Clean Reads

* A selection of books with little or no strong language, and no graphic sex.

 

The Splendor Falls – Susanna Kearsley

As Emily makes the acquaintance of Chinon, France and its people, she begins to uncover dark secrets beneath the charm. Legend has it that during a thirteenth-century siege of the castle that looms over the city, Queen Isabelle, child bride of King John, hid a "treasure of great price." And in the last days of the German occupation during World War II, there was another Isabelle living in Chinon, a girl whose love for an enemy soldier went tragically awry. As the dangers of the past become disastrously real, Emily is drawn ever more deeply into a labyrinth of mystery as twisted as the streets and tunnels of the ancient town itself.   FIC Kearsley


Elantris – Brandon Sanderson

Ten years after the fall of Elantris, rumored to be a city of gods among men, the country of Arelon is plagued with a crippling disease called the Shaod. The curse comes swiftly and without warning, and those taken by it are banished to live the rest of their lives within the walls of the ruined Elantris. This novel follows three distinct perspectives - the recently afflicted Prince Raoden, his fiancé Sarene and Princess of the neighboring country Teod, and a high-ranking priest, Hrathen. Each has their own ideas about how to save the peaceful country of Arelon from the looming threat of total annihilation.  FIC Sanderson

 

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – Alan Bradley

It's the summer of 1950, and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events. For Flavia, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw.    FIC Bradley


Circe – Madeline Miller

The story follows Circe, the banished witch daughter of Helios, as she hones her powers and interacts with famous mythological beings before a conflict with one of the most vengeful Olympians forces her to choose between the worlds of the gods and mortals.  FIC Miller

 

The Rent Collector – Cameron Wright

Sang Ly struggles to survive by picking through garbage in Cambodia's largest municipal dump. Under threat of eviction by an embittered old drunk who is charged with collecting rents from the poor of Stung Meanchey, Sang Ly embarks on a desperate journey to save her ailing son from a life of ignorance and poverty.  FIC Wright

 

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek – Kim Richardson

The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything—everything except books. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter. Cussy's not only a book woman, however, she's also the last of her kind, her skin a shade of blue unlike most anyone else. Not everyone is keen on Cussy's family or the Library Project, and a Blue is often blamed for any whiff of trouble. If Cussy wants to bring the joy of books to the hill folks, she's going to have to confront prejudice as old as the Appalachias and suspicion as deep as the holler.             FIC Richardson


The Beekeeper’s Apprentice – Laurie King

A chance meeting with a Sussex beekeeper turns into a pivotal, personal transformation when fifteen-year-old Mary Russell discovers that the beekeeper is the reclusive, retired detective Sherlock Holmes, who soon takes on the role of mentor and teacher.  FIC King

 

A Man Called Ove – Fredrick Backman

Ove, a grumpy, isolated retiree who spends his days enforcing block association rules and visiting his wife's grave, decides to give up on life until an unlikely friendship develops with a boisterous young family that moves in next door.  FIC Backman

 

The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club. When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. (Many laugh out loud moments, because Osman gets human nature spot on.)  FIC Osman

 

Enchanted, Inc. – Shanna Swendson

Katie Chandler had always heard that New York is a weird and wonderful place, but this small-town Texas gal had no idea how weird until she moved there. Everywhere she goes, she sees something worth gawking at and Katie is afraid she’s a little too normal to make a splash in the big city. Then, seemingly out of the blue, Katie gets a job offer from Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., a company that sells tricks of the trade to the magic community. For MSI, Katie’s ordinariness is an asset. Lacking any bit of magic, she can easily spot a fake spell, catch hidden clauses in competitor’s contracts, and detect magically disguised intruders. Suddenly, average Katie is very special indeed. She quickly learns that office politics are even more complicated when your new boss is a real ogre, and you have a crush on the sexy, shy, ultra-powerful head of the R&D department, who is so busy fighting an evil competitor threatening to sell black magic on the street that he seems barely to notice Katie. Now it’s up to Katie to pull off the impossible: save the world and–hopefully–live happily ever after.  FIC Swendson


All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

Blind Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.  FIC Doerr

 

The Quilter’s Apprentice – Jennifer Chiaverini

When Sarah McClure and her husband, Matt, move to Waterford, Pennsylvania, she hopes to make a fresh start in the small college town. Unable to find a job both practical and fulfilling, she takes a temporary position at Elm Creek Manor helping its reclusive owner Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate for sale and after the death of her estranged sister. Sylvia is also a master quilter and, as part of Sarah’s compensation, offers to share the secrets of her creative gifts with the younger woman. During their lessons, the intricate, varied threads of Sylvia’s life begin to emerge. Just as the darker sections of a quilt can enhance the brighter ones, the mistakes of the past can strengthen understanding and lead the way to new beginnings.    FIC Chiaverini


A Gentleman in Moscow – Amor Towles

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.  FIC Towles

 

The Reading List – Sara Adams

Widower Mukesh lives a quiet life in West London after losing his beloved wife. He shops every Wednesday, goes to Temple, and worries about his granddaughter, Priya, who hides in her room reading. Aleisha is a bright but anxious teenager working at the local library for the summer when she discovers a crumpled-up piece of paper in the back of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a list of novels that she’s never heard of before. Intrigued, she impulsively decides to read every book on the list.  As each story gives up its magic, the books transport Aleisha from the painful realities she’s facing at home. When Mukesh arrives at the library, desperate to forge a connection with his bookworm granddaughter, Aleisha passes along the reading list, hoping that it will be a lifeline for him too. Slowly, the shared books create a connection between two lonely souls and helps them find joy in life again.   FIC Adams


The Last Thing He Told Me – Laura Dave

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. As a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity, and why he really disappeared. Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, but as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.  FIC Dave


The Jane Austen Society – Natalie Jenner

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England's finest novelists. Now it's home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen's legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen's home and her legacy. These people―a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others―could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.  FIC Jenner


The Maid – Nita Prose

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by. Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception; one she has no idea how to untangle.   FIC Prose


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer

As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton discovers her next subject in a book club on the Isle of Guernsey--a club born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island.  FIC Shaffer