February in Pennsylvania can be cold and dreary, which makes it perfect for staying indoors and getting in some great reading. Here are seven books that I'm looking forward to.
Other Places / Other Times
Small Wars by Sadie Jones transports us to 1950s Cyprus, where British Major Hal Treherne and his wife, Clara, have been transferred. Instead of relaxing in the sunny Mediterranean climate, they find themselves separated by war, each facing his or her own dangers.
The Black Hills by Dan Simmons follows Paha Sapa from the battle at Little Big Horn through to the 1930s and the presidency of FDR. When Paha Sapa counts coup on the dying General Custer, the white man's ghost enters his body, and the Sioux warrior "will hear [the ghost's] voice within him for the rest of his long and eventful life" (publisher's summary).
Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez takes place in the early 1850s. Tawawa House, in Ohio, is a fashionable summer retreat for southern gentlemen, and there six slaves meet, become friends, and get their first glimpse of free blacks.
O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell is a retelling and fleshing out of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In this version, we see an older Juliet who is determined not to marry the boring and hideous man her parents have picked out for her. She is in despair, until she meets Romeo at a party--it is love at first sight.
Nonfiction + Contemporary Fiction
Flawless by Scott Andrew Selby and Greg Campbell is subtitled Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History. In February 2003, a group of thieves pulled off the impossible: They robbed the Antwerp Diamond Center, making off with a half a billion dollars worth of stones. According to the publisher's summary: "This real-life Ocean's Eleven--a combination of diamond history, journalistic reportage, and riveting true-crime story--provides a thrilling in-depth study detailing the better-than-fiction heist of the century."
Brava Valentine is the second in Adriana Trigiani's Valentine series. From Tuscany to Greenwich Village to Buenos Aries, we follow Valentine as she struggles to find happiness and to keep the family shoes business intact. The novel "delivers a hilarious and poignant mix of colorful worlds and unforgettable characters" (publisher's summary).
In Shadow Tag, Louise Erdrich introduces us to a family that is barely holding together. Irene and Gil attempt to put on a united front for the sake of their children, but as that becomes increasingly difficult, Irene thinks about divorce. "In brilliantly controlled prose, Shadow Tag fearlessly explores the complex nature of love, the fluid boundaries of identity, and one family's struggle for survival and redemption" (publisher's summary).
I like the mix of this batch of books, and hope I can read at least a few by the end of the month. What are you looking forward to reading this month?