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Sometimes Fiction Is Stranger Than Truth—
And Lots More Fun To Read

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Don’t you ever wonder how writers get all their ideas? I’m especially interested in the ones that are really off the beaten path. What a wonderful escape to go into a world so far from our everyday lives. Isn’t that the main reason we read fiction?

I especially love it when an author I follow veers away from the predictable, and explores something a little different than what I’ve come to expect. I always look forward to a new book by Jennifer Chiaverini, and I’ve grown very comfortable getting to know her circle of quilters. SONOMA ROSE touches briefly on the importance of quilts, but the focus is on what happens to a family when tragedy strikes. Often, our old mode of thinking goes out the window, and what once was unthinkable becomes desirable. When Rosa Diaz spins out of control, she despairs about the deaths of her children, and is too dispirited to leave her abusive husband. But what if a cure could be found for her stricken youngsters? And what happens when the love of her life reappears to help her, no matter what the cost?

Mary Higgins Clark is the Queen of Suspense, now and forever. But rather than rest on her laurels, in THE LOST YEARS, she enters into “Da Vinci Code” territory. For centuries, biblical scholars have searched for the lost letter Jesus wrote to Joseph of Arimathea, thanking him for all kindness. Mariah Lyons believes the missive was found by her father, and that he was murdered because of it. But the police are certain that Jonathan Lyons was shot by his wife Kathleen, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Jonathan was having an affair with a colleague, who may also be involved in the mystery surrounding the letter. Can Mariah save her mother, reunite with the man she loves, and solve the puzzle that surrounds her father’s greatest discovery?

Matthew Pearl’s THE TECHNOLOGISTS is hot, hot, hot. He’s been praised by fellow authors Caleb Carr and Dan Brown, and compared to E.L. Doctorow. But Pearl has a style all his own, as this latest literary historical fiction thriller ably attests. Set in nineteenth century Boston, in a world poised between old tradition and new technology, this story of a horrific explosion in the harbor just keeps peeling back layers of intrigue. At the center is the new Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with the mission to attract the best and the brightest in the world of science. Can a ragtag band of scholars, consisting of a Brahmin blueblood, a brilliant scholarship student, a quiet Civil War vet, and the only female on campus save the school and the city? Masterful use of blending real with fictional characters.

In GHOST LIGHT, author Joseph O’Connor also skillfully blends real and imagine characters. An elderly actress, Molly Allgood, roams around London in the 1950’s, reminiscing about her affair with the great Irish playwright John Millington Synge. Passion can bridge barriers of age, class, and religion, but it can also burn the lovers. Molly’s journey through London, Dublin, and America is all played out in her mind, and we get to go along for the lyrical ride.

THE LAST ROMANOV, by Dora Levy Mossanen, is the story of a young orphan who was taken into the Russian royal family. An era long past is vividly recreated, by a master of exotic locales and compelling characters. As Darya reflects back on her past, she is haunted by the fact that she may have caused the slaughter of the Romanov family. Can it really be true that Alexei Nikolaevich, the heir to the Russian throne, is somehow still alive? What spell did Rasputin cast over the Romanov court, and how was Darya involved?

New York Times bestselling author Don Winslow gives us SATORI, which is soon to be a major motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Nicholai Hel, master spy, genius, and perfect assassin, is here resurrected in a thriller set in the Korean War era. Hel is Western by birth, but Asian by upbringing. In addition to speaking seven languages and being able to kill with his bare hands, the twenty-six year old Hel also has an uncanny ability to sense danger. No wonder the CIA seeks him out. Everyone assumes his assignment to kill a high-ranking Soviet official in China is a suicide mission, but then, they don’t really know Hel. Do not start this book before you plan on getting a good night’s sleep.

Thank you, authors, for your great imaginations, and for the opportunity you give us to enter a different, colorful realm when we read your books.

Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle.

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