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Historical

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  1. 23.7 hrs • 10/4/2016 • Unabridged

    A literary tour de force of a detective's ceaseless hunt for an elusive criminal By Gaslight is a deeply atmospheric, haunting novel about the unending quest that has shaped a man’s life. William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of the most notorious detective of all time, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead on the fabled con Edward Shade. William’s father died without ever finding Shade, but William is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows. Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London to find her. What he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried. A fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and séance halls ensues, creating the most unlikely of bonds: between Pinkerton, the great detective, and Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade. Steven Price’s dazzling, riveting By Gaslight moves from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, on a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.

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    By Gaslight

    23.7 hrs • 10/4/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 18.1 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    In The Four Swans, the sixth book in Winston Graham's legendary Poldark saga, Ross is faced with a new battlefield, one involving the women whose lives are intertwined in his own. Cornwall, 1795-1799: although Ross Poldark, now something of a war hero, seems secure in his hard-won prosperity, a new dilemma faces him in the sudden infatuation of a young naval officer for his wife Demelza. All four women—the four swans—whose lives touch Ross’s, face a crisis in these years. For his wife Demelza, his old love Elizabeth, for his friend’s new wife Caroline, and for the unhappy Morwenna Chynoweth, these are times of stress and conflict.

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    The Four Swans

    18.1 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 11.0 hrs • 8/2/2016 • Unabridged

    The National Book Award Winner and #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.      In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.      Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

    Available Formats: CD
    The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club) by Colson Whitehead
    CD
  4. 14.5 hrs • 7/12/2016 • Unabridged

    A sweeping saga about four generations of a family who live and love on an enchanting island off the coast of Italy—combining the romance of Beautiful Ruins with the magical tapestry of works by Isabel Allende.NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR Castellamare is an island far enough away from the mainland to be forgotten, but not far enough to escape from the world’s troubles. At the center of the island’s life is a café draped with bougainvillea called the House at the Edge of Night, where the community gathers to gossip and talk. Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, finds his destiny on the island with his beautiful wife, Pina, whose fierce intelligence, grace, and unwavering love guide her every move. An indiscretion tests their marriage, and their children—three sons and an inquisitive daughter—grow up and struggle with both humanity’s cruelty and its capacity for love and mercy. Spanning nearly a century, through secrets and mysteries, trials and sacrifice, this beautiful and haunting novel follows the lives of the Esposito family and the other islanders who live and love on Castellamare: a cruel count and his bewitching wife, a priest who loves scandal, a prisoner of war turned poet, an outcast girl who becomes a pillar of strength, a wounded English soldier who emerges from the sea. The people of Castellamare are transformed by two world wars and a great recession, by the threat of fascism and their deep bonds of passion and friendship, and by bitter rivalries and the power of forgiveness. Catherine Banner has written an enthralling, character-rich novel, epic in scope but intimate in feeling. At times, the island itself seems alive, a mythical place where the earth heaves with stories—and this magical novel takes you there.Praise for The House at the Edge of Night“A perfect summer read, made for those balmy evenings on your porch with a glass of wine. . . . The story brims with heart, dreamy folk tales and beautifully written passages about the people who call the island home. . . . Just don’t be surprised if you keep turning the pages long into the night, spellbound by its magic.”—The Denver Post“A gorgeous, sweeping story set over four generations . . . The novel calls to mind Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Beautiful Ruins. It is not just the protagonists and their struggles that make Banner’s narrative incredible, but also the smaller, secondary characters that add color and detail, and the intricately described island of Castellamare itself.”—Interview“Banner’s four-generation saga is set on an island near Sicily, where myths of saints get served up with limoncello as the Esposito family’s bar. As the captivating characters are challenged by war, financial crisis and heartbreak, their bonds hold them together. The island is fictional, but consider this dreamy summer read your passport.”—People“Catherine Banner’s latest is a masterful piece of storytelling, infused with the miraculous (both in stories and in everyday life) while maintaining the difficult balance between the explainable versus the inexplicable. Through the life of a single man—a man not noteworthy in the eyes of the world—and his family, Banner touches on such broad themes as community and the way global events play out in individual lives and larger society. And just as the broader themes affect the more personal ones, Banner’s style echoes the book’s content: The House at the Edge of Night is captivating and beautifully rendered.”—Sara Gruen, author of At the Water’s Edge

