Also published on this date: Thursday, November 8, 2018: Maximum Shelf: The Last Romantics

Shelf Awareness for Thursday, November 8, 2018


Penguin Press: How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency by Akiko Busch

Celadon Books: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Anthony Bourdain/Ecco: Prisoner: My 544 Days in an Iranian Prison by Jason Rezaian

Grove Press: Solitary by Albert Woodfox

News

Copperfield's Opening in Former Diesel Space in Larkspur, Calif.

Copperfield's Books, which has eight stores in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties, north of San Francisco, is opening a new store on November 23 in a space that was home to a DIESEL bookstore until this fall, Bookselling This Week reported.

Copperfield's president Paul Jaffe praised the 2,800-square-foot location in the Marin Country Market, which has had a bookstore since 1978. Before Diesel opened there in 2013, it had a branch of A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books.

"The owner of the Marin Country Mart in Larkspur, a 'village' as he describes it, designed and built the store as a paean to his appreciation of books, and it has a beautiful aesthetic that would be a joy and honor for any bookstore to occupy," Jaffe told BTW. "We are excited by both the challenge and opportunity to create a successful store within its relatively small confines."

Jaffe added that the new Copperfield's will have a large children's section with regular story-time hours, as well as fiction and nonfiction, sidelines, greeting cards and remainder books. Copperfield's is also considering implementing "an outside magazine stand concept inspired by Book Soup in Los Angeles."

The location has a lot of potential, several people have said: the shopping center is establishing itself, and the SMART train (Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit) is arriving next year.

Diesel decided to close the store this summer after attempts to sell it failed. Owners John Evans and Alison Reid wanted to concentrate on their other store, in Brentwood, after 15 years of commuting 400 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco. They sold their original store, in Oakland, to manager Brad Johnson last year.


Franklin Fixtures Store of the Month: Story & Song


Indigo 2nd Quarter: Sales Down, Loss Up as Investments Continue

Sales at Indigo Books & Music in the second quarter ended September 29 fell 3.7%, to C$216.3 million (about US$164.9 million), and the net loss quadrupled to C$19.1 million (about US$14.6 million). Sales at stores open at least a year and online rose 0.7%.

The company blamed the sales decline on "the closure of a few low-performing stores and renovations in 12 stores as the company continues to transform its retail operations." Since fiscal 2017, Indigo has renovated 17 locations, making them into "cultural department stores," and will complete another eight by the end of this fiscal year. Last month, Indigo opened its first store in the U.S., a 30,000-square-foot location at the Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey.

During the quarter, online sales "continued to grow, both in books and general merchandise, fuelled by a healthy increase in online traffic," Indigo said. "A one-time gift card breakage revenue adjustment in the prior period, due to a change in accounting estimates, also contributed to lower revenues."

The decline in profitability was mainly caused by the "investment in strategic initiatives, including store renovations and the expansion of its distribution facilities, as well as minimum wage increases driving up operating expenses and a change in accounting estimates for breakage in the prior year."

CEO Heather Reisman commented: "In this quarter, we continued to invest aggressively to transform both our retail network and our online environments to deliver the best customer experience in the market, enriching our customers' lives and making Indigo their happy place. While this massive transformation has a temporary impact on sales and profitability, we are energized by our customers' response as our reimagined stores continue to generate impressive revenue and contribution growth. We feel uniquely positioned to attack the crucial holiday season ahead."


GLOW: Henry Holt & Company: Trust Exercise by Susan Choi


Amazon Backs Down After Rare Bookseller Protest

The protest by antiquarian booksellers against Amazon subsidiary AbeBooks has ended after two days with a victory: the site has backed down from plans no longer to allow rare and used booksellers in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia and South Korea to sell books on AbeBooks, the New York Times reported.

