By Karen Newfield
Hurricane season is here. For serious readers, that means a good book. A fictional escape is essential when a storm is brewing in the middle of the ocean, or about to make landfall in the Keys or some other unfortunate place. Here’s a wide selection: a thriller set during a hurricane, a historical Pack Horse Librarian in 1936 Kentucky, or the winner of the Mongol Derby. One other note: If you read on an electronic device and lose power for an extended time, you will be deeply disappointed; choose paper!
“Mine” by Courtney Cole
Tessa Taylor seemingly had it all; a successful business, three beautiful children, and an adoring husband. After dropping her children off for a visit with their grandmother, in Georgia, Tessa returns to Florida to find a Category 4 hurricane unexpectedly barreling her way. Ethan is stuck in New York on business and Tessa quickly prepares their home. Getting ready to hunker down, she borrows Ethan’s iPad and discovers photos of a young, beautiful woman named Lindsey and evidence of a mysterious affair. In a fury more powerful than any hurricane, Tessa lures this woman over to ride out the storm and uncover the truth. This novel quickly escalates into a swift-moving suspenseful thriller. Narrated by both Lindsey and Tessa, “Mine” races with gale force winds to surely become the most intense read of the summer.
“The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson
Cussy Mary Carter is the last of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky. It’s 1936, and with few options, Cussy has been lucky enough to get a job as a Pack Horse Librarian, a government initiative to distribute reading materials. As one of the few literate folks in this isolated mountain area, Cussy is determined to bring hope and comfort to the often forgotten people. While the men risk their lives daily at the local coalmine, these impoverished hungry women and children work their fingers to the bone, barely scraping by. This novel is both heartbreaking and beautifully written, historically defining education and socioeconomic struggles we continue to battle today. The profound joy and promise that books brought to these simple, good people is priceless.
“Rough Magic” by Lara Prior-Palmer
Lara Prior-Palmer, a 19-year-old British girl, signs up to compete in The Mongol Derby, known as the world’s longest horserace. One thousand kilometers in 10 days or less, the derby recreates the horse messenger system created by Genghis Khan in the year 1224; it is the toughest, loneliest, and most unique race that exists. Completely unprepared and filled with trepidation, Lara sets off for East Asia to begin this difficult challenge through the steppes of Mongolia. Although she is initially motivated by her innocent love for horses and a naive desire to merely finish the race, she soon finds herself on a mission to become the only female and youngest winner the derby has ever known. Told in detail, with humor and painful honesty, Lara takes us along on this treacherous, demanding adventure. (Knowing absolutely nothing about horses did not stop me from enjoying the ride.)
To see more of Karen Newfield’s reviews, visit www.readingandeating.com