Carolyn Crocker

Job Title: 

Weathering

Summary: 
A grandmother, mother, daughter, estranged each from the other, are stranded in a decrepit, isolated house by a river as the year plunges autumn through winter. Pepper, the 6-year-old sees a watery old woman; her mother Ada converses with her; and Pearl the grandmother flows through their lives, having been ashes scattered into the river in the first chapter. A lyrical ghost story about the ties that bind-- family and place.

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The Truth of all Things

Summary: 
A series of diabolical murders in Portland,Maine in 1892 are linked to the Salem witch trials. A policeman, a librarian, and a half-Abenaki /half blue-blood sleuth are on the case! Lots of local interest and history.

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Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Summary: 
A remarkable debut starring food and family, both biological and chosen, this novel is an homage to and satire of foodie culture and a reversal of predictable relationships. Eva Thorvald is the connecting character in chapters mostly about others, and their impact on her life is both subtle and transformative—lots of laughter paired with genuine emotion. Very satisfying.

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Dear Committee Members

Summary: 
Think the epistolary novel is dead? Embattled English and creative writing professor Jason Fitger is known only through his emails and letters of recommendation. He is a self-defeating, self-absorbed, vindictive champion of correct grammar and the liberal arts who is absolutely hilarious. Anyone who's hung around the halls of academe will recognize him instantly and chuckle throughout.

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My Brilliant Friend

Summary: 
In this first of four novels, one brilliant friend remembers the turbulent lower class neighborhood of her childhood. Here poverty, corruption, ignorance, and brutality threaten to extinguish all light, and only the courage of the other brilliant friend illuminates a way out. The magnetic power and perils of friendship shine against the oppressive atmosphere of 1950s Naples.

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All Together Now

Summary: 
How do quirky people with nothing else in common come together to make music? And how can music bring a depressed community back to life? Gill Hornby's collection of characters make a predictable chorus much more; spot-on writing captures the timbre of now; and a light-hearted read touches a deep chord. "...realise that the trapped and scrunched and narrow little lives are often, from the inside, just the best."

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The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

Summary: 
This well-read version of the companion book to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry gives voice to its inspiration, the dying woman, who has a tale to tell, forgiveness to seek, and a quiet life. Her memories, her fellow hospice patients, and the hidden connections with passersby reveal life thrumming in the depths of stillness. For a "hospice novel" this is surprisingly upbeat.

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Crooked Heart

Summary: 
“Blinking little walking dictionary” orphan Noel Bostock is evacuated from London’s blitz and lodged with incompetent scammer Vee and her layabout dreamer son Donald. Noel puts his mind to survival, and makes himself indispensible. A richly enjoyable tale of ingenuity, pluck, and resilience. And funny too!

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Hausfrau

Summary: 
Expat, frustrated wife, distant mother, sad passive Anna regards Switzerland as her prison. Prescribed antidotes—analysis and language lessons—she self-medicates with reckless sex. Jungian insights and principles of German grammar ricochet through her frantic quest for meaning. A haunting update of Anna Karenina and beautifully written.

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The High Divide

Summary: 
Two brothers – and soon their mother—set out in 1886 to track down father, husband, and secret-keeper Ulysses Pope in the Montana Territory, and each uncovers a hidden self. An adventure story, an exploration of guilt and self-protection, and family strength in a different kind of Western.

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