The Dutch House
The Dutch House is a breathtakingly beautiful fairy tale-esque story about siblings Danny and Maeve. As children, their father purchases an ornate and extravagant old mansion as a surprise for their mother. The grief of having so much when others have so little overtakes their mother, prompting her to leave her family to volunteer with the poor in India. Andrea, a much younger woman who has two daughters of her own, falls in love with the house and entices Danny and Maeve’s father to fall in love with her, enacting the classic “evil stepmother” trope. When their father dies, Andrea casts out Danny and Maeve to fend for themselves.
The Dutch House is a slow, weaving dysfunctional family drama spanning 50 years. The story is told from Danny’s perspective as he looks back reflectively on his life, but Maeve, his captivating older sister, is the clear heroine of the novel. The Dutch House is enchanting and complex, with so much emotion and so much heart.
– Marilu Morgan
Robert B. Parker’s Angel Eyes: A Spenser Novel
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
The latest installment finds the legendary Boston P.I. outside his usual stomping grounds, searching for a missing young woman in El Lay with an assist from his protégé Sixkill. Will Spenser triumph over Armenian mobsters, a cult leader, and the uncooperative local cops? If you’ve read any of these you already know the answer, but the formula still works thanks to Mr. Atkins’ witty storytelling and the spot-on Audible narration by Joe Mantegna.
– Chris Manson
Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover and Me
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Wild Game is such an unbelievable tale, it’s easy to forget this book is nonfiction. In the opening pages, author Adrienne Brodeur recounts her mother Malabar waking her at 14 years old to tell her about a kiss… between her and her husband’s married best friend Ben. From then on, Brodeur serves as a confidante and accomplice in her mother’s secret. New York Times cooking writer Malabar and sportsman Ben even orchestrate the guise of creating a cookbook together as a reason to spend more time with one another. Both families are included in the recipe testing, and while the culinary descriptions are delightful, the lovers’ gall is enough to make a reader’s stomach turn.
This memoir describes Brodeur’s childhood and her relationship with her mesmerizing and narcissistic mother, as well as her process for coming to terms with it all.
– Marilu Morgan
Kevin Noble Maillard and Juana Martinez-Neal
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
Roaring Brook Press
Fry Bread is a story told in lyrics, each verse beginning with “fry bread is…” Accompanied by beautiful illustrations, author Maillard describes the ingredients, the texture, and the taste of fry bread and then expands into more—what and who fry bread represents. He shares the history of Native American people in a way that is accessible for young children. And he powerfully celebrates Native American culture, leaving the reader feeling thoughtful, inspired, and maybe a little hungry. Thankfully, the author includes a recipe for fry bread at the end.
– Marilu Morgan