Note to Shelf: September 2022

Created on August 26, 2022, 4:03 pm

Last Updated October 5, 2022, 3:26 pm

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Pat S. shares, "If Hamnet, winner of the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award wasn’t enough of a tour de force, O’Farrell has done it again with her newest title, The Marriage Portrait. Set in Renaissance Italy, O’Farrell has fictionalized the all too brief and little known life of Lucrezia de’Medici, daughter of a noble Florentine family, and much later, the subject of Robert Brownings’ famous poem, “My Last Duchess.” After a typical sequestered upbringing with her large family in Florence, Lucrezia is forced into a political marriage at the age of 15 to the enigmatic Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara. Having no exposure to men or any other court, Lucrezia soon learns that her well-being is only guaranteed by the delivery of an heir. Months go by in this new and strange world, with no sign of pregnancy, until the completely isolated Lucrezia becomes convinced that her husband intends to kill her. Does he? Part character study, part mystery, The Marriage Portrait has something for everyone—especially for those wanting to enjoy the writing of an author working at the top of her game."
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Colleen exclaims that "The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle a delightful, heartwarming novel of reckoning with the past in an attempt to ensure a meaningful future. Albert’s quiet, introverted life working as a “postie” in a small English village is upended when he is informed that he will be forced into retirement on his sixty-fifth birthday – literally a few months away. Albert must rethink his purpose if he no longer has a job that connects him to the world. Without family, friends, or personal connections, he reflects on his isolated existence and decides to take a chance and accept who he is. This tender character invites readers into the lonely but innocent world of people who are marginalized by society and isolate themselves rather than live their true lives in constant fear. As Albert gradually overcomes his personal losses and builds more courage, he opens himself up to unexpected relationships resulting in a future of unsuspecting happiness."
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Joanne shares, "The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak tells of forbidden love on the war-torn island nation of Cyprus. Starting in 2010 London, we meet teenaged Ada as she is reeling from the death of her mother, Defne. Kostas, her father, copes by immersing himself in work and caring for a young fig tree. The novel jumps to 1970s Cyprus amid political upheaval where we find Ada’s parents as teenagers in love. Defne, who is Turkish, and Kostas, who is Greek, must hide their romance and secretly meet in a local taverna, where a beautiful fig tree grows through the middle of the room. The fig, bearing witness to all, helps tell their story and the horrors of Cypriot civil war as this beautifully written, thought-provoking novel weaves back and forth in time."
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Kristin declares that "If you love tropical destinations, bantering, and enemies-to-lovers tropes, read The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren! Twin sisters Olive and Ami are identical, except for one thing: Olive is unlucky and Ami is lucky. After winning a series of contests, Ami's wedding and honeymoon are practically free. Meanwhile, Olive spends the entire day with a man she hates: Ethan, the best man. When the entire wedding gets food poisoning, Ethan and Olive are the only ones unscathed. Ami insists that the pair claim the free honeymoon in Hawaii. The catch? They have to pretend to be a married couple. The sworn enemies assume they'll be able to avoid each other during their fake honeymoon. As it turns out, they must keep up the act of loving newlyweds. While they share romantic dinners and nature excursions, Olive can't deny the spark between her and Ethan. Maybe Ethan's not awful after all, and maybe her luck is turning."
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Brittany asserts that "Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series is widely considered one of the best comic series of all time – and for good reason. Gaiman is a masterful storyteller with an expansive knowledge of new and ancient folklore and mythology. He builds worlds where that mythology, religion, superstition, and fantasy collide. Our protagonist, Dream, is a member of The Endless, a group of beings with unfathomable powers sought after by greedy humans. After being accidentally imprisoned for seventy years, Dream returns to The Dreaming, his realm, to find it has decayed in his absence. Dream sets off to gather his strength, his belongings, and his power. What happens from there is best left for you to discover on your own. Sharp-eyed readers will enjoy spying the pop-culture Easter eggs throughout the series and noticing the multiple references to popular music and literature. Those new to comics may see the twelve-volume run that comprises Sandman and feel a bit overwhelmed, but never fear! The new Netflix adaptation of the comics covers only the first two volumes: Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. And if you get hooked, the Library has every volume both physically and digitally. Don’t defer your Dreams – start reading now!"
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