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Reading Recommendations Central Page
















Ladies of Lallybroch

Reading Recommendations

General Fiction
&
Literature

 

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A.S. Byatt - Possession
"Literary critics make natural detectives," says Maud Bailey, heroine of a mystery where the clues lurk in university libraries, old letters, and dusty journals. Together with Roland Michell, a fellow academic and accidental sleuth, Maud discovers a love affair between the two Victorian writers the pair has dedicated their lives to studying: Randolph Ash, a literary great long assumed to be a devoted and faithful husband, and Christabel La Motte, a lesser-known "fairy poetess" and chaste spinster. At first, Roland and Maud's discovery threatens only to alter the direction of their research, but as they unearth the truth about the long-forgotten romance, their involvement becomes increasingly urgent and personal. Desperately concealing their purpose from competing researchers, they embark on a journey that pulls each of them from solitude and loneliness, challenges the most basic assumptions they hold about themselves, and uncovers their unique entitlement to the secret of Ash and La Motte's passion.
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Angela Carter - The Magic Toyshop
In this brilliantly imagined novel, Angela Carter explores the tormented world of adolescence and the heart's ability to withstand even the deepest sorrows. Dora and Nora Chance are a famous song-and-dance team of the British music halls. Billed as The Lucky Chances, the sisters are the illegitimate and unacknowledged daughters of Sir Melchoir Hazard, the greatest Shakespearean actor of his day. At once ribald and sentimental, glittery and tender, this rambunctious family saga is Angela Carter at her bewitching best.
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Alexandre Dumas - The Count of Monte Cristo
The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the great thrillers of all time. In 1853 William Thackeray wrote to a friend: 'began to read Monte Cristo at six one morning and never stopped till eleven at night.'. Falsely accused of treason, the young sailor Edmund Dantes is arrested on his wedding day and imprisoned in the island fortress of the Chateau d'If. After staging a dramatic escape, he sets out to discover the fabulous treasure of Monte Cristo and catch up with his enemies. A novel of enormous tension and excitement, Monte Cristo is also a tale of obsession and revenge. Believing himself to be an 'Angel of Providence', Dantes pursues his vengeance to the bitter end, only then realizing that he himself is a victim of fate.
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Daphne du Maurier - The House on the StrandTime Travel
coverSet in the wilds near Cornwall's seatossed coastline, The House on the Strand concerns a young man's experiments with hallucinogenic drugs and his travels back and forth in time to the mysteries of 14th century England. Gradually growing more involved in the lives and emotions of the early Cornish manor lords and their ladies, he finds his own life pale in comparison and the presence of his American wife and stepsons a hindrance to his newfound existence. This ancient/modern Gothic tale will grip the reader until the last surprising twist in Daphne du Maurier's intricately-woven plot of today and yesterday.
(More novels by Daphne du Maurier in the Romantic Fiction page.)
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Nicholas Evans - The Loop
A pack of wolves makes a sudden savage return to the Rocky Mountain ranching town of Hope, Montana, where a century earlier they were slaughtered by the thousands. Now shielded by law as an endangered species, they reawaken an ancient hatred that will tear a family, and ultimately the town, apart. At the center of the storm is Helen Ross, a twenty-nine-year-old wolf biologist sent alone into this remote and hostile place to protect the wolves from those who seek to destroy them. The Loop charts her struggle, and her dangerous love affair with the son of her most powerful opponent, the brutal and charismatic rancher Buck Calder.
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Arthur S. Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha
Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. Sayuri's story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Through her eyes, we see the decadent heart of Gion -- the geisha district of Kyoto -- with its marvelous teahouses and theaters, narrow back alleys, ornate temples, and artists' streets. And we witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup and hair; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it. But as World War II erupts and the geisha houses are forced to close, Sayuri, with little money and even less food, must reinvent herself all over again to find a rare kind of freedom on her own terms. Memoirs of a Geisha is a book of nuance and vivid metaphor, of memorable characters rendered with humor and pathos. And though the story is rich with detail and a vast knowledge of history, it is the transparent, seductive voice of Sayuri that the reader remembers.
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Andrew Greeley - Lord of the Dance
A master storyteller with the insight of a priest, the author reveals the souls of men and women ravaged by love, hate, and the struggle forsuccess. A parable, a story of hope, resurrection and renewal, inspired by the never-ending dance of the Lord.
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Jan Karon - At Home in Mitford
A heartwarming portrait of the mysteries and miracles of everyday life in a small town introduces the charming North Carolina town of Mitford and its colorful inhabitants, including Tim, a bachelor rector, who is falling in love with his neighbor.
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Marian Keyes - Watermelon
At twenty-nine, fun-loving, good-natured Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to her first baby, James visits her in the recovery room to inform her that he's leaving her. Claire is left with a beautiful newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a body that she can hardly bear to look at in the mirror. So, in the absence of any better offers, Claire decides to go home to her family in Dublin. To her gorgeous man-eating sister Helen, her soap-watching mother, her bewildered father. And there, sheltered by the love of an (albeit quirky) family, she gets better. A lot better. In fact, so much better that when James slithers back into her life, he's in for a bit of a surprise.
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Madeleine L'Engle - Meet the Austins Series

