Penance by Kanae Minato
240 p.; Fiction
When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emili by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emili is found murdered hours later.
Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren't able to accurately describe the stranger's appearance to the police after the Emili's body was discovered. Asako, Emili's mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter's murder.
And Then There Was Me: A Novel of Friendship, Secrets and Lies by Sadeqa Johnson
304 p.; Fiction
Bea and Awilda have been best friends from the moment Awilda threw her fourteen year-old self across Bea’s twin-sized bed as if they had known each other forever. Bubbly, adventurous Awilda taught sheltered, shy Bea how to dress, wear her hair and what to do with boys. She even introduced Bea to her husband, Lonnie, in college, who pledged to take good care of her for the rest of their lives. But philanderer Lonnie breaks that promise over and over again, leaving Bea to wrestle with her self-esteem and long time secret addiction.
Recently Lonnie has plopped the family in a New Jersey upper class suburb, which lacks the diversity that Bea craves but has the school district and zip code envy that Lonnie wants. The demands of carrying a third child and fitting into this new environment while pretending that her husband is not cheating on her again, is more than she can handle. And just when she thinks things can’t get any worst, the ultimate deception snaps the little thread that was holding her life together and all comes tumbling down.
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner
336 p.; Fiction
Leaving the safety of America, Teera returns to Cambodia for the first time since her harrowing escape as a child refugee. She carries a letter from a man who mysteriously signs himself as “the Old Musician” and claims to have known her father in the Khmer Rouge prison where he disappeared twenty-five years ago.
In Phnom Penh, Teera finds a society still in turmoil, where perpetrators and survivors of unfathomable violence live side by side, striving to mend their still beloved country. She meets a young doctor who begins to open her heart, immerses herself in long-buried memories and prepares to learn her father’s fate.
Meanwhile, the Old Musician, who earns his modest keep playing ceremonial music at a temple, awaits Teera’s visit with great trepidation. He will have to confess the bonds he shared with her parents, the passion with which they all embraced the Khmer Rouge’s illusory promise of a democratic society, and the truth about her father’s end.
Land Of My Fathers by Vamba Sherif
210 p.; Historical fiction
The proud Republic of Liberia was founded in the nineteenth-century with the triumphant return of the freed slaves from America to Africa. Once back “home,” however, these Americo-Liberians had to integrate with the resident tribes—who did not want or welcome them. Against a background of French and British colonialists busily carving up Mother Africa, while local tribes were still unashamedly trading in slaves . . . the vulnerable newcomers felt trapped and out of place. Where men should have stood shoulder to shoulder, they turned on each other instead.
Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika
126 p.; Fiction
Set in San Francisco, this delightful story introduces a truly memorable 75-year-old protagonist, exploring themes of aging, friendship and loss.
Indian Magic by Balraj Khanna
248 p.; Fiction/Humor
An entertaining and well written novel that gives a fascinating insight into another side of London in the 1960s. This is the life of an immigrant trying to succeed in a society where non-whites are not welcome.