Called Banned Booksellers Week, the protest started on Monday and ultimately involved nearly 600 booksellers around the world who stopped selling nearly 3.8 million titles via AbeBooks. As the Times noted, "It was a rare concerted uprising against any part of Amazon by any of its millions of suppliers, leading to an even rarer capitulation. Even the book dealers said they were surprised at the sudden reversal by AbeBooks, the company's secondhand and rare bookselling network." The paper also observed that the antiquarian book world is a close-knit community, which helped the protest.

The move by AbeBooks was especially mystifying because AbeBooks seemed to have no solid reason for the change. It variously said it wanted to stop selling in the countries because "it is no longer viable for us to operate in these countries due to increasing costs and complexities" and because "our third-party payment service provider is closing at the end of the year." Yet the company continues to sell merchandise, including books, from the banned countries.

"AbeBooks was saying entire countries were expendable to its plans," Scott Brown, owner of Eureka Books, Eureka, Calif., and an organizer of the protest, told the Times. "Booksellers everywhere felt they might be next." He added, "We are entirely subject to their whims. We need to spend more time focusing our energies on our own business outside of the Amazon ecosphere."


New Press: Thick and Other Essays by Tressie McMillan Cottom


Watchung Booksellers Has New Cafe Partner

Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, N.J., has a new café partner: da Peppo, La Cucina del Nonno has opened in the space at the front of the building (to the left of the picture) that the bookstore and café share. Considering the name, it's no surprise that the menu includes many Italian dishes, including a range of pasta, panini and Italian sodas, as well as tiramisu, gelato and affogato for dessert.

Watchung's previous café partner, Tiny Elephant, closed on June 1. It had opened in the rebuilt space in 2014.


Rare Bird Books, a Vireo Book: The Crown Lord by William Sirls


Obituary Note: Louise DeSalvo

Louise DeSalvo, a "memoirist, biographer, scholar, teacher and mentor to myriad students and writers," died October 31, the Star-Ledger reported. She was 76. DeSalvo "had a literary career as distinguished as it was groundbreaking.... As a third-generation Italian-American, she proudly claimed and wrote about her working-class ethnic origins with a profound understanding of the transformative power of cross-cultural solidarity."

DeSalvo's books include The Art of Slow Writing; Writing as a Way of Healing; The House of Early Sorrows; Chasing Ghosts; Vertigo; Crazy in the Kitchen; and Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on Her Life and Work.

In a tribute, Hunter College president Jennifer J. Raab wrote: "Louise was a cherished member of the Hunter College community, both in her professional capacity as the Jenny Hunter Endowed Scholar for Creative Writing and Literature and as a beloved friend to all who knew her. An acclaimed fiction writer and memoirist, Louise drew on her personal experiences growing up in a working-class Italian-American family in Hoboken. Her book Vertigo, which won the Gay Talese Award and was a finalist for Italy's Premio Acerbi prize for literature, is widely recognized as the most-influential Italian-American memoir. Louise's writings on Virginia Woolf were equally significant. Her scholarly works and biographical studies remain among the most authoritative books ever written about Woolf. In addition, Louise edited editions of Woolf's debut novel, Melymbrosia, as well as The Letters of Vita Sackville-West to Virginia Woolf, which provided groundbreaking insights about the profound and passionate relationship that shaped both women's lives and their writing."


Notes

Window Display of the Day: Books & Mortar

Posted on Facebook yesterday by Books & Mortar, Grand Rapids, Mich.: "We are calling this window display: Midterm Joy, 2018. Thank you to all who endured the long lines and cold to change the course of history yesterday! And a special thank you to all of our neighbors who campaigned, knocked doors, mailed letters, etc., etc."


Happy 55th Birthday, Black Bond Books!

Black Bond Books' Caitlan Jesson, Madeline Neill and Cathy Jesson.

Congratulations to Black Bond Books in British Columbia, which is celebrating its 55th anniversary this month.

Begun when six community leaders in a small prairie town contributed $1,000 each to fund a bookstore, Black Bond Books now has seven locations and employs more than 80 booksellers. It's also a story of three generations of a dedicated family. The youngest, Caitlan Jesson, manages the Vancouver location and has been the company for more than 10 years. Founder Madeline Neill will turn 90 in January and continues to be an avid reader. CEO Cathy Jesson has been with the business for more than 40 years and says, "We look forward to our 60th with optimism and a feeling books are back, and Black Bond is proud to be a community leader."

