A Bit Overboard
I may have gone a bit overboard with my book purchases this month – dumb Amazon! No, I can’t blame them for my decisions. I know that. Three of these books I’ve already featured, so lets take a look at the new books that came this week!
When I was a child I spent most, if not all, of my allowance on books. The family’s band, which still plays to this day (they do a mix of Irish, Celtic and Appalachian tunes), would often play weekends at Barnes N’ Nobles or Borders. My mother and grandmother would let me wander off, knowing they’d find me later in the science fiction or history sections. They never questioned my favorite genres, because they knew exactly where I’d be!
On to the Books
Not only did I grow my own love for books over the years, but I have an author uncle who fed my love for the written word with books on my birthday. He was, in fact, the one who introduced me to German author Cornelia Funke and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter right when the story was making its first waves among American teenagers. However, I cannot recollect if he gave me the British Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone over the Sorcerer’s Stone, but that’s not really that important for today’s post.
Ever since my love for reading was recognized by the family, I preferred having a curated collection rather than all the books I could possibly fit into my room at home. This practice has carried on to this day, and I am now very picky about the stories I choose to include on my shelves. If it’s floor to ceiling books, then that is definitely way too overwhelming a collection to choose from.
For a time I stopped buying books online, and I all but stopped buying them in stores as well. But I kept an ever growing list of titles that looked interesting, and I’d weed them out from there. So this post is a rather special one, because it will feature two books I’ve been wanting to read for a very long time and one that was purchased on a complete whim (I’m looking at you, Historical Novel Society. I blame you for this purchase…lol!). I kid, of course! Here are some more of the first few books I’ve purchased in over a year, with more definitely to come!
American Duchess by Karen Harper
On a cold November day in 1895, a carriage approaches St Thomas Episcopal Church on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Massive crowds surge forward, awaiting their glimpse of heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Just 18, the beautiful bride has not only arrived late, but in tears, yet her marriage to the aloof Duke of Marlborough proceeds. Bullied into the wedding by her indomitable mother, Alva, Consuelo loves another. But a deal was made, trading some of the vast Vanderbilt wealth for a title and prestige, and Consuelo, bred to obey, realizes she must make the best of things.
At Blenheim Palace, Consuelo is confronted with an overwhelming list of duties, including producing an “heir and a spare,” but her relationship with the duke quickly disintegrates. Consuelo finds an inner strength, charming everyone from debutantes to diplomats including Winston Churchill, as she fights for women’s suffrage. And when she takes a scandalous leap, can she hope to attain love at last…?
The Last Tiara by MJ Rose
Sophia Moon had always been reticent about her life in Russia and when she dies, suspiciously, on a wintry New York evening, Isobelle despairs that her mother’s secrets have died with her. But while renovating the apartment they shared, Isobelle discovers something among her mother’s effects—a stunning silver tiara, stripped of its jewels. Isobelle’s research into the tiara’s provenance draws her closer to her mother’s past—including the story of what became of her father back in Russia, a man she has never known. The facts elude her until she meets a young jeweler, who wants to help her but is conflicted by his loyalty to the Midas Society, a covert international organization whose mission is to return lost and stolen antiques, jewels, and artwork to their original owners.
The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegal
Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family’s American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault—the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.
The truth lies with six women: Géraldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother’s attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family’s household.
The Gospel of Wealth and Other Essays by Andrew Carnegie
By the time he had died, he had given away ninety percent of his wealth. He followed his motto, which he set out in The Gospel of Wealth, “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced,” through to his end. Born in Scotland, to a poor weaving household, he emigrated to the United States of America with his family when he was thirteen.Through the course of the next fifty years he rose through the ranks of employment and invested widely until in 1901 he sold his Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Steel Company to J. P. Morgan for $480 million and became the richest American alive for a couple of years. Carnegie explains his remarkable early years and how he made his first investments in his initial essay, How I served my apprenticeship. He gives remarkable insight into his ability to see potentially lucrative opportunities, even at a young age.The main focus of this collection of essays is however on The Gospel of Wealth, in which Carnegie outlines his philosophy of philanthropy. He was aware that the United States in the late nineteenth century had produced a great number of self-made super-rich industrialists, like himself, and was concerned that they would waste their new found wealth through extravagance and instead urges everyone to think of and assist those less fortunate than ourselves.
In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides
On July 8, 1879, Captain George Washington De Long and his team of thirty-two men set sail from San Francisco on the USS Jeanette.
Heading deep into uncharted Arctic waters, they carried the aspirations of a young country burning to be the first nation to reach the North Pole. Two years into the harrowing voyage, the Jeannette’s hull was breached by an impassable stretch of pack ice, forcing the crew to abandon ship amid torrents of rushing of water. Hours later, theship had sunk below the surface, marooning the men a thousand miles north of Siberia, where they faced a terrifying march with minimal supplies across the endless ice pack.
Enduring everything from snow blindness and polar bears to ferocious storms and labyrinths of ice, the crew battled madness and starvation as they struggled desperately to survive. With thrilling twists and turns, In The Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding tale of heroism and determination in the most brutal place on Earth.