Historical Fiction

James Goodenough, whose family had originally settled in Connecticut from England brings his family to Ohio to carve out a new life for them in the Black Swamp in 1838. As swamp fever gradually picks off their children and they wrestle daily with survival. This course will see their family engulfed in tragedy and fifteen years later we pick up with their youngest son, Robert who has been running west since the trying to escape his memories of what happened, taking solace in a very different kind of tree--the redwoods and sequoias of California. But Robert's past catches up with him and he's forced to confront what he's running from and work out for himself that you can't run for ever. .

Amory Ames is looking forward to a tranquil period of reconnecting with reformed playboy husband Milo after an unexpected reconciliation following the murderous events at the Brightwell Hotel. However, she is drawn into another investigation when Serena Barrington asks her to look into the disappearance of valuable jewelry snatched at a dinner party. Amory agrees to help lay a trap to catch the culprit at a lavish masked ball hosted by the notorious Viscount Dunmore. But when one of the illustrious party guests is murdered, she is pulled back into the world of detection. Rumors swirl about Milo and a French film star. Once again, Amory and Milo must work together to solve a mystery set in the heart of 1930s society London.

It's early 1938, and Maisie Dobbs is back in England. On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square--a place of many memories--she is intercepted by Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service. The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member. Because the man's wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie--who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter--to retrieve the man from Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich.

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For almost 35 years, The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction has been given annually to an U.S. author for a meritorious book of historical fiction set in the Americas  and published in the previous year for children or young adults. Here are some of the previous winners. Named after the award's founder, acclaimed author of Island of the Blue Dolphins and other books, the award was intended to encourage writers to focus on historical fiction and increase the interest of young readers in how the country was shaped. For a complete listing, you can visit the award's website

 

The hired girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs chronicles her life in a journal when she leaves her family's farm in Pennsylvania to work as a hired girl in Baltimore in the summer of 1911.

Dash by Kirby Larson

When her family is forced into an internment camp, Mitsi Kashino is separated from her home, her classmates, and her beloved dog Dash; and as her family begins to come apart around her, Mitsi clings to her one connection to the outer world--the letters from the kindly neighbor who is caring for Dash.

Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill

"It's the 1920s, and Bo was headed for an Alaska orphanage when she won the hearts of two tough gold miners who set out to raise her, enthusiastically helped by all the kind people of the nearby Eskimo village"--.

The story continues in the sequel, Bo at Iditarod Creek.

This post contains suggestions for how to earn your Explore History: Super Bookworm and Hit the Road: Super Bookworm badges.
Learn more and earn badges on the Connect Your Summer page.
Breaking Stalin's nose by Eugene Yelchin

In the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, ten-year-old Sasha idolizes his father, a devoted Communist, but when police take his father away and leave Sasha homeless, he is forced to examine his own perceptions, values, and beliefs.

A single shard by Linda Sue Park
Also available in: audiobook

Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters' village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook

In an alternative London ruled by a young Queen Victoria, Dodger, a resourceful, homeless boy, unwittingly prevents Sweeney Todd from committing murder.

The bronze bow by Elizabeth George Speare
Also available in: e-audiobook

Daniel Jar Jamin had but one all-consuming purpose in life--to help drive the Roman legions from his land of Israel. Only Roman blood could pay for the cruel death of his father and mother. In the end, Daniel finds love and acceptance.

Canton Seniors Book Discussion: May 26, 2016

Canton Seniors Book Group will meet on Thursday, May 26 from 2:00 PM-3:00 PM in Canton Public Library's Group Study Room A. We will be discussing KILLING PATTON by Bill O'Reilly.  Request a copy from the librarian at the Information Desk.

Upcoming sessions

There are no upcoming sessions available.

Sara Walker's DIETLAND is not for the faint hearted.  It's a challenging read, thought provoking.  Box office tickets to Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton" are sold out through January 2017; if you can't see the play, then read about the infamous Hamilton/Burr conflict. Fans of GRANTCHESTER, recently shown on local PBS Masterpiece Mystery, will want to read the James Runcie story collections featuring Canon Sidney Chambers and Inspector Geordie Keating. 

