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In the stacks: new fiction

Posted: December 22, 2011 - 1:04am

New fiction in all genres arrives weekly here at the Juneau Public Libraries. Look for the Christmas-themed mystery, “Twelve Drummers Drumming,” by C.C. Benison, the quirky Canadian bestseller “I am a Japanese Writer,” by Dany Laferriere, and Lev Grossman’s newest, “Codex.”

“The Legacy,” by Katherine Webb.

Erica and her sister Beth have just inherited their grandmother’s country estate with the stipulation that they actually live at the manor. Privately, Erica is convinced that they won’t be able to – there is something niggling at her that she can’t remember about one of their childhood summers here, or rather, someone — Henry — their cousin. Then, too, there is Beth, whose depression has already had her institutionalized once — it remains to be seen whether living out in the country will help or hurt her. As she wanders the estate, getting to know its winter face, Erica meets an old friend she never expected to see again, but now isn’t sure he ever really was a friend. Interwoven with their story is that of their great-grandmother, Caroline, which carries at the heart of it a betrayal whose repercussions have been unknowingly felt through generations.

“The Lie,” by Petra Hammesfahr.

Hammesfahr, a bestselling German author, has created a suspenseful thriller out of a Prince-and-Pauper theme. Susanne and Nadia meet by chance on the street as Susanne, jobless and nearly destitute, is on her way to a job interview. The two women look like twins, although they are certain they aren’t related. Nadia, a successful investment counselor, immediately sees how they can help each other, and offers Susanne money to switch places with her for a weekend so that Nadia can spend time with her lover. Since Nadia and her husband are barely on speaking terms, Susanne’s only problems occur with technology — she’s simply unused to the lifestyle that Nadia leads. Reluctantly, she agrees to more weekends playacting, until one day, Nadia doesn’t come back. And then Susanne discovers that there is more than one level of deception going on.

“The Bear in a Muddy Tutu,” by Cole Alpaugh.

Meet Gracie, a runaway bear who is helped home by Lennon, a reporter who has lost his wife (divorce) and daughter (who thinks he’s dead) five years before, and now finds himself out of a job thanks to bankruptcy. He’s been lonely since his daughter left, and his empty life gives him no reason not to run away and join Gracie’s circus, illegally camped on an island at the Jersey Shore. Lennon and Billy Wayne, the circus’s erstwhile leader, hatch a plan to save the sinking circus — a plan that involves a plane, the Bermuda Triangle, the man holding the record for being struck by lightning, and clouds, lots of clouds. Funny, touching, and quirky, this is ultimately a story about the crazy way that fate works to reunite Lennon and his daughter, Morgan.

“The Time in Between,” by Maria Duenas.

Set in the opening days of the Spanish Civil War, this novel follows Sira Quiroga from a young adulthood with a sedate future as a wife and seamstress ahead of her, to a womanhood full of betrayal, seduction, and intrigue. Sira is engaged to a steady and loving man when she meets Ramiro, a slickly handsome typewriter salesman who sweeps her off her feet and introduces her to a completely new life. When he abandons Sira in Morocco, she has to scramble to make ends meet and ends up falling back to the only profession she knows: fashion sewing. It brings her into contact with expatriate women from Europe, and especially Germany, and she is convinced by the British to become a spy for them. The attention to detail she’s developed as a seamstress brings her success at her new job, too, and enables her to hold her own in a constantly-changing world. Long, detailed, and rewarding.

• All the public libraries will close at 4 pm on Christmas Eve (Saturday) and will be closed for Christmas Day (Sunday) and Boxing Day (Monday). Story and Toddler Times are still on recess until Jan. 4.

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