Rakestraw's Readers Recommend

   

 

Caroline, Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller (Morrow, $15.99). There's noting little about the literary legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books or the lives of the pioneer families about whch she wrote. Sarah Miller picks up the story, placing Caroline Ingalls -- Laura's mother -- centerstage in this richly told historical fiction novel that pays tribute to the mettle and maternal dedication of "Ma." Buy this book.

The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor (Riverhead Books, $16.00). Peril is made evident in love and war as mysterious events in Austria in 1938 and in Los Angeles in 1989 interweave in Jillian Cantor's gripping historical novel. Austrian resistance during World War II and a postage stamp from the long ago era connect the two stories but it is Cantor's masterful handling of the dual-narrative that keep readers spellbound to the last page. Buy this book.
Half Moon Bay by Alice Laplante (Scribner Book Company, $26.00). Fans of best-selling author Alice LaPlante (A Circle of WivesTurn of Mind) will thrill at this new psychological suspense novel by the accomplished writer. Set in Half Moon Bay, there are plenty of details for Bay Area readers familiar with the locale to enjoy. The dark tale of a mother whose grief over losing her daughter may have turned her to calamatous choices, possibly even including the murder of young girls in the community, is captivating. Buy this book.
 
    
 
How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson (St. Martin's Press, $27.99). Channeling Kate Reddy, the heroine of her previous New York Times bestseller I Don't Know How She Does It, Allison Pearson delivers a rollicking, irreverent take on motherhood, marriage, caretaking aging parents and returning to the workforce at age 49. Obviously funny and deceptively deep, the second installation keeps Kate on the upswing—exactly where lovers of kick-butt women with hidden hearts of gold want to be. Buy this book.
The Bonanza King by Gregory Crouch (Scribner Book Company, $30.00). The real life story of John W. Mackay, born in 1831—a penniless Irish immigrant who rose to become Nevada Comstock Lode's magnate and at the time of his death in 1902 worth a fortune estimated to be $40 billion in today's value—is remarkable. Immensely compelling for sections about the gripping battles of ore mine operators or stock manipulators and a young Mark Twain's early days reporting their stories as a journalist, among other features, Gregory Couch's assured portrayal of American history and one man's journey out of poverty is inspiring. Buy this book.
What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan (Little Brown and Company, $26.00). The debut novel by Chinese-American writer Lucy Tan presents the Zhen family and their move from suburban America to post-Maoist Shanghai. The disappearance of a bracelet unleashes a torrent of issues arising from the past and marking the newly affluent family's future. Cross-cultural plot lines are complex but never tangled in Tan's thoughtful, mature treatment of a Western-influenced family living in modern day China. Buy this book.