Dietland by Sarai Walker

"A fresh and provocative debut novel about a reclusive young woman saving up for weight loss surgery when she gets drawn into a shadowy feminist guerilla group called "Jennifer"--equal parts Bridget Jones's Diary and Fight Club"--.

When auctioneer Wren Morgan begins cataloging the contents of the Campbell mansion, she's unprepared to find something that can't be appraised--a dead man. After the body turns out to be a criminal with ties to a recent jewel heist, Wren comes face-to-face with Death Bogart. A private eye and part-time bounty hunter, Death is searching for the stolen jewels needed to convict a murderer. Death finds a friend and willing ally in Wren, but they aren't the only ones searching for treasure. Two ruthless men are also on the hunt, and they will do anything to eliminate the competition. To survive, Death and Wren must solve two mysteries spanning a century and a half and outwit a pair of cold-blooded killers. Praise: "Ross' thoroughly entertaining debut combines smart details about the auction business with two engaging mysteries and a uniformly appealing cast. Fans of small-town cozies, especially those by Denise Swanson, will love this, as will mystery readers who double as thrift-store aficionados and followers of auction reality shows.

Also available in: video

1955. Canon Sidney Chambers, loveable priest and part-time detective, is back. Accompanied by his faithful Labrador, Dickens, and the increasingly exasperated Inspector Geordie Keating, Sidney is called to investigate the unexpected fall of a Cambridge don from the roof of King's College Chapel; a case of arson at a glamour photographer's studio and the poisoning of Zafar Ali, Grantchester's finest spin bowler. Alongside his sleuthing, Sidney has other problems. Can he decide between his dear friend, the glamorous socialite Amanda Kendall and Hildegard Staunton, the beguiling German widow? To make up his mind Sidney takes a trip abroad, only to find himself trapped in a web of international espionage just as the Berlin Wall is going up. .

I spy.  This month the focus is on espionage, real and fictional.

From the bestselling author of Istanbul Passage--called a "fast-moving thinking man's thriller" by The Wall Street Journal--comes a sweeping, atmospheric novel of postwar East Berlin, a city caught between political idealism and the harsh realities of Soviet occupation. Berlin 1948. Almost four years after the war's end, the city is still in ruins, a physical wasteland and a political symbol about to rupture. In the West, a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies; in the East, the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life. Even culture has become a battleground, with German intellectuals being lured back from exile to add credibility to the competing sectors. Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment--to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries? Betrayal? Survival? Murder? Filled with intrigue, and the moral ambiguity of conflicted loyalties, Joseph Kanon's new novel is a compelling thriller and a love story that brings a shadowy period of history vividly to life.

"Being a Berlin cop in 1942 was a little like putting down mousetraps in a cage full of tigers. The war is over. Bernie Gunther, our sardonic former Berlin homicide detective and unwilling SS officer, is now living on the French Riviera. It is 1956 and Bernie is the go-to guy at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, the man you turn to for touring tips or if you need a fourth for bridge. As it happens, a local writer needs just that, someone to fill the fourth seat in a regular game that is the usual evening diversion at the Villa Mauresque. Not just any writer. Perhaps the richest and most famous living writer in the world: W. Somerset Maugham. And it turns out it is not just a bridge partner that he needs; it's some professional advice. Maugham is being blackmailed--perhaps because of his unorthodox lifestyle. Or perhaps because of something in his past, because once upon a time, Maugham worked for the British secret service, and the people now blackmailing him are spies."--.

After a case in India, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes are on their way to California. They plan to break up the long voyage with a sojourn in southern Japan. Aboard the ship, intrigue stirs almost immediately. Holmes recognizes the famous clubman the Earl of Darley, whom he suspects of being an occasional blackmailer. And then there's the young Japanese woman who befriends Russell and quotes haiku. She agrees to tutor the couple in Japanese language and customs, but Russell can't shake the feeling that Haruki Sato is not who she claims to be. Once in Japan, Russell's suspicions are confirmed in a most surprising way..

