Archive for February, 2014

Contemporary War Novels

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Click on any highlighted title to go to the catalog and place a hold.

The Kite Runnerby Khaled Hosseini. “The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons – their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.” (Penguin Putnam)

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. “A satire set in Texas during America’s war in Iraq that explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad. Follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive “Victory Tour” at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders.”


Sand Queen by Helen Benedict. “Nineteen-year-old Kate Brady joined the army to bring honor to her family and democracy to the Middle East. Instead, she finds herself in a forgotten corner of the Iraq desert in 2003, guarding a makeshift American prison. There, Kate meets Naema Jassim, an Iraqi medical student whose father and little brother have been detained in the camp.

 Kate and Naema promise to help each other, but the war soon strains their intentions. Like any soldier, Kate must face the daily threats of combat duty, but as a woman, she is in equal danger from the predatory men in her unit. Naema suffers bombs, starvation, and the loss of her home and family. As the two women struggle to survive and hold on to the people they love, each comes to have a drastic and unforeseeable effect on the other’s life. 

Culled from real life stories of female soldiers and Iraqis, Sand Queen offers a story of hope, courage and struggle from the rare perspective of women at war.”  (Random House, Inc.)

Fobbitby David Abrams. “In the satirical tradition of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, Fobbit takes us into the chaotic world of Baghdad’s Forward Operating Base Triumph. The Forward Operating base, or FOB, is like the back-office of the battlefield - where people eat and sleep, and where a lot of soldiers have what looks suspiciously like a desk job. Male and female soldiers are trying to find an empty Porta Potty in which to get acquainted, grunts are playing Xbox and watching NASCAR between missions, and a lot of the senior staff are more concerned about getting to the chow hall in time for the Friday night all-you-can-eat seafood special than worrying about little things like military strategy.

Darkly humorous and based on the author’s own experiences in Iraq, Fobbit is a fantastic debut that shows us a behind-the-scenes portrait of the real Iraq war.” (Perseus Publishing)

Sparta by Roxana Robinson. “Conrad Farrell has no family military heritage, but as a classics major at Williams College, he has encountered the powerful appeal of the Marine Corps ethic. ‘Semper Fidelis’ comes straight from the ancient world, from Sparta, where every citizen doubled as a full-time soldier. When Conrad graduates, he joins the Marines to continue a long tradition of honor, courage, and commitment. As Roxana Robinson’s new novel, Sparta, begins, Conrad has just returned home to Katonah, New York, after four years in Iraq, and he’s beginning to learn that something has changed in his landscape. Something has gone wrong, though things should be fine: he hasn’t been shot or wounded; he’s never had psychological troubles. But as he attempts to reconnect with his family and his girlfriend and to find his footing in the civilian world, he learns how hard it is to return to the people and places he used to love. His life becomes increasingly difficult to negotiate: he can’t imagine his future, can’t recover his past, and can’t bring himself to occupy his present. As weeks turn into months, Conrad feels himself trapped in a life that’s constrictive and incomprehensible, and he fears that his growing rage will have irreparable consequences. Suspenseful, compassionate, and perceptive, Sparta captures the nuances of the unique estrangement that modern soldiers face as they attempt to rejoin the society they’ve fought for.” (Publisher’s statement from

The Yellow Birds: a novel by Kevin Powers. “The war tried to kill us in the spring,” begins this breathtaking account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger.

Bound together since basic training when their tough-as-nails Sergeant ordered Bartle to watch over Murphy, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes impossible actions.

With profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on mothers and families at home, THE YELLOW BIRDS is a groundbreaking novel about the costs of war that is destined to become a classic. (Hachette Book Group)


True Art Crimes

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Having very recently seen the movie The Monuments Men, which is based on a book by the same title by Robert M. Edsel and Brett Witter, I was reminded of other gripping books of true crime involving stolen art and other rare treasures.

Thieves of Book Row: New York’s most notorious rare book ring and the man who stopped itby Travis McDade. “No one had ever tried a caper like this before. The goods were kept in a secure room under constant scrutiny, deep inside a crowded building with guards at the exits. The team picked for the job included two old hands known only as Paul and Swede, but all depended on a fresh face, a kid from Pinetown, North Carolina. In the Depression, some fellows were willing to try anything–even a heist in the rare book room of the New York Public Library.

