Set In: Wine Country

Seeing as late summer/early fall is the ideal time to harvest grapes (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), we thought we’d take a look at books set in wine country. These regions, whether in Northern California, or virtually anywhere in France, lend themselves to unique stories involving growing, harvesting, and of course, competition. Keep in mind, however, reading a few of the following titles might just get you a bit tipsy with wine knowledge. Santé!



Bordeaux – Paul Torday

  • Taking an unexpected detour on the way home from work, Wilberforce, a wealthy, self-contained young man, is drawn into an unexpected new world thanks to an encounter with Francis Black, an eccentric and enigmatic wine merchant, who introduces Wilberforce to fine wines, new friends, and his new wife, but he soon discovers that his new life comes at a price.

A Delicate Finish – Jeanette Baker

  • Left by her husband, Jake, without a word of explanation, Francesca DeAngelo struggles to cope with a hundred-year-old vineyard, a young son, and feisty mother-in-law, but now she is confronted by smooth-talking Mitchell Gillette, who is putting small independent vintners out of business and the return of her repentant husband.

A Good Year – Peter Mayle

  • Having lost his biggest client to an unscrupulous boss, Max Skinner journeys to Provence to inspect a vineyard he has inherited and finds additional challenges in a California woman’s claim on the estate.

House of Daughters – Sarah-Kate Lynch

  • Expecting to inherit the family’s vineyard in the French province of Champagne after her father’s death, Clementine discovers to her dismay that she must share the inheritance with her two half-sisters.

Nose – James Conaway

  • Delightedly discovering a first Cabernet to receive his highest score, egotistical wine critic Clyde Craven-Jones investigates the vintage’s mysterious origins with his wife and two underdogs only to land in the middle of a scandalous family squabble with ties to a decades-old wrongdoing.

Sideways – Rex Pickett

  • What better way for two friends to contemplate their last days of freedom (Jack) or reevaluate their lives (Miles) than to take off on a weeklong road trip from L.A. to the Santa Ynez wine country?

The Villa – Nora Roberts

  • Sparks fly, as two wine-making families merge–the Giambellis and the MacMillans–and try to make the deal work. Tyler MacMillan and Sophia Giambelli are forced to work very closely together and are torn between a powerful attraction and a professional rivalry.

The Vineyard – Barbara Delinsky

  • A woman and her daughter accept an invitation to spend the summer on a vineyard to help the owner, a widow, write her memoir. They soon learn that all is not as it seems at the vineyard.

The Vintner’s Daughter – Kristen Harnisch

  • When Sara Thibault escapes a murder charge in 1895 France, she ends up in America, where she can put her knowledge of the wine-making process to work to save herself and her sister.

The Winemaker’s Daughter – Timothy Egan

  • Brunella, an accomplished Seattle architect, stumbles upon a web of family secrets, while struggling to help her aging father protect his beloved vineyard during a drought that is ravaging the Pacific Northwest.



Joni Folger’s Tangled Vines series

  1. Grapes of Death
  2. Of Merlot and Murder

Ellen Crosby’s Wine Country series

  1. The Merlot Murders
  2. The Chardonnay Charade
  3. The Bordeaux Betrayal
  4. The Riesling Retribution
  5. The Viognier Vendetta
  6. The Sauvignon Secret

Carole Price’s Shakespeare in the Vineyard series

  1. Twisted Vines



Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine – Benjamin Wallace

  • Describes the 1985 purchase of a bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite Bordeaux for $156,000, the mysterious background of the wine, and the enigmatic wine collector who discoverd the bottle, once supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson, in a bricked-up Paris cellar.

Blood and Wine: The Unauthorized Story of the Gallo Wine Empire – Ellen Hawkes

  • A portrait of the Gallos uncovers the existence of the family’s black sheep, Joseph Jr.–Ernest and Julio’s younger brother–and probes into why he was denied his third of the winery.

