Molly Gray is a maid at the five-star Regency Grand, a fine hotel that caters to the wealthiest. Molly is proud of the work she does throwing all of herself into keeping the hotel and its rooms shining, and although Molly struggles to understand social cues, she manages well enough with her Gran. When her Gran dies and Molly discovers one of their most difficult hotel guests, Mr. Black, dead in his room, Molly’s orderly world is upended. Her unusual behavior throws her into the light of suspicion, and Molly must reach out to others to resolve her situation. This book had me yelling out loud, “No Molly! Don’t do that!” and laughing with Molly as she discovers the odd complexities of human behavior while still maintaining her unerring sense of justice. The perfect blend of excellent mystery and beautifully fleshed out characters. I cannot wait for the next one!
There is such darkness in our world, refugees fleeing their homes with so little to avoid the ravages of war and violence, risking their lives for the possibility of peace. On the island of Lesbos, there is a refugee camp filled with Syrian refugees, and Mina, a transgender Lebanese doctor, is there upon the request of a friend to help. Mina has her own story of loss and discovery, and being so close to her homeland unburies that story in all of its beauty, sadness, and glory. Add to this a cast of characters who deal with this humanitarian crisis with wit and compassion, and a writer who struggles with the failures and necessity of story, and you have this absolute gift of a book. Please read this and when you get to one of the many parts that you NEED to talk about, come in and we will talk.
Wrap yourself in the warmth, humor, challenges, and love of Acevedo’s sisterhood. In her first novel for adults, mix into that the heat, complexity, sadness and satisfactions the winter of life affords. Flor, Matilde, Pastora and Camila are in their sixties and their views of life, love, their bodies and death are in flux. Each has her “abilities” and has faced challenges, but they have each other, even when they think they don’t, and the next generation of Marte women are facing challenges of their own. When Flor, who can predict the date of someone’s death, announces her own living wake, the Marte women gather, secrets unfold, and the magic Acevedo brings to a gathering of women illuminates our understanding of human nature. Acevedo narrates this (as she does all her books) on Libro.fm and the poetry of her narrative will have you going back just to bathe in the beauty and wisdom.
I have heard it said that there are no new stories, that the questions and struggles that plague us have been written, but when those struggles are written in light of the current day, they resound deeper, touching on generations. We have seen the difficulties of raising children to value themselves in a world that seeks to destroy that spark. In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevya seeks to protect his daughters under the umbrella of tradition, but he knows how precarious it all is in a world full of dangers. Sexton grants us access to another rooftop in 1950s Fillmore, a traditionally Black neighborhood with characters beautifully complex, people who love, dream, work, and suffer. Vivian is the mother of three daughters blessed with the gift of song, so on the rooftop, she has worked with them to become the next big girl group, but as with most parental aspirations, the girls and the world may have different plans. As Fillmore faces gentrification, Vivian and the girls must choose the paths each will follow and face the consequences both of the world and their family. Beautiful, tragic and hopeful, this rooftop sings of mothers and their daughters.
To give voice to those who have been silenced, through prejudice, hatred, misinformation and ignorance is the gift authors like Angie Kim bestow upon us. Happiness Falls is a page-turning mystery, a philosophical treatise on happiness, a finely woven tale of generational trauma, and most of all, it is a beautiful tale of a family discovering the truth about one of their own. Mia is a prickly college student returned home in the midst of COVID. When her brother, Eugene who has a rare genetic condition, Angelman’s Syndrome and cannot speak, returns home alone, bloody and without their father, a search begins to discover where her father is and what happened that left Eugene on his own. The mystery will captivate you, and the lens into the world of those deemed disabled will change you forever.