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Impossible Saints – Clarissa Harwood
Escaping the constraints of life as a village schoolmistress, Lilia Brooke bursts into London and into Paul Harris’s orderly life, shattering his belief that women are gentle creatures who need protection. Lilia wants to change women’s lives by advocating for the vote, free unions, and contraception. Paul, an Anglican priest, has a big ambition of his own: to become the youngest dean of St. John’s Cathedral. Lilia doesn’t believe in God, but she’s attracted to Paul’s intellect, ethics, and dazzling smile.
As Paul is increasingly driven to rise in the church, Lilia finds her calling in the militant Women’s Social and Political Union. They can’t deny their attraction, but they know they don’t belong in each other’s worlds. Lilia would rather destroy property and serve time in prison than see her spirit destroyed and imprisoned by marriage to a clergyman, while Paul wants nothing more than to settle down and keep Lilia out of harm’s way. Paul and Lilia must reach their breaking points before they can decide whether their love is worth fighting for.
Between Earth and Sky – Amanda Skenandore
On a quiet Philadelphia morning in 1906, a newspaper headline catapults Alma Mitchell back to her past. A federal agent is dead, and the murder suspect is Alma’s childhood friend, Harry Muskrat. Harry—or Asku, as Alma knew him—was the most promising student at the “savage-taming” boarding school run by her father, where Alma was the only white pupil. Created in the wake of the Indian Wars, the Stover School was intended to assimilate the children of neighboring reservations. Instead, it robbed them of everything they’d known—language, customs, even their names—and left a heartbreaking legacy in its wake.
The bright, courageous boy Alma knew could never have murdered anyone. But she barely recognizes the man Asku has become, cold and embittered at being an outcast in the white world and a ghost in his own. Her lawyer husband, Stewart, reluctantly agrees to help defend Asku for Alma’s sake. To do so, Alma must revisit the painful secrets she has kept hidden from everyone—especially Stewart.
Told in compelling narratives that alternate between Alma’s childhood and her present life, Between Earth and Sky is a haunting and complex story of love and loss, as a quest for justice becomes a journey toward understanding and, ultimately, atonement.
Island of Sweet Pies and Soliders – Sara Ackerman
Territory of Hawaii, 1944. Losing men comes naturally to Violet Iverson. So, when a troop of American soldiers shows up in their tiny sugarcane town, she knows to keep her distance. She and her daughter Ella are piecing their lives back together after her husband’s disappearance two years ago. No leads, just his car found parked at the edge of a cliff and a small patch of blood. Ella knows something, but refuses to talk. Someone or something has scared her into silence. Rumors fly around town – Herman worked for the Japanese. A moonshine deal went sour. He was gambling on cock fights. Working for the FBI – and Violet begins to wonder how well she really knew him. As the war ramps up, she and her friends increasingly lean on each other for support. Setsuko, a fellow schoolteacher, watches as her husband is dragged off to an internment camp, while Jean is convinced that Bud, a summer fling, will die fighting in the Pacific. Ella, on the other hand, finds solace in an African lion smuggled in by the troops. There’s also the matter of Sergeant Stone, a brash Marine who comes to their aid when the women are taken in on suspicion of espionage. In clearing their name, he uncovers a clue that eventually leads to the shocking truth about Violet’s husband. Stone’s magnetism draws Violet in, despite repeated efforts to keep him at bay. So, when the inevitable happens and the soldiers get orders to ship out on Christmas Day, she faces losing everything. Again.
Over 50,000 Marines, and mascot Roscoe the lion, lived at Camp Tarawa on the Big Island before sailing off to Iwo Jima and Saipan, two of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific.