April 2023 Newsletter

March Bestsellers

1. Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
3. Speak for the Dead by Amy Tector
4. Greenwood by Michael Christie
5. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
6. Private Power, Public Purpose by Thomas D’Aquino
7. Run Towards the Danger by Sarah Polley
Women Talking by Miriam Toews
9. Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton
True North Rising by His Excellency Whit Fraser

Greetings Book Lovers!

Happy spring! Or maybe pseudo-spring is a better term – it’s still pretty wintry out there! Though it may be a while before we see the first flowers poke their heads out of the ground, everything’s coming up books here at the store these days! The spring books are just pouring in and there are so many we want to read that it’s hard to know where to start! Thankfully, there are no real rules when it comes to reading, so we can all just jump right in with both feet! Just make sure you keep your warm socks and cozy blankets close at hand because it looks like winter may not be quite finished with us yet!

Before we get into the “what’s new” section of our newsletter, we have a few in-store book signings on the horizon that we wanted to tell you about. On Saturday, April 15, Susan Taylor Meehan will be in the store from 1:00pm to 3:00pm to sign copies of her new novel, Loyalty. Full of spies, secrets, and just a hint of romance, this Cold War era tale takes readers from wartime Ottawa to the unstable shores of Europe as a young woman tries to find her place in a changing world. Be sure to pop the store between 12:00pm to 2:30pm on Saturday, April 22 to see local author Elie Nasrallah. He will be here signing copies of his newest book, Gates and Walls, a fascinating volume of “stories of migration in modern times.” Taking a quick peek into May, local mystery author (and store favourite) Brenda Chapman will be here on Saturday, May 6 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. She will be signing copies of When Last Seen, the highly anticipated follow-up to Blind Date, the first book in her new Hunter and Tate Mystery series. Set right here in Ottawa, this new series sees a true crime podcaster and a determined detective join forces to solve the mysteries and murders that crop up in our Nation’s Capital. Since we’re so early on in the month, be sure to keep your eyes on our website and social media pages for up-to-the-minute event information so you’re sure to not miss anything new that crops up!

While the two messiest seasons continue their battle for supremacy outside, we’ve found that there’s nothing more comforting to do inside than disappear into another time and place via a great history book! The first to enrapture us in recent weeks (which should come as no surprise to those who know us well) has been Flora Macdonald: “Pretty Young Rebel” by Flora Fraser. This book takes readers back to a very tumultuous period in Scottish history during which the descendants of King James II (VII of Scotland) made several attempts to reclaim the British throne after being deposed by their Protestant cousins. Perhaps the most famous of these attempted reclamations was the Jacobite Uprising of 1745 lead by “Bonnie” Prince Charlie which culminated in the devastating Battle of Culloden in 1746. Following the Scots’ loss at Culloden, Prince Charles Edward Stuart fled the battlefield and found refuge with a young Stuart supporter named Flora Macdonald. Determined to help the prince evade capture, Flora disguised him as an Irish maid and ferried him over to the Isle of Skye to lodge with her family until safe passage could be found for him back to the Continent. Hailed as a Scottish heroine for her part in saving the man that many Scots felt was their rightful King, Flora’s brave act of patriotism inspired poems, songs, novels, and captured the heart of a nation in turmoil. Told with unparalleled skill, Flora’s intriguing story is a testament to the valuable roles women have always played throughout history, despite often being overlooked or forgotten. Empowering, fascinating, and riveting, readers are guaranteed to enjoy every minute of this journey into the Highlands along with one of Scotland’s most beloved heroines!

As we just finished celebrating Women’s History Month, it seemed only fitting that we highlight another book about a strong woman who forged her own path in a time when men held all the positions of power. Jennifer Wright‘s new book,  Madame Restell, is a fascinating look at the life and times of a truly remarkable woman. In pre-Gilded Age New York, when most women were expected to concern themselves solely with finding a potential husband and dealing with the running of a household, Madame Restell was breaking barriers, carving her own path, and helping countless women access birth control, abortions, and other essential medical care. As her fame grew and her “boarding houses” became more and more sought after, she also gained notoriety in the press and garnered the enmity of her male counterparts, most of whom wanted nothing more than the see medicine become a male-only practice. Despite the wealth she collected and the indispensable services she provided, Madame Restell sadly became a victim of a male-dominated world – torn down by fellow doctors who gave into fear and distrust instead of turning to collaboration and teamwork. Now one step closer to being restored to her proper place in history, we can only hope that Madame Restell is just the first of many strong, fascinating women whose stories resurface after years of being buried.