coverMeet The Austins
The moment Maggy Hamilton steps into the happy lives of the Austin family, she disrupts their harmonious world, bringing with her all the sullenness and insolence of her own misery. Vicky Austin knows she should sympathize with Maggy for being an orphan, but she can't help but resent her for making life so difficult. It looks like Maggy may be a member of the family for a long time, possibly forever. Vicky remembers the happy times and finally accepts that things will never be the same, but she wonders what's to come.
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coverThe Moon By Night
Vicky Austin is filled with uncertainties about everything. Her parents call it Vicky's "difficult year." But fourteen-year-old Vicky is not so consumed with her problems that she can't enjoy the exciting adventures of her family's summer cross-country camping trip. In the course of their travels Vicky meets Zachary, an intriguing but troubled boy who latches on to Vicky. And still another boy, Andy, altogether different from Zachary, soon becomes his rival. Far from the comfort and security that the family has always known, and in spite of the trials they encounter on the road, the Austins enjoy each other and the sights from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back again. And for the first time Vicky feels the mixed emotions of friendship and love.
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coverThe Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas
To seven-year-old Vicky Austin, the twenty-four days before Christmas are the most wonderful days of the year. She's going to be an angel in the Christmas Pageant. Best of all, Vicky and her brother John and her little sister Suzy do something special every day to celebrate: they hang twinkling lights, make cookies, and wish very hard for snow. But what if the new baby comes during Christmas and Mother has to go to the hospital? How can they have Christmas without Mother?
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coverThe Young Unicorns
A plot to rule New York City places the Austin family in terrifying danger.
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coverA Ring of Endless Light
Vicky Austin is filled with strong feelings as she stands near Commander Rodney's grave while her grandfather, who himself is dying of cancer, recites the funeral service. Watching his condition deteriorate as the summer passes on beautiful Seven Bay Island is almost more than Vicky can bear. To complicate things, she finds herself the center of attention for three very different boys: Leo is an old friend wanting comfort and longing for romance; Zachary, whose attempted suicide inadvertently caused the Commander's death, is attractive and sophisticated but desperately troubled; and Adam, her older brother's friend, offers her a wonderful chance to assist in his experiments with dophins but treats her as a young girl just when she's ready to feel most grown-up. Called upon to be dependable, stable, and wise, Vicky is exhilarated but often overwhemed. Forces of darkness and light, tragedy and joy, hover about her, and at times she doesn't know whcih will prevail.
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coverTroubling a Star
Political intrigue and duplicity are waiting for Vicky Austin as she travels to the Antarctic to visit her friend, Adam, who is stationed there as a marine biologist. For her birthday, Vicky receives the gift of a trip to the Antarctic, where her friend Adam Eddington is working as a marine biologist. But as Vicky meets her fellow travelers, it quickly becomes clear that some of them are not what they seem. Vicki's trip into adventure becomes a journey into icy danger.
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Katherine Neville - The Eight
New York City, December 1972 - Musician, painter, dabbler in mathematics and chess, Catherine Velis is also a computer expert for a Big Eight accounting firm. Before she heads off to a new assignment in Algeria, Cat has her palm read by a mysterious fortune teller who warns her of danger. Then an antiques dealer approaches Cat with an offer: His anonymous client is trying to collect the pieces of a very old chess service, purported to be in Algeria. If Cat can bring them back, there will be generous fees for both of them... The South of France, Spring 1790 Mireille de Remy and her cousin Valentine are young novices at the fortress-like Montglane Abbey. With France aflame with revolution, the two girls burn to rebel against constricted convent life -- and their means of escape is at hand. Buried deep within the walls and floor of the abbey are pieces of the Montglane Chess Service, once owned by Charlemagne. Whoever reassembles the pieces can play the Game -- a game of unlimited power. But to keep the Game a secret from those who would abuse it, the two young women must scatter the pieces throughout the world...
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Katherine Neville - A Calculated Risk
