Major Ernest Pettigrew is perfectly content to lead a quiet life in the sleepy village of Edgecombe St Mary, away from the meddling of the locals and his overbearing son. But when his brother dies, the Major finds himself seeking companionship with the village shopkeeper, Mrs Ali. Drawn together by a love of books and the loss of their partners, they are soon forced to contend with irate relatives and gossiping villagers. The perfect gentleman, but the most unlikely hero, the Major must ask himself what matters most: family obligation, tradition or love? Funny, comforting and heart-warming, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand proves that sometimes, against all odds, life does give you a second chance.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A novel to cure your Downton Abbey withdrawal . . . a delightful story about nontraditional romantic relationships, class snobbery and the everybody-knows-everybody complications of living in a small community.”—The Washington Post The bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand returns with a breathtaking novel of love on the eve of World War I that reaches far beyond the small English town in which it is set. NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND NPR East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha’s husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent saber rattling over the Balkans won’t come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master. When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking—and attractive—than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing. But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha’s reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war. Praise for The Summer Before the War “What begins as a study of a small-town society becomes a compelling account of war and its aftermath.”—Woman’s Day “This witty character study of how a small English town reacts to the 1914 arrival of its first female teacher offers gentle humor wrapped in a hauntingly detailed story.”—Good Housekeeping “Perfect for readers in a post–Downton Abbey slump . . . The gently teasing banter between two kindred spirits edging slowly into love is as delicately crafted as a bone-china teacup. . . . More than a high-toned romantic reverie for Anglophiles—though it serves the latter purpose, too.”—The Seattle Times “[Helen Simonson’s] characters are so vivid, it’s as if a PBS series has come to life. There’s scandal, star-crossed love and fear, but at its heart, The Summer Before the War is about loyalty, love and family.”—AARP: The Magazine “This luminous story of a family, a town, and a world in their final moments of innocence is as lingering and lovely as a long summer sunset.”—Annie Barrows, author of The Truth According to Us and co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society “Simonson is like a Jane Austen for our day and age—she is that good—and The Summer Before the War is nothing short of a treasure.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun
BONUS: This edition contains a Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet discussion guide and an excerpt from Jamie Ford's Songs of Willow Frost. "Sentimental, heartfelt….the exploration of Henry’s changing relationship with his family and with Keiko will keep most readers turning pages...A timely debut that not only reminds readers of a shameful episode in American history, but cautions us to examine the present and take heed we don’t repeat those injustices."-- Kirkus Reviews “A tender and satisfying novel set in a time and a place lost forever, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet gives us a glimpse of the damage that is caused by war--not the sweeping damage of the battlefield, but the cold, cruel damage to the hearts and humanity of individual people. Especially relevant in today's world, this is a beautifully written book that will make you think. And, more importantly, it will make you feel." -- Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain “Jamie Ford's first novel explores the age-old conflicts between father and son, the beauty and sadness of what happened to Japanese Americans in the Seattle area during World War II, and the depths and longing of deep-heart love. An impressive, bitter, and sweet debut.” -- Lisa See, bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol. This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept. Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago. Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.
"Jane fans rejoice! . . . Exceptional storytelling and a true delight." —Helen Simonson, author of the New York Times bestselling novels Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and The Summer Before the War Mary, the bookish ugly duckling of Pride and Prejudice’s five Bennet sisters, emerges from the shadows and transforms into a desired woman with choices of her own. What if Mary Bennet’s life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books, eventually found the fulfillment enjoyed by her prettier, more confident sisters? This is the plot of Janice Hadlow's The Other Bennet Sister, a debut novel with exactly the affection and authority to satisfy Jane Austen fans. Ultimately, Mary’s journey is like that taken by every Austen heroine. She learns that she can only expect joy when she has accepted who she really is. She must throw off the false expectations and wrong ideas that have combined to obscure her true nature and prevented her from what makes her happy. Only when she undergoes this evolution does she have a chance at finding fulfillment; only then does she have the clarity to recognize her partner when he presents himself—and only at that moment is she genuinely worthy of love. Mary’s destiny diverges from that of her sisters. It does not involve broad acres or landed gentry. But it does include a man; and, as in all Austen novels, Mary must decide whether he is the truly the one for her. In The Other Bennet Sister, Mary is a fully rounded character—complex, conflicted, and often uncertain; but also vulnerable, supremely sympathetic, and ultimately the protagonist of an uncommonly satisfying debut novel.
