The Rose Code

Secrets, romance and treachery abound in Bletchley Park, the center of Britain's code breaking program in WWII, which is the setting for this highly entertaining book by Kate Quinn. We follow the lives of three women who are pulled into this mysterious world from different walks of life and soon become the best of friends while navigating their new lives as secret code breakers. The story switches between two timelines - during the war and several years later when we find out that something happened at the end of the war to tear them apart and land one of the girls in an insane asylum. What happened and who was the traitor?

The characters in The Rose Code (2021) are based on the lives of real people, as are many of the events, including a royal romance. A fascinating insight into a highly secretive part of Britain's war effort.

Go to Overdrive to check out the eBook or eAudio.

If you want more Historical Fiction, take a look at our curated book lists for Novels Based on Real People and Novels of WWII.



The Prophets

Powerful and confronting, yet also beautiful, The Prophets (2021) is a story of two young male slaves who find forbidden love on an antebellum Southern cotton plantation. The solace they find in each other either fascinates or repels those around them until the envy, fear, and hatred of both their owners and fellow slaves forces a reaction.

Robert Jones, Jr. depicts the harsh reality of a shameful time in history with emotional and lyrical prose, creating an epic story which highlights the injustices and dehumanization faced by the multitudes of Africans torn from their home soil and thrown into slavery.

For readers who enjoy Toni Morrison and Brit Bennett.

Read the ebook or listen to the audiobook via Overdrive today.

The Bell in the Lake

Wonderfully atmospheric and steeped in local legends and lore, The Bell in the Lake (2020) is a captivating historical novel set in rural Norway during the late 19th century. The story revolves around a local farm girl, Astrid Hekne, whose ancestors donated the mysterious 'sister bells' to the local stave church. When the new pastor decides to sell off the historical church to Germany, he stirs up ancient myths and endangers his budding romance with Astrid.

Lars Mytting's writing conjures up images of Norway's remote villages, the stoic people who inhabit them and their historic stave churches; describing the unique architecture and designs which mix Viking paganism and Christianity.

Read the novel instantly via Hoopla.



Black Sun

A fantasy novel inspired by pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas, Black Sun (2020) swept me away into a world of adventure and vengeance. The stories of a Sun Priest dealing with political intrigue and assassination attempts, a blind young man raised to fulfill a prophesy and a somewhat unstable sea captain, who is still discovering the extent of her aquatic powers, all converge on the day of the winter solstice in the holy city of Tova. Pandemonium ensues and I can't wait for the next installment of this exciting new series.

Rebecca Roanhorse brings to life a fantasy world that is decidedly not Eurocentric or gender binary. Black Sun will appeal to readers who enjoy epic fantasies with a refreshing twist.

Visit Overdrive to check out the eBook.



The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett

85-year-old Eudora Honeysett is done with life. She lives alone with no family or friends and is as grumpy and standoffish as her cat. When she sees a pamphlet on assisted death, she decides that it is perfect for her: death on her own terms with dignity intact. Just as she makes this decision, a new family moves in next door and 10-year-old Rose comes knocking on her door. Rose, with her bright sparkly fashion sense and outspoken, quirky personality quickly worms her way into Eudora's life, bringing unexpected joy and friendship.

Will the changes in Eudora's life bring on a change of heart or is she still determined that this is the end? Annie Lyons broaches a tricky subject with sensitivity and understanding. Her endearing characters turn this into an uplifting and feel-good read. The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett (2020) is perfect for readers who enjoyed A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

Browse our list of FeelGood Favorites on Overdrive for more titles to read.

Borrow the print book from the library or read the ebook on Overdrive.


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Apeirogon

Two men, one Palestinian and one Israeli. Two young daughters lost to the violence which is sadly prevalent in their part of the world. These two men from opposite sides of the conflict manage to come together and forge a friendship in their common hope for peace.

Colum McCann writes in an interesting format, offering up what at first might seem random facts or short anecdotes. It did take me a few pages to get into it, but it was definitely worth it to see how everything comes together, how the facts and fiction intertwine to create a deeply moving narrative. Not only was this beautifully written, it was also very educational, giving me insights into an ongoing conflict and a way of life so very different to mine.

Apeirogon (2020) is longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. Read the book on Overdrive



The Magicians. Seasons 1-5

A fantasy series full of magic, horror, wit, and fabulous costumes, The Magicians (2015-2020) is like Harry Potter for grown-ups. Based on the books by Lev Grossman, who borrows from other popular fantasy stories (most notably the Narnia series), this TV show revolves around a group of young people who are tested for their magical ability and offered places in Brakebills, an academy for magicians.

Adventure abounds as they discover and hone their magical skills, missteps and disasters just adding to their education. Add to this the possibility of travel to other worlds and a mysterious beast targeting the school, and you have an exciting, action filled show.

