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Staff Reviews - Winter 2023-2024

The first four are historical novels but none of them take place during WWII. Closing out this Winter 2024 reviews is a suspense (and historical) novel that is recommended by Kathy Kuna. Check out these new favorites from Crete Public Library staff

For more information, visit the library, or search the online library catalog.

  • "Mary Jane," by Jessica Blau: Enjoy a blast from the recent past (1970s) for those of us who remember that decade well. Mary Jane is from a respectable family and lives in a respectable house. Her life is turned upside down when she accepts a summer job caring for a doctor’s daughter. She now has a front row seat to completely different family and lifestyle that opens her eyes to the realization that there is so much to life than what she has been led to believe.
  • "October in the Earth," by Olivia Hawker: In Depression-Era Kentucky, Del is the wife of the local celebrated preacher who doesn’t practice what he preaches. His repeated infidelities finally cause Del to literally jump on a coal car and takes to the rails. Calling herself a “lady hobo”, Del meets up with a fellow itinerant traveler, Lousia, who teaches Del the hobo code. They move forward together growing as close as sisters, yet each one has a different life goal.
  • "The Berry Pickers," by Amanda Peters: July 1962. A Mi’kmaq family from Nova Scotia arrives in Maine to pick blueberries for the summer. Ruthie, the family’s four-year-old disappears and is not seen or heard from, and her family never give up hope that Ruthie is alive and well. Joe is a few years older than Ruthie and is the last one to see her before she disappears. Joe’s guilt about losing Ruthie consumes him throughout his life and manifests itself in not-so healthy life choices. Told in alternating voices of Ruthie and Joe, The Berry Pickers spans 50 years. This absorbing tale revolves around themes of family, identity, loss, hope and grief.
  • "The Caretaker," by Ron Rash: Ron Rash is the king of stories set in Appalachia. This one is set during the Korean war as one young man, Jacob, goes off to war after being disowned by his wealthy family for marrying a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Blackburn, the caretaker, not only takes care of the cemetery but also Jacob’s wife. Familial treachery, and yet, this is a story of love and devotion. The three main characters will stay with you long after the last page is read,
  • "The Frozen River," by Ariel Lawhon: (Review by Kathy Kuna) The story of Martha Ballard, a real-life woman of the 1700’s, is a strong-willed woman battling for women’s rights in a male dominated world. Martha, a midwife, was asked to document the details of an alleged rape committed by two of the town’s most respected gentlemen. Now one of these gentlemen has now been found dead in the ice. The more one learns about Martha, her family and her values, the more you come to admire and love her. There is a rich cast of supporting characters which help you picture the lives of those times. This is a book you will not want to put down until you have read the last chapter. I rarely give a book an excellent rating, but this is one of those books!  I have already recommended it to several of my friends. Please be certain to read the Author’s Note in full after completing the book.