THE MAID by Nita Prose
March 23, 2023 at 6:30 pm
A heartwarming mystery with a lovable oddball at its center, this cozy whodunit introduces a one-of-a-kind heroine who will steal your heart.
Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.
Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter–she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.
But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black–but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?
A Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different–and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.
Event Date & Time
March 23, 2023 at 6:30 pm
White Birch Books
LOST MAN by Jane Harper
May 11, 2023 at 6:30 pm
Two brothers meet in the remote Australian outback when the third brother is found dead, in this stunning new standalone novel from Jane Harper. Brothers Nathan and Bub Bright meet for the first time in months at the remote fence line separating their cattle ranches in the lonely outback. Their third brother, Cameron, lies dead at their feet.
In an isolated belt of Australia, their homes a three-hour drive apart, the brothers were one another’s nearest neighbors. Cameron was the middle child, the one who ran the family homestead. But something made him head out alone under the unrelenting sun. Nathan, Bub and Nathan’s son return to Cameron’s ranch and to those left behind by his passing: his wife, his daughters, and his mother, as well as their long-time employee and two recently hired seasonal workers.
While they grieve Cameron’s loss, suspicion starts to take hold, and Nathan is forced to examine secrets the family would rather leave in the past. Because if someone forced Cameron to his death, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects.
A powerful and brutal story of suspense set against a formidable landscape, The Lost Man confirms Jane Harper is one of the best new voices in writing today.
NINE LIVES by Peter Swanson
April 13, 2023 at 6:30 pm
If you’re on the list, someone wants you dead.
From the author of Eight Perfect Murders comes the heart-pounding story of nine strangers who receive a cryptic list with their names on it—and then begin to die in highly unusual circumstances.
Nine strangers receive a list with their names on it in the mail. Nothing else, just a list of names on a single sheet of paper. None of the nine people know or have ever met the others on the list. They dismiss it as junk mail, a fluke—until very, very bad things begin happening to people on the list.
First, a well-liked old man is drowned on a beach in the small town of Kennewick, Maine. Then, a father is shot in the back while running through his quiet neighborhood in suburban Massachusetts. A frightening pattern is emerging, but what do these nine people have in common? Their professions range from oncology nurse to aspiring actor, and they’re located all over the country. So why are they all on the list, and who sent it?
FBI agent Jessica Winslow, who is on the list herself, is determined to find out. Could there be some dark secret that binds them all together? Or is this the work of a murderous madman? As the mysterious sender stalks these nine strangers, they find themselves constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering who will be crossed off next.
We will not be keeping an attendance list for this meeting. (ha ha)
THE GUEST LIST by Lucy Foley
March 9, 2023 at 6:30 pm
Kind of like an Agatha Christie, but it’s a wedding and they are on an island off the coast of Ireland. What could go wrong?
The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner – The bridesmaid – The body
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
SEX CULT NUN by Faith Jones – CANCELLED!
February 23, 2023 at 6:30 pm
Because of the storm and because we are short staffed, we have made the decision to cancel this book group. We will be doing a DOUBLE discussion of Sex Cult Nun and The Maid next month, March 23.
We have not read any nonfiction in a while and who could turn away from this title!!
Educated meets The Vow in this story of liberation and self-empowerment—an inspiring and stranger-than-fiction memoir of growing up in and breaking free from the Children of God, an oppressive, extremist religious cult.
Faith Jones was raised to be part of a religious army preparing for the End Times. Growing up on an isolated farm in Macau, she prayed for hours every day and read letters of prophecy written by her grandfather, the founder of the Children of God. Tens of thousands of members strong, the cult followers looked to Faith’s grandfather as their guiding light. As such, Faith was celebrated as special and then punished doubly to remind her that she was not.
Over decades, the Children of God grew into an international organization that became notorious for its alarming sex practices and allegations of abuse and exploitation. But with indomitable grit, Faith survived, creating a world of her own—pilfering books and teaching herself high school curriculum. Finally, at age twenty-three, thirsting for knowledge and freedom, she broke away, leaving behind everything she knew to forge her own path in America.
Honest, eye-opening, uplifting, and intensely affecting, Sex Cult Nun is a complicated family story mixed with an intimate coming-of-age narrative that brings to life a hidden world that’s hypnotically alien yet unexpectedly relatable.
THE SENTENCE by Louise Erdrich
January 26, 2023 at 6:30 pm
We always start January with a big, rich book to sink our teeth into and this one really fits the bill. Maybe I’m partial because it’s set in a bookstore. I don’t know, but I loved it and I hope you all do, too.
Louise Erdrich’s latest novel, The Sentence, asks what we owe to the living, the dead, to the reader and to the book. A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store’s most annoying customer. Flora dies on All Souls’ Day, but she simply won’t leave the store. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading “with murderous attention,” must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time trying to understand all that occurs in Minneapolis during a year of grief, astonishment, isolation, and furious reckoning.
