Posts Tagged ‘timeless’

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

October 17, 2012

Author: Sylvia Plath

Title: The Bell Jar

Genre: Literary Fiction, Women’s Lives and Relationships, Bestsellers

Publication Date: 1963 (England), 1971 (USA)

Number of Pages: 216

Geographical Setting: New York, Massachusetts

Time Period: Six months in 1953

Plot Summary:  This is a semi-autobiographical novel related to the author’s life. She killed herself shortly after it was published. This is a coming-of-age story of a 20-year-old woman as she discovers herself and her desires, just as any college student does. Esther Greenwood was going to college on a scholarship when she got accepted for a special internship with a fashion magazine in New York for the summer. The book describes her relationships with her family, friends, colleagues, and psychologists in a descriptive manner. As this melancholic story progresses, Esther slowly loses her mind to mental illness and eventually attempts to commit suicide. The lyrical and poetic writing is a must read for fans of literary fiction. It is an excellent book to recommend for those interested in studying psychology or going through their own quarter life crisis.

Subject Headings: Depression, Suicidal Behavior, Psychological Fiction, College Students

Appeal terms:  leisurely-paced, introspective, psychological, emotionally charged, melancholy, detailed, realistic, character-centered, timeless, classic, lyrical, literary

Three appeal terms: character-centered, psychological, and literary

Similar Authors and Works:


Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger- A reviewer has compared Sylvia Plath’s book to Salinger’s Franny. Both books are about the experiences of female college students during the same time period.

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen- This book is about an 18 year old that spent two years living in a psychiatric hospital, in 1967, that Sylvia Plath may have spent time in.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender- This book is a young adult fantasy. It is about a girl that can taste the true emotions of the person who made her food.


Conquering Your Quarterlife Crisis: Advice from Twentysomethings Who Have Been There and Survived by Alexandra Robbins- This is a guide for those that are lost and confused as they become adults in order to help them get through their quarter life crisis.

No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One by Carla Fine- This book offers advice for those who have lost family members due to suicide. The author’s husband was a doctor who committed suicide.

Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir by Lauren Slater- This is the memoir of a woman that had a psychological problem in which she was a compulsive liar. The character, Esther Greenwood, regularly lies in The Bell Jar.

Name: Rachel Fischer

Dear John

April 18, 2012

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Title: Dear John

Genre: Romance, historical fiction

Publication Date: 2006

Number of pages: Audio book – 8 CDs

Geographical Setting: North Carolina, Iraq

Time Period: From late 1990s to 2007

Series (if applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: John Tyree, a rebel turned responsible army soldier, meets the girl of his dreams on a short furlough from active duty. While courting each other, John and Savannah Lynn Curtis quickly realize that they may have found the greatest love of their lives. However, their long-distance relationship puts major strains on them – more than either could have imagined. John must ultimately choose between serving his country in the aftermath of 9/11 and settling down peacefully with his newfound love. Passionate and bittersweet, this novel will have readers questioning both their personal definitions of love, and what it means to truly love another.

Subject Headings: Love – Meanings, True love, Military life, 9/11, Habitat for Humanity, Cancer, Sacrifices, Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Horses, North Carolina, Iraq

Appeal: Compelling, engrossing, densely written, detailed (characters), familiar (characters), intriguing secondary (characters), introspective (characters), layered, resolved ending, thought-provoking, bittersweet, contemporary, details of army life, heartwarming, nostalgic, romantic, timeless, conversational, graceful, thoughtful

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Bittersweet, thought-provoking, romantic

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1). Horses Never Lie About Love: A True Story by Jana Harris – This story tells of a physically and emotionally scarred horse, True Colors, who is terrified of humans, but that eventually learns to live peacefully and love both humans and a new foal in her life. Readers may be interested in this testimony to the power and meanings of love in the life of a majestic and passionate creature.

2). Surviving Iraq: Soldiers’ Stories by Elise Forbes Tripp – A collection of candid tales from 30 soldiers who have served in Iraq in recent years. Honest and bittersweet, these stories tell memories from the lips of those who have served – uncensored and in full.