It’s at this time of year, when the weather is iffy and the ground sports more muddy puddles than we thought possible, that a holiday retreat to foreign shores sounds most appealing. If you do find yourself with itchy feet but you don’t like the idea of actually leaving home, why not travel by book instead? Deborah Hemming‘s new novel, Goddess, takes readers to a beautiful, warm, sunny, Greek Island for a relaxing, rejuvenating wellness retreat. Or that’s how things seem at first when up-and-coming writer Agnes Oliver first signs on. It soon becomes evident that, despite her enchanting nature, the retreat’s organizer is far from what she seems. The more strange happenings Agnes witnesses, the more she realizes that it might just fall to her to protect the other women on the retreat from their celebrity-turned-wellness-guru host. Will Agnes succeed or will the retreat attendees never make it out of paradise? No spoilers here – you’ll have to pick up a copy of the book to find out! Since spending time seaside doesn’t appeal to everyone, you might try escaping to a remote country estate instead with The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz. Alex had given up hope of every becoming a published writer when she receives a surprising invitation to a month-long writing retreat at the home of feminist horror novelist, Roza Vallo. Things become even more unbelievable when retreat attendees arrive to discover that not only is their month-long getaway an opportunity to commune with other writers and put pencil to paper, but it’s also a contest – whoever can write the best novel in the month they’re there, will win a seven figure publishing deal! Despite the strangeness of their host, the slightly haunted feeling in the house, and the presence of her biggest rival, Alex is determined to give the contest her all! It’s not until a winter storm rolls in and one of her fellow writers disappears, that Alex begins to accept that something more sinister may be afoot. Full of unexpected twists and turns, this debut psychological thriller is an ideal read for fans of Shari Lapena, Megan Miranda, and Ruth Ware.

Not to be left out, there are also a huge number of wonderful new books for kids and teens arriving every day, each one just waiting to sweep young readers away like their very own tiny Tardis! If you have a teen in your life who’s graduated from the world of Rick Riordan and Percy Jackson, but isn’t ready to dive into CirceAriadne, or A Thousand Ships quite yet, why not get them to test the ancient Greek waters with Sarah Underwood‘s The Lies We Sing to the Sea? Appeasing the gods is never easy, especially when they decide to be extra vindictive. So, when Leto is chosen as one of the twelve maidens to be sacrificed to the sea god Poseidon, she’s determined to face her fate with bravery and acceptance. But instead of being transported to the Underworld after her death, Leto is surprised to wake up on a mysterious island with another young women who claims she can end Ithaca’s annual sacrifices, but only if Leto agrees to help. Expertly woven and epic in scale, this novel is a riveting tale of magic, myth, and the undeniable power of the gods! Although the roles of Hollywood movie screenwriter and YA novelist don’t seem to necessarily go hand-in-hand, debut author Anthony Peckham has found a way to achieve greatness in both! A true high fantasy adventure story, Peckham‘s Children of the Black Glass is as stunning a book on the outside as it is on the inside! In a small mountain village in an alternate past, Tell and Wren live a life ruled by harsh laws in an unforgiving landscape. When a mining accident results in their father losing his sight, he’s given thirty days to heal from his injuries and return to the mines or be put to death. Determined to save their father, their livelihood, and their family, Tell and Wren set out on a perilous journey to the city of Halfway in search of medicine. What they don’t expect to learn upon arrival is that they’ve landed right in the middle of a power struggle between five female sorcerers fighting for control of the city. Surrounded by ambition, danger, magic, and violence, Tell and Wren struggle to save themselves, their friends, and their quest as Halfway teeters on the edge of chaos. This incredible story, perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Susan Cooper, will keep readers hooked from beginning to end!

In an effort to entice spring to finally come (and maybe also entrance your little ones at bedtime), be sure to pick up a copy of Amberlea Williams‘ beautiful debut picture book, The Bee Without Wings. When Sasha and her cat Molly find a wingless bee in the garden, they’re determined to take care of her and help her fly. As spring changes to summer, an unexpected friendship blooms and soon Sasha, Molly, and Bea are inseparable. They have picnics, they read, and they play together all summer long, even finding a way to let Bea experience the joy of flight despite her lack of wings. But when the seasons change again, the time comes to say goodbye, and Bea’s short life comes to an end. Sasha and Molly grieve for their tiny friend and, when spring comes again, decide on the perfect way to commemorate her short but happy life. Complete with a how-to guide for creating a pollinator-friendly garden, this lovely book about grief, loss, and friendship is a true gem that’s sure to become a family favourite!

