Three years ago I had a 10 day vacation in Tahoe. Since I can't ski any more (bad knee), I had plenty of time to sit and read in our Club Tahoe condo or the Club House. I did get a chance to snowshoe at Northstar one day, but it snowed EVERY day afterwards. Alan spent 6 days skiing in gorgeous powder!
Vermonter Wendy Clinch has written a mystery novel set at "Spruce Peak" ski resort. Grad student Stacey Curtis leaves Boston in a hurry when she discovers her fiance is cheating on her and becomes a Vermont ski bum and bartender. Discovering a set of keys that open up a bunch of unoccupied condos, she crashes each night in a new place or in a sleeping bag in her car. One night, she opens the condo door to discover a dead body, with an oily chain from a chain saw yanked tight around the man's neck. She uses her cell phone to call in the body and flees the scene.
The next night, a mysterious stranger scrapes outside on her icy car, parked behind the local laundry. Finally realizing she has to have an apartment to live in, she listens to advice from hard-drinking Tina, a local massage therapist, and calls the sheriff to rent an apartment in his house. Stacey also becomes romantically involved with hunky ski patroller/trust funder Chip Walsh. But she continues to ponder who murdered David, part owner of the ski resort, who has been resisting Ski America's demand to develop the resort.
Double Black is the first book in a new Ski Diva's mystery series. Wendy Clinch runs a web site for women who ski (www.TheSkiDiva.com) and will be visiting Village Square Booksellers for an author event in March.
Artist Leonora Manin, a descendant of the famous Murano glassblower Corradino Manin, uncovers some long hidden secrets when she moves to Venice to recover from an unhappy marriage. She becomes an apprentice at Adelino della Vigna's glass factory and becomes a pawn in Adelino's scheme to save his factory. A fellow glassblower's jealousy unleashes secrets from the past and she must resolve them to save her job and follow her destiny as she falls in love with the young police officer who helps her get her work and residential papers. Past and present link up in this fast-paced historical novel.
Lisa See's latest historical novel is set in 17th century China at the time of the fall of the Qing (or Ching, from when I was studying Chinese History in the 1960's & 70's) Dynasty by the Manchus. The chinese literati or gentry (an exam-based system to determine those who work in government positions) is in turmoil- should they be loyalists and suffer physically or economically or possibly die, or go along with the Manchus and work under their regime? Educated women have no place in society except as wives and mothers - though many secretly write poetry books. A young woman, Peony, has been educated by her father, but she still has to marry an unknown man in an arranged marriage. Peony's love for The Peony Pavillion, a romantic play that her father puts on for her 16th birthday, and her chance (and illicit) meeting with a handsome stranger at the party, changes her life's path. She becomes consumed by the play's theme and pines away for her secret love, and learns of hungry ghosts wandering the earth, in between the living world and the afterworld, where written words take power and vivid dreams too. (Seems like I've been reading a lot of novels lately with ghosts in it- I'll mention those later.)
Here's the other book with a ghostly theme - it's finally out in paperback! I laughed out loud reading some parts of the book. When ghosts interfere with the living... Julia and Valentina Poole are twenty-year-old sisters with an intense attachment to each other. One morning the mailman delivers a thick envelope to their house in the suburbs of Chicago. Their English aunt Elspeth Noblin has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. There are two conditions for this inheritance: that they live in the flat for a year before they sell it and that their parents not enter it. Julia and Valentina are twins. So were the girls' aunt Elspeth and their mother, Edie. The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders the vast Highgate Cemetery, where Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Stella Gibbons, and other luminaries are buried. Julia and Valentina become involved with their living neighbors: Martin, a composer of crossword puzzles who suffers from crippling OCD, and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. They also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including--perhaps--their aunt.
Tracy Chevalier's newest novel tells the story of two women from 19th century England. Local Mary Anning, struck by lightning as a child, is an uneducated young girl with a gift for finding fossils and skeletons of long dead creatures. She is befriended by spinster Elizabeth Philpot, a recent exile to Lyme Regis from London, who also loves to search for fossil specimens. The book takes place in pre-Darwinian England where the natural sciences is dominated by males, who use Mary's talents for discovery to further their own careers. Chevalier is also the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue, The Lady and the Unicorn, all of which deal with women trying to work in a male-dominated field.