“Family Album” by Penelope Lively

familyalbumThis is an attractive paperback edition of British author Penelope Lively’s 2009 novel, Family Album. As always it lives up to it’s author’s name. It is a lively and provocative story of a family of six who live in a big country house and return over the years to discover a lot about each other they had never recognized when they were growing up.
There is a convincing picture of the mother, whose whole life is dedicated to running “a happy close family.” There is also the au pair girl, Ingrid, from Sweden who becomes integrated into this close family in a way no-one knows how to accept. The father, a writer, sticks close to his study, where he turns out books and sees as little of his children as he can manage.
Penelope Lively is an award-winning novelist and author of children’s literature. She won the Booker Prize for Moon Tiger, and wide acclaim for books like The Photograph  and Consequences. She is amusing and sharp in her observations, and altogether delightful to read.


Review by Anne McDougall

John Kneale Signing “Volcano Rising: An Amabassador’s Diary” on Saturday, June 15 from 12:00 to 2:00pm

Be sure to come by the store on Saturday, June 15 to meet local author John Kneale. He will be here from noon to 2:00pm signing copies of his new book Volcano Rising: An Ambassador’s Diary.

From the jacket:

“During the three years that the author was Canadian ambassador in Quito, Ecuador, the country experienced – often simultaneously – volcanic eruptions, economic collapse, indigenous uprisings and a coup d’etat by the military. Adding to the crisis was a kidnapping of Canadians in the Amazon region. This diary details day by day the threats and challenges faced by the ambassador, his family and the embassy staff.

In spite of the chaos, Canada emerged during this period as a major player in Ecuador’s political and economic life. This story will intrigue readers with its account of a developing nation’s struggles, as well as descriptions of the Andes, the Amazon and the magnificent Galapagos Islands.”

We hope to see you here for this great event!

“Those Angry Days” by Lynne Olson

m-1.phpLynne Olson has already established herself as a vivid reporter of the politics and diplomacy of World War II as they involve the governments of the U.S. and the U.K. Troublesome Young Men focussed on the rebels in England who pressed for Winston Churchill’s leadership. Citizens of London gives an unforgettable picture of that city in the blitz, as well as the Americans who stood with Britain in her darkest hour.

In this new book, Olson gives a closeup of the two men representing opposing sides in her own country, the U.S. These were President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wanted to help England stop Nazi Germany, and the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh, who went across the country preaching isolationism.

In Those Angry Days Olson has done new and fascinating research on the years 1939-1941 leading up to Pearl Harbour. It makes for an exciting book and shows, as one reviewer points out “a great democracy rallying to a great debate.”

Lynne Olson lives with her husband, historian Stanley Cloud, in Washington, D.C. She has written two books with him, as well as Freedom’s Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830-1970.

Review by Anne McDougall

Sonia Tilson Signing “Monkey Puzzle Tree” on Saturday, June 8 from 1:00 to 3:00pm

m.phpCome by the store on Saturday, June 8 to meet local author Sonia Tilson. She will be here from 1:00pm to 3:00pm signing copies of her debut novel The Monkey Puzzle Tree.

From the jacket:

“Gillian Davies is six years old when her mother sends her to Croessfordd to escape the Blitz. But can she escape her child-molesting cousin Angus? Alternating between WWII Wales and present-day Canada, The Monkey Puzzle Tree is the story of Gillian’s struggle to accept her childhood trauma, forgive her mother, and confront Angus-who, it seems, is as dangerous as ever.”

We hope to see you all on Saturday!

Gene Bodzin Book Launch Thursday, June 6 from 6:30 to 8:30pm

Come by the store on Thursday, June 6 to meet local author Gene Bodzin. He will be here from 6:30pm to 8:30pm to launch his new book Making Your Life into a Work of Art: The Techniques of Memoir Writing.

About the book:

This comprehensive guide explores the issues facing writers of life stories. It draws on the author’s experience and observations as he wrote his memoir.

In readily accessible language, Bodzin’s new work focuses on two key elements – memory and the writing process – with topics ranging from neuroscience to moral and legal issues. It does not shy away from discussing false memories, family myths, and the use of fiction in memoir.

The manual answers questions like: Why tell stories? What makes them interesting? What kinds of things help us remember? How can we stay true to our story when it might hurt somebody?

This practical guide is the perfect gift for anyone who wants to write personal narrative.

About the author:

Gene Bodzin has been a corporate trainer, university professor and lecturer on a wide range of communication topics. Since publishing his 150,000-word memoir on line (memoir-guide.com), he has led writing workshops for Carleton University, the Council on Aging and Ottawa Independent Writers.

We look forward to seeing you all at the launch!

FictionKNITstas Book Event on Monday, June 3 at 6:00pm

FictionKNITstasThe cross-country all female book tour, The FictionKNITstas, will be making a stop at our store on Monday, June 3 at 6:00pm. The three authors who will be here signing and chatting about their books are:

Faith Johnston, author of The Only Man in the World

“Heather York is trying to find balance in her life. Sure, her son Jeff is every parent’s dream, but Winn, headstrong and independent, makes being a single mom a real struggle. When a guilty conscience calls Heather to the side of her dying uncle, wheels are set in motion that will change her life forever. The Only Man in the World is an understated story of what if means to be a woman and how to live a life of integrity and grace amid the changing fortunes of love.”