3). The House That Love Built: The Story of Millard and Linda Fuller, Founders of Habitat for Humanity and the Fuller Center for Housing by Bettie B. Youngs – The story of the founders of Habitat for Humanity, the world’s largest nonprofit homebuilding organization. This text will resonate with readers who are inspired by this organization and its mission to end homelessness and substandard housing through God’s love and the love of his people.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1). A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans – This is the tale of a young woman who has become disgusted and nearly given up on finding romance in her life. While on vacation in Europe, Laura Foster meets the owner of a castle estate and unknowingly embarks on a new, and perhaps forever, romance.

2). In Sunlight, in a Beautiful Garden by Kathleen Cambor – This historical fiction work tells the tale of the collapse of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania dam in 1889. Though this event actually occurred, this story is fiction. Through this book, the author tells the stories of several different characters who live during this time, and who have vastly differing points of view. A bittersweet tale of love and destruction.

3). Look Back All the Green Valley by Fred Chappell – A nostalgic look at historical life in North Carolina with a man who is struggling with the deaths of his parents, and ultimately moving on in life. Jess Kirkman is amazed when he finds secret treasures among his father’s personal items that invite him to learn so much more about the man that had raised him.

Name: Melissa

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

August 17, 2011

Title:  The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Author: Mitch Albom

Genre: Inspirational, Fiction

Publication Date: 2003

Number of Pages: 198

Geographical Setting: Heaven, Amusement Park

Time Period: Current day

Format:  Hardcover

Plot Summary:  This is the story of Eddie. He is a maintenance man at the Ruby Point Amusement Park and he is about to die. We learn of Eddie’s death and are told about the life he had and the people who were in it. Along the way, we start to understand that Eddie feels his life was lacking and not meaningful. The last section of the story takes place in Heaven where Eddie meets five people who he touched during his life. He then learns of how important he was throughout his life even if it wasn’t readily apparent to him. This short parable like story will have you feeling uplifted and that you have a purpose by the end.

Subject Headings:  Spirituality, Death, Inspirational

Appeal:  Easy, Heartwarming, Hopeful, Optimistic, Thoughtful, Introspective, Inspiring, Gentle, Timeless, Accessible, Breezy, Simple

3 Terms That Best Describe This Book: Hopeful, Heartwarming, Inspiring

Similar Authors and Works

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Voices of Many Waters: Irrefutable Evidence of Life After Death by Alan Youngblood-A factual study of the possibility of a life after death. This is a readable book where you can explore this topic further.

Theme Park Design: Behind the Scenes With an Engineer by Steve Alcorn-Get  a basic knowledge of theme parks and the maintenance issues that Eddie dealt with during his life.

Learning to Love Yourself: Finding Your Self-Worth by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruise-a place to gain insight into how people get over feeling like Eddie did all his life. Start now before you are in Heaven.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

  Life’s Golden Ticket: An Inspirational Story by Brendon Burchard-Another inspirational tale that is set in an amusement park. An uplifting story that will appeal to readers of The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

Name:  Mary Othic

The Bluest Eye

August 17, 2011

Author: Toni Morrison

Title: The Bluest Eye

Genre: Literary Fiction,  African-American

Publication Date: 1970

No. of Pages: 224

Geographical Setting: Lorain, Ohio

Time Period: Years following the Great Depression

Series: NA

Plot Summary: An African-American family, the MacTeers, is struggling out of the Great Depression in Lorain, Ohio when they take in a troubled girl from a rough background, Pecola, when she is forced “outdoors.” All her life Pecola has hid behind the “ugliness” of her dark skin and brown eyes, always wishing and praying for beautiful blue eyes. As she struggles to find her way with a strange new family, her own family fights against their demons of racism, alcoholism and sexual depravity.

While Pecola and her fervent wish for blue eyes may be the focus of The Bluest Eye, her character is rarely developed throughout the story. Rather her struggles and gradual surrender to insanity are documented through the eyes of those closest to her, effectively underscoring the actions of the remaining characters. This is a story of vulnerability and of a young girl unable to overcome her circumstances, even to get blue eyes. Readers should be aware of several disturbing scenes that are sexual in nature.