Inventing Wine: A New History of One of the World’s Most Ancient Pleasures – Paul Lukacs

  • Describes the eight thousand year history of wine, chronicling the changes that have taken place in preparation and taste as the ancient world gave way to the scientific, industrial, social, and ideological revolutions of modern times.

Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting that Revolutionized Wine – George M. Taber

  • Looks at an event held in 1976 in which French judges, during a blind taste-test, chose unknown California wines to be superior to Frances’ best wines.

Passion on the Vine: A Memoir of Food, Wine and Family in the Heart of Italy  – Sergio Esposito

  • Recounts the author’s childhood in Naples and New York, focusing on his deep association between wine and family, and discusses the winemaking process in different parts of the world.

Reflections of a Wine Merchant – Neal Rosenthal

  • A successful importer of classically made European wines discusses his decision to learn about wine and old-world wine production thirty years ago, his observations about the role of terrain in imparting distinctive qualities, and his relationships with traditional winemakers.

The Road to Burgundy: The Unlikely Story of an American Making Wine and a New Life in France – Ray Walker

  • Recounts the author’s decision to abandon his financial career to pursue a dream of running a Burgundy vineyard, describing his immersion into regional wine history and the ancient techniques that rendered him a first non-French winemaker to produce a vintage from Le Chambertin.

A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover’s Dream – Ferenc Máté

  • Shares the story of how two New Yorkers converted an ancient farm into a renowned winery, a labor of love during which they struggled to plant fifteen acres of vines while drawing on the wisdom of famous vintner neighbors.

Virgile’s Vineyard: A Year in the Languedoc Wine Country – Patrick Moon

  • An Englishman crosses the Channel to spend a year in the vineyards of France. Overcoming the traditional Briton’s bewilderment at sunshine, he learns a bit about the quaint locals and an awful lot about oenology.


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The Way Back Machine – Best Sellers 2002

Only going back a dozen years this week (still, though, is it even possible we’re almost 15 years into this new century? Doesn’t 2002 seem like yesterday?) For those of us in the Intermountain West, 2002 started out with a big bang since the Winter Olympics were in Salt Lake City. If you can’t remember that, maybe you’ll remember these events:

  • In January, Euro notes and coins start circulating.
  • In March, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry take home the top acting Oscars at the 74th Academy Awards, the first time the two awards went to African-Americans in the same year.
  • In November, the UN passes a unanimous resolution warning Saddam Hussein to disarm.

In case you’re still having difficulty thinking back to 2002, here are the New York Times Best Sellers for the week of September 22. Maybe you’ll recognize a favorite – or remember what was going on in your life as you read them.



1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

2. Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy

3. Dark Horse by Tami Hoag

4. Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg

5. The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Morgawr by Terry Brooks

6. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

7. The Remnant by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins

8. Celebrate Through Heartsongs by Mattie J. T. Stepanek

9. The Beach House by James Patterson and Peter De Jonge

10. Mission Compromised by Oliver North with Joe Musser

11. The Grave Maurice by Martha Grimes

12. A Love of My Own by E. Lynn Harris

13. The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen



1. Let’s Roll! by Lisa Beamer with Ken Abraham

2. Let Freedom Ring by Sean Hannity

3. What We Saw by CBS News

4. Above Hallowed Ground by Photographers of the New York City Police Department

5. Breakdown: How America’s Intelligence Failures Led to September 11 by Bill Gertz

6. A Mind at a Time by Mel Levine

7. Slander by Ann Coulter

8. Longitudes and Attitudes by Thomas L. Friedman

9. The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It by John Miller and Michael Stone with Chris Mitchell

10. Good to Great by Jim Collins

11. Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss

12. Stupid White Men by Michael Moore

13. A Nation Challenged by The New York Times

14. The Lobster Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw

15. Among the Heroes by Jere Longman

14. Charleston by John Jakes

15. Shadow Puppets by Orson Scott Card


Take Ten: The Roosevelts

With the new Ken Burns documentary airing next week, the name Roosevelt seems to be everywhere. The film should be interesting (and it’s getting good reviews), but I’m not sure that 14 hours can do justice to these three titans of the 20th Century. Start with the companion book – The Roosevelts: An Intimate Portrait by Geoffrey C. Ward – and then venture out to a few more books that cover them more extensively. Whether we talk about their impact in a political or social sense, there’s no denying that they served a large role in helping to define America. Learn more about this fascinating trio with one of these titles.


Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (1858-1919)

The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism – Doris Kearns Goodwin

Bully!: The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt – Richard Marschall

Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt’s Doomed Quest to Clean up Sin-Loving New York – Richard Zacks

Mornings on Horseback – David McCullough

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey – Candice Millard

The Rough Riders: An Autobiography – Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912 – Gerard Helferich

Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics – Michael Wolraich

When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House – Patricia O’Toole

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America – Douglas Brinkley


Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 – 1945)

By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans – Greg Robinson

The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope – Jonathan Alter

FDR – Jean Edward Smith

FDR v. the Constitution: The Court-Packing Fight and the Triumph of Democracy – Burt Solomon

Final Victory: FDR’s Extraordinary Campaign for President During World War II - Stanley Weintraub

Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship – Jon Meacham

The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency – James Tobin

Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt – H. W. Brands

Young Mr. Roosevelt: FDR’s Introduction to War, Politics, and Life – Stanley Weintraub

Six Months in 1945: FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Truman – From World War to Cold War – Michael Dobbs


Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962)

Casting Her Own Shadow: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Shaping of Postwar Liberalism – Allida M. Black

Dear Mrs. Roosevelt: Letters to Eleanor Roosevelt Through Depression and War – ed. Cathy D. Knepper

Eleanor: The Years Alone – Joseph P. Lash

Eleanor Roosevelt: An American Conscience – Tamara K. Hareven

Eleanor Roosevelt, Reluctant First Lady – Lorena A. Hickok

She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker – Brigid O’Farrell

This I Remember – Eleanor Roosevelt

What I Hope to Leave Behind: The Essential Essays of Eleanor Roosevelt – Eleanor Roosevelt

With Love, Aunt Eleanor: Stories from My Life with the First Lady of the World – Eleanor Roosevelt II

A World of Love: Eleanor Roosevelt and Her Friends, 1943-1962 – Joseph P. Lash


And two extra that look at the relationship between Franklin and Eleanor:

Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage – Hazel Rowley

Too Close to the Sun: Growing Up in the Shadow of My Grandparents, Franklin and Eleanor – Curtis Roosevelt


Snake River Canyon 1, Evel Knievel 0

Sep 9 1974_full    September 8, 1974 was a disappointing day for many Americans; not only were they reeling from the news that Gerald Ford had issued a pardon for Richard Nixon, but their favorite dare-devil had failed in his attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon. Evel Knievel’s rocket parachute opened shortly after take-off, rendering his whole jump a disaster. Nowhere was there more disappointment than in Twin Falls – the newspaper the next day offered many opinions from the masses who had gathered to witness the event. The excitement of the jump had brought national exposure, both wanted and unwanted, and repercussions that the community felt for long afterward.

   Knievel’s stunt may have been the epic fail of the 70s – the chaos surrounding that event still lingers on in our collective memories – but it did bring about a few positives. The people of Twin Falls learned a few lessons about big-time promotion, as well as the idea that we could survive the outcome of such an event. Plus, it put our area on the map – and you know the saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

   Relive the event – without the problems – by reading the Twin Falls Times-News accounts of the jump:

Set In: Hotels

The Stanley Hotel in Colorado served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s book “The Shining.”

