Shelf Awareness for Thursday, October 5, 2017


HarperCollins: Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, illustrated by Holly Hatam

Little Brown and Company: The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison

Houghton Mifflin: Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil

Tarcherperigee: F You Very Much: Understanding the Culture of Rudeness--And What We Can Do about It by Danny Wallace

News

Ishiguro Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Kazuo Ishiguro

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to English author Kazuo Ishiguro "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world."

Describing Isihiguro as "a writer of great integrity," Sara Danius, permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, commented: "If you mix Jane Austen and Franz Kafka, then you have Kazuo Ishiguro in a nutshell, but you have to add a little bit of Marcel Proust into the mix. Then you stir, but not too much, then you have his writings.... He doesn't look to the side. He has developed an aesthetic universe all his own."

The Guardian noted that Ishiguro was a surprise choice, considering that writers Margaret Atwood, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o and Haruki Murakami were "leading the odds at the bookmakers." However, "his blue-chip literary credentials return the award to more familiar territory after last year's controversial choice of the singer-songwriter Bob Dylan."

Author Salman Rushdie offered his congratulations to his "old friend Ish, whose work I've loved and admired ever since I first read A Pale View of Hills. And he plays the guitar and writes songs too! Roll over Bob Dylan."

In a statement, the Academy said "Ishiguro's writings are marked by a carefully restrained mode of expression, independent of whatever events are taking place. At the same time, his more recent fiction contains fantastic features."

Ishiguro's books include The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go, The Buried Giant, A Pale View of the Hills, An Artist of the Floating World, When We Were Orphans, The Unconsoled and Nocturnes: Five Stories. In addition to the Nobel, his honors include the 1989 Booker Prize and the 1986 Whitbread Prize. He was made an OBE in 1995, and in 1998 he received the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.


William Morrow & Company: My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie


PRH Acquires Sasquatch Books

Penguin Random House has acquired Sasquatch Books, the Seattle, Wash., publisher that has been a distribution client of Penguin Random House Publisher Services since 2012. Sasquatch will retain its editorial and operational independence, with no changes planned for its Seattle location, management or staff. In an unusual approach, Sasquatch will report to PRHPS president Jeff Abraham.

Founded in 1986, Sasquatch Books focuses on nature, travel, gardening, lifestyle, children's publishing, food, and wine titles. Bestsellers include The Encyclopedia of Country Living; the Larry Gets Lost series; The 52 Lists Project; A Boat, a Whale, & a Walrus; and Dead Feminists. Its children's imprint is Little Bigfoot. Sasquatch's mission is "to seek out and work with the most gifted writers, chefs, naturalists, artists, and thought leaders in the Pacific Northwest and bring their talents to a national audience."

Sarah Hanson, president of Sasquatch Books, said, "For more than five years we have leveraged tremendous value from the PRHPS partnership and the Penguin Random House sales and supply-chain infrastructure. We have always appreciated their great respect for our publishing program and we are thrilled to continue our successful teamwork with our distributor into this new phase, where there will be even greater opportunities for collaboration."

Abraham added: "When it became known that the company was looking for new ownership to take Sasquatch to the next level, the prospect of PRHPS acquiring the company, while maintaining its independence in Seattle, was enormously appealing to both sides. We've accomplished so much with the incredible team at Sasquatch over the last few years. Now, our expanded commitment will allow for even more opportunities for growth."


Binc Foundation: Helping Booksellers #MoreThanEver Donation Campaign


Story on the Square & Rough Draft Bar Coming to McDonough, Ga.

In 2016, physician Stephanie Gordon was part of a leadership program in her home state of Georgia that saw her working with politicians, educators, civil servants and entrepreneurs outside of her normal walk of life. While on a program retreat last August, one of her colleagues asked Gordon what she would do for a career if she were not a physician and could do anything she wanted. Gordon answered that she would open a bookstore in her hometown of McDonough, Ga. Not long afterward, she and her husband bought a building on McDonough's town square, where they plan to open Story on the Square, an independent bookstore complete with a beer and wine bar called Rough Draft, in 2018.

Rendering of Story on the Square's interior

"The problem with being around people like that is you're not just shooting the crap," recalled Gordon, laughing. "They hold you to it. It's kind of a side effect or byproduct of being in a group of people who are very inspiring and community-minded."

