In My Hands Today…

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

18619684Audrey Niffenegger’s dazzling debut is the story of Clare, a beautiful, strong-minded art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one.

Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: his genetic clock randomly resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity from his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous and unpredictable, and lend a spectacular urgency to Clare and Henry’s unconventional love story.

That their attempt to live normal lives together is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control makes their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

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In My Hands Today…

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

4667024Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step….

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In My Hands Today…

The Royal Nanny – Karen Harper

26795367Based on a seldom-told true story, this novel is perfect for everyone who is fascinated by Britain’s royal family—a behind the scenes look into the nurseries of little princes and the foibles of big princes.

April, 1897: A young nanny arrives at Sandringham, ancestral estate of the Duke and Duchess of York. She is excited, exhausted—and about to meet royalty. . . .

So begins the unforgettable story of Charlotte Bill, who would care for a generation of royals as their parents never could. Neither Charlotte—LaLa, as her charges dub her—nor anyone else can predict that eldest sons David and Bertie will each one day be king. LaLa knows only that these children, and the four who swiftly follow, need her steadfast loyalty and unconditional affection.

But the greatest impact on Charlotte’s life is made by a mere bud on the family tree: a misunderstood soul who will one day be known as the Lost Prince. Young Prince John needs all of Lala’s love—the kind of love his parents won’t…or can’t…show him.

From Britain’s old wealth to the glittering excesses of Tsarist Russia; from country cottages to royal yachts, and from nursery to ballroom, Charlotte Bill witnesses history. The Royal Nanny is a seamless blend of fact and fiction—an intensely intimate, yet epic tale spanning decades, continents, and divides that only love can cross.

In My Hands Today…

A Student of Living Things – Susan Richards Shreve

1234661Even in the confusion and dread of the post-9/11 world, the tightly knit Frayn family is fairly well insulated from the snipers, bomb threats, and natural disasters that plague Washington, D.C., a few years into the future.

Then, in the moment it takes Claire Frayn to dig for her umbrella while her brother Steven waits next to her on the library steps of their university, he is shot and killed. Shattered, the family scatters to whatever havens they can find. Steven’s father moves into the airplane hangar behind the house, his mother moves into the glass factory where she works, and Claire, a biology student, adapts.

Galvanized by an impassioned stranger who claims to be her brother’s friend, she sheds her measured academic persona and sets out to avenge her brother’s death. Expecting to uncover a political conspiracy aimed at her outspoken brother, Claire finds instead her family’s own darkest secrets and her true love.

In My Hands Today…

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

27071490Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle’s women’s dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery.

Stretching from the wars of Ghana to slavery and the Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the American South to the Great Migration to twentieth-century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi’s novel moves through histories and geographies.

In My Hands Today…

The Great Blue Yonder – Alex Shearer

Q826_sch_cvr_0.tifPeople seem to think it’s an easy life when you’re dead. But you can take it from Harry, it’s no such thing.

After finding himself dead from a bike accident, Harry emerges on the Other Side, a strange land where the sun is always setting but never quite disappears, and dead people wander about, waiting to move on to the Great Blue Yonder. Harry’s not sure exactly what the Great Blue Yonder is, but he doesn’t want to go there until he’s found some way to let his sister know that he’s sorry for the mean things he said to her just before the accident.

To do that, he’ll have to return to Earth as a ghost–and face what life there is like without him.