Ramona Emerson Pages: 293 Published: 2022

The book: Rita Todacheene, a Navajo, is a forensic photographer working for the Albuquerque police force. She is exceptionally good at what she does. Her secret? She has some extra help: Ghosts talk to her.

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All the Light We Cannot See

 Anthony Doerr Pages: 530     Published: 2014

The book: A blind twelve-year-old, Marie-Laure LeBlanc, and her father flee Paris, which is under German occupation. They seek refuge with her great uncle in Saint-Malo, an ancient walled French town by the ocean.
In a mining town in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner Pfennig, becomes obsessed with radios and learns how to make and repair them. His radio skills take him first to a Nazi youth camp and from there into the German army, where he tracks resistance radio operators.
This novel is the story of Marie-Laure and Werner’s lives as their paths intersect during the war.

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The Fair Botanists

Sara Sheridan Pages: 367 Published: 2021

The book: It is 1822. Recently, widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband’s aunt. She is intrigued by the beautiful Botanical Gardens that are under construction.  

Elizabeth meets Belle Brody, a young woman who shares her passion for botany. However, Belle has a secret she wants to keep from Elizabeth and an ulterior motive for her interest in the Botanical Gardens. But secrets are hard to keep in Edinburgh… 

You might like it because: It’s an interesting story that places women at the heart of the enlightenment period in Edinburgh. Sheridan conjures a vivid picture of what life was like in the city during that time. 

What did other people say? 
“Completely enchanting and fascinating . . . a rollicking and immensely readable tale . . . Sheridan succeeds in what very few have attempted before; in imagining early 19th century Edinburgh as a genuine if imperfect city of enlightenment.” The Scotsman

“A page turning read with the pace of a thriller, The Fair Botanists is a fascinating glimpse into a turbulent age and some truly intriguing characters. A must-read for fans of Elizabeth MacNeal, Sonia Velton, and Laura Shepherd-Robinson.” The Historical Novel Society

Awards & Recognition:
Winner of the Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year 2022

How quickly will you get into the book? For me, this was a slow, gentle build. The book was interesting from the first few pages of prologue. As the story progressed, I got more sucked into the lives of the main characters.

You might not like it because: For some readers, the pace of the story might be too slow. For others, the descriptions of Edinburgh and life in 1822 may be too detailed. 

What might you read next?
Want to continue with a botanical theme? Try Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, the story of a pharmacologist who travels to the Amazon in search of a former teacher and a piece of research on an amazing new drug.

Alternatively, read some nonfiction and pick up the true story of the man who founded the first botanical garden in the United States, American Eden, by Victoria Johnson.

Or, for something completely different, read Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn, a modern-day crime novel set in Edinburgh during the annual Festival. 

© Book Curious 2023

American Spy

Lauren Wilkinson    Pages: 289         Published: 2019

The book: New York, 1987; Marie Mitchell is an FBI officer. Young and black in a white old boys’ club, she’s given menial tasks and never gets the opportunity to work on any high-profile cases. That changes when she’s asked to go undercover on a special task force. But Marie has some doubts about taking the role. Will she accept the undercover job? Can she afford not to? Read more

The Glass Hotel

Emily St. John Mandel       Pages: 301        Published: 2020

The book: Vincent and her half-brother, Paul, work in the exclusive and remote Hotel Caiette on Vancouver Island. Just before an important guest arrives, a strange message etched in acid, appears on a hotel window.
Who left the message and why? How will working at the hotel impact the lives of Vincent and Paul? Read more

City of Girls

Elizabeth Gilbert    Pages: 466      Published: 2019

The book: 1940 and nineteen-year-old Vivian is kicked out of Vassar College. Her rich, well-to-do parents send her to live with her Aunt Peg in New York, who owns a run-down theatre in Midtown Manhattan. Vivian is thrown into a heady life of showgirls, late-night clubs, parties, and men, a far cry from her previous life in the suburbs. Read more

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