New novels take trips through time, territory

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November 7, 2018 - 11:00 AM

Any new book by Barbara Kingsolver is an event to be noted.  She’s only published eight novels in a career of three decades — about as many as James Patterson in a single year.  Best known is perhaps “The Poisonwood Bible,” a huge bestseller which was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. So take notice:  Kingsolver has a new novel, “Unsheltered.”  Half of the dual narrative is set in the present, with a former magazine editor and her former college professor husband both facing ruin due to the closing of their employers. They live in a house which is falling apart, which may be a metaphor for how they view the time they live in. The other half is set in the same locale in the 1870s and involves a teacher and a scientist. The common thread, other than the setting, is the dismay of the characters in both time periods at the path politics is taking, particularly politicians with a disregard for science. “Unsheltered” is currently number four on the best seller list.

Jude Deveraux moves into new territory with her new book “A Willing Murder.” Having won lasting devotion from many readers for her romances, she now offers a highly reviewed mystery featuring as its main character a — yes — bestselling romance author. Sara Medlar retires to her Florida hometown. She takes in two long-term house guests: Jack, hired to remodel the big house she lives in, and her niece Kate, who recently took a job in the same town.  Kate and Jack don’t get along at all. However, when human remains are found on the property all three work together to solve a 20-year-old mystery, one in which the locals don’t seem too anxious to have the truth come to light.

“Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen” by Sarah Bird is a novel based on the real-life but little-known Cathy Williams, the first African American woman to serve in the U.S. Army. Born a slave in Missouri, she works for General Sheridan after her liberation in 1864.  After the war, refusing to slip into any role society designed for her, she dresses as a man and enlists in the Army as William Cathay.  She serves in the West as a Buffalo Soldier. 

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