Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince by Lisa Hilton

Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince By Lisa Hilton Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780544577848
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - November 10th, 2015

While there are a multitude of biographies of Elizabeth, Hilton has delved into the life of this Tudor monarch from a slightly different perspective, giving us a more nuanced portrait as a result. From her birth until her death, Elizabeth’s life was one long invention; she created one of the most successful courts in Europe using her femininity to cover the iron will that allowed her to govern a nation and confound her fellow rulers. Hilton also details Elizabeth’s loves and how she subjugated these loves to the necessity of rule. It’s an unusual and insightful look at an always fascinating woman and time in British history. – Barbara Hoagland

Numero Zero by Umberto Eco

Numero Zero By Umberto Eco, Richard Dixon (Translated by) Cover Image
By Umberto Eco, Richard Dixon (Translated by)
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ISBN: 9780544635081
Published: HarperVia - November 3rd, 2015

Eco’s short but excellent book is more cautionary tale than suspense novel and satire is at its center. Set in Milan in 1992, it supposes that a failed academic is hired to ghostwrite a memoir based on a nascent newspaper that is to be a heroic example of journalism at its bests. The staff of the paper, when not failing to report stories that might negatively impact their patron, brainstorms stories out of vapor by grouping together unrelated facts until they are made to seem significant, simply because they’re being reported. Until suddenly, a reporter stumbles across what could actually be a story: a theory that Mussolini was never executed after the war, but was spirited away, until an attempt could be made to bring him back. Which had happened twenty years before, in a coup attempt that failed because El Duce died before the takeover could occur. A whacked-out conspiracy theory or truth? A question that becomes more pressing when the reporter is murdered. Numero Zero looks at the forces that have battered Italy since the war, whether political, journalistic, or religious, with the eye of a cynic, a caustic tongue, and a scathing sense of humor. – Betsy Burton

Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

The title says it all—Constance Kopp is the girl, and the sheriff gives her the gun to defend her family from the bullying of a powerful silk-factory owner. Amy Stewart has plucked a true story from the headlines of the day and imagined the details which take it into the realm of fiction. During this time period the automobile is replacing the buggy, and factory owners are exploiting the poor. The Kopp family, caught in the middle of these major changes, is comprised of three women, living on a remote farm. Having hidden their family secrets from the world, they are thrust into the spotlight when Constance insists that the silk-factory owner reimburse her for the damages to their buggy occasioned when he and his rowdy friends crashed into them threatening their safety. Only through the support of the local sheriff do they get any help; society is not sympathetic toward uppity women, and Constance and her sisters are too much the individualists to fit in Paterson, New Jersey society. Women may be the heroes of the book but the sheriff stands out as a brave man who not only changes the life of Constance Kopp but opens doors for women in the future. Girl Waits with Gun is a page-turner and a rousing read for anyone who has felt "different." – Wendy Foster Leigh