SET IN VIENNA


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Sisi: empress on her own / Allison Pataki

Infamously beautiful, a mother of four, and wife of Emperor Franz Joseph– whom she unintentionally stole away from her sister– Sisi’s reign was anything but simple. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but with temptations, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue. Through love affairs and loss, dedication and defiance, Sisi struggles against conflicting desires: to keep her family together, or to flee amid the collapse of her suffocating marriage and the gathering tumult of the First World War.

Stolen Beauty : a novel / Laurie Lico Albanese

A tale based on the true story behind the creation and near destruction of Gustav Klimt’s most remarkable paintings traces the experiences of one of the master artist’s lovers in 1900 Vienna, whose experiences with anti-Semitism inspire the survival of her niece when the Nazis invade Austria decades later.

The Fortunate Ones : a novel / Ellen Umansky

One very special work of art–a Chaim Soutine painting–connects the lives and fates of two different women, generations apart, in a novel that moves from World War II Vienna to contemporary Los Angeles.

The Third Man / Graham Greene

Rollo Martins is invited to Vienna by his school friend and hero Harry Lime, but arrives just in time to attend Lime’s funeral. Determined to find out the truth about his friend’s death, he eventually discovers that his hero was deeply involved in criminal activities.

The Chosen Ones / Steve Sem-Sandberg

The Am Spiegelgrund clinic, in glittering Vienna, masqueraded as a well-intentioned reform school for wayward boys and girls and a home for chronically ill children. The reality, however, was very different: in the wake of Germany’s annexation of Austria on the eve of World War II, its doctors, nurses, and teachers created a monstrous parody of the institution’s benign-sounding brief. The Nazi regime’s euthanasia program would come to determine the fate of many of the clinic’s inhabitants. Through the eyes of a child inmate, Adrian Ziegler, and a nurse, Anna Katschenka, the author explores the very meaning of survival.

The Exiles Return : a novel / Elisabeth de Waal

Vienna is demolished by war, the city an alien landscape of ruined castles, a fractured ruling class, and people picking up the pieces. It is a stunningly vivid postwar story of Austria’s fallen aristocrats, unrepentant Nazis, and a culture degraded by violence. The novel follows a number of exiles, each returning under very different circumstances, who must come to terms with a city in painful recovery.

Death and the Maiden : a Max Liebermann mystery / Frank Tallis

Ida Rosenkranz is top diva at the Vienna Opera, but she’s gone silent for good after an apparent laudanum overdose. Learning of her professional rivalries and her scandalous affairs with older men, Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt and Dr. Max Liebermann suspect foul play.

Requiem in Vienna : a Viennese mystery / J. Sydney Jones

After a singer is killed during rehearsals of a new production, the evidence suggest that someone is trying to murder the famed conductor and composer Gustav Mahler. His mistress asks Karl Werhem to help stop the attacks.

When Nietzsche Wept / Irvin D. Yalom

Lou Salom asks Josef Breuer, a physician, to help her friend Nietzsche emerge from his depression, not knowing that Breuer is himself depressed.

The Empty Mirror : a Viennese mystery / J. Sydney Jones

In 1898, with Austria paralyzed by a series of brutal murders, famed artist Gustav Klimt suddenly finds himself the prime suspect in the crimes when his female model falls victim to the killer.

Compass / Mathias Enard

As night falls over Vienna, Franz Ritter, an insomniac musicologist, takes to his sickbed with an unspecified illness and spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories, revisiting the important chapters of his life: his ongoing fascination with the Middle East and his numerous travels to Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascus, and Tehran, as well as the various writers, artists, musicians, academics, orientalists, and explorers who populate this vast dreamscape. At the center of these memories is his elusive, unrequited love, Sarah, a fiercely intelligent French scholar caught in the intricate tension between Europe and the Middle East.

Sent to the Devil / Laura Lebow

In 1788 Vienna, Court Poet Lorenzo da Ponte, while putting the finishing touches on his new opera with Mozart, agrees to help the police with a secret investigation after his old friend, Alois, a retired priest and academic, is brutally murdered with strange symbols carved into his forehead.

The Crooked Maid : a novel / Dan Vyleta

Vienna, 1948. The war is over, and as the initial phase of de-Nazification winds down, the citizens of Vienna struggle to rebuild their lives amid the rubble. Anna Beer returns to the city she fled nine years earlier after discovering her husband’s infidelity. She has come back to find him and, perhaps, to forgive him. Traveling on the same train from Switzerland is eighteen-year-old Robert Seidel, a schoolboy summoned home to his stepfather’s sickbed and the secrets of his family’s past. As Anna and Robert navigate an unrecognizable city, they cross paths with a war-widowed American journalist, a hunchbacked young servant girl, and a former POW whose primary purpose is to survive by any means–and to forget.

Waiting for Sunrise : a novel / William Boyd

Wrongly accused of rape, Lysander Rief, a young English actor, finds his life taking a dangerous turn when the men who help him escape a conviction recruit him for a lethal mission that leads him to a traitor who is linked to his family.

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Just In – January 2018


January 2018

You may want to try these well reviewed books that may not make it to the bestseller list, but shouldn’t be missed.

 The Body in the Clouds: a novel / Ashley Hay

When a man falls from the sky and survives—the three men who witness it, in different ways and at different times, as they stand on the same piece of land—find their lives transformed by this magical event as they all struggle to understand the meaning of what “home” is.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley: a novel / Hannah Tinti

Loo is twelve when she moves back to the New England fishing village of her early youth. Her father, Hawley, finds work on the boats, while she undergoes the usual heartaches of a new kid in school. But lurking over Loo are mysteries, both of the mother who passed away, of the grandmother she’s forbidden to speak to. And hurtling towards both father and daughter are the ghosts of Hawley’s past. Before Loo’s birth, he was a professional criminal engaged in increasingly elaborate and dangerous underworld schemes. Samuel Hawley took “twelve bullets” in his brutal career. The scars have healed, but there is a reckoning still to come.

