Books of the Week #4

A Vineyard in Andalusia by María Dueñas 

1861. A ruined silver-mine owner sets sail from Mexico City to seek his fortune in the New World.

Mauro Larrera has just four months to pay his creditors, or his bankruptcy will be revealed and his family’s honour will be in tatters. In magnificent Havana — home to beautiful women and dangerous men who deal in mysterious trades — he gambles what little he has left on what will become the greatest adventure of his life …

A Vineyard in Andalusia is a novel of glories and defeats; of silver mines, family secrets, vineyards, cellars, and splendid cities of faded grandeur; of unexpected passion, and love in the strangest of circumstances.

Below the Surface (Maria Kallio Book 8) by Leena Lehtolainen

When a woman’s body turns up in a lake—a bullet to the back of her head—Violent Crime Unit commander Maria Kallio, freshly back from maternity leave, is fast to get on the case. The victim is ID’d as Annukka Hackman, wife of a prominent publisher and author of an upcoming unauthorized tell-all book on Sasha Smeds, Finland’s celebrated racing rally driver.

Almost as soon as the inquiry starts, it goes off the rails, as those connected to Annukka—and to Smeds—seem to have more secrets than they have alibis. Was the journalist about to reveal a bombshell that someone was desperate to keep quiet? Or will it take some reading between the lines? The clues may be few, but the list of suspects is long. As she struggles to balance her home life, run a department tainted by career-threatening allegations, and catch a killer, Maria is shocked to find just what someone was willing to do in the name of love…or revenge.

https://books2read.com/u/bzWQeE

Where the Desert Meets the Sea: A Novel by Werner Sonne

An illuminating and heart-stirring historical novel set in post-WWII Palestine, where the boundaries of love and friendship are challenged by the intractable conflicts of war.
Jerusalem, 1947: Judith, a young Jewish survivor of the Dachau concentration camp, arrives in Mandatory Palestine, seeking refuge with her only remaining relative, her uncle. When she learns that he has died, she tries to take her own life in despair.

After awakening in the hospital, Judith learns that Hana, a Muslim Arab nurse, has saved her life by donating her own blood. While the two women develop a fragile bond, each can’t help but be drawn deeper into the political machinations tearing the country apart. After witnessing the repeated attacks inflicted on the Jews, Judith makes the life-changing decision to join the Zionist fight for Jerusalem. And Hana’s star-crossed love for Dr. David Cohen, an American Jew out of his element and working only to save lives, will put her own life in danger.

Then the political situation worsens. When tensions erupt, a shocking act of violence threatens Judith and Hana’s friendship—and the destinies of everyone they love.

https://books2read.com/u/4jel7X

Lives Other Than My Own: A Memoir by Emmanuel Carrère 

In Sri Lanka, a tsunami sweeps a child out to sea, her grand-father helpless against the onrushing water. In France, a young woman succumbs to illness, leaving her husband and small children bereft. Present at both events, Emmanuel Carrère sets out to tell the story of two families—shattered and ultimately restored. What he accomplishes is nothing short of a literary miracle: a heartrending narrative of endless love, a meditation on courage and decency in the face of adversity, an intimate and reverent look at the extraordinary beauty and nobility of ordinary lives.

Precise, sober, and suspenseful, as full of twists and turns as any novel, Lives Other Than My Own confronts terrifying catastrophes to illuminate the astonishing richness of human connection: a grandfather who thought he had found paradise—too soon—and now devotes himself to helping his neighbors rebuild their village; a husband so in love with his ailing wife that he carries her in his arms like a knight does his princess; and finally, Carrère himself, longtime chronicler of the tormented self, who unexpectedly finds consolation and even joy as he immerses himself in the lives of others.

https://books2read.com/u/mg0VXD

Stardust: A Sam Smith Mystery by Hannah Howe

Available in Dutch and English.

Hired by multimillionaire Jeremy Loudon, my task was simple – find his missing briefcase. Loudon claimed that his briefcase held ten thousand pounds, his winnings from a poker game. However, as the trail unravelled and led to Europe my suspicions deepened. What was in Loudon’s briefcase, beyond the money? Why was he being so evasive? Why did he insist on no police involvement?

My search for the missing briefcase took me to pimps, pornographers, radical feminists, gun runners and the Red Light District of Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, my investigation held a mirror to my own life. Loudon had everything – more money than he could spend, a successful business and a beautiful lover. My business was doing well and my marriage offered plenty of love and happiness. Yet, encounters with my Dutch colleagues raised the question – should I ask for more out of life?

Stardust, the story of one woman’s dream and my hopes for the future.

https://books2read.com/u/38EkEw

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