Verity Banks is the senior woman executive at the Bank of the World, a prestigious financial institution with offices around the globe. Head of Electronic Funds Transfer -- and supervisor of some of the bank's most dedicated computer geniuses -- Verity lives and breathes the world of big money. But when her power-hungry boss, Kislick Willingly III, axes her proposal to step up the bank's computer security, Verity finds herself thinking some remarkably treacherous thoughts. Her plan is simple. She'll break through automated security and hide some money in a place no one will find it -- inside the bank's own computer system. She'll then point out to senior management how easy such a theft really is. It's a perfect caper (and perfectly harmless) until the reappearance of Dr. Zoltan Tor. Tor is the financial wizard who, twelve years earlier, taught his protege Verity everything about technology, commerce, and the fine art of sensual living. Now Tor is back with a challenge: Which of them can steal a billion dollars and invest it to earn thirty million in three months? To tempt her to take such an enormous risk, Tor gives Verity an edge: she can use a computer for her theft, but he cannot... A fascinating insider's look into the world of high-stakes banking, A Calculated Risk is also an immensely enjoyable thriller of the ultimate scam, in which the players jet around the world, team up with bankers and baronesses, and, along the way, discover each other fully for the first time.
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Katherine Neville - The Magic Circle
Snake River, Idaho -- Ariel Behn, a toxic materials expert at a remote nuclear site, finds her well-ordered life shattered when her cousin is slain by an unknown assassin. His shocking death leaves Ariel as the sole heir to a family legacy: a sinister cache of manuscripts that sweeps her into the deadly center of international intrigue -- and a mystery that spans the centuries...
Jerusalem, 32 A.D. -- During the last week of the life of Christ, as the world stands on the brink of a new two-thousand-year circle, Emperor Tiberius works desperately to deciper the tantalizing clues to an age-old enigma. He will not be the only one. For whoever assembles and interprets these cryptic clues will possess the power to control the fate of the world...
Now, at the center of this circle of ancient riddles stands the one woman who can pull the strands together: Ariel Behn. What strange powers lie hidden with in the manuscripts? As Ariel races across the continents to reveal the dark secrets buried in her family's past, she begins to unlock the chilling truth of the coming millenium.
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Rosamunde Pilcher - The Shell Seekers
Set in London and Cornwall from World War II to the present, Rosamunde Pilcher tells the story of the Keeling family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling's prize possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather's work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer -- and it lies in her heart.
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coverAlexandra Raife - Wild Highland HomeScotland
When a woman gives up the fast-paced life of London and purchases an isolated cottage on a remote Scottish loch, no one believes that she will remain there. But for her, moving here is the key to the journey she must embark on to heal herself and put a tragic past behind her. Yet this new life is not without its own share of complications, as she finds herself deeply attracted to a local man of quiet strength, one who possesses his own inner conflicts and may not be free to love in return.
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Tom Robbins - Jitterbug Perfume
Jitterbug Perfume is an epic. which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn't conclude until nine o'clock tonight [Paris time]. It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle. The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle is actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon becaused it is leaking and there is only a drop of two left.
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Mary Stewart - Rose Cottage
Rose Cottage, a tiny thatched dwelling in an idyllic English country setting, would appear the picture of tranquillity to any passerby. But when Kate Herrick returns to her childhood home she uncovers a web of intrigue as tangled as the rambling roses in its garden. It is the summer of 1947. Kate, widowed in the War and comfortably settled in London, travels to Rose Cottage to retrieve some family papers for her grandmother. Curious as to the changes and the welcome she'll find, she is relieved when, at first glance, everything seems just as she remembers it. But she soon finds disturbing evidence of a break-in. The papers are missing. The village is alive with gossip. Did her elderly neighbors, suspected of being witches, really see nighttime prowlers and ghosts in the cottage garden? Kate's search for the truth brings her together with many childhood friends and neighbors, some suspicious of her return, but most eager to help. It also leads her down a trail of family bitterness, jealousy, and revenge -- and into an exploration of her own past.
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Amy Tan - The Joy Luck
Club In 1949, four Chinese women -- drawn together by the shadow of their past -- begin meeting in San Francisco to play mah jong, invest in stocks and "say" stories. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club -- and forge a relationship that binds them for more than three decades.
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Michael Walsh - As Time Goes By: A Novel of Casablanca
A novel that explores the heart of one of the most enduring love stories of all time -- "Casablanca." Did Ilsa Lund and Victor Laszlo make it to America? What happened to Rick and Louis? Will Sam ever play it again? The action moves from Prohibition New York to wartime London and Prague.
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