The Sentence begins on All Souls’ Day 2019 and ends on All Souls’ Day 2020. Its mystery and proliferating ghost stories during this one year propel a narrative as rich, emotional, and profound as anything Louise Erdrich has written.
THE MARLOW MURDER CLUB by Robert Thorogood
February 9, 2023 at 6:30 pm
I know it is a snowy/rainy night, but Book Group is going on! There is no make-up date this month, unfortunately, so we are going to soldier on with the intrepid souls who feel comfortable traveling tonight. We will revisit the book a bit next month, too, for those who have to miss it!
A short month deserves a little more levity in our mysteries and this one should be just the thing!
Meet Judith: a seventy-seven-year-old whiskey drinking, crossword puzzle author living her best life in a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of Marlow.
Nothing ever happens in Marlow. That is, until Judith hears her neighbor shot while skinny-dipping in the Thames. The local police don’t believe her story. It’s an open and shut case, of course. Ha! Stefan can’t be left for dead like that.
Judith investigates and picks up a crew of sidekicks: Suzie the dogwalker and Becks the vicar’s wife. Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club.
When another body turns up, they realize they have a real-life serial killer on their hands. And the puzzle they set out to solve has become a trap from which they might never escape!
OUT by Natsuo Kirino
January 12, 2023 at 6:30 pm
!!!POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER – We will meet next week, Thursday, 1/19, at 6:30!!!
It’s a new year and a whole new selection of mysteries. To start of the year, we are travelling to Japan for something new and different!
Nothing in Japanese literature prepares us for the stark, tension-filled, plot-driven realism of Natsuo Kirino’s award-winning literary mystery Out. Featuring an introduction by James Ellroy.
This mesmerizing novel tells the story of a brutal murder in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works the night shift making boxed lunches strangles her abusive husband and then seeks the help of her coworkers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime. The coolly intelligent Masako emerges as the plot’s ringleader but quickly discovers that this killing is merely the beginning, as it leads to a terrifying foray into the violent underbelly of Japanese society.
At once a masterpiece of literary suspense and pitch-black comedy of gender warfare, Out is also a moving evocation of the pressures and prejudices that drive women to extreme deeds, and the friendships that bolster them in the aftermath.
IT ALL ENDS WITH US by Colleen Hoover
December 1, 2022 at 6:00 pm
This is our holiday party and to be honest the book gets short shrift at this meeting. We usually try to pick something fun or something not quite so deep, so… we decided to pick bestseller phenom Colleen Hoover! We will get to the bottom of her mad success, plus have a lot of fun!
Also, on this night, we will be doing our famous Yankee Swap. Bring a favorite book that you have read recently – or anytime. Wrap it up and be ready to share. This book can be new, used, or even an audio – as long as you loved it. We’ll also vote on our favorite book group book of the last year. You are welcome to bring a snack or yummy dish, or a beverage (adult or otherwise), and we will provide pizza. It’s a fun night – we hope you can come!!
About the book: In this “brave and heartbreaking novel that digs its claws into you and doesn’t let go, long after you’ve finished it” (Anna Todd, NYT bestselling author) from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of All Your Perfects, a workaholic with a too-good-to-be-true romance can’t stop thinking about her first love. Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town where she grew up–she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. And when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life seems too good to be true. Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place. As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan–her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened. An honest, evocative, and tender novel, It Ends with Us is “a glorious and touching read, a forever keeper. The kind of book that gets handed down”
NIGHT OF THE LIVING REZ by Morgan Talty
October 27, 2022 at 7:00 pm
If it’s October, then you know it is time for One Book One Valley! This year, the book is NIGHT OF THE LIVING REZ, a debut of collected stories by Morgan Talty. Morgan will be appearing at the Majestic Theater in conversation with Laura Knoy, former host of NHPR’s The Exchange, and now in demand host. Morgan has been racking up the accolades and the awards and we are so excited for this big night. This event is free and open to the public and there is a streaming option available, and here is the event link with the details.
About the book:
Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy.
In twelve striking, luminescent stories, author Morgan Talty–with searing humor, abiding compassion, and deep insight–breathes life into tales of family and a community as they struggle with a painful past and an uncertain future. A boy unearths a jar that holds an old curse, which sets into motion his family’s unraveling; a man, while trying to swindle some pot from a dealer, discovers a friend passed out in the woods, his hair frozen into the snow; a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s projects the past onto her grandson; and two friends, inspired by Antiques Roadshow, attempt to rob the tribal museum for valuable root clubs.
A collection that examines the consequences and merits of inheritance, Night of the Living Rez is an unforgettable portrayal of an Indigenous community and marks the arrival of a standout talent in contemporary fiction.
Books & Champagne with Wendy Sand Eckel at the Cranmore Inn
September 8, 2022 at 4:00 pm
It has been a long wait, but we are very excited to be hosting Wendy Sand Eckel back at the Cranmore Inn to celebrate the release of the third book in her Rosalie Hart series – Mystery at Windswept Farm.