Subject Headings: African-Americans, Racism – United States, Family Relations

Appeal: unhurried, emotionally-charged, character-centered, vivid, flawed, historical details, timeless, intimate, poignant, dialect, gritty, stark

3 Terms that Best Describe this Book: emotionally-charged, flawed, gritty

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race by Jennifer Ritterhouse (Explores the unwritten rules of segregation in the South that guided child development)

Killers of the Dream by Lillian Smith (A Southern white view of the psychological and moral consequences of the Southern mindset on sin, sex and segregation)

In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (The companion book to the PBS series, Gates helps 19 individuals explore their pasts while gaining a better understanding of their own personality)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Uncle Tom’s Children by Richard Wright (A collection of powerful novellas illustrating the racism and oppression African-Americans lived with in the post-slavery era – originally published in 1938, this plays out in the same time period of The Bluest Eye and delves into some of the same issues of race)

Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell (A poor white family of sharecroppers struggles to survive during the Depression and retain their slim social standing among the black community they live – similar backdrop of the Great Depression and familial tensions)

Oral History by Lee Smith (A college student returns to her childhood home in the Appalachians to research the complex and cursed history of her family – a similar story of a doomed family and all their flaws and foibles)

by Denise

No-No Boy

August 17, 2011

Author: John Okada

Title: No-No Boy

Genre: Multi-cultural, Asian-American

Publication Date: 1957

Number of Pages: 260

Geographical Setting: Seattle, WA

Time Period: 1945, just following World War II

Series: n/a

Plot Summary: 25 year old Ichiro grew up in Seattle, but for four years sat captive, experiencing the horrors of internment camps and prisons. The United States punished Ichiro, as they did countless Japanese-Americans, because he resembled the enemy. Ichiro was a no-no boy, a Japanese-American who refused to fight in WWII. Now, the country he loved and viewed as a beacon of hope has turned its back on him because he did not have the heart to fight a war. Following the end of WWII and his release from prison, Ichiro constantly struggles with shame and regret for his decision. Although Ichiro’s parents represent his biggest supporters, home offers little comfort; Ichiro’s mother believes Japan has won the war and awaits the arrival of Japanese ships to bring the family home. Meanwhile, Ichiro’s internal struggles alter his once bright personality and strong ambition. The only chance for Ichiro to regain his lost identity is through friendship and self-acceptance.
Okada, a Japanese-American, respectfully and accurately depicts the struggles of Japanese-Americans following World War II. The author examines key issues related to immigration including profound conflicts of culture and racism. Okada does so in a detailed and accessible manner. The themes and writing style render this book a timeless resource for any one living, or curious about, the immigrant experience in the United States.

Subject Headings: Japanese-Americans; Japanese-Americans—Mass Internment, 1942-1945; Immigrants–United States; Racism–United States; Post World War II; Japanese-Americans–Family Relations; Suicide; Conflicts of Culture–United States

Appeal: Relaxed, Emotionally-charged, Poignant, Sympathetic, Evocative, Introspective, Issue oriented, Thought-provoking, Character-centered, Historical Details, Accurate, Timeless, Accessible, Intimate, Dialect, Detailed, Flashbacks

Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: Character-centered, Emotionally-charged, Timeless

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
(This memoir offers an emotionally-charged account of Japanese-American internment during WWII and the experience of Japanese-Americans following the war. Like No-No Boy, this book offers the perspective of a young Japanese-American during WWII who experiences racism, imprisonment, and culture conflicts.)

Paper Daughter by Elaine M. Mar
(Although the frame of this book differs slightly from No-No Boy because it involves Chinese immigrants in a more contemporary setting, this autobiography manages to accurately and emotionally convey the immigrant experience in the United States. A distinct similarity between the books involves the account of the struggles between an immigrant mother who denies American values and a child who embraces them,)

Looking like the Enemy: My Story of Imprisonment in Japanese-American Internment Camps by Mary Matsuda Gruenewald
(Gruenewald offers an emotionally-charged and accurate description of life in internment camps during WWII. The Japanese-American author offers numerous historical details in an accessible manner. The result is a timeless book about racism, immigration, overcoming adversity, and self-acceptance.)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
(This novel revolves around the tumultuous life of a Japanese-American who has just returned to the Pacific Northwest after being held captive in an internment camp. The novel appears character-driven, issue oriented, and presented at a relaxed pace. Racism represents one of the most thought-provoking issues tackled in the book.)

