Today’s books are some of my more recent favourites.
The first, I snagged from Carina Press on its release day. It’s a fantastic romantic tale set in Antarctica, with an emotionally bruised heroine who is immensely relatable.
The second, I read awhile ago, but I remember hearing an interview with the author about her time in Highgate cemetery and I wished that I could do the same sort of immersion for all my stories.
The third, and unfortunately hard to find book, I received in a collection of a dozen pulp fiction (mostly crime/noir) novels. As you might guess, the mention of a torch singer caught my eye. And, as is appropriate for “Movember“, the first chapter begins with “Let me begin with the mustache. I shaved it off.”
The blurbs for the first two are taken from Carina Press and Amazon, respectively, while the third is from the cover copy of my battered pulp paperback.
Icebound, by Julie Rowe (Carina Press, 50K word novella)
Dr. Emilie Saunderson is driven to finish her late husband’s research. Her quest brings her to Antarctica, where she hopes to find a measure of peace in the isolated and icy wilderness. It’s the last place on earth she expects to be given a second chance at love.
Tom Wolinski loves his work at the bottom of the world. Damaged by his dark past, he has vowed never to get close to anyone—a promise that’s easy to keep in a place with no permanent residents. That is, until Emilie arrives, and he’s irresistibly drawn to her warmth and inner strength.
Emilie has no desire to get involved with another adventurer, and Tom has made it clear he’s not interested in putting down roots. But as they work together to survive in the harshest of climates, they turn to one another for comfort. Is the heat between them enough to melt the ice around their hearts, and bind them together forever?
Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger (Scribner, 406pgs)
Julia and Valentina Poole are twenty-year-old sisters with an intense attachment to each other. One morning the mailman delivers a thick envelope to their house in the suburbs of Chicago. Their English aunt Elspeth Noblin has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. There are two conditions for this inheritance: that they live in the flat for a year before they sell it and that their parents not enter it. Julia and Valentina are twins. So were the girls’ aunt Elspeth and their mother, Edie.
The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, which borders the vast Highgate Cemetery, where Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Stella Gibbons, and other luminaries are buried. Julia and Valentina become involved with their living neighbors: Martin, a composer of crossword puzzles who suffers from crippling OCD, and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. They also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including—perhaps—their aunt.
And when fiction’s most eye-catching, hard-boiled private eye takes on the luscious lady, all he wants with her is privacy. Instead he finds himself in a sealed room with a dead man – and a uniquely puzzling case of homicial “suicide.”