    Available Formats: CD
    The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner

    The House at the Edge of Night

    14.5 hrs • 7/12/16 • Unabridged
    CD
  5. 9.0 hrs • 3/15/2016 • Unabridged

    From internationally bestselling author Tracy Chevalier, a riveting drama of a pioneer family on the American frontier 1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuck—in the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio. They and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land, buying saplings from a local tree man known as John Appleseed so they can cultivate the fifty apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle. James loves the apples, reminders of an easier life back in Connecticut; while Sadie prefers the applejack they make, an alcoholic refuge from brutal frontier life. 1853: Their youngest child, Robert, is wandering through Gold Rush California. Restless and haunted by the broken family he left behind, he has made his way alone across the country. In the redwood and giant sequoia groves he finds some solace, collecting seeds for a naturalist who sells plants from the new world to the gardeners of England. But you can run only so far, even in America, and when Robert’s past makes an unexpected appearance, he must decide whether to strike out again or stake his own claim to a home at last. Chevalier tells a fierce, beautifully crafted story in At the Edge of the Orchard, her most graceful and richly imagined work yet.

    Available Formats: CD
    At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier
    CD
  6. 30.7 hrs • 3/8/2016 • Unabridged

    Called “a Russian Thorn Birds,” The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons is a sweeping saga of love and war that has been a monumental bestseller all over the world. The golden skies, the translucent twilight, and the white nights all hold the promise of youth, of love, and of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad. Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander’s impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.

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  7. 23.4 hrs • 3/1/2016 • Unabridged

    In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy. From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France. It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter. Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father’s reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

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    America’s First Daughter

    23.4 hrs • 3/1/16 • Unabridged
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  8. 12.5 hrs • 2/23/2016 • Unabridged

    With everyone onboard harboring dark secrets and at least one person determined to make sure the airship doesn’t make the return trip, Flight of Dreams gives an utterly suspenseful, heart-wrenching explanation for one of the most enduring mysteries of the twentieth century. On the evening of May 3, 1937, Emilie Imhof boards the Hindenburg. As the only female crewmember, Emilie has access to the entire airship, from the lavish dining rooms and passenger suites to the gritty engine cars and control room. She hears everything, but with rumors circulating about bomb threats, Emilie’s focus is on maintaining a professional air … and keeping her own plans under wraps. What Emilie can’t see is that everyone—from the dynamic vaudeville acrobat to the high-standing German officer—seems to be hiding something. Giving free rein to countless theories of sabotage, charade, and mishap, Flight of Dreams takes us on the thrilling three-day transatlantic flight through the alternating perspectives of Emilie; Max, the ship’s navigator who is sweet on her; Gertrud, a bold female journalist who’s been blacklisted in her native Germany; Werner, a thirteen-year-old cabin boy with a bad habit of sneaking up on people; and a brash American who’s never without a drink in his hand. Everyone knows more than they initially let on, and as the novel moves inexorably toward its tragic climax, the question of which of the passengers will survive the trip infuses every scene with a deliciously unbearable tension. With enthralling atmospheric details that immediately transport and spellbinding plotting that would make Agatha Christie proud, Flight of Dreams will keep you guessing till the last page.