 Stella Harvey, author of Nicolai’s Daughters

“Compelled to fulfill her father’s dying wish to find the half-sister he kept from her, Alexia arrives in her father’s village of Diakofto on the edge of the Peloponnese. There she discovers a culture she knows nothing about, a country in financial crisis and an extended family with too many secrets.

Told in the alternating voices of Alexia and Nicolai, who each return to Greece to mourn a loss and find solace, Nicolai’s Daughters uncovers the secret shame that festers in a family, refusing to heal until the truth is revealed.”

 Sheila Fischman, translator of Christine Eddie’s The Douglas Notebooks

“On the same fateful day, two adolescents escape destinies that would scar them for the rest of their lives. Romain, awkward and contemplative, resolves to abandon a lineage of wealth. Elena, resourceful and single-minded, flees a home of blood and thunder.

From the initial meeting of these two wounded souls, Christine Eddie weaves a fable for all times.”

The event will be hosted by local author Mary Hagey, the author of Castles in the Air.

We look forward to seeing you all come out on Monday evening for this great event!

For more info visit: http://fictionistascanada.wordpress.com/fictionknitstas/

Judith Love Siging “Perhaps, With Luck…” on Sunday, June 2 from 12:00 to 2:00pm

Local author Judith Love will be in the store on Sunday, June 2 from noon to 2:00pm signing copies of her new book Perhaps, With Luck….

From the jacket:

“Judith is a gifted storyteller. In this compelling and thought-provoking novel with its skillfully interwoven plots, she takes the reader on journeys within Canada, Britain and Southern Africa. The author’s acute sense of time and place and well-drawn characters, combine to make this a book that is hard to put down.”

-Rosalind Halvorsen. Montreal, 2012


“It is the Fall of 2008. Maggie Stanton, a widowed mother with a part-time job at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, finds herself at a watershed in her life. Earlier, her husband’s profession had taken the family around the world, with repercussions for Maggie’s career and the upbringing of their children. While now contemplating her own future she is  unexpectedly caught up in the complex relationships of her son and daughter, both in their mid-twenties.

Events transpire to take Maggie to the African continent. When she returns home and watches her son and daughter leave to follow their own paths she finally confronts her future.”

Visit her on Twitter: @JudithLove19

Michael J. McCann Signing “The Fregoli Delusion” Saturday, June 1 from 11:00am to 1:00pm

fregolidelusionLocal mystery author, Michael J. McCann will be in the store signing copies of his newest Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel, The Fregoli Delusion. He will be here from 11:00am to 1:00pm.
From the jacket:
“When the only eyewitness to the murder of a billionaire suffers from a rare psychotic disorder that causes a delusional misidentification of people, Lieutenant Hank Donaghue must search for evidence of the killer among the wealthiest members of Glendale’s social class, including close friends of his own mother.”

We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday!

“The Deception of Livvy Higgs” by Donna Morrissey

deceptionlivvyhiggsDonna Morrissey, author of The Deception of Livvy Higgs, grew up in a small fishing outport in Newfoundland. Her descriptions of fights between the French and English in the heyday of the Maritime shipping industry on the French shore of Newfoundland form the best part of the book, along with vivid descriptions of life in war-torn Halifax, where Morrissey now lives.

These memories are the background of Livvy Higgs’ life. She suffers from fierce hurt from her proud, greedy father. Her grandmother is equally ruthless toward Livvy and her connections. Between them the child leads a lonely, sorrowful life.

This book tells how, at the end of her life, she tries to piece together the cruelty done toward her. A neighbour, with problems of her own, comes to her rescue. But it is altogether a rather grim story, only slightly relieved by a happy – though childless – marriage on Livvy’s part.

Morrissey is the author of a number of prize-winning novels, and has recently written a children’s book, illustrated by her daughter.

Review by Anne McDougall

Linda Morin Signing: “The Courage to Look Beyond” – Saturday, May 11 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm

couragelookCome by Books on Beechwood on Saturday, May 11 to meet local author, Linda Morin. She will be here from noon to 2:00pm signing copies of her book The Courage to Look Beyond, the story of her brave fight against (and defeat of) cancer.

From the jacket:
“Three years. Not really a long time, but when one’s life is turned upside down, over and over again, when one battles a life-threatening disease, cancer, undergoes several surgeries, experiences loss, pain, conflict and much more, one wonders if the three years is more like an eternity. For Linda Morin, those three years were the most traumatic and life-sapping years of her life. And yet, she came through it all with great courage. She fought her battle with cancer, her battle with difficult relationships, her battle with custody issues, her battle against her son’s medical problems. Linda is a strong person. She had to be to survive; and she is a survivor. Follow Linda’s journey to wellness in her heartrending story, The Courage to Look Beyond. Learn, with Linda, how a woman can accept herself with or without breasts. Learn too, that breasts do not make the woman.”

For more information about Linda, her story, or her book, visit her website: www.thecouragetolookbeyond.ca.

We hope to see you all here on Saturday!