In the Shadow of Alabama by Reene Singer. Published by Kensington

Rachel Fleischer reluctantly leaves her horse farm to go to travel to her father’s deathbed. The Fleischer family didn’t do “family” well. It’s not until Rachel meets a stranger at her father’s funeral, a stranger whose gift leads Rachel to trace her father’s past and his time as a Jewish sergeant in command of a regiment of Black soldiers during World War II in 1940’s Alabama that she gets a sense of the man her father really was. This is a masterful story of bravery and compassion suppressing ignorance and bigotry

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The Dragon’s Staircase by McKenna Grey. Published by IBPA

FBI agent Alexa Kyndall will do anything to take down the killers that walk among us, now she’s part of a task force trying to bring down an especially brutal killer. A child has seen one of the murders and now Alexa must not only get information from the child, while providing protection. The last thing she expects is Craig Pierson, a man with a shady past who seems determined to protect Alexa from a vicious predator. They join force to track down the madman, and Alexa begins to develop feelings for Craig. After all this time and all her work in law enforcement, is she falling in love with a criminal?

The Backyard Gardener Kelly Orzel. Published by Rowman & Littlefield

I have been gardening all my adult life, but it turns out I still have a lot to learn. Orzel tackles things like soil prep (something I always have problems with), companion planting, insect and animal damage control, seed saving and composting. A worthwhile addition to any gardener’s library. I can’t wait for the snow to melt to try out some of Orzel’s techniques

Allie and Bea by Catherine Hyde White. Published by Lake Union

Bea has lost everything in a telephone scam. With her husband gone, she is forced out of her home and leaves for the West coast in an old van and her cat. Allie is a fifteen year old living in a group home after her parents have been jailed for white-collar crime. She fears for her life in the violent setting and makes the decision to run away. Then her path crosses Bea’s. These two women have been given the crap end of the stick in life and they’re not about to trust each other, but as they travel west, something happens and the two form a fragile bond, that’s not quite friendship, at least  not at first. This is a real feel good story about two damaged souls who find the courage to start over and form their own family

The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey. Published by Lake Union

In early twentieth century Boston, four female immigrants try to find their place in their new world by joining the Saturday Evening Girls Club, where they make pottery and get to know each other and their adopted country. Caprice, Ada, Thea and Maria all come from different place, have different goals and expectations, but all want a piece of the American dream. This is such a beautifully written and timely story. It’s a good reminder of how our ancestors came here to make better lives for themselves and stood up for things like equality, fairness in the workplace and women’s rights. America has been and will always be only as great as her people

The Grave Tender by Eliza Maxwell. Published by Lake Union

Hadley Dixon did not have an idyllic childhood. Raised by a mother that many people thought was mentally ill, Hadley left her Texas hometown after an incident that changed her life forever. Years later, Hadley is back, a widow expecting a child and people in town are still whispering about her strange family. This time it’s her uncle Eli and his possible connections to a missing child. Hadley’s father and grandfather refuse to answer her questions about the town rumors and her family’s role in the strange goings on. Hadley wants answers to the questions that have plagued her all her life, but is she willing to risk the lives of her own children to get those answers? Creepy and intense, this book has more than one surprise in store

The Lighthouse Keeper by Cynthia Ellingsen. Published by Lake Union

Dawn Conner’s not got the greatest luck, she’s out of a job, lost a boyfriend and now her great-grandfather has been accused of stealing treasure from a shipwreck. The man is dead now and can’t do anything to defend himself, so Dawn takes it on herself to clear her family’s name. At her family home on Lake Michigan (where the shipwreck in question lies beneath the waves), she plans to makeover the lighthouse and sell it, all the while searching for answers about her grandfather. As she searches for the truth, she has the chance to find love, if she can trust her heart again. I loved this story about sunken treasure and family honor