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  • C. P. Lesley

Books We Loved, Mar. 2016

Jennifer Weiner, All Fall Down (Atria Books, 2014)

Alternating between hilarious and gut-wrenching, infuriating and uplifting, Jennifer Weiner’s new novel puts a familiar face on addiction. It forces readers to take a hard and honest look at the disease and set aside the idea that only certain kinds of people do drugs and only certain kinds of drugs are “dangerous.” It paints a realistic portrait of a member of a rapidly growing segment of society that deals with the consequences of addiction on an evermore frequent basis, and the ending leaves the reader both exhausted and hopeful.—CJH

Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train (2015)

A murder mystery set in the London suburbs that really makes you wonder what goes on behind closed doors, The Girl on the Train tells the intertwining stories of three women and two men and proves that things are definitely not always as they appear.—CJH

Mary Doria Russell, Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral (Ecco Books, 2015)

If, like me, your entire knowledge of Wyatt Earp is some vague sense that he was a white-hat marshal who kept order during the wildest days of the Wild West, boy, do you have a lot to learn. The real Wyatt was more flawed and therefore more fascinating, and so were his foes. And even better, in a way, is the story of how the legend of the immaculate Earp came to be. You don’t have to read Doc to enjoy this later peek into the lives of Doc Holliday and his friends, but why deny yourself a double pleasure?—CPL

Ann Swinfen, Voyage to Muscovy (Shakenoak Press, 2015)

Book 6 of the Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez takes the protagonist, Kit, to my favorite place, 16th-century Russia, as a member of the Muscovy Company. Kit goes officially to practice medicine at the royal court, unofficially as a spy for Elizabeth I’s government; it’s not clear which occupation will turn out to be more hazardous. Well researched and action-packed, but this author never forgets that the story comes first. If Nasan and Kit hadn’t been born 50 years apart, they would clearly have become fast friends.—CPL

Doris Kearns Goodwin, No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. The Home Front in World War II (Simon & Schuster, 1995)

The partnership between Eleanor and Franklin, their political and personal differences, and their heartbreaking marital disappointments are revealed here with skill and sympathy. A remarkable woman and humanitarian, Eleanor remains a standout for her passion to make a difference in the lives of Americans, her extraordinary personal resilience, courage, honesty, and modesty, still inspiring in this era of the selfie. I could not put this book down.—GR

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