I finished a pretty good book this past month (Bellweather Rhapsody) where all of the action took place in a hotel just past its prime. The writer was channeling Stephen King’s The Shining, another pretty good book with a focus on an even more atmospheric hotel setting. Then, just a few days ago, I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel, a Wes Anderson film that relies on its hotel setting as a foundation for the ensuing wackiness of the main characters. That got me wondering – what is it about hotels that seems to bring out the crazy in people? Whether sweet or strange or sinister, the following books treat hotels almost as if they were just another character.



At Bertram’s Hotel – Agatha Christie

  • On holiday, Miss Marple senses something sinister at Bertram’s Hotel. She’s right: the police believe some of the guests are involved with criminals. Abduction, train robbery, and the murder of the hotel’s doorman confuse the authorities, but Miss Marple deduces the truth.

Bellweather Rhapsody – Kate Racculia

  • A young music prodigy goes missing from a hotel room that was the site of an infamous murder-suicide 15 years earlier, renewing trauma for a bridesmaid who witnessed the first crime and rallying an eccentric cast of characters during a snowstorm that traps everyone on the grounds.

Hotel – Arthur Hailey

  • During one sultry summer, the St. Gregory Hotel in New Orleans becomes the setting for a series of private and public adventures in romance and intrigue.

Hotel Honolulu – Paul Theroux

  • A shabby Hawaiian hotel provides the backdrop for a series of interwoven stories about love, crime, friendship, and family, as seen through the eyes of a down-on-his-luck writer who takes a job as hotel manager.

Hotel New Hampshire - John Irving

  • John, the middle son in an eccentric family with five children, one bear, and a dog named Sorrow, describes growing up in a hotel.

Hotel Vendome – Danielle Steel

  • Devoting himself to his young daughter and his five-star hotel after his divorce, Hugues Martin reevaluates his prospects when his daughter eventually pursues an education in France and he falls in love with a woman who understands his professional passions.

Northern Light – Jennifer Donnelly

  • In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Based on a true story.

Sea of Tears – Nani Power

  • The Renaissance Hotel of Washington, D.C., shelters an array of unique characters, from Jedra, a refugee technician from Iraq, to Phyllis, a desk clerk who remembers Heaven, all of them searching for love and meaning in a mysterious and enchanting world.

The Shining – Stephen King

  • Jack Torrance sees his stint as winter caretaker of a Colorado hotel as a way back from failure, his wife sees it as a chance to preserve their family, and their five-year-old son sees the evil waiting just for them.

Suite Scarlett – Maureen Johnson

  • Fifteen-year-old Scarlett Marvin is stuck in New York City for the summer working at her quirky family’s historic hotel, but her brother’s attractive new friend and a seasonal guest who offers her an intriguing and challenging writing project improve her outlook.

The White Rhino Hotel – Bartle Bull

  • It is in colonial Kenya, at Lord Penfold’s White Rhino Hotel, that the paths of these new settlers cross. Here they meet the cunning dwarf Olivio Alevado, a man whose lustful desires and vengeful schemes make him a formidable adversary to his enemies and a subtle ally to his friends. Here the destinies of the gypsy adventurer Anton Rider and the courageous, war-hardened Gwenn Llewelyn intersect. Here hope is corrupted by greed, love by revenge, and loyalty by betrayal as the future is trampled into history.



Five-Star Mystery Series: Murder at the Universe – Daniel Edward Craig

  • When the owner of Universe Hotel in New York is found dead, it is up to the hotel’s Director of Rooms, Trevor Lambert, to preserve the dignity of the hotel while struggling to keep the details of the murder away from a nosy reporter who wants to expose the story on national television.

Emma Graham Series: Hotel Paradise  –  Martha Grimes

  • A 12-year-old girl, waiting at tables in her mother’s hotel, becomes interested in the death, 40 years earlier, of a girl her age. The victim drowned in a nearby lake. So little Emma Graham starts analyzing available evidence, questions old ladies and woodsmen, and through perseverance solves a mystery. By the author of The End of the Pier.

