In My Hands Today…

Sweet Revenge – Andrea Penrose

England, 1813: Lady Arianna Hadley’s desire to discover her father’s murderer has found her acting the part of a French chef in one of London’s aristocratic households. But when the Prince Regent is taken ill after consuming Arianna’s special chocolate dessert, she finds herself at the center of a dangerous scandal.

Because of his expertise in chocolate, the Earl of Saybrook, Alessandro De Quincy, is the ideal candidate to investigate this crime. When the Earl’s intuition leads to Arianna’s exposure, she convinces Saybrook to keep her secret in exchange for help in tracking down the real culprit.

As their search takes them from the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair to the slums of St. Giles, it becomes clear that someone is looking to plunge England into chaos—and Arianna and Saybrook to the bottom of the Thames…

In My Hands Today…

Feminista – Erica Kennedy

Sydney Zamora is fiercely independent, aggressively opinionated, and utterly self-made. She’s reshaped her body (into the perfect sample-sale outfitted size 6, thank you very much), organized a life for herself as a celebrity journalist at hot magazine Cachet, and strides through the canyons of New York City like she owns them.

There’s just one problem: Sydney is so strong that she plays keep-away with men. But now that she’s hitting her midthirties, she wants one. Badly. For her birthday, Sydney’s sister ambushes her with the services of Mitzi Berman, $40,000 a shot Manhattan matchmaker extraordinaire.

Mitzi also has her eyes on Max Cooper, the scion of Harvey’s department store, the chicest place to shop in America. And nothing could make either Sydney or Max Cooper run faster than Mitzi, with her rules and her Brooklyn accent—that is, if they didn’t concede her a point or two.

In My Hands Today…

One Flight Up – Susan Fales-Hill

India, Abby, Esme, and Monique have all been friends since their days at Manhattan’s Sibley School for Girls. From the outside, these four women—all grown up now—seem to be living ideal lives, yet each finds herself suddenly craving more.

India Chumley is a whip-smart divorce lawyer who routinely declines the marriage proposals of her charming French boyfriend, Julien. She’s taking the first plunge by moving in with him, but she’s keeping her own apartment—and keeping it a secret from him.

Abby Rosenfeld Adams is an irrepressibly upbeat gallery owner who married her WASP college sweet heart, a passionate but tormented sculptor. When she suspects he is cheating on her, she realizes that perhaps there’s more to life than reassuring her husband of his artistic brilliance.

Esme Sarmiento Talbot is a Colombian Scarlett O’Hara, bored with her proper Connecticut life and her tame, all-American husband. In order to satisfy her sensuality, she escapes to Manhattan and distracts herself with casual encounters.

A card-carrying member of Harlem’s thriving buppie-ocracy and a successful gynecologist, Monique Dawkins-Dubois is married to a powerful but dull financier who barely notices her anymore. When an attractive coworker beckons, Monique can’t help but be flattered.

The most straitlaced of them all, India is dismayed by her friends’ illicit activities. That is, until her ex-fiancé, the love of her life and the destroyer of her heart, reappears in New York— and she finds herself caught between the dependable man she thought was her future and the man she never quite let go of.

In My Hands Today…

The Tricking of Freya – Christina Sunley

Freya Morris grows up in a typical American suburb – but every summer, she enters another realm entirely when she visits her relatives in Gimli, a tiny village in Canada settled by Icelandic immigrants. Here she falls under the spell of her troubled but charming aunt Birdie, who thrills her with stories of exotic Norse goddesses, moody Viking bards, and the life of her late grandfather, the most famous poet of “New Iceland.”

But when Birdie tricks Freya into a terrifying scandal, Freya turns her back on everything Icelandic and anything that reminds her of the past. She is living an anonymous, bleak existence in Manhattan when she finally returns to Gimli for the first time in two decades – and stumbles upon a long concealed family secret.

As Freya becomes increasingly obsessed with unraveling her family’s tangled story, she finds herself delving into the very memories she has worked so hard to forget. When the clues dry up in Gimli, Freya journeys to Iceland itself. On this rugged island of vast lava fields and immense glaciers, Freya’s quest comes to its unsettling conclusion.

In My Hands Today…

Powder Necklace – Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

To protect her daughter from the fast life and bad influences of London, her mother sent her to school in rural Ghana. The move was for the girl’s own good, in her mother’s mind, but for the daughter, the reality of being the new girl, the foreigner-among-your-own-people, was even worse than the idea.

During her time at school, she would learn that Ghana was much more complicated than her fellow ex-pats had ever told her, including how much a London-raised child takes something like water for granted. In Ghana, water “became a symbol of who had and who didn’t, who believed in God and who didn’t. If you didn’t have water to bathe, you were poor because no one had sent you some.”

After six years in Ghana, her mother summons her home to London to meet the new man in her mother’s life—and his daughter. The reunion is bittersweet and short-lived as her parents decide it’s time that she get to know her father. So once again, she’s sent off, this time to live with her father, his new wife, and their young children in New York—but not before a family trip to Disney World.

In My Hands Today…

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire – C.M. Mayo

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is a sweeping historical novel of Mexico during the short, tragic, at times surreal, reign of Emperor Maximilian and his court.

Even as the American Civil War raged north of the border, a clique of Mexican conservative exiles and clergy convinced Louis Napoleon to invade Mexico and install the Archduke of Austria, Maximilian von Habsburg, as Emperor. A year later, the childless Maximilian took custody of the two year old, half-American, Prince Agustìn de Iturbide y Green, making the toddler the Heir Presumptive.

Maximilian’s reluctance to return the child to his distraught parents, even as his empire began to fall, and the Empress Carlota descended into madness, ignited an international scandal.

This lush, grand read is based on the true story and illuminates both the cultural roots of Mexico and the political development of the Americas. But it is made all the more captivating by the depth of Mayo’s writing and her understanding of the pressures and influences on these all too human players.