In Thieves of Book Row, Travis McDade tells the gripping tale of the worst book-theft ring in American history, and the intrepid detective who brought it down. Author of The Book Thief and a curator of rare books, McDade transforms painstaking research into a rich portrait of Manhattan’s Book Row in the 1920s and ’30s, where organized crime met America’s cultural treasures in dark and crowded shops along gritty Fourth Avenue. Dealers such as Harry Gold, a tough native of the Lower East Side, became experts in recognizing the value of books and recruiting a pool of thieves to steal them–many of them unemployed men who drifted up the Bowery or huddled around fires in Central Park’s shantytowns. When Paul and Swede brought a new recruit into his shop, Gold trained him for the biggest score yet: a first edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems. Gold’s recruit cased the rare-book room for weeks, searching for a weakness. When he found one, he struck, leading to a breathtaking game of wits between Gold and NYPL special investigator G. William Bergquist.

Both a fast-paced, true-life thriller, Thieves of Book Row provides a fascinating look at the history of crime and literary culture.” (Oxford University Press)

The Gardner Heist: a true story of the world’s largest unsolved art theftby Ulrich Boser. “Shortly after midnight on March 18, 1990, two men broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and committed the largest art heist in history. They stole a dozen masterpieces, including one Vermeer, three Rembrandts, and five Degas. But after thousands of leads, hundreds of interviews, and a $5-million reward, not a single painting has been recovered. Worth a total of $500 million, the missing masterpieces have become the Holy Grail of the art world and one of the nation’s most extraordinary unsolved mysteries.

Art detective Harold Smith worked on the theft for years, and after his death, reporter Ulrich Boser inherited his case files. Traveling deep into the art underworld, Boser explores Smith’s unfinished leads and comes across a remarkable cast of characters, including the brilliant rock ‘n’ roll art thief; the golden-boy gangster who professes his innocence in rhyming verse; the deadly mobster James “Whitey” Bulger; and the Boston heiress Isabella Stewart Gardner, who stipulated in her will that nothing should ever be changed in her museum, a provision followed so closely that the empty frames of the stolen works still hang on the walls. Boser eventually cracks one of the biggest mysteries of the case and uncovers the identities of the men who robbed the museum nearly two decades ago. A tale of art and greed, of obsession and loss, The Gardner Heist is as compelling as the stolen masterpieces themselves.  (HarperCollins).

Priceless: how I went undercover to rescue the world’s stolen treasures by Robert K. Whitman. “Robert K. Wittman, the founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career, offering a real-life international thriller. The son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career going undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and Santa Fe, Miami and Madrid. Wittman tells the stories behind his recoveries of priceless art and antiquities: the golden armor of an ancient Peruvian warrior king; the Rodin sculpture that inspired the Impressionist movement; the rare Civil War battle flag carried into battle by one of the nation’s first African-American regiments. The art thieves and scammers he caught run the gamut from rich to poor, smart to foolish, organized criminals to desperate loners. Wittman has saved hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art and antiquities, but he considers them all equally priceless. (From publisher description).

The Rescue Artist: a true story of art, thieves, and the hunt for a missing masterpiece by Edward Dolnick. “In the predawn hours of a gloomy February day in 1994, two thieves entered the National Gallery in Oslo and made off with one of the world’s most famous paintings, Edvard Munch’s Scream … Baffled and humiliated, the Norwegian police turned to the one man they believed could help: a half English, half American undercover cop named Charley Hill, the world’s greatest art detective. The Rescue Artist is a rollicking narrative that carries readers deep inside the art underworld–and introduces them to a large and colorful cast of titled aristocrats, intrepid investigators, and thick-necked thugs. But most compelling of all is Charley Hill himself, a complicated mix of brilliance, foolhardiness, and charm whose hunt for a purloined treasure would either cap an illustrious career or be the fiasco that would haunt him forever.” (From publisher description).


Featured On Today Show

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Featured February 12, 2014 on Today:

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki. “Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John Andre. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.” (from cover page)

Reading group guide included in book.


Media Heat for The Martian

Monday, February 24th, 2014

On Feb 14,  NPR’s Science Friday featured Andy Weir, author of The Martian: A Novel (find this book in our catalog).

This is what it says in our catalog notes about The Martian:

“Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?” – (Random House, Inc.)


