Robin's Picks

Robin Allen is the owner of Forever Books.  A former history teacher turned entrepreneur, she opened Forever Books on April Fools Day in 1999 after the closing of a local children's bookstore.  When not at the store or working for the store (rare), she enjoys reading non-fiction history, memoirs, political works, and fiction.  She also loves spending time with her two nieces.  Robin has served on the board and as Board President of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association.  

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Young Jane Young Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781616205041
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - August 22nd, 2017

The author of the bestseller, The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, has written another winner.  When a young political intern has a scandalous affair with her powerful boss, the repercussions are disastrous.  However, the story is more about redemption and gaining strength and moving on than sordid details. Heartfelt, cleverly written, and full of charming and interesting characters, this is a great choice for book clubs.


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The Marsh King's Daughter Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735213005
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - June 13th, 2017

Helena and her mother are trapped in the swampy wilderness of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, held captive by Helena's father, who kidnapped her mother when the mother was a teenager; Helena was born a year later. You find out at the beginning they escaped fourteen years later, and now her father has escaped from prison. Captivating (pun intended); I could not stop reading it, finishing the book in the wee hours of the morning!


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The Silent Corner: A Novel of Suspense Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780345545992
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bantam - June 20th, 2017

Koontz’s new heroine is Jane Stark, a kick-ass-and-take-names FBI agent whose husband has taken his own life and she is out to find out why, but the more she delves into the mystery, the more attention she draws to herself, and not in a good way.  Koontz is a master storyteller of suspense, creating sharp twists and turns with originality that will challenge your intellect. Silent Corner is a gripping, enthralling thriller - - I can’t wait for the next installment!


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The World of Tomorrow Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316382199
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little Brown and Company - September 5th, 2017

Mathews stunning novel follows the political violence of Irish resistance for three brothers in Ireland and New York City during two weeks in 1939.  Two brothers are caught up in an accidental explosion in Ireland, killing all but the two of them and leaving them with mob money the likes they’ve never seen. They escape to NYC, embroiling their musician brother and his family with the mob. Wow!


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Magpie Murders Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062645227
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - June 6th, 2017

Popular crime novelist Alan Conway has just completed this novel, Magpie Murders, about detective Atticus Pund, who is investigating the murders at the English estate of Sir Magnus Pye. When the novelist commits suicide and the last ten pages of the novel are missing, it’s up to the author’s editor to determine just what happened.  A “book within a book” format that is clever, intelligent, and thoroughly enjoyable.


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Camino Island Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385543026
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Doubleday Books - June 6th, 2017

A theft of original Faulkner manuscripts are stolen from a library, and a novelist is hired by the insurance company to discover if a book dealer who dabbles in the black market of stolen manuscripts has acquired them - - without arousing suspicion.  My first Grisham, and  I loved it! Perfect beach read!


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The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781492649359
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Sourcebooks - April 18th, 2017

In the 1920’s, thousands of women were hired to paint radium on watch hands and instrument panels. Told it was harmless, these “ghost girls” lit up the streets on their way home, covered in the fine dust, even painting it on themselves for fun.  When they began getting sick, it stumped the health community and alienated the government and big companies. Shocking yet compelling, with photographs of these brave young women, Radium Girls will haunt and move you.


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Murder in Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062438454
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dey Street Books - May 23rd, 2017

Stapinski searches her Italian roots to solve a murder mystery that has been passed down through generations. Over a decade in research turns up revenge, curses, romance, murder, and startling revelations. Add to that the unforgettable countryside and an intriguing history of the area and its people, and it adds up to an enthralling read not to be missed.


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Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower's Final Mission Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062569035
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - January 10th, 2017

Baier covers Eisenhower’s transition from general-to-president, and the warnings he gave during his farewell address that foreshadowed our current events. Recommended for readers interested in presidential history, World War II, the Cold War, and for fans of biographies. This history buff discovered how little we know of one of our most underrated presidents.


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Windy City Blues Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101991121
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berkley Books - February 28th, 2017

Bestselling author of What the Lady Wants and White Collar Girl continues her love affair with Chicago with this fascinating look at the birth of the blues in the Windy City.  A moving love story between a fictional couple facing seemingly insurmountable odds whose lives are intermingled with the real musicians and agents of the time period.


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The Death and Life of the Great Lakes Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393246438
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 7th, 2017

This is an important book for anyone interested in Great Lakes ecology, with a riveting account of the introduction of invasive species into our waterways and how we’ve helped spread them to the rest of the country, destroying their waters, too.  All is not gloom and doom, however; Egan offers a hopeful future for the world’s largest bodies of freshwater.


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The Baker's Secret Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062369581
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - May 2nd, 2017

A beautifully written account of the emotional and moral struggles of a small Normandy village during the few days leading up to D-Day 1944.  Under German occupation, villagers learn to work together to survive; e.g., Emma, the owner of the bakery, risks execution when she cuts the flour the Germans give her to bake their bread with ground hay, enough to make an extra loaf to share with starving villagers.  A thoroughly enjoyable read!


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House of Names Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781501140211
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner Book Company - May 9th, 2017

The bestselling author of Brooklyn retells the ancient Greek tale of Clytemnestra, who kills her husband Agamemnon to avenge the death of their daughter Iphigenia, and her son Orestes, who kills her in turn to avenge his father's death. I knew little of the mythical story - - but no matter - - the result is a dramatic, intimate chronicle of a family implosion set in unsettling times as gods withdraw from human affairs. Both absorbing and moving.


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Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon's Relentless Madre de Dios Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525432777
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - May 30th, 2017

Wow! In 1973, Holly and her husband save money to travel around the world, and on this leg of the journey, after a plane crash into a South American penal colony and a missed boat, they then journey on a raft they built down a treacherous river, only to be diverted down a dead-end tributary after a storm with no way out. Stranded for 7 weeks with no food or water, this is a harrowing, true-life survival story.


