I’m such a sporadic participant in Mailbox Monday (hosted this month by Laura of I’m Booking It) but am really excited about the books I received this week! Have you read any of these? What did you scoop up this week?
The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
From Amazon.com: A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into a life of its anonymous author. In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after. Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily’s good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life. (pub. date 4/26/11, Plume Books)
The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure
I heard about this one when I interviewed Alison Arngrim (actress who portrayed Nellie Oleson on the long-running, hit television show based on the books) and she mentioned it. After that, I saw it on Edelweiss and and couldn’t wait to read it!
From Publishers Weekly via Amazon.com: Obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books about an 1880s pioneer family, children’s book editor and memoirist McClure (I’m Not the New Me) attempts to recapture her childhood vision of “Laura World.” Her wacky quest includes hand-grinding wheat for bread, buying an authentic churn, and traveling to sites where the Ingalls family attempted to wrest a living from the prairie. Discovering that butter she churned herself was “just butter,” McClure admits she “felt like a genius and a complete idiot at the same time.” Viewing a one-room dugout the Ingallses occupied that was “smaller than a freight elevator” prompted McClure to admit that “the actual past and the Little House world had different properties.” McClure finally tells her boyfriend, “I’m home,” after recognizing that her travels stemmed from her reaction to the recent death of her mother. Readers don’t need to be Wilder fans to enjoy this funny and thoughtful guide to a romanticized version of the American expansion west. (pub. date 4/26, Riverhead Books)
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
From Booklist via Amazon.com: Sepetys’ first novel offers a harrowing and horrifying account of the forcible relocation of countless Lithuanians in the wake of the Russian invasion of their country in 1939. In the case of 16-year-old Lina, her mother, and her younger brother, this means deportation to a forced-labor camp in Siberia, where conditions are all too painfully similar to those of Nazi concentration camps. Lina’s great hope is that somehow her father, who has already been arrested by the Soviet secret police, might find and rescue them. A gifted artist, she begins secretly creating pictures that can–she hopes–be surreptitiously sent to him in his own prison camp. Whether or not this will be possible, it is her art that will be her salvation, helping her to retain her identity, her dignity, and her increasingly tenuous hold on hope for the future. Many others are not so fortunate. Sepetys, the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, estimates that the Baltic States lost more than one-third of their populations during the Russian genocide. Though many continue to deny this happened, Sepetys’ beautifully written and deeply felt novel proves the reality is otherwise. Hers is an important book that deserves the widest possible readership. (pub. date 3/22, Philomel)
Miss Julia Rocks the Cradle by Ann B. Ross
From Amazon.com: In the latest (# 12) installment of this bestselling series Miss Julia vows to mind her own business–but can she succeed? Miss Julia has promised her husband, Sam, to mind her own business. What a relief! She doesn’t have to spring into action when a dead body is found in a toolshed six blocks from her house. Instead, she can concentrate on what’s really important-like figuring out who’s been passing bad checks in her name and, most important, preparing for Hazel Marie’s impending due date. Miss Julia’s investigative work on the possible murders-of her financial reputation and of the person in the toolshed-keeps her buzzing. But the sudden arrival of Hazel Marie’s twins during a fierce blizzard brings a whole new set of challenges and a double helping of trouble for Ann B. Ross’s indomitable southern heroine. (4/5, Viking)
The mailbox image used in my slider and featured image is courtesy of James Crable.