Please note that this is for adult audiences (rated TV-14)


Piranesi

Piranesi is the sole inhabitant of a gigantic, mysterious 'house' with endless rooms full of statues and an ocean in the lower levels which surges upstairs during high tides. Written in the form of his journal, Piranesi guides us through his beloved labyrinthine house and introduces us to 'The Other,' a sporadic visitor to the house and the only other living human being in this world...or so he thought.

Susanna Clarke's lyrical and hypnotic writing pulls you into Piranesi's world, enveloping you in the mystery of the house and the question of how he came to be there. Piranesi (2020) is for fans of The Starless Sea and The Bedlam Stacks.

Check out the ebook on Overdrive.



Every Bone a Prayer

Full of magical realism and wonderfully atmospheric descriptions of the Appalachian 'hollers,' Every Bone a Prayer (2020) is the story of a young girl facing her demons. 10-year-old Misty uses her connection to nature to help escape from the problems in her life. She is friends with the crawdads in the creek and discovers that she can mentally connect and communicate with them as well as the trees, other animals, and even buildings. But when strange and traumatic things start happening, Misty wishes this connection would extend to the people in her life to allow her to get answers and understanding.

Throughout the eventful and painful summer, she comes to realize that escape doesn't always work. Harder things, like self-acceptance, are what is needed.

This beautifully written debut from Ashley Blooms is an inspiring book about trauma and healing.

Read the eBook on Hoopla today.


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The Brother Years

Written like a memoir, this coming of age tale takes place in the wealthy North Shore suburbs of Chicago in the '70s and '80s. Being relatively poor, the Brennan family doesn't exactly fit in, but their father has high hopes that going to a good school, mixing with the wealthy, and giving everything their utmost effort will give his kids the chance of a better life.

Readers with siblings will recognize the love/hate relationship between the brothers, the rivalry, the hatred of comparison, and maybe even the violence. Before the high emotions of childhood mellow into a lasting friendship, we have to get through the struggle of those teen years.

Evoking memories of childhood, this was a bittersweet read with themes of class struggle, sibling rivalry, and family drama.

The Brother Years (2020) by Shannon Burke is a highly entertaining, relatable, and easily readable book.

Request the ebook or eAudiobook on Overdrive today.


How Much of These Hills Is Gold

It's hard to sum up this book in a few words: it's historical fiction, a western adventure, immigrant voices, coming of age, and so much more. How Much of These Hills Is Gold (2020) centers around Lucy and Sam, two recently orphaned Chinese-American children on the run from a Californian mining town with a stolen horse. They journey through the harsh landscape in search of a place to call home, but the siblings find it difficult to agree on anything, let alone their destination.

C Pam Zhang adds Chinese myths and traditions to the story and expertly paints readers a picture of the Wild West in its dark and gritty glory. How Much of These Hills Is Gold gives us a fictionalized history of the Gold Rush era from an immigrant perspective and will have you pondering questions about home, belonging, and identity.

Read the ebook via Overdrive today.


Everywhere You Don't Belong

This dark and quirky coming of age story is set on the south side of Chicago. Claude's parents have abandoned him, but luckily he has his strong-willed, civil rights activist grandma and her alcoholic friend, Paul, to look after him. There are times when you'll wish you could just reach out and give the awkward Claude a hug as he struggles to make friends and fit in to society while navigating the tensions and issues of life on the south side.

Spiked with humor and social commentary, Gabriel Bump's debut novel is a quick and entertaining read full of memorable characters. Check out Everywhere You Don't Belong (2020) today.

Available as an ebook on Hoopla.



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Genealogy Group Meeting. May 28th, 1pm.

Are you interested in genealogical research and learning more about your family history? Local genealogists share their tips in our monthly Genealogy Group meetings. Register for the next meeting in the form of an online webinar:

May 28, 1-3 p.m. Researching at the Newberry Library. Presented by Sandi Trapp.





Listen to Neil Gaiman's Coraline, live from NYPL.

What is better than having someone read you a story? Having the author and famous actors read it to you!

The New York Public Library is hosting a live reading of Neil Gaiman's spooky book Coraline this week, from Tuesday, May 12 through Monday, May 18. Click here to see more details and this link to sign up for a reminder notice. Remember the time difference means it will be at 5pm Chicago time or just go here to watch later or catch up on missed chapters.

Borrow the eBook from Hoopla if you want to read along.



The Mountains Sing

This beautifully written multi-generational family saga brings to life the last 100 years of Vietnam's tragic history. This country and its people have been through so much, and author, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, showcases their strength, resilience, and courage in the face of so much violence and loss.

The story follows Diệu Lan, the matriarch of the family, as she desperately tries to keep her family together through famine, occupation, and war. The author gives you a vivid sense of what it was like to be in Vietnam during that time and manages to weave a thread of love and hope throughout the traumatic history.

This captivating book really drew me in with its expressive, lyrical writing and strong characters, while also teaching me about the history and culture of Vietnam.The Mountains Sing (2020) is a good choice for readers who enjoyed Pachinko and A Long Petal of the Sea.

Read or listen to The Mountains Sing on Hoopla today.