Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Blending some history with mystery for your summer paperback party

The dog days of summer are fast approaching and when cooling off in the shade with a good book, a paperback might be easier to hold while sipping that much needed cold drink. Hardcovers are always welcome but it might be too tempting to use them as impromptu coasters.

 So, consider having a paperback party this season and since summer parties love to have themes, the menu for this one is History with a Twist of Mystery. First up is Beatriz Williams' Along the Infinite Sea(due out on August 9) , set in the fall of 1966 as Pepper Schyuler sells a restored 1936 Mercedes in order to have enough money to take care of her unborn child.

The father of the impeding baby is not only married but an influential politician determined to keep this whole affair under tight wraps. Pepper winds up selling the car to it's original owner, Annabelle Dommerich, who used it to flee from her husband during WWII. As the two women form a bond and share their stories, secrets from the past may be of help to them both but at what cost?

 Williams has written previous novels depicting her fictional set of Schyuler sisters(The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Tiny Little Thing) and her steadfast siblings do put you in mind of a certain trio of Schyuler sisters who could be their fabulous fore bearers.  While you don't have to have read those earlier books to enjoy this one, it should harmonize well with those familiar with those literary ladies there:

Another upcoming August release is The Last Treasure by Erika Marks. This story is set in modern times, as a trio of friends are reunited to continue a look into the mysterious disappearance of Theodosia Burr. Yes, we are speaking of the daughter of the infamous Aaron Burr, who was lost at sea with many of the other passengers of a South Carolina schooner back in 1812.

Of the three, Liv was the most devoted to discovering Theodosia's fate but that research went nowhere and so did her relationship with Sam, who she left for the seemingly more romantic Whit. Nine years later, she and Whit are salvage divers who stumble across the diary of Theodosia during an estate sale.

Armed with new clues, Liv and Whit convince Sam to rejoin them on their exploration into the Outer Banks of SC for answers. While he does so, Liv soon realizes that as much as she needs to know what happened to Theodosia, there's also the question of which man is she truly meant to be with that needs to be answered as well. This sounds like a perfect storm of storytelling to me, with a little history lesson to boot:

Of course, you can start your paperback party off right away with Kate Morton's The Lake House, which is readily available in soft cover now. The meat of the story is told in flashback, as Alice Everdene chronicles what happened to her family in the summer of 1933.

A police detective named Sadie Sparrow has revived interest in the long ago case and tracks Alice down to hear from her what lead to the mysterious disappearance of her baby brother Theo during a midsummer's eve party in the family house in Cornwall.

Alice was sixteen at the time and madly in love with Ben, a gardener who may have taken a careless remark about kidnapping too much to heart. As Sadie learns more about that summer, many theories come to mind but only one can be truly right.

Morton does know her stuff when it comes to weaving elaborate yet engaging tales of love and family gone awry and The Lake House seems to be another one of her elegant story quilts. She also did some extensive research into the history of Cornwall to firmly plant a strong anchor into the fictional hard ground that was dug up and made into quite the garden of enchanting delights:

I hope that this small sample of paperback party flavors is enough to whet your literary appetite yet not too overwhelming. Book recommendations can get piled on pretty quickly, especially by enthusiastic readers like me, but I do think that sometimes, it's best to just offer a small yet savory serving of good titles for your book loving guests to slowly enjoy:

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