Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.
Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.
Every Wednesday for Books That Caught Our Eye, Serena, Leslie and I will each share 2 books that grabbed our attention from today’s Mailbox Monday post. We hope you’ll join us by posting a comment letting us know the books that caught your eye.
My mailbox was a bit busier than it’s been in quite a while. Here’s what I got:
Swann’s Lake Of Despair by Charles Salzberg (review)
When rare photos, a scandalous diary, and a beautiful woman all go missing at once, the stage is set for three challenging cases for Henry Swann. It begins with an offer to partner up with his slovenly, unreliable frenemy, Goldblatt. The disbarred lawyer-turned-“facilitator” would provide the leads and muscle, while Swann would do all the fancy footwork. A lost diary by a free-loving Jazz Age flapper is worth enough to someone that Swann takes a beat down on an abandoned boardwalk. Pilfered photos of Marilyn Monroe propel him deep into the past of an alcoholic shutterbug, his wife; and he’s hired to search for a lonely writer’s runaway girlfriend. The cases converge and collide in a finale that lifts the curtain on crucial, deadly facts of life for everyone including Swann himself.
Fail by Rick Skwiot (tour)
Exiled to the city’s tough North Side, disgraced St. Louis Police Lieutenant Carlo Gabriel wants nothing more than to return to the headquarters hierarchy. To get his wish, all he has to do is track down the missing husband of the mayor’s press secretary. Instead he unearths a morass of corruption, educational malpractice, and greed that threatens to consign thousands of at-risk youths to the mean streets of America’s erstwhile murder capital. Worse, it’s the kind of information that could get a cop killed. Fighting for his life and his honor, Gabriel ultimately must make a choice that could affect not only his own future, but also that of the city and its top leaders.
Ballroom by Alice Simpson (for tour)
Told in interconnecting stories, Ballroom is a beautifully crafted debut novel—reminiscent of the works of Elizabeth Strout and Jennifer Haigh—about a group of strangers united by a desire to escape their complicated lives, if only for a few hours each week, in a faded New York City dance hall
Time has eroded the glamour of the Ballroom, but at the end of the 1990s, a small crowd of loyal patrons still makes its way past the floor-to-ceiling columns which frame the once grand hall each Sunday evening. Sweeping across the worn parquet floor under a peeling indigo ceiling, these men and women succumb to the magic of the music, looking for love and connection, eager to erase the drab reality of their complicated lives.
Nearly forty and still single, Sarah Dreyfus is desperate for love and sure she’ll find it with debonair Gabriel Katz, a dazzling peacock who dances to distract himself from his crumbling marriage. Tired of the bachelor life, Joseph believes that his yearning for a wife and family will be fulfilled—if only he can get Sarah to notice him. Besotted with beautiful young Maria Rodriguez, elderly dance instructor Harry Korn knows they can find happiness together. Maria, one of the Ballroom’s stars, has a dream of her own, a passion her broken-hearted father refuses to accept or understand.
Good Chinese Wife: A Love Affair with China Gone Wrong by Susan Blumberg-Kason (sent to me by Trish @ Love, Laughter, And A Touch Of Insanity ~ Thanks so much Trish!)
A stunning memoir of an intercultural marriage gone wrong.
When Susan, a shy Midwesterner in love with Chinese culture, started graduate school in Hong Kong, she quickly fell for Cai, the Chinese man of her dreams. As they exchanged vows, Susan thought she’d stumbled into an exotic fairy tale, until she realized Cai–and his culture–where not what she thought.
In her riveting memoir, Susan recounts her struggle to be the perfect traditional “Chinese” wife to her increasingly controlling and abusive husband. With keen insight and heart-wrenching candor, she confronts the hopes and hazards of intercultural marriage, including dismissing her own values and needs to save her relationship and protect her newborn son, Jake. But when Cai threatens to take Jake back to China for good, Susan must find the courage to stand up for herself, her son, and her future.
Moving between rural China and the bustling cities of Hong Kong and San Francisco, Good Chinese Wife is an eye-opening look at marriage and family in contemporary China and America and an inspiring testament to the resilience of a mother’s love–across any border.