“One of the Brightest Stars of Literary Suspense”

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Jennifer McMahon’s sixth novel, the psychological thriller, The Winter People (Find this book in our catalog) may be her breakout. The L.A. Times called McMahon,  “One of the brightest new stars of literary suspense.”

Here is what it says about The Winter People in our catalog:

“The New York Times bestselling author of Promise Not to Tell returns with a simmering literary thriller about ghostly secrets, dark choices, and the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters . . . sometimes too unbreakable.

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.” – (Random House, Inc.)


Hyperbole and a Half

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Hyperbole and a Half:  Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh  (Find this book in our catalog.)

It’s nice to be reading and laughing over a book that nearly everyone else I know is reading and laughing over, as though as a reader, I am finally a part of a shared literary community.  This is one of those books about which your friends might ask, “And did you read the part about…?”  And more laughs erupt.  Drawn from her blog of the same name, Brosh lays out for us in a kind of memoir just what the subtitle says:  memories of lots of mayhem, failure, limited successes, unfortunate adventures and various other misadventures, and then most of all, lots of laughs.  The illustrations are a hoot as well.

Some of Brosh’s life misadventures include her insatiable appetite for cake that deeply impacts her decision to go after her grandfather’s birthday cake even if it is not the best decision for a sugar-sensitive, hyperactive child.  But who ever said children had good judgment?  The goose story is another memorable tale when a wild goose enters her house and terrorizes her for a number of, well, it seems like days, but it is most likely a little less than that.  Her various episodes with her dogs are probably the funniest, with Simple Dog and Helper Dog, neither one of which has much to offer in the way of redeeming qualities.  But both have found a loving home with Brosh and reward her in turn fully, keeping in their dog minds the truism that “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Not all of the subjects discussed in this memoir are laughing matters, as when Brosh explores her bout with depression in ways that are not funny at all but actually terrifying and very real to the readers.  She describes desperately trying to seem all right, wondering if her smile looks real as someone tells her some good news or of her feeling of absolute immobilization as she lies abed for hours on end or dwells in corners.  We are all relieved when she climbs out of that horror of her life.

Most of all, readers will find a humanity in her stories.  Exaggerated as they may seem, maybe things really did happen that way, because after all, isn’t life like that?

D. L. S.

Jen’s Jewels with Melanie Shankle

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Whether you are newly married or have been in a relationship for decades, it comes as no surprise that marriage takes work. Finding a way to blend two unique personalities under one roof can be challenging for some couples. Yet, when the stars align, there is no better feeling than the comfort of falling asleep in the arms of your soul mate. Being in a faith-based relationship filled with love and respect is truly one of life’s most cherished blessings.

This month’s Jen’s Jewels Melanie Shankle addresses this very topic in her latest release, The Antelope in the Living Room. This popular blogger and New York Times bestselling author of Sparkly Green Earrings is back sharing her hilarious perspective on the ups and downs of marital bliss. Through her tongue-in-cheek wisdom and hilarious advice for surviving difficult times in today’s real world, Melanie encourages the reader to embrace the joys and conflicts involved with finding your one true love.

As part of my interview, Tyndale House Publishers has generously donated five copies for you to win in the trivia contest that follows the interview. Winners will be randomly drawn. Be sure to keep up-to-date on all the latest news in the publishing business by stopping by, follow me on Facebook, or on Twitter and Pinterest @JenniferVido. And as always, thanks for making Jen’s Jewelsthe ultimate source for news on the web for today’s hottest authors.             

Jen: As a New York Times bestselling author, your path to publication is a story in itself. So that my readers may catch a glimpse into the life of the woman behind the words, please briefly share with us your educational and professional background.
Melanie: I graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Speech Communications.  I chose that major because it required the least amount of math classes, but it turned out to be a good choice because I really had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Ultimately, I took a job in financial sales right out of college (I was horrible at it.) and that eventually led me to a career in pharmaceutical sales that lasted for twelve years.

Jen: Please describe for us your “Aha!” moment when you decided to take the plunge and pursue a career as a writer.
Melanie: I don’t know that I had one big “Aha!” moment as much as just little moments along the way.  The first step was when I started blogging in July of 2006.  It was totally on a whim, but I rediscovered a part of myself that had been dormant for a long time.  Writing again was the creative outlet I needed and as the blog grew I began to realize that I might have the chance to do it for a living and not just a hobby.