Color of the Sea by John Hamamura
(This story details the experiences of a Japanese-American man who is torn away from his loved ones after they are placed in an internment camp. The main character deals with a major conflict of culture as he enlists in the US army to carry out a secret mission upon Japan. This issue-oriented and character-centered book offers a timeless account of prejudice and racism. The writing style accessible and detailed.)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
(This thought-provoking and issue-oriented classic tackles racism, stereotype, and prejudice within a single US community. The plot revolves around the trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman. This is a timeless, coming-of-age story told through the prospective of a young protagonist. The storyline is character-driven.)

The Other Side of the River

August 6, 2011

Author: Alex Kotlowitz

Title: The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America’s Dilemma

Genre: Nonfiction, True Crime

Publication Date: 1998

Number of Pages: 317

Geographical Setting: Benton Harbor, Michigan and St. Joseph, Michigan

Time Period: 1992-1996 with references to events occurring in 1991 and earlier.

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Journalist Alex Kotlowitz comes to Benton Harbor, Michigan with the intention of examining one of America’s poorest and most violent communities. This changes, however, when Kotlowitz discovers that 16 year-old Eric McGinnis, a black boy from the impoverished town, was found floating in the river dissecting Benton Harbor and its predominately white and affluent neighbor, St. Joseph. Kotlowitz becomes obsessed with the death, one that was hastily ruled an accident. The author spends four years traveling between the two starkly different communities in an attempt to discover the truth behind Eric’s death. Kotlowitz learns that the notion of truth vastly differs as he crosses the bridge connecting each town. Benton Harbor residents know Eric was murdered, likely by a white person from St. Joseph. St. Joseph residents, however, would like to let the tragic event live in the past. Despite their differences, residents of both towns fear the potential for race riots and chaos if the truth about Eric’s death is ever discovered. This investigative story offers a bleak account of race relations and racial inequality in the United States. It also presents a gritty report of the senseless violence prevalent throughout impoverished communities. Despite its stark tone, this book reads quickly as its subject compels its reader to learn more about the mysterious and tragic death.

Subject Headings: Murder Victims–Michigan, Unsolved Murders–Michigan, McGinnis, Eric, d. 1991, Race Relations–Case Studies–United States, Poverty–Benton Harbor (MI), Investigative Journalism, Violent Crimes–Teens, African-Americans

Appeal: Atmospheric, Compelling, Episodic, Bleak, Gritty, Poignant, Uneasy, Intriguing, Sobering, Multiple Points of View, Sympathetic, Investigative, Issue-oriented, Moving, Thought provoking, Violent, Tragic, Timeless, Urban, Informative, Journalistic, Frank, Well-Researched

Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: Issue-oriented, Gritty, Sobering

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:
The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge by T.J. English
(This journalistic account of race relations and violence during the most violent period in the history of New York City details murder investigations, corrupt police, and racial tension. The result is an issue-oriented, tragic, and timeless work of non-fiction that creates a gritty tone and sobering mood.)

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
(This journalistic piece of non-fiction revolves around a violent murder and the ensuing investigation. In addition to representing a true crime story, Capote offers a frank discussion of senseless violence in the United States, thereby creating a sobering mood.)

Hate Crime: The Story of a Dragging in Jasper, Texas by Joyce King
(This investigative true-crime story offers a discussion of racism and inequality in the United States through the frame of a violent hate crime. The author creates a bleak and stark vision of race relations in the US that proves sobering)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:
Native Son by Richard Wright
(This novel features a violent murder in an urban setting. The events help demonstrate racial inequality and injustice in the urban United States. Other themes discussed include African-American poverty and hopelessness. Wright creates a novel with a compelling pace that is coupled with a bleak mood and thought-provoking story.)

A Murder of Justice by Andrew Roberts
(This novel tells a compelling story in which urban law enforcement coerce testimony during a murder investigation. The police force faces racially-charged pressure to convict the African-American suspect with a criminal past. The novel is thought-provoking, gritty, issue-oriented, and tragic.)

