Tuck in with a good book

Literary favorites for curling up with in front of the fire this fall

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By Kimberly Brock
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Want to know the best books to tuck in with this fall? Grab a cup of hot tea, pull on your fuzzy socks and get lost in some of these favorites from Foxtale Book Shoppe.

“Burdy” by Karen Zacharias

Sequel to the award-winning “Mother of Rain.” When it is a healing they need, the people at Christian Bend, Tennessee, turn to one woman – Burdy Luttrell. Melungeon by birth, Burdy learned the therapeutic properties of roots from the women in her family. When Burdy discovers that Lincoln Memorial University is hosting a class on healing roots, she persuades her friend, Mayne, to drive her up. The two women make a fateful stop at Laidlow Pharmacy at Bean Station, where an armed gunman executes three people and critically injures another. Burdy – the woman able to cure others – is now fighting for her life at University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. One thing is keeping Burdy alive – she has to tell Rain, the boy she has cared for since birth, the secret she’s kept from him all these years. Karen Spears Zacharias has crafted a mesmerizing novel of tragedy and transformation, a beautiful rendering of fact and fiction, and a tenderhearted narrative of survivors and the battles they face.

“Liar’s Bench” by Kim Michelle Richardson

In 1972, on Mudas Summers’ 17th birthday, her beloved Mama, Ella, is found hanging from the rafters of their home. Most people in Peckinpaw, Kentucky, assume that Ella’s no-good husband did the deed. Others think Ella grew tired of his abuse and did it herself. Muddy is determined to find out for sure either way, especially once she finds strange papers hidden amongst her mama’s possessions. But Peckinpaw keeps its secrets buried deep. Muddy’s almost-more-than-friend, Bobby Marshall, knows that better than most. Though he passes for white, one of his ancestors was Frannie Crow, a slave hanged a century ago on nearby Hark Hill Plantation. Adorning the town square is a seat built from Frannie’s gallows. A tribute, a relic – and a caution – it’s known as Liar’s Bench. Now the answers Muddy seeks soon lead back to Hark Hill, to hatred and corruption that have echoed through the years – and lies she must be brave enough to confront at last.

“After You” by Jojo Moyes

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living? Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started. For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

“The Marriage of Opposites” by Alice Hoffman

Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel’s mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel’s salvation is their maid Adelle’s belief in her strengths, and her deep, lifelong friendship with Jestine, Adelle’s daughter. But Rachel’s life is not her own. To save her father’s business, she is married off to a widower with three children. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.

“The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster” by Scott Wilbanks

Annabelle Aster doesn’t bow to convention – not even that of space and time – which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds. Annie and Elsbeth’s search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking their homes leads to an unsettling discovery – and potential disaster for both of them. 

“Where the Souls Go” by Ann Hite

At the age of 10, Annie Todd finds not only is her mother quite mad but that Annie has inherited an unusual legacy. The ghost of a young girl visits Annie in her new home deep in the mountains of western North Carolina, where Annie’s mother, Grace Jean, has hidden them away from the life they used to know. Annie finds an unlikely ally in Pearl, a young woman who keeps house in Annie’s new home. The secrets that surround Pearl take Annie’s mind off her loneliness and soon her family history is revealed to her. “Where the Souls Go” is Ann Hite’s third novel set in Black Mountain, North Carolina. This book follows three generations of the Pritchard family, not only telling the story of how Hobbs Pritchard became the villain of Black Mountain, but highlighting women’s struggles in Appalachia, beginning in the Depression Era and ending in the mid-60s.

“The Mountain Shadow”  by Gregory David Roberts

“Shantaram” introduced millions of readers to a cast of unforgettable characters through Lin, an Australian fugitive working as a passport forger for a branch of the Bombay mafia. In “The Mountain Shadow,” the long-awaited sequel, Lin must find his way in a Bombay run by a different generation of mafia dons, playing by a different set of rules.

“The Lake House” by Kate Morton

From the New York Times and internationally best-selling author of “The Secret Keeper” and “The Distant Hours,” an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heart-stopping suspense and uncovered secrets. Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent and precociously talented 16-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure. One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, 11-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.


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This month's issue

Farrah Haidar, left, and Hala Yassine, are two of the seven sisters involved in Seven Sisters Scones in Johns Creek, offering their customers a modern take on a traditional breakfast treat.
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