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Uncommon Reads From Books on the Common…

Summer book recommendations from Books on the Common

© iChuck/istockphoto

When the owners of a great independent shop, such as Ridgefield’s Books on the Common, offer a dozen or so highly detailed recommendations, as a blogger, you step aside and say, “Without further ado, here are some great reads.” So, let me sidestep, and allow Ellen Burns and Darwin Ellis to tell you about the books their shop recommends this summer. These are so well-written they scan like professional reviews. [Personally, I think I’m cracking The Home Place, first… ;) ]

The Cairo Affair

Olen Steinhauer has once again produced an extremely well-constructed page-turner set in Egypt during the initial Libyan uprising. Layers of deceit, betrayal and duplicity permeate this story of an alleged American plan to steal the revolution from the hands of the Libyan people, which may be underway (but who knows for sure?). The CIA in Cairo is turning Egyptian secret service members; the Egyptians spy on the other services and have sources in many foreign embassies; and there is a leak of the Libyan plan that points to an American diplomat who is murdered. Plenty of intrigue, unreliable sources shifting allegiances, and philosophy. Steinhauer manages it all superbly.

Dry Bones in the Valley

A small, sleepy community experiencing great change, Wild Thyme Township in northeastern Pennsylvania is the purview of Officer Henry Farrell. A veteran of a tour in Somalia suffering from a tragic recent history, he has returned home to police the families he grew up with, in a job that should be a breeze. All goes awry with the discovery of a freeze-dried corpse, found on a remote hilltop by a feeble old man. ... A nearly Dickensian novel, filled with rednecks, wealthy outsiders, disaffected youth, family feuds, and elder abuse.

The Home Place

Alma Terrebonne, a rising star in a Seattle law firm, has left behind her complicated family and past tragedies in Billings, MT, until one morning, when a call for help pulls her back. Returning to Billings to identify her sister, apparently dead of exposure, and to care for her 11-year-old niece and her grandmother, she is overcome by guilt, tense family relations and some powerful memories from the past—least of which is the hold the family homestead has over her. A page-turning police procedural and delightful romance with some carefully drawn characters that will resonate with the reader long after the book is finished.

Road Ends

Mary Lawson, born and raised in a farming town in Ontario, is a writer of tremendous talent … (and her) storytelling skills are fully on display in her third novel. Her descriptions of winter in northern Ontario will have you reaching for a sweater and crawling under a blanket! Set in the late 1960s and told in multiple voices, Road Ends is an absorbing, beautiful novel—a strong plot full of tragedy, betrayal, sadness and hope, and fully imagined, believable characters. You won’t want to put it down.

Books on the Common

404 Main St, Ridgefield; (203) 431-9100



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