Book Club Picks

If participants of a Bookloft Book Club really liked a book, we have them fill out a review card for it! Here's where you can find all those non-employee readers' reviews.

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The World That We Knew: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501137570
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 24th, 2019

Patron: Lynne

Title: The World That We Knew

Comments: Wow, I did NOT expect this book to be so, so… fantastic. I have not read Ms Hoffman’s prior works and did not know what to expect.  I have read a lot of WW2 books this year, many about the Holocaust. Maybe all the anniversaries of disasters and war markers have been a great impetus to push this along by strides.

Me… the jotter here? I confess, I love science fiction, preferably the “hard” kind. After that, I relish  historical fiction, as there are always great stories there, even pieces written as modern tales in their time, such as Edith Wharton’s books. I love family stories and heart-warmers too. But mostly I love dreams. I revere Philip K. Dick. He is known to have said for us readers to “suspend disbelief”. Dreams and nightmares are welcome in books I read, and I easily suspend disbelief, and just “go there”.

The World That We Knew starts off as Historical Fiction (Berlin, 1941), as Jewish citizens, homeowners, children, “new” criminals and other characters quickly engage us within their horrific settings, the characters slowly coming ‘round to a center (of sorts) at the end.  The story allowed me to maybe see how such desperate characters in this terrible nightmare got themselves through it. Yes, I have read The Tin Drum and other tales. This is a little off that bio-genre but still as strong. The main characters were mostly women in all stages of despair and dodging traps. They generally press on, using cunning and tricks to live and keep moving. We all tell ourselves WE would do that, right? You will not be able to put this book away, BUT, you will occasionally have to “suspend disbelief.” So, breathe, close your eyes, and then keep reading.

Ms. Hoffman has proven, apparently very well, that her unique imagination is appreciated by millions of readers. But I didn’t know that, and I was so thrilled to partake in her writing style, her story, and what I could call “dreams”. Don’t miss this book.

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American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062748331
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - February 26th, 2019

Patron: Karen

Title: American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt

Comments: What a magnificent story!  It was slow to start, but once it got rolling, it was an intriguing read.  I enjoyed this inside look at the social and political trials of a Gilded Age heiress who was sold off for an English title.

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The Darwin Affair: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616206345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - June 11th, 2019

Patron:  Bob

Title: The Darwin Affair

Comments: I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I expect it to be the first in a series dealing with Chief Detective Inspector Charles Field.  This is Dickensian England at its best and worst.  Pre Jack the Ripper, but a pretty bloody series of murders take place.  The main character and his family are well defined so that you have an affinity toward them.  I am sure we will see more of them.  A lot of the ancillary characters are well drawn and there is an interesting take on real historical characters.  Darwin, in particular.  Dickens makes an appearance and is important to the Detective.  If you are a fan of historic detective stories I am sure you will enjoy this.  Make a note of the author and expect to see more in the future by him.

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City of Girls: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634734
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 4th, 2019

Patron:  Zoe F. (age 13)

Title:  City of Girls

Comments:  CIty of Girls is set in the 1940's and told from the perspective of 19 year old Vivian Morris.  Vivian has recently been kicked out of college, much to her parents dismay.  She wasn't kicked out because she wasn't clever enough to be there, it simply did not interest her.  Vivian's real passion is making clothes.  She learned when she was young from her eccentric Aunt Peggy.  After Vivian is kick out, her parents (or more her mother), wisks her off to live in New York with her aunt.  What I like about this book is that Vivian is unapologetic and knows what she wants and is not ashamed to get it herself.  I also enjoyed the detail that is used to describe each scene.  It is almost magical.

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In Another Time: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062863324
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - March 5th, 2019

Patron: Louise

Title: In Another Time

Comments: "I thought it was entertaining... a period piece on the rise of fascism."  

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A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735225299
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: Viking - April 9th, 2019

Patron: Chris S.

Title:  A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II

Comments: A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell shares a story that you won't believe you've never heard before.  The book tells the remarkable life and career of Virginia Hall, one of the most effective and consequential spies of the 20th century.  In spite of being overlooked and passed over for government jobs as a woman, injured in a hunting accident and losing a leg, and facing the apparently insurmountable obstacles of Vichy France, the Nazis' Gestapo, and the penetration of her initial organization in France by a double agent, Hall materially helps the Allied invasion on D-Day and makes victory possible in Europe.  This is the sort of story that should have been a best-selling book and blockbuster movie long before now.  Highly recommended.

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The Summer Country: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062839022
Availability: Usually Ships in 2-7 Days
Published: William Morrow - June 4th, 2019

Patron: Liz

Title:  The Summer Country

Comments: Smart, historically rich novel that has a fast pace.  There are elements of mystery and questions unanswered at the beginning that led me to constantly imagine possible outcomes that rarely came to be.  Includes social commentary! Romance! Old-timey medical procedures!

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Montauk: A Novel Cover Image
OUT-OF-PRINT & UNAVAILABLE! (But email us to search for a used copy.)
ISBN: 9781250200112
Published: St. Martin's Press - June 4th, 2019

Patron: Caron

Title: Montauk

Comments: Frothy and light, at the outset, the Montauk of 1938 felt like a reprieve from the drama of 2019.  I enjoyed escaping the winter cold to read about sun and beaches.  A more serious tone of class distinctions and slights between the vacationing summer city folk and the locals is never far from the surface, however.  Beatrice, the protagonist, finds herself caught between her New York City social sphere and the more comfortable world of the local fishing village.  As the prospect of a luxurious vacation turns to a very different reality, she is forced to see her husband with new eyes and finds new happiness and solace in the arms of an unlikely companion.  As the summer comes to a close, their hoped-for bright summer literally darkens and a storm threatens to tear lives apart.