Snow Angels by James Thompson
(Thompson relies on a gritty writing-style and fast pace to present an investigative novel about the role of racism and xenophobia in a violent murder that takes place in Finland. The novel comes from the point of view of the passionate criminal inspector.)

Dan Thorson

I, Jedi by Michael A. Stackpole

August 1, 2011

Author: Stackpole, Michael A.

Title: Star Wars: I, Jedi

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 1998 (Hardcover), 1999 (Softcover)

Number of Pages: 577

Geographical Setting: A galaxy far, far away

Time Period: A long time ago

Series (If applicable): Star Wars – Stand alone novel.

Plot Summary: Corran Horn was once a former officer and pilot in the Corellian Security Force. For personal and political reasons he defected to join the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire, that still persists after the destruction of the second Death Star at the Battle of Endor. Having worked his way through the piloting ranks of the Rebellion, Corran now finds himself as a lead pilot in the Rogue Squadron, the Rebellion/New Republic’s most elite starfighter squadron. During his time in Rogue Squadron, Corran discovers a long lost secret about his heritage and finds that he is descendant from a long and storied line of Jedi Knights. When his wife goes missing on a mission for the newly formed New Republic, Horn joins the first class of Luke Skywalker’s newly formed Jedi Academy, so that he might gain the skills necessary to rescue his wife. Disappointed with the deliberate pace of  Skywalker’s teachings, Corran leaves half trained, and during his mission to save his wife, finds himself tempted by the dark side of the Force.

Subject Headings: Star Wars, George Lucas, Jedi, Galactic Empire, Corran Horn, fighter pilots, The Force.

3 terms that best describe this book: High adventure, suspenseful, space opera.

Similar Authors and Works: Karen Travis, James Luceno, Troy Denning all are regular contributors to the Star Wars Universe. While they have their own unique styles they all know how to maintain the pace of a Star Wars novel.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card – This book is also about space battles, very dramatic and focuses on a main character’s training and personal development.

Look to Windward by Iain Banks – An intricate plot punctuated by pitched space battles between good and evil.

Once a Hero by Elizabeth Moon – Fast paced science fiction about space warfare, and the main character coming to terms with a storied heritage.


Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Star Wars Art: Visions by J.W. Rinzler (Introduction)  & George Lucas (Foreword)

Star Wars: The Complete Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds, James Luceno & Ryder Windham

Star Wars Character Encyclopedia by DK Publishing

by  Morgan S. Lewis

The Night Following

July 25, 2011

Author: Morag Joss

Title: The Night Following

Genre: Suspense

Publication Date:  Feb 2008

Number of Pages: 354

Geographical Setting: Wiltshire Countryside

Time Period: modern

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: A woman finds out that her husband is cheating and is not as bothered by it as she thought she would be. She starts to drive and in her absent mindedness kills a woman on a bicycle. She then has an ongoing battle with herself as to whether to turn herself in or not.

Subject Headings: England

Appeal: Suspenseful, psychological, uneasy suspenseful. Uneasy, psychological, leisurely –paced, descriptive, unhurried, sobering, introspective, well- developed, insightful, layered, timeless

Three Terms that Describe:Suspenseful, psychological, uneasy

Similar Authors and Works:

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1.         Josser: days and nights in the circus by Nell Stroud

Explores the exclusive and familial life of circus performers through the eyes of Nell Stroud, who joined a traveling circus in 1991 at the age of eighteen, following her mother’s disastrous head injury.

2.         Breaking night: my journey from homeless to Harvard– by Liz Murray

Both stories show a characters journey. The author offers an account of her journey from a fifteen-year-old living on the streets and eating garbage to her acceptance into Harvard, a feat that prompted a Lifetime movie and a successful motivational-speaking career.

3.         If nights could talk: a family memoir by Marsha Recknagel

Another story about a characters journey. A poignant account of love and redemption in this memoir of a rich Southern family, who desperately needs emotional stability, follows the author, as she cares for her sixteen-year-old nephew, Jamie, who has escaped from his turbulent home, and attempts to repair the damage that has been done to this troubled boy.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1.         The Sea-John Banville

Following the death of his wife, Max Morden retreats to the seaside town of his childhood summers, where his own life becomes inextricably entwined with the members of the vacationing Grace family.

