The Little Bookshop

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson

A May 2022 Read This Next! Selection

Kim Michele Richardson has given us another wonderful story about the packhorse librarians of Kentucky. In this book, we move forward sixteen years to the early 1950’s and are introduced to Honey Lovett, daughter of Cussy Mary, who must pick up her mother’s library route when her parents are jailed due to the laws prohibiting their mixed-race marriage. Through Honey’s story, we meet new characters and revisit old friends that help her as she delivers books in and out of the hollers, fights for her independence as a young working woman, and struggles to bring attention to the plight of her parents. Kim Michele Richardson writes beautifully about a landscape and a people that has deep and personal meaning to her and that is one of the reasons she is so successful and so loved by her readers. This book is highly recommended!

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson, (List Price: $16.99, Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781728242590, May 2022)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

There are so many captivating things about this novel…the insight the reader gets as to what it takes to be a classical musician, the background on the history of violins (and one violin in particular) and how they’re made, the main character’s determination in the face of struggle, family dynamics and expectations, racial issues that rear their ugly heads, and a mysterious theft of a priceless instrument…I could go on and on. Put all this together, and you get a beautiful story about a boy who loved his grandmother more than anyone in the world…one who persevered to become a classical violinist and prove to everyone that he could do it. Brendan Slocumb effortlessly keeps his story flowing, leaving the reader rooting for Ray McMillian while trying to put the pieces of the theft together. Such a great read!

The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb, (List Price: $28.00, Anchor, 9780593315415, February 2022)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson from The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia


Smile by Sarah Ruhl

When she is struck with Bell’s palsy after giving birth to twins and suffers from complete paralysis of the left side of her face, Sarah Ruhl realizes the importance of a smile…and the struggle to convey emotions without one. Being a playwright, she recounts her 10-year experience with this mysterious condition through beautiful words, drawing on art and literature to help make sense of her condition. Through unflagging support from her husband and many years of trying a myriad of therapies/treatments, she perseveres through this oftentimes depressing and frustrating condition and offers her readers a raw, emotional look into her story.

Smile by Sarah Ruhl, (List Price: $27, Simon & Schuster, 9781982150945, October, 2021)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

Whether you come to this book for the author, the cover, or the reviews, you will stay for the beautiful storytelling as Anthony Doerr weaves together the stories of three very different time periods and characters. Konstance (on an interstellar futuristic ship), Anna and Omeir (in 1453 Constantinople), and Seymour (in present-day Idaho) are very different, but they are all connected by one ancient story. In his usual gorgeous wording, Doerr makes you fall in love with the characters, and you will not want to put this book down. The character development is nothing short of genius, and the story is full of history, heart, and heroism!

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr, (List Price: $30, Scribner, 9781982168438, September 2021)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia


Lean Fall Stand by Jon Mcgregor

Doc Wright leads expeditions to Antarctica. It’s been a hard adjustment for his wife and children to be gone for many months at a time but they’ve had 30 years or more to adjust to someone who is just not ever really around. When his current expedition encounters a sudden storm, he struggles to radio for help and is injured. Wright wakes up in the hospital with jumbled memories and unable to communicate. As he begins a difficult convalescence, his wife and children must help with his caregiving, a role not eagerly embraced by any of them. This is a great read and highly recommended!

Lean Fall Stand by Jon Mcgregor, (List Price: 26, Catapult, 9781646220991, September 2021)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara

After Pearl Harbor, Aki Ito and her family, American citizens living in Los Angeles, are sent to Manzanar, an internment camp. Upon release, they are relocated to Chicago — they are not allowed to return to their home in Los Angeles. Rose, Aki’s older sister, is released first, and many months later, Aki and her parents are released. Upon arriving in Chicago, they learn that Rose has died in a subway train accident and further information reveals that she committed suicide. Aki and her parents are filled with grief and shame. Aki, who idolized Rose, knows that Rose would never kill herself, so she begins to investigate Rose’s life in Chicago. As Aki turns over every last stone, she learns important information about herself, her sister, her new city, and her place in this country. This powerful historical mystery is well written and filled with information about the lives of Japanese Americans during WWII. Highly recommended.

Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara, (List Price: 27.95, Soho Crime, 9781641292498, August, 2021)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

You know those books that you start reading and Cannot. Put. Down?? This is definitely one. With so many WWII books out there, Kate Quinn manages to put a fresh spin on the war with The Rose Code and makes you feel like you’re reading something new. The writing is amazing, the characters relatable, and the story fast-paced, heartbreaking, jubilant, and redemptive all at the same time. This historical fiction about the codebreakers of Bletchley Park will be one of your favorite reads of 2021.

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn (List Price: $17.99, William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062943477, 3/9/2021)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day

When Maisie injures her knee, she is forced to take a break from her one true love…ballet. After she convinces her mom and stepdad that she is recovered enough to go on a family hiking trip, things don’t go her way, and she is left questioning what is truly important in life. Throughout her struggle with priorities, loss, and friendships, her family stands by her side and sees her through it, and she discovers that with a little bit of hope and a different perspective, she can weather any storm life throws at her. A very sweet story!

The Sea in Winter by Christine Day (List Price: $16.99, Heartdrum, 9780062872043, 1/5/2021)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia.

Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson

Many of our favorite historical fiction novels move us to tears, compel us to turn pages, and tie us in knots over the fate of characters. All of these emotions are in play as we read Yellow Wife, based on the notorious Richmond slave jail known as the Devil’s Half Acre and its cruel master. We follow Pheby’s life, from her earliest years as a plantation slave, her journey to the jail, and her years as mistress and slave to the master of the jail and mother to their children. We watch as her desperate choices and will to survive and protect those she loves draws her evermore into dangerous situations. Her dreams of freedom, passed down to her by her mother, drive her and at times sustain her while living in such close proximity to the jail where she was witness to the depths of human cruelty. A powerful story not soon forgotten.

Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson (List Price: $26, Simon & Schuster, 9781982149109, 1/12/2021)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter

It is 1909 in Spokane, WA, and orphaned brothers Gig and Rye Dolan are barely surviving day to day…taking odd jobs where they can find them and hopping trains to get from place to place. When older brother Gig gets involved in the IWW union and gets himself in trouble, 16-year-old Rye picks up where he left off and finds himself deeply entangled in the dirty business of brutal police, deal-making, and shady businessmen. You really do become invested in the characters as you’re drawn deeper into their stories of desperation, hard times, and brotherhood. If you liked Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach or Paulette Jiles’s News of the World, this book is for you!

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter (List Price: $28.99, Harper, 9780062868084, 10/27/2020)

Reviewed by Mary Patterson, The Little Bookshop in Midlothian, Virginia

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