Jen: In 2006, you started the Big Mama Blog. For my readers who may not be familiar with its content, please tell us how it evolved.
Melanie: I originally started the blog with the sole purpose of keeping track of family memories.  My daughter Caroline was two at the time and was growing and changing so fast that I wanted a way to keep track of our lives and writing seemed like the natural way to do that.  And so the blog is truly just about our everyday life.  Or as my dad says, “It’s the Seinfeld of blogs.” Which means it’s a blog about nothing.

Jen: Please take us on a brief tour of your blog highlighting points of interest.  
Melanie: There isn’t much to highlight.  It really is just a journal of our everyday life.  However, if you’re a fashion lover, then you might enjoy Fashion Friday.  Each Friday I post ten things I’ve found that week in stores and online.  I try to make it a good mix of price points and styles.

Jen: In 2013, your first book Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn was published. How did you arrive at the premise?
Melanie: Sparkly Green Earrings is a memoir of my days of early motherhood and it seemed like the natural choice.  The whole reason that I initially began blogging was to record memories of the time in my life when I was raising a toddler and the book was a natural extension of that.  My family is the heart of my blog.

Jen: In terms of nuts and bolts, approximately how long does it take for you to write a book? And, what is the most challenging part of the writing process?  
Melanie: It depends.  If you factor in all the time I waste on Facebook and Twitter and watching funny videos on YouTube and alphabetizing the ingredients in my pantry, then it takes me anywhere from six to eight months to write a book.  But if you take all that away and just factor in real writing time?  I would guess about three months. 

So much of my productivity depends on the day and my mood.  There are times I can write a chapter in one day and other times that a chapter takes two to three weeks.  I wish I knew why because I far prefer the former over the latter.  Ultimately the key is to make myself sit down and write something every day, even if it all ends up being terrible.  Writing is all about the discipline, which has never been one of my strong suits.

Jen: Your latest release The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life is an addictive, humorous read about your marriage. What inspired you to write this book?
Melanie: When I was writing SGE, I kept thinking of so many funny moments from my marriage that didn’t necessarily fit into a book about motherhood.  And I feel like there are so many books out there that tell us how to be better wives or how to pray for our husbands, but what about just something funny that can make women laugh about how absurd it sometimes feels to share a house and a life with a boy.

Jen: How do you manage to balance your work, marriage, and faith with such a demanding schedule?
Melanie: I don’t know that I always do it well.  My goal is always that my faith and family are my top priority and everything else falls in line behind those things.  Part of achieving that is that I really try to stay off the computer and social media when my people are around.  I write when my daughter is at school and after she goes to bed at night.  But it’s a constant push and pull to figure out how to manage it all.  Some days I get it right and other days I don’t.  The key is to give myself grace.

Jen: What has been the most essential life lesson you have learned from being in a committed relationship?
Melanie: That it’s not all about me.  I think one of the most humbling things about marriage is realizing how selfish you can be.  I always feel like Mother Theresa until things don’t go my way and then I feel that thing rise up in me where I just want things to be the way I want them.  And that doesn’t always happen when you’re sharing a life with another person.  But in the long run, the payoff is huge because being married to my husband has made me a better person than I’d be without my husband.  He sharpens me and makes me better.

Jen: Are you currently at work on your next book? If so, what may you share with us?
Melanie: I just signed a contract for a third book.  I’m still not sure of all the details but I believe it is going to be about my journey of faith from the time I was a little girl until present day.  It will be the stories of how I’ve realized God finds us no matter where we are and draws us to him.

Jen: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with my readers. I absolutely loved The Antelope in the Living Room. I highly recommend it to my Jen’s Jewels readers. Best of luck in all of your future projects!
Melanie: Thank you!

I hope you have enjoyed my interview with Melanie. Please stop by your favorite library branch, local bookstore, or on-line retailer and pick up a copy today. Better yet, how would you like to win one instead? Okay, send me an email at with the correct answer to the following trivia question and you’ll be entered into the contest. Good luck! (Offer void where prohibited.)

What is the title of Melanie’s first New York Times bestselling book?

Next month, I will be chatting with six-time RITA Award winner Barbara O’Neal about her upcoming release, The All You Can Dream Buffet: A Novel. You won’t want to miss it.