As usual, with so many great new books arriving in the store everyday, we can’t possibly highlight everything we’d like to in this small newsletter space. So, here are some other exciting recent and forthcoming releases we think you should keep an eye out for when you’re next in the shop: The Thieving Collectors of Fine Children’s Books by Adam Perry, The Ghost by Robert Harris, The Sanctuary by Katrine Engberg, The Last Saxon King: A Jump in Time Novel by Andrew Varga, The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner, Weyward by Emilia Hart, The Darkness Manifesto by Johan Eklof, My Thali: A Simple Indian Kitchen by Joe Thottungal, The Tudors in Love by Sarah Gristwood, VenCo by Cherie Dimaline, Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes, The Porcelain Moon by Janie Chang, I Have Some Questions For You by Rebecca MakkaiBookworm by Robin Yeatman, On Writing and Failure by Stephen MarcheEveryone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin StevensonYour Driver is Waiting by Priya Guns, Empress of the Nile by Lynne OlsonThe Shadow of Perseus by Claire HeywoodThe City Between the Bridges by Niklas Natt och Dag, Old Babes in the Wood by Margaret Atwood, Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton, Hang the Moon by Jeannette Walls, The Candy House by Jennifer Egan, The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell, The White Lady by Jacqueline Winspear, Clytemnestra by Costanza CasatiSpeak for the Dead by Amy Tector, Beyond That, the Sea by Laura Spence-Ash, Wild Light by Angela HardingThe Cook by Ajay ChowdhuryHomecoming by Kate Morton (April 4), Love Marriage by Monica Ali (April 4), Coronation Year by Jennifer Robson (April 4), Aven Green Soccer Machine by Dusti Bowling (April 4), The Last Heir to Blackwood Library by Hester Fox (April 4), Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld (April 4), Punk Rock Unicorn by Dana Simpson (April 4), Snow Road Station by Elizabeth Hay (April 11), The Earth Transformed by Peter Frankopan (April 18), End of the World House by Adrienne Celt (April 18), Into Iraq by Michael Palin (April 25), The Shadows of London by Andrew Taylor (April 25), The Power of Trees by Peter Wohlleben (May 2), Elektra by Jennifer Saint (May 2), Across the Desert by Dusti Bowling (May 2).

After the last couple of months of grey, dreary, wintry weather, we have to say that we’re very ready for spring to actually arrive. We’re ready for the grass to emerge from beneath its icy, white blanket, for the buds on the trees to burgeon and bloom, and for the flowers to start poking their heads out of the ground. Mother Nature always has her own plans though, and they say that good things come to those who wait. So we’ll just have to enjoy the few small rays of sun when they appear, and maybe keep ourselves busy with some wonderful new books while we wait for the great outdoors to catch up with us. After all, extra reading is never a hardship!

May the eventual arrival of spring bring you all bouquets of books as well as flowers!
Happy Reading!

Take care,
The Staff at Books on Beechwood

Holiday Hours

Easter is just around the corner and we’ll be observing some special hours over that weekend.

Friday, April 7: CLOSED
Saturday, April 8 : OPEN from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Sunday, April 9: CLOSED
Monday, April 10: OPEN from 10:00am to 5:00pm

Wishing you all a safe and happy long weekend!
Happy Easter!

Upcoming Events

Saturday, April 15 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Susan Taylor Meehan signing copies of her new novel, Loyalty.

Saturday, April 22 from 12:00pm to 2:30pm
Elie Nasrallah signing copies of Gates and Walls: Stories of Migration in Modern Times.

Saturday, May 6 from 11:00am to 1:00pm
Brenda Chapman signing copies of her new mystery, When Last Seen.

Hilary’s Bookshelf

What I’m Reading: The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten

“In a city with poison in its veins, a young woman with a strange, dark power finds herself plucked from her life and thrown to the wolves in the drama-filled court of King August.
Lore is sharp-tongued and quick-witted, and I’m so enjoying getting to know her. The first in a planned trilogy, this dark, Gothic fantasy is a riveting story full of mystery, intrigue, glamour, and forbidden romance.
I’ve been meaning to pick up a Hannah Whitten book for ages now, but am so glad I waited for this one!”