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BOOK CLUB FAVORITES

Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
By Kim Michele Richardson
(Sourcebooks $15.99)

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything–everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt’s Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome’s got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.
Cussy’s not only a book woman, however, she’s also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy’s family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she’s going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.
Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a story of raw courage, fierce strength, and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere–even back home.

The Weight of a Piano
By Chris Candor
(Penguin Random House $16.00)

In 1962, in the Soviet Union, eight-year-old Katya is bequeathed what will become the love of her life: a Blüthner piano, on which she discovers an enrichening passion for music. Yet after she marries, her husband insists the family emigrate to America–and loses her piano in the process.

In 2012, in Bakersfield, California, twenty-six-year-old Clara Lundy is burdened by the last gift her father gave her before he and her mother died in a terrible house fire: a Blüthner upright she has never learned to play. Now a talented and independent auto mechanic, Clara’s career is put on hold when she breaks her hand trying to move the piano, and in sudden frustration she decides to sell it. Only in discovering the identity of the buyer–and the secret history of her piano–will Clara be set free to live the life of her choosing.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
By Abbi Waxman
(Penguin Random House $16)

Nina Hill’s life may not seem like much, but for a person battling anxiety, it’s more than enough. She enjoys her job at a bookstore and her small circle of friends. Until a visit from a lawyer changes everything…The father that Nina never knew existed has died, leaving behind an enormous extended family. Nina now has innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, and cousins all living within a twenty-mile radius–some welcoming and some not so welcoming, but all demanding her attention. If that’s not enough, Nina’s talent for worrying is taking the thrill out of falling in love. Tom, a fellow trivia nerd–who’s totally into her–is obviously too good to be true. Everything is moving too fast for Nina. Caught in a whirlwind of new people, emotions and experiences, she feels the need to protect herself. But maybe opening her world–and her heart–is a risk worth taking.

The Harvey Girls
By Lesley Poling-Kempes
(Hachette Book Group $16.99)

From the 1880s to the 1950s, the Harvey Girls went west to work in Fred Harvey’s restaurants along the Santa Fe railway. At a time when there were “no ladies west of Dodge City and no women west of Albuquerque,” they came as waitresses, but many stayed and settled, founding the struggling cattle and mining towns that dotted the region. Interviews, historical research, and photographs help re-create the Harvey Girl experience. The accounts are personal, but laced with the history the women lived: the dust bowl, the depression, and anecdotes about some of the many famous people who ate at the restaurants–Teddy Roosevelt, Shirley Temple, Bob Hope, to name a few.

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Tending Roses
By Lisa Wingate
(Penguin Random House $15)

When Kate Bowman temporarily moves to her grandmother’s Missouri farm with her husband and baby son, she learns that the lessons that most enrich our lives often come unexpectedly. The family has given Kate the job of convincing Grandma Rose, who’s become increasingly stubborn and forgetful, to move off her beloved land and into a nursing home. But Kate knows such a change would break her grandmother’s heart. Just when Kate despairs of finding answers, she discovers her grandma’s journal. A beautiful handmade notebook, it is full of stories that celebrate the importance of family, friendship, and faith. Stories that make Kate see her life, and her grandmother, in a completely new way.