    Available Formats: CD
    Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

    Flight of Dreams

    12.5 hrs • 2/23/16 • Unabridged
    CD
  9. 11.0 hrs • 2/2/2016 • Unabridged

    The author of the bestselling Life of Pi returns to the storytelling power and luminous wisdom of his master novel. The High Mountains of Portugal is a story about love, loss, and faith that takes us on a mesmerizing journey through the last century. Told in three intersecting narratives—part quest, part ghost story, part contemporary realism—the novel begins in the early 1900s, when a young man named Tomás discovers in the archives of Lisbon an ancient journal describing an extraordinary artifact that he believes will challenge the church’s understanding of religion forever and sets out for the high mountains of Portugal in search of it. Thirty-five years later, a pathologist devoted to the murder mysteries of Agatha Christie is drawn into the consequences of Tomás’ quest as he finds himself at the center of a murder story. And fifty years after that, Senator Peter Tovy of Ottawa, grieving the death of his beloved wife, rescues a chimpanzee from an Oklahoma research facility and takes it to live with him in his ancestral village in northern Portugal, where the strands of all three stories come together. Filled with tenderness, humor, and endless surprise, Yann Martel’s new novel offers a haunting exploration of great love and great loss, asking questions about faith and the lack of faith that are at the heart of all his novels.

    Available Formats: CD
    The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel

    The High Mountains of Portugal

    11.0 hrs • 2/2/16 • Unabridged
    CD
  10. 13.0 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    The New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife returns with a triumphant new novel about New York’s “Swans” of the 1950s—and the scandalous, headline-making, and enthralling friendship between literary legend Truman Capote and peerless socialite Babe Paley. Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends—the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a high-profile husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman—a woman desperately longing for true love and connection. Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrée into the enviable lives of Manhattan’s elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe’s powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls “True Heart,” Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller—even when the stories aren’t his to tell. Truman’s fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he’ll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens the door onto one of America’s most sumptuous eras.

    Available Formats: CD
    The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin

    The Swans of Fifth Avenue

    13.0 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
    CD
  11. 9.5 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    For a small-town girl with big-city dreams, there is no address more glamorous than New York’s Barbizon Hotel. Laura, a patrician beauty from Smith, arrives to work at Mademoiselle for the summer. Her hopelessly romantic roommate, Dolly, comes from a working-class upstate town to attend secretarial school. Vivian, a brash British bombshell with a disregard for the hotel’s rules, rounds out the trio of friends. Together, the girls embark on a journey of discovery that will take them from the penthouse apartments of Park Avenue to the Beat scene of Greenwich Village to Atlantic City’s Steel Pier—and into the arms of very different men who will alter their lives forever.

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    Searching for Grace Kelly

    9.5 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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  12. 11.0 hrs • 1/26/2016 • Unabridged

    From the writings of Marie Nicolaevna Romanavna, age nineteen, July 17, 1918, midnight, in bed with her sister Anastasia (Shvybz), in the Ipatiev Mansion in Ekaterinburg, during the last night of their lives: “So much of my story unfolds by moonlight. This is a tale of midnight wakings and forced marches before dawn. Since this nightmare began, I do not dare undress, even to go to bed. I wear my dressing gown, my hair is prepared, and my shoes are set beside me. I have no idea when we will be summoned to rise. We have moved, as in the worst of dreams, slowly toward this place. There is no logic other than the sleepwalker’s obedience—to follow instruction which we cannot resist: an actual lunacy. “Now, I have control only of this—my record of what happened to us, to me. I have committed a single sin, my one terrible transgression. I pray to be absolved. In this recording of memory lies all meaning to my life. Let my will prevail in this, my ultimate wish, to salvage something of value from this tragedy. The rest, as my mother says, is in God’s hands.” Here, in startling new historical detail, based on original diaries and letters, is the Romanov tragedy told from the point of view of the Tsar’s third daughter, Marie, Anastasia’s closest, older sister. Marie’s story is unique—only Marie crossed the frozen Siberian river with her parents, and only Marie shared the full seventy-eight days and nights in “The House of Special Purpose”.

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    The Passion of Marie Romanov

    11.0 hrs • 1/26/16 • Unabridged
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  13. 14.0 hrs • 1/12/2016 • Unabridged

    From the bestselling author of Pompeii comes the third installment in the most provocative and brilliant saga of Rome and its power struggles since I, Claudius. With Dictator, Robert Harris brings the saga of Cicero’s life to a time when some of the most epic events in human history occurred: the collapse of the Roman republic, the subsequent civil war, the murder of Pompey, and the assassination of Julius Caesar. Yet the question it asks is a timeless one: How is political freedom to be safeguarded against the triple threat of unscrupulous personal ambition, of an electoral system dominated by vested financial interests, and of the corrupting impact of waging ceaseless foreign wars? And in the very human figure of Cicero—brilliant, flawed, frequently fearful, and yet ultimately brave—Harris gives us a hero for both his own time, and for ours.

