. Raised, educated, and protected by an elderly couple since birth, Kelsea possesses much book intelligence but lacks practical political knowledge. Nevertheless, she is everything one desires in a leader—she is strong, decisive, just, and possesses an inner strength that allows her to face any challenge placed in front of her. However, her challenges seem insurmountable, including the need to abolish the slave lottery that plagues her people. (Booklist)

ghostfieldsGhost Fields by Ellie Griffiths
The unearthing in Norfolk of a WWII-era U.S. plane, with its pilot in his seat and a bullet hole in his temple, propels British author Griffiths’s well-crafted seventh mystery featuring forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway. The pilot is identified as Frederick J. Blackstock from a a prominent Norfolk family, who served in the American air force, though Fred was supposedly lost at sea in a different plane and presumed dead. The decision of an American TV company to do a program about Norfolk’s abandoned airfields brings Frank Barker, an academic Ruth was attracted to while working together on an earlier case, back into her life and Fred’s American daughter, Nell Blackstock Goodheart, setting the stage for a series of deaths and personal revelations. (Publishers Weekly)

–Connie Regan, cregan@cooklib.org

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