Rose Mae Lolley is a fierce and dirty girl, long-suppressed under flowery skirts and bow-trimmed ballet flats. As “Mrs. Ro Grandee” she’s trapped in a marriage that’s thick with love and sick with abuse. Her true self has been bound in the chains of marital bliss in rural Texas, letting “Ro” make eggs, iron shirts, and take her punches. She seems doomed to spend the rest of her life battered outside by her husband and inside by her former self, until fate throws her in the path of an airport gypsy—-one who shares her past and knows her future. The tarot cards foretell that Rose’s beautiful, abusive husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.
Hot-blooded Rose Mae escapes from under Ro’s perky compliance and emerges with a gun and a plan to beat the hand she’s been dealt. Following messages that her long-missing mother has left hidden for her in graffiti and behind paintings, Rose and her dog Gretel set out from Amarillo, TX back to her hometown of Fruiton, AL, and then on to California, unearthing a host of family secrets as she goes. Running for her life, she realizes that she must face her past in order to overcome her fate—-death by marriage—-and become a girl who is strong enough to save herself from the one who loves her best.
BACKSEAT SAINTS will dazzle readers with a fresh and heartwrenching portrayal of the lengths a mother will go to right the wrongs she’s created, and how far a daughter will go to escape the demands of forgiveness. With the seed of a minor character from her popular best-seller, GODS IN ALABAMA, Jackson has built a whole new story full of her trademark sly wit, endearingly off-kilter characters, and utterly riveting plot twists.
Patrick Süskind - Perfume
An acclaimed bestseller and international sensation, Patrick Suskind's classic novel provokes a terrifying examination of what happens when one man's indulgence in his greatest passion-his sense of smell-leads to murder. In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift-an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and frest-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume"-the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brillance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.
Dan Brown - The Lost Symbol
The most anticipated publication of the decade, The Lost Symbol is the stunning new thriller featuring Robert Langdon. Six years in the writing, it is Dan Brown's extraordinary sequel to his internationally bestselling Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Nothing is ever what it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. Set over a breathtaking 12 hour time span, the book's narrative takes the reader on an exhilarating journey through a masterful and unexpected landscape as Professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon, is once again called into action.
Carlos Ruiz Zafón - The Shadow of the Wind
Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'cemetery of lost books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out LA SOMBRA DEL VIENTO by Julian Carax. But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from LA SOMBRA DEL VIENTO, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax's work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind. A page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead.
Elizabeth Noble - Things I Want My Daughters to Know
How do you cope in a world without your mother? When Barbara realizes time is running out, she writes letters to her four daughters, aware they'll be facing the trials and triumphs of life without her at their side. But how can she leave them when they still have so much growing up to do? Take Lisa, in her mid-thirties but incapable of making a commitment; or Jennifer, trapped in a stale marriage and buttoned up so tight she could burst. While twenty something Amanda is the traveler, always distanced from the rest of the family. And Hannah. A teenage girl on the verge of womanhood, about to be parted from the mother she adores.But by drawing on the wisdom in Barbara's letters, the girls might just find a way to cope with her loss. And in coming to terms with their bereavement, can they also set themselves free to enjoy life with all the passion and love each deserves? The bestselling Elizabeth Noble returns with a tale of families, friends ...and the glorious, endless possibilities of life.
Gregory Maguire - Wicked
When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum's classic tale, we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil? Gregory Maguire creates a fantasy world so rich and vivid that we will never look at Oz the same way again. "Wicked" is about a land where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. And then there is the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba, who will grow up to be the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, a smart, prickly and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.
Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter
America’s first psychological novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a dark tale of love, crime, and revenge set in colonial New England. It revolves around a single, forbidden act of passion that forever alters the lives of three members of a small Puritan community: Hester Prynne, an ardent and fierce woman whobears the punishment of her sin in humble silence; the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a respected public figure who is inwardly tormented by long-hidden guilt; and the malevolent Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband—a man who seethes with an Ahab-like lust for vengeance. The landscape of this classic novel is uniquely American, but the themes it explores are universal—the nature of sin, guilt, and penitence, the clash between our private and public selves, and the spiritual and psychological cost of living outside society. Constructed with the elegance of a Greek tragedy, The Scarlet Letter brilliantly illuminates the truth that lies deep within the human heart.
