— MONDAY BOOK GROUP —
We meet the second Monday of the month from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. • Group Leader: Patrice Wehner
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
BY KIM MICHELE RICHARDSON
Review by Patrice Wehner
“One of the best things about being part of this group is reading titles that I never would have explored on my own.” This is a common refrain among our UMASC Monday Book Group members! The joy of discovering books outside our “comfort zones” and sharing our personal favorites with each other are the magnets that draw us together the third Monday afternoon of every month.
Our 2021 reading list was diverse: “whodunit” novels featuring unfamiliar cultures and unconventional detectives; novels and non-fiction set in locations across Maine, by Maine authors; and historical fiction that took us to England in Shakespeare’s time, the late 1800’s and the 20th century. Even as we stayed home reading and meeting on Zoom this year, we traveled through time, across Maine and around the world!
Our January, 2022 title is The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. Set in Eastern Kentucky during the 1930s, this novel tells the story of Cussy Mary, one of the “Packhorse Librarians,” whose courage and belief in the power of literacy were her weapons against hate, bigotry and fear.
The Shape of Night
BY TESS GERRITSEN
Review by Patrice Wehner
Pandemic or not, books transport us to many places. Since there’s no place like home, every year we select a few titles by Maine authors, often set in Maine. Our February book, The Shape of Night, is by Tess Gerritsen, a Camden resident. She’s well-known for her Rizzoli and Isles books and other best-selling suspense novels.
The Shape of Night takes us to DownEast Maine, where food writer Ava Collette arrives from Boston to rent a historic house for the summer. There, she hopes to escape some personal troubles, and to focus on completing her latest cookbook (already behind schedule). She quickly discovers that the serene home, friendly locals and idyllic town have many secrets, including a series of “accidental” deaths and paranormal experiences. It’s definitely a departure from Gerritsen’s other novels, and makes for a suspenseful escape from winter snowstorms!
If you’re looking for a reading “staycation” set in Maine, check out some of the titles the Monday Book Group has read over the past few years:
Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Again (and of course, its predecessor, Olive Kitteridge)
Kerri Arsenault’s Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains (a memoir of her Rumford hometown, and investigation of the paper mill in Mexico)
Matt Cost’s Mainely Power (a murder mystery set in Brunswick)
Sarah Perry’s After the Eclipse (a daughter’s memoir of her mother’s murder in Bridgeton)