Anniversary celebrations will take place in each store; in January Black Bond Books will celebrate Neill's birthday.


Stephanie Seales New Head Children's Buyer at Bookshop Santa Cruz

Stephanie Seales

Stephanie Seales is joining Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif., as head buyer of the children's department, replacing Ga Lombard, who is retiring on December 24 after 41 years at the store.

A California native, social justice advocate and children's literature specialist, Seales has spent most of the past dozen years on the East Coast, working at bookstores in New York City and Cape Cod, Mass. She reviews children's and teen books for Kirkus Reviews and was a judge on the 2015 Kirkus Prize for Young Readers Literature. Most recently she worked in the children's room at a public library where she collaborated with partners to bring racial justice-themed programming to the community. This year she was chosen as one of the Cape & Plymouth Business Magazine's 40 Under 40, which recognized her contributions to the community.


Pennie Picks: Family Trust

Pennie Clark Ianniciello, Costco's book buyer, has chosen Family Trust by Kathy Wang (Morrow, $26.99, 9780062855251) as her pick of the month for November. In Costco Connection, which goes to many of the warehouse club's members, she wrote:

"I was charmed when I first heard that a pregnant Kathy Wong challenged herself to finish a novel by the time her second child was born. More than that, when I read the novel, this month's book buyer's pick, Family Trust, I was duly impressed.

"One dying patriarch, two rudderless adult children, an ex-wife and a formerly doting second wife make Family Trust delicious and delightful.

"A first-time author writing about riveting family interactions that reap laughs and plenty of tears? All I can say is 'Yes, please!' "


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Joanna Gaines on Tonight

Tomorrow:
Today Show: Elizabeth Heiskell, author of The Southern Living Party Cookbook: A Modern Guide to Gathering (Oxmoor House, $35, 9780848756659).

Ellen: Sean Hayes, co-author of Plum (Simon & Schuster, $17.99, 9781534404045).

Tonight Show: Joanna Gaines, author of Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave (Harper Design, $40, 9780062801975).


This Weekend on Book TV: The Southern Festival of Books

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, November 10
12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Coverage of the 2018 Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tenn. (Re-airs Sunday at 12 a.m.) Highlights include:

  • 12 p.m. Marc Perrusquia, author of A Spy in Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement (Melville House, $28.99, 9781612193410), and Adam Parker, author of Outside Agitator: The Civil Rights Struggle of Cleveland Sellers Jr. (Hub City Press, $18, 9781938235450).
  • 12:54 p.m. Jennifer Kavanagh, co-author of Truth Decay: An Initial Exploration of the Diminishing Role of Facts and Analysis in American Public Life (RAND Corporation, $46, 9780833099945), and Arthur Lupia, author of Uninformed: Why People Seem to Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It (Oxford University Press, $31.95, 9780190263720).
  • 2:10 p.m. Mark R. Cheathem, author of The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson (Johns Hopkins University Press, $24.95, 9781421425986), and Tony Turnbow, author of Hardened to Hickory: The Missing Chapter in Andrew Jackson's Life (Tony L. Turnbow, $27.99, 9780692087527).
  • 3:02 p.m. Loka Ashwood, author of For-Profit Democracy: Why the Government Is Losing the Trust of Rural America (Yale University Press, $40, 9780300215359).
  • 3:59 p.m. Ben Fountain, author of Beautiful Country, Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution (Ecco, $27.99, 9780062688842).
  • 4:55 p.m. John Lingan, author of Homeplace: A Southern Town, a Country Legend, and the Last Days of a Mountaintop Honky-Tonk (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544932531), and Karida Brown, author of Gone Home: Race and Roots Through Appalachia (University of North Carolina Press, $29.95, 9781469647036).
  • 5:52 p.m. Rochelle Riley, co-author of The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery (Wayne State University Press, $26.99, 9780814345146).

