Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase
by Louise Walters
I have always delighted in finding memorabilia inside used books I have acquired, often making up histories for the receipts, notes, and other tidbits including two colorful paper-doll princesses (found inside A Year of Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater). Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase tells the story of Roberta, a lonely 34-year-old bibliophile, who works in a secondhand book shop in England.
She often finds notes, letters, and shopping lists from previous owners inside the books. Sometimes even the former owner’s name or initials inside the front cover can bring mystery and wonder, as did the name inside a suitcase full of books that was brought to The Old and New Bookshop by Roberta’s father.
The suitcase had belonged to Roberta’s grandmother but the name inside didn’t match the name by which Roberta had known her. When Roberta discovers a letter from her grandfather to her grandmother, which seems to have been written a year after his death, she begins to search for clues to her father’s origins and thus, her own as well.
Described as an “irresistible page-turner,” Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase will leave you breathless as you witness lives in intimate detail. The story weaves the experiences of Roberta and her grandmother into a tapestry that elucidates the reasons behind tragic and life-changing decisions and how these decisions created complicated tangles. You will come to understand the drive behind basic human desires and the regret and power that can come from decisions made in haste. The way love and duty intersect with pragmatism can bring the unexpected; the hidden history and experience of others, just as in real life, can create surprising allies and enemies.
Kirkus Reviews calls the book “a breath-taking, beautifully crafted tale of loves that survive secrets.” It’s one I would definitely recommend as an enjoyable read! A vacation is always a good time to relax with a book; whether you travel far or stay at home as an “armchair traveler,” books can take you away to other times and places. Wherever you may go, relax often with a good book!
Jami Gaither is a staff member at Cherry Street Books.
My Sister’s Keeper
by Jodi Picoult
No doubt Anna is the perfect match for Kate’s medical needs, especially when she is needed for blood and bone marrow transplants.
There are twists and turns throughout the story and it leaves you on the edge of your seat. This book is a tear jerker and I think it is better than the movie!
Picoult did an amazing job of showing the strong connection between sisters and the love they have for one another, but also the deep and difficult understanding of the struggles each one goes through.
LeSha Massman of Alexandria loves to spend time outdoors with her family.
The Pillars of the Earth
by Ken Follett
This story takes place in 12th century England and begins with the main character, Tom Builder and his family, who are starving and trying to survive in the forest. Tom’s wife dies during childbirth and Tom makes the painful decision to abandon the baby boy, who is later found by a priest and raised in a monastery.
Tom soon falls in love with Ellen and adopts her son as his own. He finds employment building a cathedral for the man who was unknowingly raising the child he abandoned years earlier. In his quest to build the greatest cathedral ever known, a struggle between good and evil erupts, turning church against state and brother against brother.
When this book was recommended to me I didn’t think it would be something I’d be interested in but once I started, I couldn’t put it down and read the 1,000 pages in less than a day. I loved the characters and the story was so engaging that it will always stick in my head as being one of my all-time favorites that I will read over and over.
Michelle Unger of Alexandria works in the media center at Discovery Middle School.