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"The Hypnotist's Love Story" by Liane Moriarty

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The hypnotist has finally started dating someone that seems like he could be “the one.” He tells her on a date that he has a stalker and she finds herself fascinated rather than disturbed. This story is told from the point of view of two characters, one of whom is the stalker. The author has such a way with character development that it's easy to sympathize with the stalker and you find yourself liking her. Moriarty seems to be able to capture the most complicated of human emotions and motivations in a simple and accessible way. There are no black and white issues in her books and the truthfulness of that really shines through. This was a very enjoyable read.

"Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis" by Timothy Egan

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This is the biography of Edward Curtis, a talented photographer.  His obsession was to photograph and document the American Indian before destruction of their ways. Egan writes is a riveting story of how Curtis spent ten years, sacrificed his marriage and family, finances and health to produce a twenty volume work The North American Indian. The photographs at the end of each chapter are a good accompaniment to the text.

"A Light that Never Goes Out: the Enduring Saga of The Smiths" by Tony Fletcher

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This is a detailed story of the band The Smiths by a clearly ardent fan that would certainly be of interest to other fans of the band (like myself), but also to anyone following the history of indie music. They are such an English band, and the author details many locations and subtexts that may not be readily apparent to those who are not native Mancunians or familiar with British pop culture and local history. He talks about all of the band’s influences and shows the reader where they fit into musical history. This is a really thick book of 704 pages covering the span of the band’s life, so there’s a lot of detail here, considering they were only together for 6 years.

"Me before You: a novel" by Jojo Moyes

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Me before You is the story of Louisa Clark, and Will Traynor. “Lou” is a small town British girl, living with her zany family, and a waitress in a small Tea Shoppe. She answers an ad in the paper for a companion to a young man, and is hired for her likability and cheerfulness. Will, who was once a very active man, had an accident and is now a quadriplegic. His depression and sorrow are understood, but his mother would like him to live life in a different way. What follows is a combining of heart and soul, as these two unlikely people share their lives careening toward an unbelievable ending.

"The Last Runaway" by Tracy Chevalier

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In the early 1850’s Quaker sisters, Honor and Grace Bright, set sail for America. They begin a journey to Ohio where Grace will marry Adam Cox, a Quaker, who has settled near Oberlin, Ohio. In Pennsylvania Grace contacts Yellow Fever and dies. With the help of strangers, Honor continues to Ohio. Her arrival, instead of her sister Grace, is an unwelcome surprise to the small Cox household. While Honor struggles to adapt to the Quaker Community in America, she, unwittingly, becomes involved with the Underground Railroad. Once again, Tracy Chevalier has written an informative and compelling historical novel.

"The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" by Ayana Mathis

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This novel by a debut author is written in a thoughtful and very approachable style. The story is told through a series of vignettes focusing on Hattie and her eleven children and one of her grandchildren. While it is a relatively quick and easy read, it packs a big punch as the author weaves you through the years and the lives of Hattie's family. The novel is extremely compelling and I would highly recommend it to anybody who enjoys Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Gloria Naylor or Sandra Cisneros.

"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien

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This is the story of a reluctant adventurer who battles enormous forces. Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist, likes his creature comforts and is unsure as he sets out on an incredible journey to complete an important task. In order to succeed he needs to learn how to get along with others and stand up for what he believes in. It is an inspiring tale of adventure, fellowship, uncertainty, and strength.

"The Forgotten Garden: A Novel" by Kate Morton

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The Forgotten Garden shifts back and forth through time to solve a mystery about a four year old girl Nell; abandoned and waiting alone on a dock in Australia for parents who never come. The only link to her past is a little white suitcase the child carried when she was found.

Nell embarks on an adventure and attempts to piece together the mystery surrounding her past. Her travels lead her to Blackhurst Manor, delving deep into a family's secrets and purchasing a cottage in Cornwall near the Manor. Before she can solve the mystery of her past, Nell dies but her grandaughter Cassandra takes up the quest. This is a fairytale-like novel with old houses and hidden gardens all containing secrets and surprises.

"The Shoemaker's Wife" by Adrianna Trigianni

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​A novel about Italian immigrants and their lives in northern Italy as well as in America in the early 1900s. Enza and Ciro meet on a moonlit night in the cemetery of Sant'Antonio da Padova in Schilpario, Italy when they are just teenagers. They go their separate ways to new lives in America but they never quite leave behind their beautiful homeland. The descriptions are magically vivid and although it is a love story of sorts, it's also a powerful testimony on the strength of the human spirit and the importance of family.

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