I have the choice for next month’s book club. We have the liberty to bring ONE book and dictate it as the book —OR— bring a few titles to be voted on. This is what I will be offering up for vote at our meeting this week:
368 pages, pub’d 2012, 3.79 GR, ~ $9.58 eBook
On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye. Claire’s search for the truth about the painting’s origins leads her into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life. B. A. Shapiro’s razor-sharp writing and rich plot twists make The Art Forger an absorbing literary thriller that treats us to three centuries of forgers, art thieves, and obsessive collectors. it’s a dazzling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.
336 pages, pub’d 2001, 3.0 GR, ~$10 eBook
A spellbinding novel of one unforgettable family, the orchard they’ve tended for generations, and a love story that transcends the ages. Nomi Eve’s lavishly imagined account begins in Palestine in 1837, with the tale of the irrepressible family matriach, Esther, who was lured by the smell of baking bread into an affair with the local baker. Esther passes on her passionate nature to her son, Eliezer, whose love for the forbidden Golda threatened to tear the family apart. And to her granddaughter, Avra the thief, a tiny wisp of a girl who thumbed her nose at her elders by swiping precious stones from the local bazaar-and grew to marry a man she met at the scene of a crime. At once epic and intimate, The Family Orchard is a rich historical tapestry of passion and tradition from a storyteller of beguiling power.
242 pages, pub’d 2000, 3.65 GR, ~$8 eBook
This luminous story begins in the present day, when a professor invites a colleague to his home to see a painting that he has kept secret for decades. The professor swears it is a Vermeer—but why has he hidden this important work for so long? The reasons unfold in a series of events that trace the ownership of the painting back to World War II and Amsterdam, and still further back to the moment of the work’s inspiration. As the painting moves through each owner’s hands, what was long hidden quietly surfaces, illuminating poignant moments in multiple lives. Susan Vreeland’s characters remind us, through their love of this mysterious painting, how beauty transforms and why we reach for it, what lasts and what in our lives is singular and unforgettable.
352 pages, pub’d 2011, 4.08 GR, ~$10 eBook
Amazon BEST BOOKS of the MONTH March 2012: Betrayal, ardor, war, and prophecies–in The Song of Achilles, author Madeline Miller brings together everything I love about The Iliad without the labor of epic poetry. In this new twist on the Trojan War story, Patroclus and Achilles are the quintessential mismatched pair–a mortal underdog exiled in shame and a glorious demigod revered by all–but what would a novel of ancient Greece be without star-crossed love? Miller includes other good tragic bits–foreknowledge of death, ruthless choices that pit pride and reputation against the lives of innocents, the folly of men and gods–and through her beautiful writing my spine chilled in the presence of Achilles’ mother, the sea goddess Thetis, and I became a bystander in the battlefield of Troy awash with blood, exaltation, and despair. The Song of Achilles infuses the essence of Homer with modern storytelling in a combination that is utterly absorbing and gratifying–I can’t wait to see what Miller tackles next. –Seira Wilson
All blurbs and eBook pricing from Amazon.com. Clicking a book cover will open up the page in goodreads. From there, it is possible to click to a favorite online ordering option for print or eBook.
I am always taking suggestions for good book club books – if your club has had some memorable discussions, do comment with the title.