Story on the Square and Rough Draft will be in an 8,000-square-foot building that dates back to 1900 and used to be McDonough's Masonic Lodge. About 2,000 square feet will be devoted to new books, with the inventory divided evenly among adult fiction, adult nonfiction and books for young people. For the adult inventory, Gordon plans to have a strong selection of titles pertaining to gardening, cooking, Southern culture and Georgia writers. She also expects the children's inventory, both books and sidelines, to be one of the store's major draws.

"We don't have any retail locally that focuses on children," explained Gordon. "Not even high-quality games and puzzles and education."

Rough Draft will take up around 900 square feet and sell a variety of wines and draft beers. It will also serve a small selection of foods, including baked goods early in the day and cheese and meat boards, nuts and olives in the afternoon and evening, but Gordon was adamant that she does not want a commercial kitchen on site. She intends to source a lot of the food from local farmers markets and wants to work with local breweries. Gordon added that as soon as she thought of opening a bookstore, she knew it would have a bar.

"I was thinking of where I would like to hang out on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons," she said. She added that the profit margins on draft beer would also go along with book sales very nicely. "I wanted a big, old building with a beautiful design, and good music, and a wine and beer bar."

Getting permits to open a bar in McDonough, however, proved to be harder than Gordon expected. The town required that all establishments serving alcohol must earn at least half of their receipts from food, meaning that Gordon and her husband would have had to open a full restaurant and bar.

"We had to work with the city council and the town to create a new category of tavern or bar, something that didn't exist," Gordon recounted. "Our town had never had a bar before."

Story on the Square will include an additional 2,500 square feet of dedicated events space on the store's second floor, along with a catering kitchen that customers will be able to rent. The building's second floor will also include a number of 10'x10' rooms that Gordon plans to offer to teachers as tutoring rooms free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. For events, she'll host the standard author readings and book signings, along with book clubs, poetry nights, writing and art workshops, art shows and a lot of live music. For adult nonbook items, she'll carry an assortment of merchandise related to gardening, cooking and bars, including slate cheese boards, wine glasses, coasters and more.

Before Story on the Square can open, the building needs extensive renovations and structural work. Gordon has already hired a manager, however, and the store will actually make its debut as a pop-up shop during this month. McDonough has an annual fall festival that sees the town fill with hundreds of elaborately made scarecrows and draws around 220,000 visitors each year, and Gordon plans to have the pop-up shop running every weekend. And if the pop-up proves popular, Gordon hopes to keep it going through the fall and holiday season.--Alex Mutter


Page Street Kids: Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Meyer


National Reading Group Month: Great Group Reads

The National Reading Group Month/Great Group Reads Committee of the Women's National Book Association has chosen 20 books as this year's list:

The Best of Us: A Memoir by Joyce Maynard (Bloomsbury USA)
The Clay Girl by Heather Tucker (ECW Press)
The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne (Hogarth)
The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler (Ecco)
Kinship of Clover by Ellen Meeropol (Red Hen Press)
Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love by Marissa Moss (Conari Press)
The Life She Was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman (Kensington)
Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran (Putnam)
Mothers and Other Strangers by Gina Sorell (Prospect Park Books)
News of the World by Paulette Jiles (Morrow Paperbacks)
One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain (University of South Carolina Press)
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Grand Central Publishing)
The Redemption of Galen Pike: Short Stories by Carys Davies (Biblioasis)
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Smoke by Dan Vyleta (Anchor)
So Much Blue by Percival Everett (Graywolf Press)
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (Scribner)
The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel Davis Huber (She Writes Press)
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter (Viking)
The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (Picador)

The 21-member committee of writers, reviewers, booksellers, librarians, publicists and dedicated readers selected titles "on the basis of their appeal to reading groups, which seek books that open up lively conversations about a myriad of timely and provocative and diverse topics, from the intimate dynamics of family and personal relationships to major cultural and world issues."

Great Group Reads Selection Committee chair Kristen Knox said: "The breadth and diversity of books the Selection Committee has chosen this year delights me, resulting as it has in a final list encompassing both debut authors and established authors and novels and memoirs exemplifying global perspectives which inform and challenge readers. Any and every book club will be able to find thoughtful and engaging options that work for them no matter what type of book they want to read."

National Reading Group Month chair Jill A. Tardiff added: "Our goal is to have these outstanding and often inspiring titles become reading-group staples with facilitators and that booksellers and librarians across the country feature them during the month of October, which is, of course, National Reading Group Month--and, throughout the year."