7 p.m. Os Guinness, author of Last Call for Liberty: How America's Genius for Freedom Has Become Its Greatest Threat (IVP Books, $27, 9780830845590). (Re-airs Sunday at 4:40 p.m.)

8:30 p.m. Max Boot, author of The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right (Liveright, $24.95, 9781631495670).

10 p.m. Senator Ben Sasse, author of Them: Why We Hate Each Other--and How to Heal (St. Martin's Press, $28.99, 9781250193681). (Re-airs Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday at 12 a.m. and 3 a.m.)

11 p.m. Coverage of the 39th annual American Book Awards, recognizing "outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America's diverse literary community." This year's winners include Tiya Mile, Kelly Lytle Hernandez and Sunaura Taylor.

Sunday, November 11
9:10 a.m. Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay, authors of The Empty Throne: America's Abdication of Global Leadership (PublicAffairs, $28, 9781541773851). (Re-airs Sunday at 6:05 p.m.)

11 a.m. John Shaw, author of Rising Star, Setting Sun: Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and the Presidential Transition that Changed America (Pegasus Books, $29.95, 9781681777320). (Re-airs Monday at 2 a.m.)

1 p.m. Elliott J. Gorn, author of Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till (Oxford University Press, $27.95, 9780199325122), and Christopher W. Schmidt, author of The Sit-Ins: Protest and Legal Change in the Civil Rights Era (University of Chicago Press, $30, 9780226522449), at the Southern Festival of Books. (Re-airs Monday at 4 a.m.)

1:53 p.m. Marc Hetherington, co-author of Prius or Pickup?: How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28, 9781328866783), at the Southern Festival of Books. (Re-airs Monday at 4:53 a.m.)

2:52 p.m. Bob Spitz, author of Reagan: An American Journey (Penguin Press, $35, 9781594205316), at the Southern Festival of Books. (Re-airs Monday at 5:52 a.m.)

3:40 p.m. Christopher Oakley, author of New South Indians: Tribal Economics and the Eastern Band of Cherokee in the Twentieth Century (University of Tennessee Press, $34.95, 9781621904045), at the Southern Festival of Books. (Re-airs Monday at 6:40 a.m.)

6:50 p.m. John Grisham interviews author James McBride about his books, publishing and the writing process.

8:05 p.m. Jeanne Marie Laskas, author of To Obama: With Love, Joy, Anger, and Hope (Random House, $28, 9780525509387).

10 p.m. Carmen Segarra, author of Noncompliant: A Lone Whistleblower Exposes the Giants of Wall Street (Nation Books, $28, 9781568588452), at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

11 p.m. Joseph Ellis, author of American Dialogue: The Founders and Us (Knopf, $27.95, 9780385353427).



Books & Authors

Awards: Waterstones, Blackwell's Books of the Year Finalists

Eight titles have been shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year. The Bookseller reported that the finalists, comprising five works of nonfiction, two novels and one illustrated poetry book for children, were selected "after Waterstones booksellers were called on to nominate a title they find 'truly outstanding.' " The shortlisted titles are:

Why We Get the Wrong Politicians by Isabel Hardman
The Colour of Time: A New History of the World, 1850-1960 by Dan Jones and Marina Amaral
The Secret Barrister by the anonymous blogger The Secret Barrister
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
The Penguin Classics Book by Henry Eliot
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Circe by Madeline Miller
I Am the Seed that Grew the Tree, selected by Fiona Waters and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

The winner, chosen by a Waterstones panel headed by managing director James Daunt, will be announced November 29 and receive the "full and committed backing" of its stores and booksellers across the U.K., as well as support online and through its loyalty card program, Waterstones Plus.

