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Letters Across the Sea

Letters Across the SeaInspired by a little known chapter of World War II history, a young Protestant girl and her Jewish neighbour are caught up in the terrible wave of hate sweeping the globe on the eve of war in this powerful love story that’s perfect for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.If you’re reading this letter, that means I’m dead. I had obviously hoped to see you again, to explain in person, but fate had other plans. 1933 At eighteen years old, Molly Ryan dreams of becoming a journalist, but instead she spends her days working any job she can to help her family through the Depression crippling her city. The one bright spot in her life is watching baseball with her best friend, Hannah Dreyfus, and sneaking glances at Hannah’s handsome older brother, Max. But as the summer unfolds, and of Hitler’s hateful ideas cross the sea and “Swastika Clubs” and “No Jews Allowed” signs spring up around Toronto, a city already simmering with mass unemployment, protests, and unrest. When tensions between the Irish and Jewish communities erupt in a riot one smouldering day in August, Molly and Max are caught in the middle, with devastating consequences for both their families. 1939 Six years later, the Depression has eased and Molly is a reporter at her local paper. But a new war is on the horizon, putting everyone she cares about most in peril. As letters trickle in from overseas, Molly is forced to confront what happened all those years ago, but is it too late to make things right? From the desperate streets of Toronto to the embattled shores of Hong Kong, Letters Across the Sea is a poignant novel about the enduring power of love to cross dangerous divides even in the darkest of times—from the #1 bestselling author of The Forgotten Home Child.

A Curve in the Road

A Curve in the RoadFrom USA Today bestselling author Julianne MacLean comes a suspenseful, emotionally charged novel that explores the secrets and hidden truths within a seemingly perfect marriage.

Abbie MacIntyre is living the dream in the picturesque Nova Scotia town she calls home. She is a successful surgeon, is married to a handsome cardiologist, and has a model teenage son who is only months away from going off to college.

But then one fateful night, everything changes. When a drunk driver hits her car, Abbie is rushed to the hospital. She survives, but the accident forces unimaginable secrets out into the open and plagues Abbie with nightmares so vivid that she starts to question her grip on reality. Her perfect life begins to crack, and those cracks threaten to shatter her world completely.

The search for answers will test her strength in every way—as a wife, a career woman, and a mother—but it may also open the door for Abbie to move forward, beyond anger and heartbreak, to find out what she is truly made of. In learning to heal and trust again, she may just find new hope in the spaces left behind.

How to Pronounce Knife

How to Pronounce KnifeIn the title story of Souvankham Thammavongsa's debut collection, a young girl brings a book home from school and asks her father to help her pronounce a tricky word, a simple exchange with unforgettable consequences. Thammavongsa is a master at homing in on moments like this moments of exposure, dislocation, and messy feeling that push us right up against the limits of language.

The stories that make up How to Pronounce Knife focus on characters struggling to find their bearings in unfamiliar territory, or shuttling between idioms, cultures, and values. A failed boxer discovers what it truly means to be a champion when he starts painting nails at his sister's salon. A young woman tries to discern the invisible but immutable social hierarchies at a chicken processing plant. A mother coaches her daughter in the challenging art of worm harvesting.

In a taut, visceral prose style that establishes her as one of the most striking and assured voices of her generation, Thammavongsa interrogates what it means to make a living, to work, and to create meaning.

The Forgotten Home Child

The Forgotten Home ChildThe Home for Unwanted Girls meets Orphan Train in this unforgettable novel about a young girl caught in a scheme to rid England’s streets of destitute children, and the lengths she will go to find her way home—based on the true story of the British Home Children.2018 At ninety seven years old, Winnifred Ellis knows she doesn’t have much time left, and it is almost a relief to realize that once she is gone, the truth about her shameful past will die with her. But when her great grandson Jamie, the spitting image of her dear late husband, asks about his family tree, Winnifred can’t lie any longer, even if it means breaking a promise she made so long ago 1936 Fifteen year old Winny has never known a real home. After running away from an abusive stepfather, she falls in with Mary, Jack, and their ragtag group of friends roaming the streets of Liverpool. When the children are caught stealing food, Winny and Mary are left in Dr. Barnardo’s Barkingside Home for Girls, a local home for orphans and forgotten children found in the city’s slums. At Barkingside, Winny learns she will soon join other boys and girls in a faraway place called Canada, where families and better lives await them. But Winny’s hopes are dashed when she is separated from her friends and sent to live with a family that has no use for another daughter. Instead, they have paid for an indentured servant to work on their farm. Faced with this harsh new reality, Winny clings to the belief that she will someday find her friends again. Inspired by true events, The Forgotten Home Child is a moving and heartbreaking novel about place, belonging, and family—the one we make for ourselves and its enduring power to draw us home.

Jonny Appleseed

Jonny AppleseedYou're gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine is a mantra that Jonny Appleseed, a young Two Spirit/Indigiqueer, repeats to himself in this vivid and utterly compelling novel. Off the reserve and trying to find ways to live and love in the big city, Jonny becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes himself in order to make a living. Self ordained as an NDN glitter princess, Jonny has one week before he must return to the rez, and his former life, to attend the funeral of his stepfather. The next seven days are like a fevered dream: stories of love, trauma, sex, kinship, ambition, and the heartbreaking recollection of his beloved kokum (grandmother). Jonny's world is a series of breakages, appendages, and linkages and as he goes through the motions of preparing to return home, he learns how to put together the pieces of his life. Jonny Appleseed is a unique, shattering vision of Indigenous life, full of grit, glitter, and dreams.

