by Sharyn McCrumb -- January
From New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb comes a finely wrought novel set in nineteenth-century West Virginia, based on the true story of one of the strangest murder trials in American history--the case of the Greenbrier Ghost. Lakin, West Virginia, 1930 Following a suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P. D. Gardner finds himself under the care of Dr. James Boozer. Fresh out of medical school, Dr. Boozer is eager to try the new talking cure for insanity, and encourages his elderly patient to reminisce about his experiences as the first black attorney to practice law in nineteenth-century West Virginia. Gardner's most memorable case was the one in which he helped to defend a white man on trial for the murder of his young bride--a case that the prosecution based on the testimony of a ghost. Greenbrier, West Virginia, 1897 Beautiful, willful Zona Heaster has always lived in the mountains of West Virginia. Despite her mother's misgivings, Zona marries Erasmus Trout Shue, the handsome blacksmith who has recently come to Greenbrier County. After weeks of silence from the newlyweds, riders come to the Heasters' place to tell them that Zona has died from a fall, attributed to a recent illness. Mary Jane is determined to get justice for her daughter. A month after the funeral, she informs the county prosecutor that Zona's ghost appeared to her, saying that she had been murdered. An autopsy, ordered by the reluctant prosecutor, confirms her claim.
The Joy Luck Club
by Amy Tan -- February
Four mothers, four daughters, four families whose histories shift
with the four winds depending on who's "saying" the stories. In 1949 four
Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum,
play mahjong, and talk. United in shared unspeakable loss and hope, they call
themselves the Joy Luck Club. Rather than sink into tragedy, they choose to
gather to raise their spirits and money. "To despair was to wish back for
something already lost. Or to prolong what was already unbearable." Forty years
later the stories and history continue. With wit and sensitivity, Amy Tan
examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between
mothers and daughters. As each woman reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the
truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined. Mothers
boast or despair over daughters, and daughters roll their eyes even as they feel
the inextricable tightening of their matriarchal ties.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows -- March
As London is emerging from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton
discovers her next subject in a book club on Guernsey--a club born as a
spur-of-the-moment alibi after its members are discovered breaking curfew by the
Germans occupying their island.