Because this is a true celebration, there will be champagne and snacks, good cheer and laughs. This will be a ticketed event and space is limited. Proceeds will go to the North Conway Library.
Now – about Mystery at Windswept Farm! In this third book in the Rosalie Hart Mystery Series, Rosalie’s hard-earned organic farm certification is threatened by a toxic neighbor who is about to crop dust his winter wheat. When their impulsive farm hand decides to confront him, she finds his lifeless body inside the door of his home on Windswept Farm.
In the midst of the mayhem, Rosalie’s beloved Day Lily Café hosts a 5-day cooking school. Marco Giovanelli, a celebrated Italian chef, arrives in Cardigan and a sumptuous situation ensues. When one of the students falls ill with the same poison that killed the farmer, Rosalie and her best friend and head waiter, Glenn, take matters, and homemade pasta dough, into their own hands.
With Mystery at Windswept Farm, Eckel once again brings the fictional town of Cardigan to life and delights with suspense, humor, and mouth-watering menus.
Tickets for the event are $20 and are available at the bookstore. You can come in or call to get your tickets. (There are not really any tickets – just your name on a list!) This is going to be a nice, enjoyable afternoon and we hope you can all join us and celebrate Wendy’s success!
Thursday, September 8, 4-6 p.m., at the Cranmore Inn
This event is sponsored by Stacy Sand Real Estate.
THE BOOK WOMAN’S DAUGHTER by Kim Michele Richardson
September 22, 2022 at 6:30 pm
We read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and loved it and now we get to read the next book. Word is that it is even better!!
Bestselling historical fiction author Kim Michele Richardson is back with the perfect book club read following Honey Lovett, the daughter of the beloved Troublesome book woman, who must fight for her own independence with the help of the women who guide her and the books that set her free.
In the ruggedness of the beautiful Kentucky mountains, Honey Lovett has always known that the old ways can make a hard life harder. As the daughter of the famed blue-skinned, Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian, Honey and her family have been hiding from the law all her life. But when her mother and father are imprisoned, Honey realizes she must fight to stay free, or risk being sent away for good.
Picking up her mother’s old packhorse library route, Honey begins to deliver books to the remote hollers of Appalachia. Honey is looking to prove that she doesn’t need anyone telling her how to survive. But the route can be treacherous, and some folks aren’t as keen to let a woman pave her own way.
If Honey wants to bring the freedom books provide to the families who need it most, she’s going to have to fight for her place, and along the way, learn that the extraordinary women who run the hills and hollers can make all the difference in the world.
DAMNATION SPRING by Ash Davidson
August 25, 2022 at 6:30 pm
This book was a Barb favorite from last year and now it is out in paperback so we HAD to pick it!
Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It’s 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn’t what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now that way of life is threatened.
Colleen is an amateur midwife. Rich is a tree-topper. It’s a dangerous job that requires him to scale trees hundreds of feet tall–a job that both his father and grandfather died doing. Colleen and Rich want a better life for their son–and they take steps to assure their future. Rich secretly spends their savings on a swath of ancient redwoods. But when Colleen, grieving the loss of a recent pregnancy and desperate to have a second child, challenges the logging company’s use of the herbicides she believes are responsible for the many miscarriages in the community, Colleen and Rich find themselves on opposite sides of a budding conflict. As tensions in the town rise, they threaten the very thing the Gundersens are trying to protect: their family.
Told in prose as clear as a spring-fed creek, Damnation Spring is an intimate, compassionate portrait of a family whose bonds are tested and a community clinging to a vanishing way of life. An extraordinary story of the transcendent, enduring power of love–between husband and wife, mother and child, and longtime neighbors. An essential novel for our times.
THE COLD MILLIONS by Jess Walter
July 28, 2022 at 6:30 pm
Unions are in the news – everywhere from Starbucks to Jorts the Cat – so we thought this book would be very timely. I can’t wait for the discussion!
An intimate story of brotherhood, love, sacrifice, and betrayal set against the panoramic backdrop of an early twentieth-century America that eerily echoes our own time, The Cold Millions offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of a nation grappling with the chasm between rich and poor, between harsh realities and simple dreams.
The Dolans live by their wits, jumping freight trains and lining up for day work at crooked job agencies. While sixteen-year-old Rye yearns for a steady job and a home, his older brother, Gig, dreams of a better world, fighting alongside other union men for fair pay and decent treatment. Enter Ursula the Great, a vaudeville singer who performs with a live cougar and introduces the brothers to a far more dangerous creature: a mining magnate determined to keep his wealth and his hold on Ursula.
Dubious of Gig’s idealism, Rye finds himself drawn to a fearless nineteen-year-old activist and feminist named Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. But a storm is coming, threatening to overwhelm them all, and Rye will be forced to decide where he stands. Is it enough to win the occasional battle, even if you cannot win the war?
Featuring an unforgettable cast of cops and tramps, suffragists and socialists, madams and murderers, The Cold Millions is a tour de force.