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Audio books available through the Lackawanna County Library System:

“The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae” by Stephanie Butland

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that saved her life. Now, finally, she can be a normal 28-year-old. She can climb a mountain, dance or even wait in line all day for tickets to Wimbledon. So far, things are as bloody complicated as ever. Her relationship with her mother is at a breaking point and she wants to find her father. Then there’s Lennox, whom Ailsa loved and lost. Will she ever find love again? Her new heart is a bold heart. She just needs to learn to listen to it. From the hospital to her childhood home, on social media and IRL, Ailsa will embark on a journey about what it means to be, and feel, alive. How do we learn to be brave, to accept defeat, to dare to dream?

“The Daughter’s Tale”

by Armando Lucas Correa

BERLIN, 1939. The dreams that Amanda Sternberg and her husband, Julius, had for their daughters are shattered when the Nazis descend on Berlin, burning down their beloved family bookshop and sending Julius to a concentration camp. Desperate to save her children, Amanda flees toward the south of France, where the widow of an old friend of her husband’s has agreed to take her in. Along the way, a refugee ship headed for Cuba offers another chance at escape and there, at the dock, Amanda is forced to make an impossible choice that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Once in Haute-Vienne, her brief respite is interrupted by the arrival of Nazi forces, and Amanda finds herself in a labor camp where she must once again make a heroic sacrifice.

Present day New York, 80 year-old Elise Duval receives a call from a woman bearing messages from a time and country that she forced herself to forget. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise is shocked to discover that the letters were from her mother, written in German during the war. Despite Elise’s best efforts to stave off her past, seven decades of secrets begin to unravel.

“The House of Brides”

by Jane Cockram

Miranda’s life and career has been a roller-coaster ride. Her successful rise to the top of the lifestyle industry as a social media influencer led to a humiliating fall after a controversial product she endorsed flopped. Desperate to get away from the hate-spewing which is shaming her on the internet, she receives a mysterious letter from a young cousin in England that plunges her into a dark family mystery. Miranda’s mother Tessa Summer, a famous author, died when Miranda was a child. The young woman’s only connection to the Summer family is through Tessa’s famous book The House of Brides - a chronicle of the generations of women who married into the infamous Summer family and made their home in the rambling Barnsley House, the family’s estate. From Gertrude Summer, a famed crime novelist, to Miranda’s grandmother Beatrice, who killed herself after setting fire to Barnsley while her children slept, each woman in The House of Brides is more notorious than the next. The house’s current “Bride” is the beautiful, Daphne, her Uncle Max’s wife - a famed celebrity chef who saved Barnsley from ruin turning the estate into an exclusive culinary destination and hotel. Curious about this legendary family she has never met, Miranda arrives at Barnsley posing as a prospective nanny answering an advertisement. She’s greeted by the compelling yet cold housekeeper Mrs. Mins, and meets the children and her Uncle Max, none of whom know her true identity. However, Barnsley is not what Miranda expected. The luxury destination and award-winning restaurant is gone, and Daphne is nowhere to be found. Most disturbing, one of the children is in a wheelchair after a mysterious accident. What happened in this house? Where is Daphne? What darkness lies hidden in Barnsley? Will Miranda be able to unearth these secrets or will she fall victim to the bride’s curse?

“Africaville”

by Jeffrey Colvin

Tells the lives of three generations of the Sebolt family - Kath Ella, her son Omar/Etienne, and her grandson Warner - whose lives unfold against the tumultuous events of the 20th century from the Great Depression of the 1930s, through the social protests of the 1960s to the economic upheavals in the 1980s. A century earlier, Kath Ella’s ancestors established a new home in Nova Scotia. Like her ancestors, Kath Ella’s life is shaped by hardship. She struggles to conceive and to provide for her family during the long, bitter Canadian winters. She must also contend with the locals’ lingering suspicions about the dark-skinned “outsiders” who live in their midst. Kath Ella’s fierce love for her son, Omar, cannot help her overcome the racial prejudices that linger in this remote, tight-knit place. As he grows up, the rebellious Omar refutes the past and decides to break from the family, threatening to upend all that Kath Ella and her people have tried to build. Over the decades, each successive generation drifts further from Africaville, yet they take a piece of this indelible place with them as they make their way to Montreal, Vermont, and beyond, to the deep South of America. It explores notions of identity, passing, cross-racial relationships, the importance of place, and the true meaning of home.

“Beachside Beginnings”

by Shelia Roberts

Moira Wellman has always loved makeovers, helping women find their most beautiful selves. Funny how it’s taken her five years with her abusive boyfriend, Lang, to realize she needs a life makeover. When Moira finally gets the courage to leave Lang, the beachside town of Moonlight Harbor is the perfect place to start over. Soon Moira is right at home, working as a stylist at Waves Salon, making new friends, saving her clients from beauty blunders and helping the women of Moonlight Harbor find new confidence as well as new looks. When she meets a handsome police officer, she’s more than willing to give him a free haircut. Maybe even her heart. Is she really ready for romance after Lang? What if her new friend is in hot pursuit of that same cop? This is worse than a bad perm. Life surely can’t get any more difficult, or can it?