Lighthouse Inn Series: Innkeeping with Murder – Tim Myers

  • At the cozy and quirky Hatteras West Inn, innkeeper Alex Winston investigates when one of his guests is found dead at the top of the lighthouse, the first in a series of odd “accidents” that begin to plague the getaway.



The Enders Hotel – Brandon R. Schrand (Idaho Author)

  • A memoir of growing up in the rural town of Soda Springs, Idaho, describes life in the dilapidated if historic Enders Hotel, Cafe, and Bar, the colorful and and haunted characters who passed through its doors, and the author’s own struggle to find his own identity in the faces of a never-seen father and desperate boarders.

Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality – Jacob Tomsky

  • A veteran of the hospitality business uses humor and irreverence to describe working in the industry, coming clean on the housekeeping department, the unwritten code of bellhops and what really goes on in a valet parking garage.

Hotel: An American History – A. K. Sandoval-Strausz

  • Presents a history of the nineteenth-century first-class hotel, of what hotels have meant to American business, culture, and racial politics.

The Siege: 68 Hours Inside the Taj Hotel – Cathy Scott-Clark

  • Describes what took place during the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai when terrorists assailed the luxurious Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and how the combined efforts of courageous staff and guests helped keep the death toll down.


And, of course…

Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown Ups – Kay Thompson

  • Six-year-old Eloise lives with her mother and her English nanny at the Plaza Hotel, where she finds many opportunities to indulge in mischief.


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Back to School – Fast Classics

School starts for much of the Magic Valley next week, which means that the kids are probably going to squeeze every bit of summer vacation out of the next few days. And while most of those activities might be fun, I’m sure there’s a handful of kids that didn’t quite finish their reading list for the new school year.

In honor of back to school – and possibly in service to those students who need to get a book finished before Monday – here’s a short list of short classics. Each is less than 250 pages, so you could probably finish them in one or two sittings, and all would please even the fussiest English teacher. Plus, most are just darn good stories. Enjoy!



The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

  • An 80-year-old mansion harboring dark secrets comes to menacing life in this classic spine-tingling tale from Shirley Jackson. Anthropologist and ghost hunter Dr. John Montague invites four strangers to stay in haunted Hill House for the summer. One of the guests is 32-year-old Eleanor, for whom three months in a haunted house is preferable to caring for her invalid mother. Soon, Eleanor begins to see and hear things that the other guests cannot. Is it all in her imagination, or is she the only one who can perceive the evil that lurks in Hill House? (246 pages)

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

  • The classic study of human nature which depicts the degeneration of a group of schoolboys marooned on a desert island. (208 pages)

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

  • Marlowe sails down the Congo in search of Kurtz, a company agent who has, according to rumors, become insane in the jungle isolation. (146 pages)



Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

  • The tragic story of two itinerant ranch hands on the run–one is the lifelong companion to the other, a developmentally disabled man. (109 pages)

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

  • Santiago is a Cuban fisherman who encounters a giant marlin in the Gulf Stream and the battle for his catch becomes one of survival against a band of marauding sharks. (127 pages)

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

  • The adventures of an unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch Shepherd, that was kidnapped and shipped off to Alaska to work on the Klondike Gold Rush. Buck the dog quickly learns how to survive in the wild and also learns the call of the wolf. (126 pages)



True Grit by Charles Portis

  • With her papa’s pistol tied to her saddlehorn and a supersized ration of audacity, fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross sets out to avenge her father’s murder. (235 pages)

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

  • Meet the unforgettable Janie Crawford, an articulate African-American woman in the 1930s. Traces Janie’s quest for identity, through three marriages, on a journey to her roots. (231 pages)

A Lost Lady by Willa Cather

  • Mrs. Forrester, the resident aristocrat of Sweet Water, a remote railroad town on the Western frontier, is the lone representative of culture and refinement. (150 pages)



The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

  • A classic novel of the future follows the Time Traveller as he hurtles one million years into the future and encounters a world populated by two distinct races, the childlike Eloi and the disgusting Morlocks who prey on the Eloi. (125 pages)