---

Four finalists have been named for Blackwell's Book of the Year. The Bookseller reported that the category winners "were whittled down following a vote by all the company's booksellers and will now be promoted in shops and online throughout Christmas and 2019." The overall winner will be chosen from the four category winners in a vote by all Blackwell's booksellers in November and announced December 4. This year's finalists are:

Fiction: Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
Nonfiction: Brit(ish) by Afua Hirsch
Debut: Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday
Children's & YA: The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Johnson worked in Blackwell's Oxford store in Broad Street "until she landed a two-book deal with Cape in 2015. She became the youngest ever author to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in September," the Bookseller noted.


Attainment: New Titles Out Next Week

Selected new titles appearing next Tuesday, November 13:

Becoming by Michelle Obama (Crown, $32.50, 9781524763138) is a memoir by the former First Lady.

Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants by H.W. Brands (Doubleday, $30, 9780385542531) is a history of prominent 19th-century American political figures.

Let Her Fly: A Father's Journey by Ziauddin Yousafzai (Little, Brown, $25, 9780316450508) is a memoir by Malala Yousafzai's father.

Dear Zealots: Letters from a Divided Land by Amos Oz, translated by Jessica Cohen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $23, 9781328987006) is a collection of three essays exploring extremism in Israel and around the world.

Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel's Classroom by Ariel Burger (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9781328802699) explores Wiesel's four decades teaching at Boston University.

Queer Eye: Love Yourself. Love Your Life by Antoni Porowski and Tan France (Clarkson Potter, $29.99, 9781984823939) expands on Netflix's Queer Eye show.

Creatures of Want and Ruin by Molly Tanzer (John Joseph Adams/Mariner, $16.99, 9781328710253) is a dark fantasy set on Long Island during Prohibition.

The Storyteller by Traci Chee (Putnam, $19.99, 9780399176791) concludes Chee's bestselling Sea of Ink and Gold trilogy.

Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump by Martha Brockenbrough (Feiwel and Friends, $19.99, 9781250308030) is a biography of President Donald Trump from the author of Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary.

Goodnight Trump: A Parody by Erich Origen and Gan Golan (Little, Brown, $16.99, 9780316531139) is styled on Goodnight Moon.

Paperbacks:
Part of It: Comics and Confessions by Ariel Schrag (Mariner, $17.99, 9781328972446).

Dirty John and Other True Stories of Outlaws and Outsiders by Christopher Goffard (Simon & Schuster, $17, 9781982113254).

Movie:
Widows, based on the novel by Lynda La Plante, opens November 16. Steve McQueen directs this story about four women recently widowed by their criminal husbands. A movie tie-in edition (Zaffre, $16, 9781499861518) is available.


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
Waiting for Eden: A Novel by Elliot Ackerman (Knopf, $22.95, 9781101947395). "I was completely captivated by this intensely emotional yet compact novel. Both of Ackerman's previous novels were acclaimed by readers and critics alike, but Waiting for Eden proves something more. In less than 200 pages, the intersecting lives of three people and the consequences of their choices are revealed in an astounding manner. It's a love story, a ghost story, a horror story, a war story, and, ultimately, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. I don't want to tell you much more as I don't want to spoil it, but urge you to read this powerful and important work of literature." --Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List by James Mustich (Workman, $35, 9781523504459). "Irresistible! A book about books! What a joy to read a thoughtfully compiled list of the 1,000 books James Mustich thought most important. Many of my favorites are found among the pages, along with new suggestions to investigate. It is great fun to read about Mustich's impressions of some of my favorites, such as works by Charles Dickens, Edward Abbey, Henry James, and Anne Tyler. With so many books to choose from, you will surely find some new treasure to enjoy or be reminded of an old pleasure to revisit." --Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, Ore.

Paperback: An Indies Introduce Title
Samuel Johnson's Eternal Return by Martin Riker (Coffee House Press, $16.95, 9781566895286). "After his violent death, Samuel Johnson inhabits multiple souls as he strives to reunite with his now orphaned young son. Traveling between dark humor, unfathomable tragedy, and tracing the history of television in America, Martin Riker's outstanding debut novel illustrates how the human spirit can persevere." --Caitlin Luce Baker, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 4 to 8
There's a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor by Wade Bradford, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763686659). "Mr. Snore is tired and just wants a comfortable bed at the Sharemore Hotel. Encountering sleeping companions, including a mouse, a pig, spiders, giraffes, and even burrowing hamsters, poor Mr. Snore finally tries the 13th floor, where a twist of gigantic proportions awaits! Hawkes' playful illustrations match perfectly with the absurdity of Bradford's delightful romp. Instant story time classic!" --Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, Calif.