2.         Howards End- Edward Morgan

Howards End, an English country house, passes to the moneyed, the cultured, and then to the lower class.

3.         The Golden Bowl- Henry James

The close relationship between American millionaire Adam Venuer and his daughter Maggie threatens their respective marriages.

Name: Juanita Fisher

The Hobbit

July 25, 2011

Author:  J.R.R. Tolkien

Title:  The Hobbit

Genre:  Fantasy fiction

Publication Date:  1966

Number of Pages:  272

Geographical Setting:  Middle Earth

Time Period:  Unknown

Series (If applicable):  Precedes The Lord of the Rings series

Plot Summary:  Hobbit Bilbo Baggins is enticed from his comfortable life in his Hobbit-hole to go along on a journey with 12 dwarves and a wizard to act as their thief on their mission to recover their lost treasure.  The group sets out across dangerous Middle Earth, facing trolls, elves, goblins, wolves and more to find the dwarves’ treasure and free it from the fierce dragon that guards it.  Tolkien creates a new world for readers to journey through alongside lively characters and original creatures in this timeless story.

Subject Headings:  Fantasy fiction; epic fiction; Middle Earth

Appeal:  Relaxed pace, atmospheric, magical, detailed characters, series characters, action-oriented, plot-driven, cinematic, detailed setting, timeless, candid, well-crafted

3 terms that best describe this book:  Adventure, timeless, world-building

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

–       Brian Sibley’s The Lord of the Rings: The Making of the Movie Trilogy – could interest avid J.R.R. Tolkien fans that want to read anything to do with the series

–       Michael N. Stanton’s Hobbits, Elves and Wizards: Exploring the Wonders and Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” – further reading for fans of the world and creatures Tolkien created

–       Daniel Grotta’s The Biography of J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth – this would be a good choice for anyone wanting to learn more about the author that changed modern fantasy fiction

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

–       J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series – similar characters and worlds; both have a good mix of plot and characterization

–       Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series – adult fantasy series that share’s The Hobbit’s relaxed pace and strong sense of place.

–       Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series – fantasy fiction with a similarly plot-driven story

Name:  Julie Foote

The Thirteenth Tale

July 25, 2011

Author:  Diane Setterfield

Title:  The Thirteenth Tale

Genre:  Adult books for young adults: Gothic fiction

Publication Date:  2006

Number of Pages:  406

Geographical Setting:  England, Yorkshire, Banbury

Time Period:  Timeless

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary:

Vita Winter is a well-known author who has written over fifty novels, yet no one knows the truth about who she is.  She enlists the help of a biographer, Margaret Lea, and finally begins to tell the story of her life.  Vita relates the tale of the Angelfield family, which is tragic from the dysfunctional relationships of Isabelle and Charlie, the twins Adeline and Emmaline and the ghost and servants that inhabit and haunt the mansion.  While Vita is relating the ghosts of her past, Margaret has to come to terms with the secrets of her past.  It is dark, compelling, tragic story that hooks the reader from the very beginning, much like Vita’s books are described.  The story alternates between the flashbacks of Vita’s story and the life of Margaret Lea and what she uncovers through her research.  There are an abundance of literary references, which are woven seamlessly into the story.

Subject Headings:  Women authors, Storytellers, Family Secrets, Twins, Ghosts, Booksellers, Books and Reading


Atmospheric, creepy, compelling, intricately plotted, emotionally charged, suspenseful, well-developed, intriguing, tragic, well-crafted, literary references, timeless

3 terms that best describe this book:

Compelling, timeless, intricately plotted

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Twins David Fields(explores relationships of Twins)

The Glass Castle Jeanette Walls (Explores dysfunctional family, caring for

oneself as a child)

England’s Thousand Best Houses Simon Jenkins (Houses of England by county, house is an important piece of the book)

Reading matters: five centuries of discovering books Margaret Willies (Explores book selling, reading tastes, English literature, main components in book)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

Ghostwalk Rebecca Stott ( Tale about secrets, biographers,supernatural)

The distant hours Kate Morton (gothic fiction, tale of twins and family secrets)

The Turn of the Screw Henry James (Character driven, creepy, atmospheric)

Name:  Sara Bartels