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The Stars Are Fire Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780385350907
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - April 18th, 2017

Stuck in a loveless marriage with her husband, young Grace Holland has resigned herself to a future of childcare and housework. The summer of 1947 is hot and dry, and fire threatens Grace and her neighbors.  Based on the largest fire to ravage the coast of Maine, Shreve has written her best book yet. Harrowing and moving; I loved this!


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The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812989885
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Press - March 28th, 2017

The 12 lives in the title refer to the 12 times Samuel has been shot during his sketchy and vagabond life.  Ready to settle down, widowed Samuel and his spirited teen daughter move to his wife’s hometown in Massachusetts. The story shifts back and forth from the 12 shooting escapades and the struggle to raise his daughter in a small town full of ghosts of the past.  Exceptional and enjoyable!


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The Chilbury Ladies' Choir Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781101906750
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - February 14th, 2017

It’s 1940, and in Chilbury, Kent, England, the women are doing their best to maintain morale and that includes keeping the choir going despite the lack of male voices. Reminiscent of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and the PBS series Home Fires, it captures the experience of the war from a woman’s perspective. If you like home-front and small English village settings you’ll enjoy this.


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History of Wolves Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780802125873
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - January 3rd, 2017

14-yr-old Linda, an observant loner growing up in the Minnesota woods, becomes intrigued with the Gardners, the young family that moves in across the lake from her home. As she gets to know them and is hired to babysit their unusual child, she realizes that something is amiss, and secrets are slowly revealed.  Kirkus calls it a literary tour de force and Booklist recommends History of Wolves for lovers of character-driven literary fiction.

 


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The Bear and the Nightingale Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781101885932
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Del Rey Books - January 10th, 2017

Part fairy tale, part folklore, this is an old tale told around the fire during the harsh, bitter winters of 14th century Russia that come to life for the storytellers.  An unusual book that is a treat to read on a cold winter night, under the covers.


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The Spy Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781524732066
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - November 22nd, 2016

A striking novel about the Dutch courtesan Mata Hari and exotic dancer who was executed in 1917 for treason and in all likelihood was innocent. By the author of the bestselling novel The Alchemist.


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The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780778319801
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mira Books - January 31st, 2017

Now in paperback. Sentimental and charming novel about Arthur Pepper, a 69-year-old endearing widower who has set routines, until he finds a gold charm bracelet in his wife’s shoe.  Each charm represents a part of his wife’s life he knew nothing about, and he’s off on adventures for answers, disrupting everything around him.  Reminiscent of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Little Paris Bookshop. 


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Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781400069880
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - November 22nd, 2016

I hesitated reading this because of all I’ve read about Queen Victoria, but Baird gives us a fresh look at the life of the famous queen with her strengths and weaknesses.

Absorbing and engaging.


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The Second Mrs. Hockaday Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781616205812
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - January 10th, 2017

Only two days after marrying Placidia, her Confederate Major is called to war, leaving his young wife alone to run his farm, care for his two-year-old son, and manage the slaves, none of which she's equipped to do. The story unfolds through their letters to each other and between Placidia’s friend and herself.  Solid historical novel that’s a very enjoyable read, great for book clubs, too.


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The House at the Edge of Night Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812988130
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Trade - June 20th, 2017

Unforgettable saga that chronicles four generations of an Italian family living on a small, sparsely populated island off the coast of Sicily. It begins with Armedeo, an orphan, with his arrival on the island in 1914 to become its first doctor, and follows his progeny through world wars to the 21st century.  Delightful!


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A Gentleman in Moscow Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780670026197
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - September 6th, 2016

In 1922 the Bolsheviks sentence Count Alexander Rostov to house arrest in the luxurious Metropol Hotel in Moscow for political crimes; however, he is moved from his suite of rooms to a spare attic room.  How he copes with the span of 30 years in confinement makes for an inspiring, moving, and thoroughly enjoyable read.  I can’t rave enough about this spectacular novel!


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Commonwealth Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062491831
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - May 2nd, 2017

Now in paperback. An uninvited guest arrives at a christening with a bottle of gin, kisses the hostess, setting into motion the chaos that affects two families for decades.  Supposedly, Commonwealth is Patchett’s “most autobiographical novel.”  This award-winning author of Bel Canto has written one of her best yet!


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News of the World Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062409218
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - June 20th, 2017

After the Civil War, widowed70-year-old Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels the Plains, reading newspapers to crowds for a dime each. Along the way, he agrees to deliver 10-year-old Johanna to Texas relatives; she was captured by the Kiowa tribe at age six and has no memory of any other life.  Their journey and their relationship make for heartrending reading, a true joy of a novel in a small package. I savored every page.


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Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780307948786
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - May 30th, 2017

Highly esteemed biographer Millard recounts the story of a young Winston Churchill and his experience in the Boer War:  His capture, courage, and harrowing escape and survival, only to rejoin the fight.  A part of Churchill’s life we rarely hear about. Exceptional!


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Irena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781476778518
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Gallery Books - June 6th, 2017

A remarkable story of the “female Schindler” who smuggled thousands of Jewish children out of the Warsaw ghetto during the Nazi occupation during WWII.

I found it astonishing, moving, and unforgettable.


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Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780062410320
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: William Morrow & Company - August 15th, 2017

The author (who became the first female U.S. Army Intelligence officer to lead sensitive intelligence operations in East Germany during the Cold War) tells the story of her mother’s escape from behind the Iron Curtain in Berlin, leaving her family behind to deal with the shocking life under Communist Russian rule.


Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society That Shocked Depression-Era Detroit Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781493030583
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Lyons Press - August 1st, 2017

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