#ReadWithJenna Book Club Pick as Featured on Today * A twelve-year-old boy struggles with the worst kind of fame--as the sole survivor of a notorious plane crash--in this "stunning novel of courage and connection" (Helen Simonson, bestselling author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand). "A rich, big-hearted tapestry that leaves no one behind . . . Ann Napolitano brings clear-eyed compassion to every character."--Chloe Benjamin, bestselling author of The Immortalists What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live? One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them are a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured veteran returning from Afghanistan, a business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. Halfway across the country, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor. Edward's story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a part of himself has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery--one that will lead him to the answers of some of life's most profound questions: When you've lost everything, how do you find the strength to put one foot in front of the other? How do you learn to feel safe again? How do you find meaning in your life? Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again. Advance praise for Dear Edward "Dear Edward made me think, nod in recognition, care about its characters, and cry, and you can't ask more of a novel than that."--Emma Donoghue, New York Times bestselling author of Room "Weaving past and present into a profoundly beautiful, page-turning story of mystery, loss, and wonder, Dear Edward is a meditation on survival, but more important, it is about carving a life worth living. It is about love and hope and caring for others, and all the transitory moments that bind us together."--Hannah Tinti, author of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley and The Good Thief
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From Jamie Ford, author of the beloved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, comes a much-anticipated second novel. Set against the backdrop of Depression-era Seattle, Songs of Willow Frost is a powerful tale of two souls—a boy with dreams for his future and a woman escaping her haunted past—both seeking love, hope, and forgiveness. Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday—or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday—William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song. Determined to find Willow and prove that his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigate the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive but confront the mysteries of William’s past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen. Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford’s sweeping novel will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home. Praise for Songs of Willow Frost “If you liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you’re going to love Songs of Willow Frost. . . . tender, powerful, and deeply satisfying.”—Lisa Genova “[A] poignant tale of lost and found love.”—Tampa Bay Times “Arresting . . . [with] the kind of ending readers always hope for, but seldom get.”—The Dallas Morning News “[An] achingly tender story . . . a tale of nuance and emotion.”—The Providence Journal “Ford crafts [a] beautiful, tender tale of love transcending the sins people perpetrate on one another and shows how the strength of our primal relationships is the best part of our human nature.”—Great Falls Tribune “Remarkable . . . likely to appeal to readers who enjoy the multi-generational novels of Amy Tan.”—Bookreporter “Jamie Ford is a first-rate novelist, and with Songs of Willow Frost he takes a great leap forward and demonstrates the uncanny ability to move me to tears.”—Pat Conroy “With vivid detail, Jamie Ford brings to life Seattle’s Chinatown during the Depression and chronicles the high price those desperate times exacted from an orphaned boy and the woman he believes is his mother. Songs of Willow Frost is about innocence and the loss of it, about longing, about the power of remembered love.”—Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank “Ford’s boundless compassion for the human spirit, in all its strengths and weaknesses, makes him one of our most unique and compelling storytellers.”—Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Follow the eccentric, cantankerous, utterly charming Professor Chandra as he tries to answer the biggest question of all: What makes us happy? “Searingly funny, uplifting, and wonderful . . . Professor Chandra is as unbending a curmudgeon as one could wish to find scowling from the pages of a novel.”—Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and The Summer Before the War Professor Chandra is an internationally renowned economist, divorced father of three (quite frankly baffling) children, recent victim of a bicycle hit-and-run—but so much more than the sum of his parts. In the moments after the accident, Professor Chandra doesn’t see his life flash before his eyes but his life’s work. He’s just narrowly missed the Nobel Prize (again), and even though he knows he should get straight back to his pie charts, his doctor has other ideas. All this work. All this success. All this stress. It’s killing him. He needs to take a break, start enjoying himself. In short, says his doctor, he should follow his bliss. Professor Chandra doesn’t know it yet, but he’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. Praise for Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss “Professor Chandra is a wonderful character—stodgy, flawed, contentious, contemptuous—yet vulnerable, insecure, lonely, repentant, and ridiculous enough to win our sympathy. . . . In the end, Balasubramanyam’s novel is a sort of Christmas Carol for a new age.”—NPR “Impressively, Balasubramanyam . . . balances satire and self-enlightenment [in] a surprisingly soulful family tale that echoes Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections in its witty exploration of three children trying to free themselves from the influence of their parents.”—The Guardian “Funny from start to finish . . . Spending time with Professor Chandra feels like you’ve been in therapy, in a good way.”—Irish Times “Funny, affecting . . . Chandra is a delightful creation: peevish, intolerant, intellectually exacting, unwittingly eccentric, nerdy, needy yet lovable. The book, like its picaresque hero, is a one-off.”—The Sunday Times
Eight-year-old Edgar Allan Fini is haunted – by his father's absence, his mother's secrets, and the ghosts of his grandmother's past. But he recalls nothing of the accident about which people still whisper. When Edgar meets a man with his own tragic story, he is drawn deep into a damaged, grief-stricken world. Lucy must confront the demons that plague her, to save her son and herself. Tinged with wonder and a dark fairytale heart, Edgar and Lucy is a gripping coming-of-age story about the painful and loving ties that bind us. Praise for Edgar and Lucy: 'Gorgeous. There is poetry on every page ... with delicate, precise observations and unexpected imagery' Sunday Times. 'On every page Lodato's prose sings with a robust, openhearted wit, making Edgar & Lucy a delight to read ... A riveting and exuberant ride' New York Times Book Review. 'I love this book. Profoundly spiritual and hilariously specific ... An unusual and intimate epic that manages to capture the wonder and terror of both child and parenthood with an uncanny clarity' Lena Dunham, bestselling author of Not That Kind of Girl. 'Wonder-filled and magisterial ... The book pushes the boundaries of beauty' Chicago Tribune. 'A quirky coming-of-age novel that deepens into something dark and strange without losing its heart or its sense of wonder' Tom Perrotta, bestselling author of The Leftovers. 'I tore through the luminous pages of Edgar & Lucy as if possessed ... What this book has to say about love and truth will stay with me for a very, very long time' Sophie McManus, bestselling author of The Unfortunates. 'This tale exerts a fiendish grip on the reader' Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. 'Brings to mind J.D. Salinger, Lorrie Moore, Karen Russell, even James Joyce. Edgar & Lucy will make you feel things you haven't felt in ages' Daniel Torday, author of The Last Flight of Poxl West. 'This otherworldly tale will haunt you' People.
Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel that “powerfully portrays the inner struggles of ordinary people moved to do extraordinary things” (Booklist) takes place over three days during World War II when members of a German family must make “the sometimes impossible choice between family and morality” (Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand). When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family—their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and their granddaughters—out of Berlin to the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of the Fuhrer’s cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the village. But life in Blumental isn’t as idyllic as it appears. An egotistical Nazi captain terrorizes the citizens he’s assigned to protect. Neighbors spy on each other. Some mysteriously disappear. Marina has a lover who also has close ties to her family and the government. Thinking none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protestant priest smuggling Jewish refugees over the nearby Swiss border. The latest “package” is two Polish girls, and against her better judgment, Marina finds she must hide them in the Eberhardt’s cellar. Everything is set to go smoothly until Oskar comes home with the news that the Führer will be visiting the area for a concert, and he will be making a house call on the Eberhardts. “With jaw-clenching suspense and unexpected tenderness” (Jacquelyn Mitchard), The Good at Heart is an “engaging…rich…evocative” (Library Journal) portrait of a family torn between doing their duty for their country and doing what’s right, especially for those they love.