Anne Rice - The Vampire Lestat
Once an aristocrat in the heady days of pre-revolutionary France, now Lestat is a rockstar in the demonic, shimmering 1980s. He rushes through the centuries in search of others like him, seeking answers to the mystery of his terrifying exsitence. His story, the second volume in Anne Rice's best-selling Vampire Chronicles, is mesmerizing, passionate, and thrilling.
Tony Parsons - Starting Over
This is the story of how we grow old - how we give up the dreams of youth for something better - and how many chances we have to get it right. George Bailey has been given the gift we all dream of - the chance to live his life again. After suffering a heart attack at the age of 42, George is given the heart of a 19-year-old - and suddenly everything changes... He is a friend to his teenage son and daughter - and not a stern Home Secretary, monitoring their every move. He makes love to his wife all night long - instead of from midnight until about five past. And suddenly he wants to change the world, just as soon as he shakes off his hangover. But George Bailey discovers that being young again is not all it is cracked up to be - and what he actually wants more than anything in the universe is to have his old life back.
Frances Hodgson Burnett - The Secret Garden
This timeless classic is a poignant tale of Mary, a lonely orphaned girl sent to a Yorkshire mansion at the edge of a vast lonely moor. At first, she is frightened by this gloomy place until she meets a local boy, Dickon, who's earned the trust of the moor's wild animals, the invalid Colin, an unhappy boy terrified of life, and a mysterious, abandoned garden...
Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
Fifteen-year-old Alex and his three friends start an evening's mayhem by hitting an old man, tearing up his books and stripping him of money and clothes. Or rather Alex and his three droogs tolchock an old veck, razrez his books, pull off his outer platties and take a malenky bit of cutter. For Alex's confessions are written in 'nadsat' - a teenage argot of a not-too-distant future. Because of his delinquent excesses, Alex is jailed and made subject to 'Ludovico's Technique', a chilling experiment in Reclamation Treatment... Horror farce? Social Prophecy? Penetrating study of human choice between good and evil? A Clockwork Orange is all three, dazzling proof of Anthony Burgess's vast talents.
Colum McCann - Zoli
In his bittersweet fourth novel, McCann chronicles the imperiled world of the Slovakian Roma (Gypsies, to their enemies) from World War II through the establishment of the Communist bloc. After the pro-Nazi Hlinkas drown the rest of her family, six-year-old Zoli Novotna escapes with her grandfather to join another camp of Roma, where she discovers a gift for singing. At her grandfather's urging, she also breaks a Romani taboo and learns to read and write. She later becomes involved with poet Martin Stránský, and her poems, which draw on her Roma heritage, are promoted by Martin as the harbinger of a "literate proletariat" and a new Gypsy literature. Her growing fame, however, betrays her when the Communist government appropriates her work for its project to assimilate the Roma. Condemned by her own people and, as a Roma, alienated from the Slovaks, Zoli finds her way to a new home. The narrative switches between third- and first-person, though it is strongest when narrated by Zoli. McCann does a marvelous job of portraying a marginalized culture, and his world of caravans, music and family is rich with sensual detail.
Joanne Harris - Chocolat
When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock - especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer's wares as the ultimate sin. Suddenly Vianne's shop-cum-café means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne's plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a 'Church not Chocolate' battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate éclair?
Jim C. Hines - The Stepsister Scheme
Cinderella–whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas)–does marry Prince Armand. And if you can ignore the pigeon incident, their wedding is a dream come true. But not long after the “happily ever after,” Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia–otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty–comes to the rescue (she’s a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessings make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away. That’s when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the Fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her own very secret service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course). Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy duty flirting. Can the three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland’s most nefarious villains?