On Wednesday, May 4 at 7:00PM, Allison Leotta and Con (Cornelius) Lehane will visit Aunt Agatha's Bookstore in Ann Arbor to sign their new books,  Allison's new legal thriller, The Last Good Girl is set in a thinly disguised Ann Arbor; Con's Murder at the 42nd Street Library .  On Sunday, May 15, History Mystery returns to Aunt Agatha's for an Open House at 1:00PM.  Visiting us will be Susanna Calkins, Sharan Newman, Candace Robb & Sam Thomas.  All except Sharan have new books out. Special guest will be Darcie Wilde, known to some of you as Sarah Zettel, who has a new Regency era mystery.  Steve Hamilton returns on Tuesday, May 17, 7:00PM.  to sign his new book, The Second Life of Nick Mason at the Ann Arbor District Library-Downtown.  

"Sabina Carpenter and John Quinncannon are no stranger to mysteries. In the five years since they opened Carpenter and Quinncannon, Professional Detective Services, they have solved dozens, but one mystery has eluded even them: Sherlock Holmes or, rather, the madman claiming his identity, who keeps showing up with a frustrating (though admittedly useful) knack for solving difficult cases. Roland W. Fairchild, recently arrived from Chicago, claims Holmes is his first cousin, Charles P. Fairchild the Third. Now, with his father dead, Charles stands to inherit an estate of over three million dollars--if Sabina can find him, and if he can be proved sane. Sabina is uncertain of Roland's motives (he will inherit if Charles can't), but agrees to take the case. John, meanwhile, has been hired by the owner of the Golden State brewery to investigate the "accidental" death of the head brew-master, who fell into a vat of his own beer, and drowned. When a second murder occurs, and the murderer escapes from under his nose, John finds himself on the trail not just of the criminals, but of his reputation for catching them. But while John is certain he can catch his quarry, Sabina is less certain she wants to catch hers. Holmes has been frustrating, but useful, even kind. She is quite certain he is mad, and quite uncertain what will happen when he is confronted with the truth. Does every mystery need to be solved?"--.

The language of secrets by Ausma Zehanat Khan

"Detective Esa Khattak heads up Canada's Community Policing Section, which handles minority-sensitive cases across all levels of law enforcement. Khattak is still under scrutiny for his last case, so he's surprised when INSET, Canada's federal intelligence agency, calls him in on another potentially hot button issue. For months, INSET has been investigating a local terrorist cell which is planning an attack on New Year's Day. INSET had an informant, Mohsin Dar, undercover inside the cell. But now, just weeks before the attack, Mohsin has been murdered at the group's training camp deep in the woods. INSET wants Khattak to give the appearance of investigating Mohsin's death, and then to bury the lead. They can't risk exposing their operation, or Mohsin's role in it. But Khattak used to know Mohsin, and he knows he can't just let this murder slide. So Khattak sends his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, undercover into the small-town mosque which houses the terrorist cell. As Rachel tentatively reaches out into the unfamiliar world of Islam, and begins developing relationships with the people of the mosque and the terrorist cell within it, the potential reasons for Mohsin's murder only seem to multiply, from the political and ideological to the intensely personal. The Unquiet Dead author Ausma Zehanat Khan once again dazzles with a brilliant mystery carefully woven into a profound and intimate story of humanity"--.

A museum is hosting an exhibit of supernatural artefacts in honour of the Ghoul Getters' new film. Unfortunately, Gilley - engaged with wedding plans - donated a dagger which keeps the demon Oruc locked in the lower realm. Before M.J. can recover the bewitched blade, there is a murder and a heist at the museum and the dagger is stolen. Now Oruc and other formerly vanquished demons are suddenly causing mayhem. The Ghoul Getters are in for a devil of a time, rounding them up before these paranormal party crashers turn Gilley's wedding bells to funeral knells.
 

Introducing new mysteries by new authors...