The organization is providing downloadable shelf talkers, table-top posters and other display material. Find the National Reading Group Month Marketing Toolkit at Get Involved. For more general information, go to NationalReadingGroupMonth.org and wnba-books.org.


Obituary Note: Gloria Ferris

Gloria Ferris, the former London literary agent whose career spanned 50 years and who co-founded Scott Ferris Associates, died October 3, the Bookseller reported. She was 84. Ferris worked for Doubleday beginning in the late 1960s, taking over from Barbara Noble as London rights manager in the mid-1970s. By 1980, she was managing director at Quartet Books, and then set up the London agency with Rivers Scott, former literary editor of the Sunday Telegraph, after they met in 1981. They ran the company together until his death in 2014.

Nick Kent, managing director for Peter Owen Publishers, commented: "Not only had she a reputation as a formidable publishing agent, she was a wonderful friend, an excellent host, cook and dining companion.... She will be greatly missed by her many friends."


Notes

Happy 10th Birthday, Phoenix Books Essex!

Congratulations to Vermont bookseller Phoenix Books, which is celebrating the 10th anniversary and recent move of its Essex store October 20 with a ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by an open house October 21 featuring "light fare, music and the company of neighbors, booksellers, authors and more." The store's new location at 2 Carmichael Street has been open since July. 

"We love this community, and our customers have been strong supporters of Phoenix Books," said co-owner Michael DeSanto. He and Renee Reiner co-founded Phoenix Books in 2007, and have since added locations in Burlington, Rutland and Chester, plus a sister store in Woodstock.

"We believe that local, bricks-and-mortar bookshops offer something very important to a community--a physical place to go to discover and exchange ideas, to have conversations with neighbors, and to gather as community members," said DeSanto. "It is part of our mission at Phoenix Books to ensure that local bookshops continue to be a vital part of Vermont's communities--and to engage with and serve the communities where we do business."


Personnel Changes at WORD Bookstores

Hannah Oliver Depp has taken on the role of communications director for WORD Bookstores, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Jersey City, N.J., overseeing events, branding, and merchandising. She has been with WORD for almost two years as operations director and previously worked at Politics & Prose as a manager for five years.


Media and Movies

Movie: I Am a Man

Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious) will write I Am a Man, a film adaptation from Sycamore Pictures based on Michael K. Honey's 2007 book Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign, Deadline reported.

"We feel this film is culturally relevant and vitally important in today's climate," said Sycamore's Ben Nearn, who is producing the film with Tom Rice. "I Am a Man exposes the long history of racial inequality, paternalism, and economic injustice in this country, that unfortunately continues today."

Fletcher commented: "In my opinion, some of the best stories combine well-known history with the unknown history surrounding it. This is one of those stories. It is an honor to work on a project of such significance. In these desperate and divided times, this is a story of genuine superheroes."


This Weekend on Book TV: Charles J. Sykes on How the Right Lost Its Mind

Book TV airs on C-Span 2 this weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday and focuses on political and historical books as well as the book industry. The following are highlights for this coming weekend. For more information, go to Book TV's website.

Saturday, October 7
12 p.m. C-SPAN's Local Content Vehicles visit Pierre, S.D., to tour literary and historical sites.

4:15 p.m. Lanny Ebenstein, author of Chicagonomics: The Evolution of Chicago Free Market Economics (St. Martin's Press, $29.99, 9780230621954).

7 p.m. John Merrow, author of Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program to Rescue Public Education (The New Press, $25.95, 9781620972410).

8:45 p.m. Cathy N. Davidson, author of The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux (Basic Books, $28, 9780465079728). (Re-airs Monday at 1:15 a.m.)

10 p.m. Charles J. Sykes, author of How the Right Lost Its Mind (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250147172). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11:15 p.m. Kevin Peraino, author of A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949 (Crown, $28, 9780307887238).

Sunday, October 8
12 a.m. Ellen Ullman, author of Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology (MCD, $27, 9780374534516), at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York City. (Re-airs Sunday at 3:30 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. Muhammad Yunus, author of A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions (PublicAffairs, $28, 9781610397575).

10 p.m. Franklin Foer, author of World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech (Penguin Press, $27, 9781101981115).

11 p.m. Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps (Little, Brown, $30, 9780316303590), at Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Mass.