“A Forgotten Murder”

by Jude Deveraux

After solving two murder cases in their hometown of Lachlan, Florida, Sara Medlar, her niece Kate and their friend Jack need a change of scenery. Sara arranges for them to visit an old friend of hers in England. Upon arrival at Oxley Manor, Kate and Jack quickly realize that Sara is up to something. They learn that Sara has also invited a number of others to join them at Oxley. Now as everyone assembles, Sara lets them know why they are there. Decades earlier, two people ran off together from Oxley and haven’t been heard from since—and Sara wants to solve the case. As the people who were there the night the two went missing, the guests find themselves cast in a live mystery-theater event. In reenacting the events of that night, it becomes clear that everyone has something to hide and no one is safe, especially when the discovery of a body makes it clear that at least one of the people who disappeared was murdered. Sara, Jack and Kate are once again at the heart of a mysterious case that only they are able to solve. But someone is willing to continue to kill to keep the truth about Oxley Manor buried, and none of the guests are safe.

“Little Gods”

by Emily Woo Zeller

On the night of June 4, a woman gives birth in a Beijing hospital alone. This begins the unraveling of Su Lan, a brilliant physicist who, until this moment, has successfully erased her past, fighting what she calls the mind’s arrow of time. When Su Lan dies unexpectedly 17 years later, it is her daughter Liya who inherits the silences and contradictions of her life. Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother’s ashes to China, to her, an unknown country. In a territory inhabited by the ghosts of the living and the dead, Liya’s memories are joined by those of two others: Zhu Wen, the woman last to know Su Lan before she left China, and Yongzong, the father Liya has never known. In this way a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and a woman whose relationship to her own past shapes and ultimately unmakes Liya’s own sense of displacement.

“The Nanny”

by Gilly Macmillan

When her beloved nanny, Hannah, left without a trace in the summer of 1988, 7-year-old Jocelyn Holt was devastated. Haunted by the loss, Jo grew up bitter and distant, and eventually left her parents and Lake Hall, their faded aristocratic home, behind. Thirty years later, Jo returns to the house and is forced to confront her troubled relationship with her mother. When human remains are accidentally uncovered in a lake on the estate, Jo begins to question everything she thought she knew. Then an unexpected visitor knocks on the door and Jo’s world is destroyed again. Desperate to piece together the gaping holes in her memory, Jo must uncover who her nanny really was, why she left, and if she can trust her own mother.

“The Operator”

by Gretchen Berg

In a small town, everyone knows everyone else’s business and nobody knows the people of Wooster, Ohio, better than switchboard operator Vivian Dalton, and she’d be the first to tell you that. She calls it intuition. Her teenage daughter, Charlotte, calls it eavesdropping.

Vivian and the other women who work at Bell on East Liberty Street connect lines and lives. They aren’t supposed to listen in on conversations, but they do, and they all have opinions on what they hear, especially Vivian. She knows that Mrs. Butler’s ungrateful daughter, Maxine, still hasn’t thanked her mother for the quilt she made, and that Ginny Frazier turned down yet another invitation to go to the A&W with Clyde Walsh. Then, one cold December night, Vivian listens in on a call between that snob Betty Miller and someone whose voice she can’t quite place and hears something shocking. Betty Miller’s mystery friend has news that, if true, will shatter Vivian’s tidy life in Wooster, humiliating her and making her the laughingstock of the town. Vivian may be mortified, but she isn’t going to take this lying down. She’s going to get to the bottom of that rumor, get into it, get under it, and poke around in the corners. Find every last bit. Vivian wants the truth, no matter how painful it may be. Soon Vivian is about to be reminded, in a small town like Wooster, one secret usually leads to another.

“The Wicked Redhead”

by Beatrix Williams

In 1924 Ginger Kelly wakes up in tranquil Cocoa Beach, Florida, having fled south to safety in the company of disgraced Prohibition agent Oliver Anson Marshall and her newly-orphaned young sister, Patsy. Paradise is short-lived. Marshall is reinstated to the agency with suspicious haste and put to work patrolling for rumrunners on the high seas, from which he promptly disappears. Gin hurries north to rescue him, only to be trapped in an agonizing moral quandary by Marshall’s desperate mother.

1998: Ella Dommerich has finally settled into her new life in Greenwich Village, inside the same apartment where a certain redheaded flapper lived long ago and continues to make her presence known. Having quit her ethically problematic job at an accounting firm, cut ties with her unfaithful ex-husband, and begun an epic love affair with Hector, her musician neighbor, Ella is eager to piece together the history of the mysterious Gin Kelly, whose only physical trace is a series of rare vintage photograph cards for which she modeled before she disappeared.

Jeanie Sluck is director of the Taylor Community Library.