November staff picks roundup

Catherine Coles
Coles’ Notes

The staff of the County of L&A Libraries are avid readers and always eager to share their favourite books. Here we bring you a list of some of the reads we’ve recently enjoyed. This month you’ll find a couple moving historicals, a disturbing mystery, and a well-researched non-fiction book that explores the real-life Indiana Jones.

Karen suggests Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

“Wallace Price is a 40-year-old bisexual, hugely successful lawyer, but with no human connection – he is divorced and ruthless in all his dealings with opponents, clients, and staff.  Then one day he dies of a massive heart attack. Wallace is confused about what’s going on until he finds himself at his own funeral where there’s no one to mourn him. This book is a wonderful exploration of death and grief and although it will bring you to tears at times, it’s ultimately uplifting and hopeful.  By turns heartwarming, heartbreaking, humorous, and even hilarious. I picked it up based on the cover and description, but was surprised to love it quite as much as I did!  An enthusiastic five-stars!

Kristin suggests The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott

“In this enduring story, we meet three different brothers who all went off to war together. Unfortunately, Harry is the only brother who survived and because of that, he struggles with the same affliction that most soldiers do: survivor’s guilt. To complicate matters, he finds himself falling in love with his late brother’s wife, Edie. His troubled life takes an unexpected turn when a photo of his presumed dead brother arrives by mail. Obviously, this causes both Harry and Edie to start questioning everything they once believed to be true. Is Francis still alive? Does someone have hidden information about what really happened to his brother Francis? To solve this mystery, the two set out traveling from town to town on a quest for the truth while trying to temper their collective hopes over possibly finding a lost husband and brother. For me, the impeccable and extensive research the author must have done to complete this historical fiction novel is monumental. Her beautiful writing abilities combined with accurate historical descriptions allows the reader to fully understand how much devastation the war brought to both the people and to the land.”

Jennifer suggests The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

“In this vivid historical YA novel, our spirited protagonist Jo Kuan cleverly navigates systems of power to highlight social inequalities. In 1890 Atlanta, this savvy young woman leads a double life: by day, she works as a lady’s maid for a wealthy Southern family and by night, she writes a pseudonymous advice column for a local paper. The character Jo represents a voice often denied a place in history and demonstrates that everyone has a story. The novel offers an entertaining and educational read by holding a mirror to our present issues.”

Marg suggests The Family Plot by Megan Collins

“Start with one seriously messed up true-crime addicted family, add in a runaway teen and a mysterious series of unsolved murders and you have the recipe for a truly dark, disturbing, addictive read. To say the Lighthouse family is unique would be an understatement. The parents are obsessed with murder to the point where all of their children are named for murder victims including Dahlia, the narrator of the story. She was named for The Black Dahlia, an American actress brutally murdered in 1947. When the family patriarch dies, Dahlia returns home for the funeral. Not long after her arrival, a body is discovered in the grave plot meant for her father and questions emerge. Who is buried in Dahlia’s father grave?”

Julie suggests True Raiders by Brad Ricca

“Cue the John Williams’ soundtrack, sit down with this book, and meet the real life man who inspired the Indiana Jones’ movies.  True Raiders: the Untold Story of the 1909 Expedition to Find the Legendary Ark of the Covenant by Brad Ricca tells the tale of Monty Parker, a British nobleman and the Syndicate who supported him who went in search of treasure and fame in the Holy Land.  Pick up this book if you are interested in seeking adventure and becoming an archaeologist all from the comfort of your La-Z-Boy — you won’t be disappointed!”

 All of these items can be reserved from your branch of the County of Lennox & Addington Libraries or online at

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