Books & Authors

Awards: NBA Shortlist; Governor General's Literary

The National Book Foundation announced finalists for this year's National Book Awards. Winners in each category will be announced at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Gala on November 15. This year's shortlisted titles are:

Fiction
Dark at the Crossing by Elliot Ackerman (Knopf)
The Leavers by Lisa Ko (Algonquin)
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Grand Central)
Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press)
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (Scribner)

Nonfiction
Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar (Atria/37 INK)
The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances FitzGerald (S&S)
The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen (Riverhead)
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (Doubleday)
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean (Viking)

Poetry
Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart (FSG)
The Book of Endings by Leslie Harrison (University of Akron Press)
WHEREAS by Layli Long Soldier (Graywolf Press)
In the Language of My Captor by Shane McCrae (Wesleyan University Press)
Don't Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith (Graywolf Press)

Young People's Literature
What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold (Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner)
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway (HarperTeen)
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad)
American Street by Ibi Zoboi (Balzer + Bray/ HarperCollins)

---

The Canada Council for the Arts has announced finalists in 14 English- and French-language categories for this year's Governor General's Literary Awards. Category winners, who will be named November 1, are awarded C$25,000 (about $20,035). The publisher of each winning book receives $3,000 to support promotional activities. Non-winning finalists each receive $1,000. A complete list of finalists is available here.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, October 10:

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (Dutton, $19.99, 9780525555360) follows two teenagers looking for a fugitive billionaire.

The Rules of Magic: A Novel by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster, $27.99, 9781501137471) is a prequel to Practical Magic.

Children of the Fleet by Orson Scott Card (Tor, $25.99, 9780765377043) is the latest sci-fi novel set in the Ender's Game universe.

Raising Trump by Ivana Trump (Gallery, $26.99, 9781501177286) is a memoir by one of Donald Trump's ex-wives.

Billionaire at the Barricades: The Populist Revolution from Reagan to Trump by Laura Ingraham (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250150646) tries to connect Trump to Reagan.

The Book of Leon: Philosophy of a Fool by JB Smoove as Leon Black and Iris Bahr (Gallery, $25, 9781501180712) gives humorous wisdom from a character on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Chuck D Presents This Day in Rap and Hip-Hop History by Chuck D (Black Dog & Leventhal, $29.99, 9780316430975) chronicles 40 years of rap and hip-hop music.

Blue vs. Yellow by Tom Sullivan (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062452955) is a picture book about a battle between primary colors.

All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry (Algonquin, $17.95, 9781616206666) is about forbidden teen love in the near-future.

The Apparitionists: A Tale of Phantoms, Fraud, Photography, and the Man Who Captured Lincoln's Ghost by Peter Manseau (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544745971) tells the story of William Mumler, a 19th-century photographer who claimed to capture dead people on film.

Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey by Robyn Eckhardt, photographs by David Hagerman (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35, 9780544444317) is a Turkish food cookbook.

Paperback:
New Super-Man Vol. 2: Coming to America (Rebirth) by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Viktor Bogdanovic (DC Comics, $16.99, 9781401273903).

Movie:
The Foreigner, based on the novel The Chinaman by Stephen Leather, opens October 13. Jackie Chan stars as a vengeful father whose daughter is killed in a terrorist attack. A movie tie-in, retitled to The Foreigner, is available October 31 (Hodder, $13.99, 9781473662094).

IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover
Young Jane Young: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin (Algonquin, $26.95, 9781616205041). "I've been waiting for a quirky, funny, thoughtful novel to follow in the footsteps of Where'd You Go, Bernadette, and behold: I have found it. I loved the vibrant female characters at the heart of this book. Told in four different voices, Young Jane Young is the story of Aviva Grossman, a young Congressional intern in South Florida who does the unthinkable: she sleeps with her boss. The book details the repercussions of that decision and examines the abuse of power that occurs in politics and in the day-to-day interactions between members of the opposite sex. Gabrielle Zevin has written something really smart and heartwarming, yet also incredibly timely." --Annie Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, Ga.

The Child Finder: A Novel by Rene Denfeld (Harper, $25.99, 9780062659057). "In Rene Denfeld's new novel, a woman who searches for abducted or lost children must confront her own memories of being abducted as a young girl. While searching for a girl recently kidnapped in her hometown, she is haunted by her past and the lies that she used to weave her present, lies that often took the form of stories. Meanwhile, the abducted girl must survive years of terror and heartbreak, all while constructing a magical mythology to shield herself from the atrocities of her captor. These characters, especially the women, are strong and imaginative. Readers who enjoyed Room will devour this literary thriller, which promises to open up Denfeld's readership to a much wider level." --William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass.