Charlaine Harris - Dead Until Dark
In Dead Until Dark Sookie Stackhouse is a telepath who lives in a world where vampires have "come out of the coffins" (vampires have come out to the public and become legal citizens). Many vampires are "mainstreaming" (coexisting with humans) since the Japanese developed a synthetic blood that makes it possible for vampires to live in the open without the need to hunt humans for sustenance. Sookie lives with her grandmother, Adele and has an older brother, Jason. Sookie falls in love with a vampire, a Civil War veteran named Bill Compton. Amazingly, vampires' minds are 'silent' to Sookie, which is heaven for her as human minds are difficult to shut out and bombard her constantly with their thoughts. In his first visit, Sookie saves him from the Rattrays (vampire drainers) and Bill returns her favor the next day when the Rattrays attack Sookie. In the meantime, there are several murders in Bon Temps and people believe that Bill is behind these murders as many of the victims have fang marks in their bodies. But the local police suspect Jason Stackhouse and later arrest him, because he has been sexually linked to two of the victims. Sookie wants to help her brother and asks Bill to take her to a vampire bar in Shreveport, LA called Fangtasia. Fangtasia is owned by Eric Northman, a vampire sheriff who is much older and more powerful than Bill. Eric soon discovers that Sookie's ability is very useful and orders Bill to have Sookie use her mind reading ability to determine the identity of the person who has been stealing a large sum of money from his bar. Sookie finds out that Eric's partner, Long Shadow (vampire), has been stealing the money and she almost gets killed in the process. Eric saves Sookie's life by staking Long Shadow when he attacks her. Back in Bon Temps, Sookie finds her own grandmother slaughtered in the kitchen. On the other hand, Bill, concerned with Eric's power over him and Sookie, decides to gain his own position within their vampire hierarchy. He asks Bubba, a dim witted vampire, to protect Sookie while he is gone. Later, Sookie discovers that her boss, Sam is a shape shifter when she lets a stray dog sleep beside her and finds a naked Sam in the morning. While Bill is gone, Sookie discovers that the murderer is Rene and he almost kills her, but Sookie is able to fight back. She wakes up in the hospital badly injured with Bill by her side. Bill tells Sookie that he has become his area's investigator, working under Eric.
Paulo Coelho - Eleven Minutes
A new, international bestseller by the author of The Alchemist tells the story of Maria, a young girl from a Brazilian village, whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heartbroken. At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love, instead believing that "Love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer ..." A chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, where she dreams of finding fame and fortune. Instead, she ends up working as a prostitute. In Geneva, Maria drifts further and further away from love as she develops a fascination with sex. Eventually, Maria's despairing view of love is put to the test when she meets a handsome young painter. In this odyssey of self-discovery, Maria has to choose between pursuing a path of darkness, sexual pleasure for its own sake, or risking everything to find her own "inner light" and the possibility of sacred sex, sex in the context of love. In this gripping and daring new novel, Paulo Coelho sensitively explores the sacred nature of sex and love and invites us to confront our own prejudices and demons and embrace our own "inner light."
John Lanchester - Fragrant Harbour
Fragrant Harbour is the story of four people whose intertwined lives span Asia's last seventy years. Tom Stewart leaves England to seek his fortune, and finds it in running Hong Kong's best hotel. Sister Maria is a beautiful and uncompromising Chinese nun whom Stewart meets on the boat. Dawn Stone is an English journalist who becomes the public face of money and power and big business. Matthew Ho is a young Chinese entrepreneur whose life has been shaped by painful choices made long before his birth.
Yann Martel - Life of Pi
After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific.The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger and Pi - a 16-year-old Indian boy.The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary pieces of literary fiction of recent years. Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a transformative novel, a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound readers in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in God.
Thomas Hardy - Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Young Tess Durbeyfield attempts to restore her family's fortunes by claiming their connection with the aristocratic d'Urbervilles. But Alec d'Urberville is a rich wastrel who seduces her and makes her life miserable. When Tess meets Angel Clare, she is offered true love and happiness, but her past catches up with her and she faces an agonizing moral choice. Hardy's indictment of society's double standards, and his depiction of Tess as 'a pure woman', caused controversy in his day and has held the imagination of readers ever since. Hardy thought it his finest novel, and Tess the most deeply felt character he ever created. This unique critical text is taken from the authoritative Clarendon edition, which is based on the manuscript collated with all Hardy's subsequent revisions.