Washington Black

Washington BlackWashington Black is an eleven year old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born.

When his master's eccentric brother chooses him to be his manservant, Wash is terrified of the cruelties he is certain await him. But Christopher Wilde, or Titch, is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor, and abolitionist.

He initiates Wash into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky; where two people, separated by an impossible divide, might begin to see each other as human; and where a boy born in chains can embrace a life of dignity and meaning. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Titch abandons everything to save him.

What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic, where Wash, left on his own, must invent another new life, one which will propel him further across the globe.

From the sultry cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, Washington Black tells a story of friendship and betrayal, love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again and asks the question, what is true freedom?

From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way

From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My WayIn this extraordinary and inspiring debut memoir, Jesse Thistle—once a high school dropout and now a rising Indigenous scholar—chronicles his life on the streets and how he overcame trauma and addiction to discover the truth about who he is.If I can just make it to the next minute . then I might have a chance to live; I might have a chance to be something than just a struggling crackhead.From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis Cree man who refused to give up.Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, but their tough love attitudes meant conflicts became commonplace. And the ghost of Jesse’s drug addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling, Jesse succumbed to a self destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. One day, he finally realized he would die unless he turned his life around.In this heartwarming and heartbreaking memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful experiences with abuse, uncovering the truth about his parents, and how he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family through education.An eloquent exploration of what it means to live in a world surrounded by prejudice and racism and to be cast adrift, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help one find happiness despite the odds.

Butter Honey Pig Bread

Butter Honey Pig BreadLonglisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize

Spanning three continents, Butter Honey Pig Bread tells the interconnected stories of three Nigerian women: Kambirinachi and her twin daughters, Kehinde and Taiye. Kambirinachi believes that she is an Ogbanje, or an Abiku, a non human spirit that plagues a family with misfortune by being born and then dying in childhood to cause a human mother misery. She has made the unnatural choice of staying alive to love her human family but lives in fear of the consequences of her decision.

Kambirinachi and her two daughters become estranged from one another because of a trauma that Kehinde experiences in childhood, which leads her to move away and cut off all contact. She ultimately finds her path as an artist and seeks to raise a family of her own, despite her fear that she won't be a good mother. Meanwhile, Taiye is plagued by guilt for what her sister suffered and also runs away, attempting to fill the void of that lost relationship with casual flings with women. She eventually discovers a way out of her stifling loneliness through a passion for food and cooking.

But now, after than a decade of living apart, Taiye and Kehinde have returned home to Lagos. It is here that the three women must face each other and address the wounds of the past if they are to reconcile and move forward.

For readers of African diasporic authors such as Teju Cole and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Butter Honey Pig Bread is a story of choices and their consequences, of motherhood, of the malleable line between the spirit and the mind, of finding new homes and mending old ones, of voracious appetites, of queer love, of friendship, faith, and above all, family.

The Home for Unwanted Girls

The Home for Unwanted GirlsPhilomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.

In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life ‘back on track’.

Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system. It’s a precarious enough existence that takes a tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans in Quebec, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides  funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. Bright and determined, Elodie withstands abysmal treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen, when she is thrust into an alien, often unnerving world.

Maggie, married to a businessman eager to start a family, cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch, until Maggie realizes she must take what she wants from life and go in search of her long lost daughter, finally reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both.

Moon of the Crusted Snow

Moon of the Crusted SnowA daring post apocalyptic thriller from a powerful rising literary voice

With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the band council and a pocket of community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow.

The community leadership loses its grip on power as the visitors manipulate the tired and hungry to take control of the reserve. Tensions rise and, as the months pass, so does the death toll due to sickness and despair. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader named Evan Whitesky, they endeavor to restore order while grappling with a grave decision.

Blending action and allegory, Moon of the Crusted Snow upends our expectations. Out of catastrophe comes resilience. And as one society collapses, another is reborn.

Women Talking

Women TalkingOne evening, eight Mennonite women climb into a hay loft to conduct a secret meeting. For the past two years, each of these women, and than a hundred other girls in their colony, has been repeatedly violated in the night by demons coming to punish them for their sins. Now that the women have learned they were in fact drugged and attacked by a group of men from their own community, they are determined to protect themselves and their daughters from future harm.

While the men of the colony are off in the city, attempting to raise enough money to bail out the rapists and bring them home, these women—all illiterate, without any knowledge of the world outside their community and unable even to speak the language of the country they live in—have very little time to make a choice: Should they stay in the only world they’ve ever known or should they dare to escape?

Based on real events and told through the “minutes” of the women’s all female symposium, Toews’s masterful novel uses wry, politically engaged humor to relate this tale of women claiming their own power to decide.

Greenwood

GreenwoodIt's 2034 and Jake Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra rich vacationers in one of the world's last remaining forests. It's 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, fallen from a ladder and sprawled on his broken back, calling out from the concrete floor of an empty mansion. It's 1974 and Willow Greenwood is out of jail, free after being locked up for one of her endless series of environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father's once vast and violent timber empire. It's 1934 and Everett Greenwood is alone, as usual, in his maple syrup camp squat when he hears the cries of an abandoned infant and gets tangled up in the web of a crime that will cling to his family for decades.

And throughout, there are trees: thrumming a steady, silent pulse beneath Christie's effortless sentences and working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival. A shining, intricate clockwork of a novel, Greenwood is a rain soaked and sun dappled story of the bonds and breaking points of money and love, wood and blood—and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.