Paperback
The Risen: A Novel by Ron Rash (Ecco, $15.99, 9780062436320). "The most overused cliche in the book business is 'page-turner,' so I will ask indulgence when I declare that The Risen by Ron Rash is a page-turner in the truest sense of the phrase. The Risen explores a young boy's coming of age, sibling rivalry, a decades-old mystery, and extreme life choices. It is an exciting read for all who appreciate literature at its finest." --Jake Reiss, Alabama Booksmith, Birmingham, Ala.

For Ages 4 to 8
Baabwaa and Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship by David Elliott, illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763660741). "You've heard of the wolf in The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood, but have you heard of Baabwaa and Wooliam, the sheep that taught the big, bad wolf to read? This humorous tale features two wooly friends who love knitting and reading. While searching for an adventure, they must learn to work as a team when they find a wolf in sheep's clothing--literally." --Clara Martin, Lemuria Books, Jackson, Miss.

For Ages 9 to 12
Click'd by Tamara Ireland Stone (Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 9781484784976). "I'm so glad this book was written! Click'd is an approachable way for younger readers to start thinking about digital privacy and other potential issues surrounding technology while encouraging them to get involved with coding. I also appreciate the way friendships, mistakes, and family are portrayed." --Buffy Cummins, Second Star to the Right Books, Denver, Colo.

For Teen Readers
I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin (Wednesday Books, $18.99, 9781250129321). "I Hate Everyone But You is the real-time unfolding of what it's like to move on and grow up. It is light and charming with unique characters, but still explores some of the biggest and heaviest first experiences that young adults find universal. The tough push-and-pull Ava and Gen act out with one another as they learn to balance different parts of their identities and expression feels fully realized and absolutely (unfortunately) relatable. The format feels authentic and accessible, making it a perfect light read with plenty of gravity and memorable moments." --Johanna Albrecht, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, N.C.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: Seven Days of Us

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak (Berkley, $26 hardcover, 368p., 9780451488756, October 17, 2017)

British journalist Francesca Hornak makes her fiction debut with Seven Days of Us, a self-assured dramedy about a family whose holiday retreat threatens to implode if their secrets get out.

The wealthy Birches of London--Andrew, Emma and their two grown daughters, Olivia and Phoebe--haven't shared the holidays under the same roof in years, but as Christmas 2016 approaches, they prepare to spend an entire week locked up together in the family home. Olivia, freshly back from a stint treating the deadly Haag virus epidemic in Liberia, must remain quarantined for a week after returning to the U.K., and so must anyone who comes in contact with her.

None of the Birches feels thrilled by the prospect of the coming week. Emma is overjoyed to have her children home, but she recently received a frightening diagnosis of the lump under her arm and is afraid to tell anyone, even Andrew. However, Andrew has his own secrets. Now a successful restaurant reviewer, he got his start in journalism covering the Lebanese civil war, where he had a brief fling with a Lebanese woman in Beirut, the one and only time he ever cheated on Emma. Now, this 36-year-old mistake has come back to haunt him in the form of Jesse, the son he's recently learned he has, who makes contact just before the holiday. Like Emma, Andrew decides to save the secret for the new year, but unbeknownst to him, a hopeful Jesse has already boarded a plane for England to meet him.

Olivia, usually the serious, overachieving do-gooder in the family, decides not to tell her family yet that she's in love with an Irish doctor she met in Liberia, leaving her with no one to talk to when he comes down with Haag and she starts to exhibit symptoms. Phoebe says yes to her boyfriend's proposal and starts planning her dream wedding, doggedly ignoring her own lack of enthusiasm for the groom. As the family limps through the holidays, they must decide whether to let their secrets tear them apart or bring them, finally, back together.

Hornak spends time looking through each character's eyes, and readers' sympathies will shift with each change in point of view. The richly defined inner lives of the Birches propel the story as they try to feel their way through their individual crises. Although at heart an earnest look at how family bonds change after children become adults and parents grow apart, this English trifle is layered with enough farcical moments, dishy secrets and snarky one-liners to please readers looking for fun as well as those wanting a reaffirming message about the ties that bind. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads

Shelf Talker: When a well-to-do British family of four is quarantined over Christmas, their secrets and lies begin to unravel.


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