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Best Contemporary Women's Fiction: Six Novels includes works by some of the finest novelists of today. Almost by Elizabeth Benedict chronicles the attempt of writer Sophy Chase to come to terms with the death of her almost ex-husband -- who may have committed suicide on the New England resort island where she left him just months before.Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum follows Trudy, a professor of German history, as she investigates her mother's past and the truth surrounding her life in Germany during WWII. Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame. The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss is a heartwarming, greatly satisfying story of a young woman with the rare talent of "gentling" wild horses and the unexpected and profound connections between people and animals. The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones takes readers inside the hidden world of elite cuisine in modern China through the story of an American food writer in Beijing. When recently widowed Maggie McElroy is called to China to settle a claim against her late husband's estate, she is blindsided by the discovery that he may have led a double life. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell is a gothic, intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth that will haunt you long past its final page. The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett tells the story of a secretive magician's death that sets in motion his partner's journey of self-discovery.
As an American appraiser of fine Chinese porcelain, Lia Frank holds fragile beauty in her hands, examines priceless treasure with a magnifying lens. But when Lia looks in the mirror, she sees the flaws in herself, a woman wary of love, cut off from the world around her. Still, when she is sent to Beijing to authenticate a collection of rare pieces, Lia will find herself changing in surprising ways...coming alive in the shadow of an astounding mystery. As Lia evaluates each fragile pot, she must answer questions that will reverberate through dozens of lives: Where did these works of art come from? Are they truly authentic? Or are they impossibly beautiful forgeries--part of the perilous underworld of Chinese art? As Lia examines her treasure, a breathtaking mystery unravels around her. And with political intrigue intruding on her world of provenance and beauty, Lia is drawn into another, more personal drama--a love affair that could alter the course of her life.
In her satisfying, sensual third novel, Nicole Mones takes readers inside the hidden world of elite cuisine in modern China through the story of an American food writer in Beijing. When recently widowed Maggie McElroy is called to China to settle a claim against her late husband's estate, she is blindsided by the discovery that he may have led a double life. Since work is all that will keep her sane, her magazine editor assigns her to profile Sam, a half-Chinese American who is the last in a line of gifted chefs tracing back to the imperial palace. As she watches Sam gear up for China's Olympic culinary competition by planning the banquet of a lifetime, she begins to see past the cuisine's artistry to glimpse its coherent expression of Chinese civilization. It is here, amid lessons of tradition, obligation, and human connection that she finds the secret ingredient that may yet heal her heart.
A novel of searing intelligence and startling originality,Lost in Translation heralds the debut of a unique new voice on the literary landscape. Nicole Mones creates an unforgettable story of love and desire, of family ties and human conflict, and of one woman's struggle to lose herself in a foreign land--only to discover her home, her heart, herself. At dawn in Beijing, Alice Mannegan pedals a bicycle through the deserted streets. An American by birth, a translator by profession, she spends her nights in Beijing's smoke-filled bars, and the Chinese men she so desires never misunderstand her intentions. All around her rushes the air of China, the scent of history and change, of a world where she has come to escape her father's love and her own pain. It is a world in which, each night as she slips from her hotel, she hopes to lose herself forever. For Alice, it began with a phone call from an American archaeologist seeking a translator. And it ended in an intoxicating journey of the heart--one that would plunge her into a nation's past, and into some of the most rarely glimpsed regions of China. Hired by an archaeologist searching for the bones of Peking Man, Alice joins an expedition that penetrates a vast, uncharted land and brings Professor Lin Shiyang into her life. As they draw closer to unearthing the secret of Peking Man, as the group's every move is followed, their every whisper recorded, Alice and Lin find shelter in each other, slowly putting to rest the ghosts of their pasts. What happens between them becomes one of the most breathtakingly erotic love stories in recent fiction. Indeed, Lost in Translation is a novel about love--between a nation and its past, between a man and a memory, between a father and a daughter. Its powerful impact confirms the extraordinary gifts of a master storyteller, Nicole Mones.
"Historical fiction at its best. " --Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered Sailing to Shanghai in 1936, Thomas Greene goes from playing classical piano for pennies in segregated Baltimore to living in a mansion with his own servants, the leader of a black jazz orchestra. Song Yuhua has been bonded since age eighteen to Shanghai's toughest crime boss, but risks her life spying on him for the Communist Party. With Shanghai shattered by the Japanese invasion, Thomas and Song find one another and forge a bond neither can deny. Torn between music and survival, freedom and commitment, love and war, they navigate the city's growing dangers until the moment when they must cast their lots in Night in Shanghai's final, impossible choice.
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