Portsmouth Public Library Book Recommendations


By Portsmouth Public Library



The Portsmouth Public Library would like to recommend these book titles. Each title is available to borrow with your library card! For more book recommendations or information on applying for a library card go to www.yourppl.org or call 740-354-5688.

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner – April 18, 1906: A massive earthquake rocks San Francisco just before daybreak, igniting a devouring inferno. Lives are lost, lives are shattered, but some rise from the ashes forever changed.

Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin’s silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin’s odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn’t right. Then one early-spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved. The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear. Readers might also enjoy Vera by Carol Edgarian or Ashes of Fiery Weather by Kathleen Donohoe for their strong female characters.

Cold by Mariko Tamaki, follows two queer teens, Todd and Georgia. Todd is the recently deceased victim of a murder case, and is roaming around the town as a ghost, watching as the investigation of his case unfolds as he remembers his life. Georgia is young teen who didn’t know Todd but wants to get to the bottom of his murder. She is struggling with her own issues, from her school life where she is having complicated relations with her friends to her home life with her mother using her experiences in her books, but she still tries to connect the dots to figure out who murdered Todd. Individually, they’re working to piece together what happened on the night of Todd’s death. Readers might also enjoy The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros or The Ballad of Dinah Caldwell by Kate Brauning.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations. Readers might also enjoy Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman or The brilliant life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons.

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain – North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit, she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold—until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets. North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina. Alone in the world and desperate for work, she accepts. But what she doesn’t expect is to find herself immersed in a town where prejudices run deep, where people are hiding secrets behind closed doors, and where the price of being different might just end in murder. What happened to Anna Dale? Are the clues hidden in the decrepit mural? Can Morgan overcome her own demons to discover what exists beneath the layers of lies? Readers might also enjoy The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain or The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate.

By Portsmouth Public Library