Little Failure

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Little Failure:  A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart (Find this book in our catalog.)

Born in the Soviet Union in 1972, Gary Shteyngart and his parents moved to New York seven years later.  Those first seven years of Shteyngart’s life seem to have been just about long enough to leave an indelible impression on him that has informed his life ever since.  This memoir marks the tug of war within, as he tries to assimilate as an American and at the same time stifle his ambivalence towards his Russian past.  This might seem like heady stuff, but Shteyngart manages to make much of this funny in his self-deprecating way.  One closes the book and wonders if this story of growing up in two worlds was all a big ha-ha or deeply sad and touching.  Nevertheless, the story of his childhood and early adulthood becomes a moving memoir, one that even brings him some reconciliation with his oh-so-Russian parents.

Shteyngart leads us on a kind of madcap journey from Leningrad to New York, from birth to first published novel and a little beyond, revealing how his parents raised him (with a mother who would not speak to him if he crossed her and a father who didn’t mind giving him a bit of a slap for similar small offenses), and the impact school had on him.  He shows us what it was like to attend a Hebrew school in Queens, surrounded by native-born children, who bullied him to no end, how he came to attend the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, and why he chose to go to Oberlin College.  All along this educational journey, both in the classroom and at home, Shteyngart gives us plenty of laughs along the way.

But life isn’t just a lot of laughs, is it?  And so we see also the anguish of a son trying to please his parents, who seem to find no joy in his accomplishments.  Or is that just his perception, as they, being from a different culture, hang on to their Russian mindset, even as they deride the land of their birth?  For a long, sad, and at times very funny look at assimilation, be sure to choose this book as a starting point.

Shteyngart has written other novels owned by HCPL, Absurdistan,The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, and Super, Sad, True Love Story.

D. L. S.

Top Mysteries You May Have Missed in 2013

Friday, February 14th, 2014

(Click on any highlighted title to go straight to the catalog)

Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye.  In 1846 New York, six months after the formation of the NYPD, officer Timothy Wilde investigates a ring of “blackbirders” who kidnap free people of color in the North and sell them to Southern plantations.



The Black Country by Alex Grecian.  The British Midlands. It’s called the “Black Country” for a reason. Bad things happen there. When members of a prominent family disappear from a coal-mining village and an eyeball is discovered in a bird’s nest — the local constable sends for help from Scotland Yard’s new Murder Squad. Fresh off the grisly 1889 murders of “The Yard,” Inspector Walter Day and Sergeant Nevil Hammersmith respond, but they have no idea what they’re about to get into.


Spider Woman’s Daughter by Anne Hillerman.  When one of her colleagues is gunned down, Navajo Nation Police Officer Bernadette Manality helps her husband, Sergeant Jim Chee, find the shooter and discovers a link to a cold case involving Jim’s former boss and partner, Inspector Joe Leaphorn.



Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger.  Looking back at a tragic event that occurred during his thirteenth year, Frank Drum explores how a complicated web of secrets, adultery, and betrayal shattered his Methodist family and their small 1961 Minnesota community.



Pagan Spring by G.M. Malliet.  To restore peace in the quaint village of Nether Monkslip, Vicar Max Tudor must unravel the clues, which are linked to long-ago crimes, after one of the village’s residents is murdered.




Stately Home Secrets

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Sometimes, it would seem, real life among the aristocracy of pre-World War I outdid the fictional lives of  TV’s Downton Abbey for family intrigues and tragic secrets.  The true story in The Secret Rooms: a true story of a haunted castle, a plotting duchess, and a family secret (find this book in our catalog) by Catherine Bailey is a case in point:

“For fans of Downton Abbey: the enthralling true story of family secrets and aristocratic intrigue in the days before WWI. After the Ninth Duke of Rutland, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, died alone in a cramped room in the servants’ quarters of Belvoir Castle on April 21, 1940, his son and heir ordered the room, which contained the Rutland family archives, sealed. Sixty years later, Catherine Bailey became the first historian given access. What she discovered was a mystery: the Duke had painstakingly erased three periods of his life from all family records-but why? As Bailey uncovers the answers, she also provides an intimate portrait of the very top of British society in the turbulent days leading up to World War I”– – (Baker & Taylor)

Catherine Bailey is an award-winning television producer and director of critically acclaimed documentary films inspired by her interest in twentieth-century history. She lives in London.