Speakers of the dead by J. Aaron Sanders

The year is 1843, the place, New York City. When reporter Walt Whitman's friend is hanged for the murder of her husband - a crime she did not commit - Walt vows to exonerate her. With the help of her estranged boyfriend, the two men uncover a link between body-snatching and the murder: a man called Samuel Clement. To get to Clement, Walt and Henry descend into a dangerous underworld where men steal the bodies of the recently deceased and sell them to medical colleges. A vibrant re-imagining of one of America's most beloved literary figures.
 

Dig two graves by Kim Powers

Ethan Holt won the decathlon at the Olympics and was jokingly nicknamed "Hercules"; now, in his late thirties, he's returned to his ivy-covered alma mater to teach, and to raise his young daughter Skip as a single father. After a hushed-up scandal over his Olympics win and the death of his wife in a car accident five years ago, Ethan wants nothing more than to forget his past. Skip is not only the light of Ethan's life--she is his life. Then, Skip is kidnapped. A series of bizarre ransom demands start coming in that stretch Ethan's athletic prowess to its limits, and he realizes with growing horror that they are modern versions of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, demanded in tricky, rhyming clues by someone who seems to have followed every step of Ethan's career.

Former Police Chief Katherine Sullivan has been called brilliant, brave, compassionate, and quirky, but after decades of crime fighting, this resilient grandmother with an artist's soul is discovering that retirement can be just as deadly as being on the job. When Katherine returned to her hometown, her only thought was to comfort her recently divorced daughter. That was before a young woman was found murdered on the estate of the town's richest family. Now, in order to track down the killer, Katherine must uncover the generations of secrets that at least one person as already killed to protect in this charming and smart series debut, The Fine Art of Murder .
 

 According to the latest Nielsen stats, the average American adult spends 11 hours per day with electronic media. Digital eye strain occurs after two or more hours of digital device use. Tech addicts would be well-served to give their eyes a rest with the easy-reading large print format.  Check out the newest releases now available in Large Print.

Channeling his inner Easy Rider, Serge Storms saddles up for his most epic, lethal, and hilarious road trip ever as he revvs off to find the lost American Dream . . . starting in the Florida Panhandle. Obsessed with the iconic Sixties classic Easy Rider, encyclopedic Floridaphile, lovable serial killer, and movie buff extraordinaire Serge A. Storms devises his wildest plan yet: finish the journey begun by his freewheeling heroes, Captain America and Billy, tragically cut short by some shotgun-wielding rednecks. Setting a course for the Florida panhandle, Captain Serge--with Coleman literally riding shotgun--mounts his classic motorcycle and hits the highway in search of the real America: the apple-pie-eating, freedom-swilling moms and pops of Main Street USA. But the America he finds in the rural burgs dotting the neck of the peninsula is a little bit different . . . and a whole lot weirder than anything Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper encountered. In a state where criminal politicians are more common than gators, Serge and Coleman discover one particular speed-trap locale so aggressively inept at corruption that investigators are baffled where to start. Expect nothing less than madness, mayhem, ingenious homicides, and mind-altering pharmaceuticals when Serge and Coleman's path intersects with the Sunshine State's hyper-dysfunctional rusticity. Where's Jack Nicholson when you need him?
 

"Brilliant, irascible and frequently frustrating to both his friends and his long-suffering bosses, John Rebus has made the dark places of Edinburgh his home for over two decades. The Beat Goes On collects all of Ian Rankin's Rebus short stories for the first time, including two never-before published tales written specifically for this collection. From his beginnings as a young Detective Constable in "Dead and Buried," right up to his dramatic, but not quite final, retirement in "The Very Last Drop," Rebus shines in these stories, confirming his status as one of crime fiction's most compelling, brilliant, and unforgettable characters. In these gripping, fast-paced tales, the legendary Scottish detective investigates the sinister cases that are his specialty, including a gruesome student death, the brutal murder of a woman at the crux of a love triangle, an audacious jewel heist, suspicious happenings at a nursing home, and an ominous email that brings a family's darkest secrets to light" -- provided by publisher.

Chronicles the events of 1944 to reveal how nearly the Allies lost World War II, citing the pivotal contributions of FDR, Churchill, and Stalin.

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