    Available Formats: CD
    Dictator by Robert Harris

    Dictator

    14.0 hrs • 1/12/16 • Unabridged
    CD
  14. 21.5 hrs • 11/24/2015 • Unabridged

    From the bestselling, acclaimed author of Tully and The Bronze Horseman comes the unforgettable love story between a college-bound young woman and a traveling troubadour on his way to war—a moving, compelling novel of love lost and found set against the stunning backdrop of Eastern Europe. Chloe is just weeks away from heading off to college and starting a new life far from her home in Maine when she embarks on a great European adventure with her boyfriend and two best friends. Their destination is Barcelona, but first they must detour through the historic cities of Eastern Europe to keep an old family promise. Here, in this fledgling post-Communist world, Chloe meets a charming American vagabond named Johnny, who carries a guitar, an easy smile—and a lifetime of secrets. From Treblinka to Trieste, from Karnikava to Krakow, from Vilnius to Venice, the unlikely band of friends and lovers traverse the old world on a train trip that becomes a treacherous journey into Europe’s and Johnny’s darkest past—a journey that jeopardizes Chloe’s plans for the future and all she ever thought she wanted. But the lifelong bonds Chloe and her friends share are about to be put to the ultimate test—and whether or not they reach Barcelona, they can only be certain that their lives will never be the same again. A sweeping, beautiful tale that mesmerizes and enchants, Lone Star will linger long in the memory once the final words are read.

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    Lone Star

    21.5 hrs • 11/24/15 • Unabridged
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  15. 58.2 hrs • 9/8/2015 • Unabridged

    James A. Michener’s masterly chronicle of South Africa is an epic tale of adventurers, scoundrels, and ministers, the best and worst of two continents who carve an empire out of a vast wilderness. From the Java-born Van Doorn family tree springs two great branches: one nurtures lush vineyards, the other settles the interior to become the first Trekboers and Afrikaners. The Nxumalos, inhabitants of a peaceful village unchanged for centuries, unite warrior tribes into the powerful Zulu nation. And the wealthy Saltwoods are missionaries and settlers who join the masses to influence the wars and politics that ravage a nation. Rivalries and passions spill across the land of The Covenant, a story of courage and heroism, love and loyalty, and cruelty and betrayal, as generations fight to forge a new world.

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    The Covenant by James A. Michener

    The Covenant

    58.2 hrs • 9/8/15 • Unabridged
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  16. 25.0 hrs • 9/1/2015 • Unabridged

    A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author of Freedom. Young Pip Tyler doesn’t know who she is. She knows that her real name is Purity, that she’s saddled with $130,000 in student debt, that she’s squatting with anarchists in Oakland, and that her relationship with her mother - her only family - is hazardous. But she doesn’t have a clue who her father is, why her mother chose to live as a recluse with an invented name, or how she’ll ever have a normal life. Enter the Germans. A glancing encounter with a German peace activist leads Pip to an internship in South America with The Sunlight Project, an organization that traffics in all the secrets of the world - including, Pip hopes, the secret of her origins. TSP is the brainchild of Andreas Wolf, a charismatic provocateur who rose to fame in the chaos following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now on the lam in Bolivia, Andreas is drawn to Pip for reasons she doesn’t understand, and the intensity of her response to him upends her conventional ideas of right and wrong. Purity is a grand story of youthful idealism, extreme fidelity, and murder. The author of The Corrections and Freedom has imagined a world of vividly original characters - Californians and East Germans, good parents and bad parents, journalists and leakers - and he follows their intertwining paths through landscapes as contemporary as the omnipresent Internet and as ancient as the war between the sexes. Purity is the most daring and penetrating book yet by one of the major writers of our time. This audiobook includes a bonus conversation with the author.

    Available Formats: CD
    Purity by Jonathan Franzen

    Purity

    25.0 hrs • 9/1/15 • Unabridged
    CD
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