The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies *Review by Brenna*
I adored this book and was moved by the story told by Ho Davies. I always love stories set during WWII and I typically read romance, which is what initially drew me to the novel. After I began to read it though I found that I could easily relate to Esther and the idea of the Welsh concept of –cynefin–for which there is no English equivalent. It means a certain knowledge and sense of place that is passed down the matrilineal line in a flock of sheep. They always know where they belong and never leave their own turf. My maternal grandmother’s family is Welsh and I wonder sometimes if this cynefin isn’t only with sheep but with people as well. I come from a long line of strong women and there has always been an unspoken thread that has weaved each generation together from mother to daughter again and again. Being drawn to a place where there appears to be nothing holding you there but familiarity and family has also been a strong theme in my life that I believe now, after reading this book, could be a Welsh trait passed on from generations before. I felt by reading this story and immersing myself in it that I was drawn closer to my grandmother, who had at that time recently passed on, and to my own heritage as an “Evans Woman”. The story is lyrical and beautifully written and I recommend it to anyone of Welsh Heritage, readers seeking a beautifully told love story, or to those who enjoy books set during WWII.
Available for check out in regular print at the library as well as eBook on Libby.
Beartown by Fredrick Backman *Review by Caroline*
Set in a small northern town located in a place where perpetual winter encompasses its inhabitants most months of the year and the only real bright spot comes in the form of their beloved youth hockey team. Beartown Ice Hockey Club is the pride of the town. They have coaxed back a former NHL pro who grew up in their club to come home and resurrect the fledgling program as the coach. As they prepare for the upcoming National Championship game, in which they are favored to win it all and bring the town back to glory, an event takes place that scatters the townspeople in all directions as if a bomb had exploded.
As the fallout begins, the people of the town are forced to look in the mirror and determine what is really most important to them individually and as a community. How much are they willing to let those who they’ve put on a pedestal get away with? Are they willing to sacrifice their collective identity and a chance at glory in order to do what’s right and hold the guilty responsible?
This book could be set in any small, sports obsessed town in America. It explores all the great things that brings to a community as well as what is detrimental when winning is the most important thing.
Available for check out in regular print, large print, and audiobook; as well as ebook and audiobook on the Libby app. Now a HBO Max series.
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins *Review by Cat*
This Birmingham, Alabama town is your typical over-priced suburban neighborhood filled with housewives who have more money than they will ever actually need in one lifetime. At least that’s what Jane, the new dog walker in town who is trying to reinvent herself, thinks. In between taking a few items the wives will surely never miss, partly to pawn, and partly just because she can; Jane starts to realize there might be more under the surface of this world she doesn’t quite understand yet.
One day while out dog walking Jane has a fateful encounter with the town’s most charming, handsome, and slightly mysterious recent widower, Eddie. She instantly falls for him and sees this as her opportunity to move up in the world, but as she tries learning more about Eddie, and navigating the gossip surrounding Thornfield Estates, can she keep her own skeletons buried?
As time goes on Jane learns more about Eddie’s past wife, Bea, and her best friend Blanche who both died in a mysterious boating accident. It doesn’t sit right with Jane though, and she feels like she can still feel the ghost of Bea in the big mansion, and some days she feels like she’s heard something upstairs. As Jane dives deeper into Bea’s past she may get more than she bargained for, is this man who swept her off her feet who she thought he was?
The Wife Upstairs will give you strong female characters, murder, mystery , and a twist all of Thornfield Estates would never suspect. Will it all come to light in the end, will Jane get her happy ending she’s been searching for, and will the ghost of Bea Rochester stay buried? Find out in what EW calls “Compulsively readable…a gothic thriller laced with arsenic.”
Available for check out in print and audiobook, as well as through the Libby app as an ebook and audiobook.