For Ages 9 to 12
Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins, $16.99, 9780062570703). "Louie loves animals, but just doesn't seem to have the knack for taking care of them--too many carnival animals have not survived his loving care. So when his father brings home a newborn miniature donkey, Louie's parents tell him not to get his hopes up that the little guy will survive the night, let alone thrive. Louie's determination that Winslow will be okay, the new friendships he makes, and his belief that one person can make a difference make for a wonderful story." --Debbie Buck, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.

For Teen Readers
Damsel by Elana K. Arnold (Balzer + Bray, $17.99, 9780062742322). "Timely, dark, and compelling, Damsel is an intense feminist read, an anti-fairy tale, and definitely a crossover adult title. Arnold's writing is impeccable, her voice powerful, her style sly and captivating. She turns the damsel-in-distress trope inside out here with a tale that deals creatively and unflinchingly with violence and sexual assault and more, reminiscent of such other powerful titles as Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels. One of my favorite titles of the season." --Joy Preble, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, Tex.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]


Book Review

Review: The Songbird

The Songbird by Marcia Willett (Thomas Dunne Books, $27.99 hardcover, 288p., 9781250177414, December 4, 2018)

Prolific author Marcia Willett--known for writing novels about ordinary, contemporary Brits--returns to the bucolic English countryside in The Songbird. Willett (Summer on the River, Christmas in Cornwall) sets her character-driven story in the small town of Ashburton, west of Exeter, where the old Georgian estate Brockscombe Farm is nestled amid tranquil moors, farms and the sea. The owner is Francis Courtney, a retired MP now writing his memoirs. He is an aging father and widower in his 80s. His house overlooks three cottages--converted stables--on the property, two of which are inhabited by familial relations.

One cottage is rented to Charlotte, a 32-year-old web designer and wife to Andy, a first lieutenant in the navy. The young couple has a five-month-old son, Oliver, and an endearing golden retriever, Wooster. When Andy is offered a promotion in the United States, the couple faces a crisis. Do they really want to move?

The second cottage is home to William, Andy's father and Francis's cousin. William, an accountant in his 50s, has been separated for several years from Fiona, his wife and Andy's mother. She left him to pursue an affair and a highfalutin architectural career in London, but Fiona begins paying regular visits to Brockscombe to bond with her new grandson. Are her motives in returning sincere, and will she be welcomed back into the fold?

William shares his cottage with his other cousin, Kat, a retired ballet dancer in her 60s. Kat is a creative spirit coming to grips with the death of her Polish lover. Might her grief dissipate under the spell of a dashing drama teacher and widower she meets in the local coffee shop?

The third cottage is empty until Tim, on sabbatical, arrives to take a six-month lease. Connected to the others through Charlotte's sister, Tim is trying to regroup after a painful break-up with his girlfriend. He is also secretly battling a neurological disease in its early stages. For Tim, the atmosphere in Brockscombe proves as healing as the warm acceptance he receives from his new neighbors.

The tight-knit residents quickly become Tim's friends and confidantes--in particular, Francis, who takes a shine to him and identifies with his need for privacy. As the older and younger men forge a friendship, they share stories about their pasts--including secrets. Will the folks at Brockscombe treat Tim differently if they know the truth about him?

Willett is an elegant writer and an unhurried storyteller. She understands people and the private burdens they carry, while empathizing with the consequences of their actions. This moving, multigenerational saga slowly reveals the essence of her fully realized cast of characters as the intimate stories of their lives unspool with tender, hopeful grace. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines.

Shelf Talker: In this tender novel, the bonds among inhabitants of a British estate transcend the stories, burdens and secrets of their lives.


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