Animal Farm by George Orwell

  • A satire on totalitarianism in which farm animals overthrow their human owner and set up their own government. (140 pages)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

  • When a young girl falls down a rabbit hole, she discovers a strange and interesting world with fantastical, mad characters as she tries to find her way back home. (129 pages)


Gatsby_ Falcon_Hiroshima

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

  • Jay Gatsby had once loved beautiful, spoiled Daisy Buchanan, then lost her to a rich boy. Now, mysteriously wealthy, he is ready to risk everything to woo her back. (180 pages)

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

  • Sam Spade’s partner is murdered while working on a case, and it is Spade’s responsibility to find the killer. In his search, Spade runs mortal risks as he comes closer to the answer. (217 pages)

Hiroshima by John Hersey

  • The classic tale of the day the first atom bomb was dropped offers a haunting evocation of the memories of survivors and an appeal to the conscience of humanity. (196 pages)


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Take Ten: World War I Fiction

British_55th_Division_gas_casualties_10_April_1918 This August marks the centennial of the beginning of The Great War. For much of Europe, it was a devastating mess, causing deaths and destruction beyond the scope of any prior European war. The aftermath was also transforming on a large scale – political boundaries were redrawn, socioeconomic class distinctions were shaken, and the seed for revolution was planted in almost every region.

The era remains rich for storytelling, however. With varied subjects such as the causes, the trenches, the homefront, and the psychological and physical effects, many writers have plumbed the depths of the war in search for understanding. The novels listed here are prime examples of our need to comprehend the whys and hows of the First World War.

Regeneration by Pat Barker

  • Stressed by the war, poet, pacifist, and protestor Siegfried Sassoon is sent to Craiglockhart Hospital, where his views challenge the patriotic vision of Dr. William Rivers, a neurologist assigned to restore the sanity of shell-shocked soldiers. (This is the first book in the Regeneration WWI trilogy. The others are The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road.)

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

  • After loving and losing a French woman from Amiens, Stephen Wraysford serves in the French army during World War I.

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

  • Follows the fates of five interrelated families–American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh–as they move through the dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

  • Story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front during World War I and his love for an English nurse.

The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak

  • Uprooted from a nineteenth century mining town in Colorado by a shocking family tragedy, young Jozef Vinich returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd’s life in rural Austria-Hungary. When war comes, Jozef is sent as a sharpshooter to the southern front, where he must survive the killing trenches, a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps, and capture by a victorious enemy.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

  • The testament of Paul Baumer, who enlists with his classmates in the German army of World War I, illuminates the savagery and futility of war.

To the Last Man by Michael Shaara

  • In the spring of 1918, when America enters World War I, the world waits to see if the tide of war can be turned with the renewed spirit and strength of the untested American Expeditionary Force under General John “BlackJack” Pershing.

The First of July by Elizabeth Speller

  • Follows the lives of four very different men, Frank, Benedict, Jean-Batiste, and Harry, as their fates converge on the most terrible and destructive day of World War I, the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

  • Independent-minded Bess Crawford’s upbringing is far different from that of the usual upper-middle-class British gentlewoman. At the outbreak of WWI, she volunteers for the nursing corps, serving from the battlefields of France to the doomed hospital ship Britannic. On one voyage, she promises to a deliver a message from a dying officer to his brother. Once she’s able to do so, she’s disturbed at the brother’s indifferent reception of the message, and when an unexpected turn of events provides her with an opportunity to stay with the family for a short time, she takes it. (This the the 1st of the Bess Crawford series, followed by An Impartial Witness, A Bitter Truth, An Unmarked Grave, A Question of Honor, and An Unwilling Accomplice.)

My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

  • The lives of two very different couples–an officer and his aristocratic wife and a young soldier and his childhood sweetheart–are irrevocably intertwined and forever changed in this WWI epic of love and war.


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