Review from Amazon: On an early spring morning in Richmond, Virginia, in the year 1885, a young pregnant woman is found floating in the city reservoir. It appears that she has committed suicide, but there are curious clues at the scene that suggest foul play. The case attracts local attention, and an eccentric group of men collaborate to solve the crime. Detective Jack Wren lurks in the shadows, weaseling his way into the investigation and intimidating witnesses. Policeman Daniel Cincinnatus Richardson, on the brink of retirement, catches the case and relentlessly pursues it to its sorrowful conclusion. As the identity of the girl, Lillie, is revealed, her dark family history comes to light, and the investigation focuses on her tumultuous affair with Tommie Cluverius.
Tommie, an ambitious young lawyer, is the pride and joy of his family and the polar opposite of his brother Willie, a quiet, humble farmer. Though both men loved Lillie, it’s Tommie’s reckless affair that thrusts his family into the spotlight. With Lillie dead, Willie must decide how far to trust Tommie, and whether he ever understood him at all. Told through accumulating revelations, Tommie’s story finally ends in a riveting courtroom
Based on a true story, The Reservoir centers on a guilty and passionate love triangle composed of two very different brothers and one young, naive girl hiding an unspeakable secret. A novel of lust, betrayal, justice, and revenge, The Reservoir ultimately probes the question of whether we can really know the hearts and minds of others, even of those closest to us.
Review from Amazon: Glory Solomon, a young widow, holds tight to her memories while she struggles to hold on to her Central California farm. She makes ends meet by hosting weddings in the chapel her husband had built under their two-hundred-year-old white oak tree, known locally as Solomon's Oak. Fourteen-year-old Juniper McGuire is the lone survivor of a family decimated by her sister's disappearance. She arrives on Glory's doorstep, pierced, tattooed, angry, and homeless. When Glory's husband Dan was alive, they took in foster children, but Juniper may be more than she can handle alone. Joseph Vigil is a former Albuquerque police officer and crime lab photographer who was shot during a meth lab bust that took the life of his best friend. Now disabled and in constant pain, he arrives in California to fulfill his dream of photographing the state's giant trees, including Solomon's Oak.
In Jo-Ann Mapson's deeply felt, wise, and gritty novel, these three broken souls will find in each other an unexpected comfort, the bond of friendship, and a second chance to see the miracles of everyday life.
Review from Amazon: The quinceañera, a celebration of a Latina girl’s fifteenth birthday, has become a uniquely American trend. This lavish party with ball gowns, multi-tiered cakes, limousines, and extravagant meals is often as costly as a prom or a wedding. But many Latina girls feel entitled to this rite of passage, marking a girl’s entrance into womanhood, and expect no expense to be spared, even in working-class families. Acclaimed author Julia Alvarez explores the history and cultural significance of the “quince” in the United States, and the consequences of treating teens like princesses. Through her observations of a quince in Queens, interviews with other quince girls, and the memories of her own experience as a young immigrant, Alvarez presents a thoughtful and entertaining portrait of a rapidly growing multicultural phenomenon, and passionately emphasizes the importance of celebrating Latina womanhood.
Review from Amazon: In a series of insightful, probing interviews, Dax-Devlon Ross gives voice to the less-acknowledged realms of the black experience – and gives us all new role models of courage, iconoclasm, and creativity. Ross, an inner-city schoolteacher who eschewed a career in law, became aware of the need for a book like this one when he came to his own career crossroads. To write it, he crisscrossed the country and even traveled to Europe, talking to black Americans who have stepped outside their comfort zones – and found lives that no one had ever imagined they’d lead. In BEAT OF A DIFFERENT DRUM, you’ll meet:
Lisa Stevens, the zoo curator who cares for the pandas at the National Zoo
Johnathon Lee Iverson, the first black Ringling Brothers Circus ringleader
Jair Lynch, an Olympic athlete and real estate entrepreneur
James McLurkin, an inventor and robotics researcher
Ray Hill, a brewmeister who left a lucrative career to start his own beer company
Uchenna Smith, who, at 25, began running her own school with the KIPP-Sankofa program
Jake Lamar, an expatriate novelist
Mike Ladd, an M.C., producer, and professor
Bill Collins, a former Principal turned sailor turned world-renowned chef
Stacey Barney, a schoolteacher turned book editor
. . . as well as many others, each of whose stories has something unique to teach us about the search for meaning in one’s lifework, and the challenges that we must still face when we march to the beat of a different drum.
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