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: a novel / Matthew Sullivan

Lydia Smith is enjoying her comfortable life. She has a job she loves at the Bright Ideas Bookstore. Then one of her favorite “bookfrogs” (code word for eccentric bookstore regulars) commits suicide and leaves her his small horde of books. She discovers a strangely methodical defacement which is a kind of code. A delicate spider web of connections leading back to a murderous incident in Lydia’s childhood is revealed.

The Music Shop / Rachel Joyce

The owner of a 1988 music shop in a down-at-heel suburban community uses his talent for connecting customers to the music they seek and resists a chance at an intimate relationship with a beautiful young woman who hides a mysterious agenda and compels him to confront painful elements from his past.

Salt Houses / Hala Alyan

Foreseeing blessings and troubles in the lives of her daughter and grandchildren, Salma endures hardships stemming from the Six-Day War of 1967 in Palestine before rebuilding in Kuwait, before the family is scattered by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Ashes of Fiery Weather / Kathleen Donohoe

A multigenerational tale about the passionate loves and losses of women in a family of firefighters traces their experiences spanning from famine-era Ireland to Brooklyn a decade after the September 11 attacks.

Dinner at the Center of the Earth / Nathan Englander

A prisoner in a secret cell. The guard who has watched over him a dozen years. An American waitress in Paris. A young Palestinian man in Berlin who strikes up an odd friendship with a wealthy Canadian businessman. And The General, Israel’s most controversial leader, who lies dying in a hospital, the only man who knows of the prisoner’s existence.

Unraveling Oliver / Liz Nugent

In this “compelling, clever, and dark” thriller, a man’s shocking act of savagery stuns a local community—and the revelations that follow will keep you gripped until the very last page. Perfect for fans of Patricia Highsmith and Ruth Ware.

Birdcage Walk / Helen Dunmore

A novel set in Bristol at the height of the Romantic Era that follows a freethinking young woman in her new marriage to a ruthlessly ambitious property developer.

WWII in Fiction


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In Farleigh Field: a novel / Rhys Bowen

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate.

The Fortunate Ones: a novel / Ellen Umansky

One very special work of art–a Chaim Soutine painting–connects the lives and fates of two different women, generations apart, in a novel that moves from World War II Vienna to contemporary Los Angeles.

The Librarian of Auschwitz / Antonio Iturbe

The novel follows Dita Kraus from age fourteen, when she is put in charge of a few forbidden books at Auschwitz concentration camp, through the end of World War II and beyond.

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir: a novel / Jennifer Ryan

Letters and journals reveal the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of five members of a village choir during World War II as they band together to survive the upheavals of war and village intrigue on the English home front.

The Boat Runner: a novel / Devin Murphy

Beginning in the summer of 1939, fourteen-year-old Jacob Koopman and his older brother, Edwin, enjoy lives of prosperity and quiet contentment. Many of the residents in their small Dutch town have some connection to the Koopman lightbulb factory, and the locals hold the family in high esteem. On days when they aren’t playing with friends, Jacob and Edwin help their Uncle Martin on his fishing boat in the North Sea, where German ships have become a common sight. But conflict still seems unthinkable, even as the boys’ father naively sends his sons to a Hitler Youth Camp in an effort to secure German business for the factory. When war breaks out, Jacob’s world is thrown into chaos.

The Lost Letter / Jillian Cantor

A heartbreaking, heartwarming historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II in Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. 

The Nightingale / Kristin Hannah

Vianne and Isabelle have always been close despite their differences. Younger, bolder sister Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne lives a quiet and content life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. When World War II strikes and Antoine is sent off to fight, Vianne and Isabelle’s father sends Isabelle to help her older sister cope. As the war progresses, it’s not only the sisters’ relationship that is tested, but also their strength and their individual senses of right and wrong. Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

The Japanese Lover: a novel / Isabel Allende

A multigenerational epic by the New York Times best-selling author of The House of the Spirits follows the impossible romance between a World War II escapee from the Nazis and a Japanese gardener’s son, whose story is discovered decades later by a care worker who would come to terms with her past.

Winter of the world: book two of the Century trilogy / Ken Follett

Continues the stories of five interrelated families who struggle with social, political, and economic turmoil in the mid-twentieth century, during which they witness the rise of Nazi Germany, the Spanish Civil War, and the horrors of World War II.

The Garden of Letters / Alyson Richman

In World War II Italy, cello prodigy Elodie Bertolotti joins the Italian Resistance to Mussolini’s fascist regime, and soon she must seek sanctuary with a young doctor who has painful secrets of his own.

All the Light we cannot see: a novel / Anthony Doerr

A blind French girl on the run from the German occupation and a German orphan-turned-Resistance tracker struggle with respective beliefs after meeting on the Brittany coast.

Lilac Girls: a novel / Martha Hall Kelly

The lives of three women converge at the Ravensbruck concentration camp as Caroline Ferriday resolves to help from her post at the French consulate, Kasia Kuzmerick becomes a courier in the Polish resistance, and Herta Oberheuser takes a German government medical position.

Sarah’s Key / Tatiana de Rosnay

On the anniversary of the roundup of Jews by the French police in Paris, Julia is asked to write an article on this dark episode and embarks on an investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah.

Lisette’s List: a novel / Susan Vreeland

A tale centered on the lives of Provence-inspired master artists follows the experiences of an exiled young Parisian who cares for her husband’s ailing grandfather during the Vichy regime and rediscovers love through the master works of Cezanne, Pissarro, Chagall and Picasso.