Tristen: Hello everyone! Welcome back to another episode of our Camrose Public Library Book Tastings. For those of you who may not have seen either of the previous episodes, Georgia, what is a book tasting?
Georgia: Finding your next great read can be quite difficult, so our Book Tastings focus on an age group and provide a bunch of selections within a given genre that we think are worth checking out! Which age group and genre are we focusing on today Tristen?
Tristen: We will be tackling Adult’s Historical Fiction. Now Historical Fiction is a fabricated story set in the past, often during a significant time period such as the Renaissance, Colonialism or World War II. Without further ado, let us get into it!
Georgia: The Icecutter’s Daughter by Tracie Peterson (Book 1 of Shining Water Series)
- Merrill Krause longs for a family of her own, but she's bound by a promise to her dying mother to care for her father and older brothers until they no longer need her. She enjoys being part of the family business, harvesting ice during the brutal Minnesota winters. Merrill actively takes part, possessing a keen ability to work with the horses--despite the advice of her good friend, who disapproves of her unladylike behavior.
- When Rurik Jorgenson arrives in their small town to join his uncle doing carpentry, he soon crosses paths with Merrill. But unlike other men, who are often frightened away by her older brothers, Rurik isn't intimidated by them or by Merrill's strength and lack of femininity. As he thrives under the mentorship of his uncle, Rurik dreams of inheriting the business and claiming Merrill as his wife. But while he is determined to start a new life, the past is determined to follow him when his former fiancee and her brother show up in town. Soon Rurik is put in the center of a major scandal that may damage his relationship with Merrill. Can they learn to trust God--and each other--and embrace the promise of love?
- This book is the first of three within the Land of Shining Water Series. Set in Minnesota during the winter, the cold temperatures make the conditions for harvesting difficult. Located in the Upper Midwest of the United States, Minnesota experiences a large variety of weather from really hot summers to super cold winters.
Tristen: With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden
- In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston holds a respectable position as a government statistician when she encounters a rival from her past, the insufferable Trevor McDonough. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and she's bewildered at the way he suddenly seeks her out. Surprising even herself, Kate agrees to Trevor's entirely unexpected and risky proposal to work side-by-side with him in his quest to rid the world of tuberculosis, a contagious and deadly disease.
- As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor's past, she realizes there is much more to him than she could have imagined. His hidden depths may fascinate her, but his most closely guarded secrets and a shadowy enemy lurking in the background carry a serious threat to their future.
- When the truth of the past comes out, threatening to destroy everything they hold dear, how will Trevor and Kate ever overcome all that stands in their way?
- This is a standalone book, set in Washington D.C in the late 1800s. A huge theme throughout this book is Tuberculosis, a bacterial disease that is known for attacking the lungs. During this time period, much about Tuberculosis was still unknown. With no immunization, and little idea about its origin, it caused widespread public fear. The turn of the 20th century (right around when this book is set) led to huge developments in the research of the disease, leading to the discovery of its source as well as the first successful remedy by the early to mid nineteen hundreds.
Georgia: Hope’s Highest Mountain by Misty M. Beller (Book 1 of Hearts of Montana Series)
- Ingrid Chastain readily agreed to accompany her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory. She never could have anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. When rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man who tends her injuries, she's hesitant to put her trust in this quiet man who seems to have his own wounds.
- Micah Bradley left his work as a doctor after unintentionally bringing home the smallpox disease that killed his wife and daughter. But his self-imposed solitude in the wilds of Montana is broken when he finds Ingrid in desperate need of medical attention, and he's forced to face his regret and call on his doctoring skills once again.
- Micah can't help but admire Ingrid's tenacious determination despite the severity of her injuries, until he learns the crate she brought contains smallpox vaccines to help quell a nearby outbreak. With Ingrid dead set on trekking through the mountains to deliver the medicine--with or without his help--he has no choice but to accompany her. As they set off through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains against all odds, the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.
- Book 1 of three within the Hearts of Montana series. Similar to the cold and arduous conditions during a Minnesota winter, the rocky mountains can be treacherous. Making the trek to deliver the smallpox vaccines to the village even tougher. Smallpox was a devastating disease that without modern medicine, left very few survivors. Therefore, the release of the vaccines was truly life-saving, but delivering them to everyone that needed it continued to prove challenging.
Tristen: The City of Palaces by Michael Nava
- In the years before the Mexican Revolution, Mexico is ruled by a tiny elite that apes European culture, grows rich from foreign investment, and prizes racial purity. The vast majority of Mexicans, who are native or of mixed native and Spanish blood, are politically powerless and slowly starving to death. Presiding over this corrupt system is Don Porfirio Díaz, the ruthless and inscrutable president of the Republic.
- Against this backdrop, The City of Palaces opens in a Mexico City jail with the meeting of Miguel Sarmiento and Alicia Gavilán. Miguel is a principled young doctor, only recently returned from Europe but wracked by guilt for a crime he committed as a medical student ten years earlier. Alicia is the spinster daughter of an aristocratic family. Disfigured by smallpox, she has devoted herself to working with the city’s destitute. This unlikely pair—he a scientist and atheist and she a committed Christian—will marry. Through their eyes and the eyes of their young son, José, readers follow the collapse of the old order and its bloody aftermath.
- The City of Palaces is a sweeping novel of interwoven lives: Miguel and Alicia; José, a boy as beautiful and lonely as a child in a fairy tale; the idealistic Francisco Madero, who overthrows Díaz but is nevertheless destroyed by the tyrant’s political system; and Miguel’s cousin Luis, shunned as a “sodomite.” A glittering mosaic of the colonial past and the wealth of the modern age, The City of Palaces is a story of faith and reason, cathedrals and hovels, barefoot street vendors and frock-coated businessmen, grand opera and silent film, presidents and peasants, the living and the dead.
Georgia: The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White (Book 1 of The Codebreakers Series)
- Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.
- Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?
- Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.
- Set in the First World War, this book illustrates the importance of telegrams. Telegrams were the fastest and most effective way for nations to communicate across the globe. From fallen soldiers and a change in orders to the planning and execution of strategy, telegrams were relied upon for nearly all cross-continental communication. Knowing these messages may be intercepted, they were frequently written in code. Only, nations such as the British continued to intercept these telegrams and decode them using their clever intelligence network.
Tristen: The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
- It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer explores a life between two worlds and examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.
- The Vietnamese War, fought between North and South Vietnam in the Cold War era, left Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in shambles. The war came to an end in 1975 with the fall of Saigon, the capture of South Vietnam’s capital. As a result, many people were forced to flee their homes and leave their country and previous lives behind. This book explores this dark history further and the attempt to discover a new way of life within all the chaos.
Georgia: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
- In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.
- Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
- This book explores the strong themes of emigrating from home and the feelings of alienation as a refugee in foreign place. Civil war can destroy an entire population's sense of home and belonging, thus this beautiful story provides some insight into the feelings and experiences of these refugees from their own perspective.
Tristen: Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
- Inspired by Nigeria's folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees is a deeply searching, powerful debut about the dangers of living and loving openly.
- Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls.
- When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie.
- As Edwidge Danticat has made personal the legacy of Haiti's political coming of age, Okparanta's Under the Udala Trees uses one woman's lifetime to examine the ways in which Nigerians continue to struggle toward selfhood. Even as their nation contends with and recovers from the effects of war and division, Nigerian lives are also wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. This story offers a glimmer of hope — a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love.
Georgia: Now remember all of these books are in our collection! They will be placed on display in the library for the next two weeks to make it easier for you to find them.
Tristen: Thank you all for joining us for another fun Book Tasting and we can’t wait to see you all again next time!