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May Newsletter
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Dear Book-Loving Friend,

With just the right mix of twisty surprises and good old fashioned human drama, our May book club selection is the perfect jumping off point to summer reading. In 
THE SHADOW YEAR by Hannah Richell a group of college students venture upon a remote hideaway and decide to it claim for themselves, carving out an existence apart from the real world. But over the course of one summer, the real world they’ve worked so hard to escape begins to intrude upon their utopia, and each of their lives are changed forever as a result. Thirty years later a grieving young woman inherits the house, and the mystery that lies within its walls is slowly uncovered as she renovates the home. Suspenseful. Moving. Clever. THE SHADOW YEAR is the perfect book to kick off your summer reading binge. Make sure you grab your copy today.


We're giving away five copies of THE SHADOW YEAR thanks to the kind folks at Grand Central Publishers. 

Stories always come alive when discussed by the author themselves so we asked Hannah Richell to share a few words with you about THE SHADOW YEAR (see below).

Warmly,
Ariel (on behalf of the She Reads team)

A Note from Hannah Richell:

Have you ever wanted to throw off the frenzied pace of modern life and return to a simpler way of living? Perhaps it’s no surprise that as a mom blessed with two young kids and a career, this idea really appeals to me. It is also an idea that appeals to the characters in The Shadow Year, a novel in which a group of college graduates stumble upon an abandoned cottage and decide to attempt a year of living self-sufficiently. They set out with high ideals but as the seasons change, life in the cottage begins to sour and their experiment soon descends into darkness and despair.
 
From the initial spark of the idea, The Shadow Year proved to be an intriguing book to write. Having grown-up in rural England (but since absconded for Australia), it was a joy to retread the landscape of my youth. The back-to-basics existence my characters try to live often leaves them at the mercy of the elements and as I wrote, I found the plot forming quite organically, influenced by the cyclical nature of a year and its shifting seasons. I also found specific themes and motifs emerging and repeating. One of these was a plant I remembered from my own childhood – Lunaria or ‘honesty’ as it’s also known. It was quite fashionable, I think, in the late ’70s and early ’80s to display the dried seed heads of the plant and these same pods become, in my novel, a symbol for the fragility of the life the graduates try to live. I was utterly thrilled to see the same plant gracing the cover of my novel when my publisher first sent the design through.
 
The Shadow Year, although a dark and twisty book, really was a joy to write and I’m delighted it may find new readers through the vibrant She Reads community. If you choose to read my novel, I wish you as much pleasure in the reading as it brought me in the writing.
 
Yours,
 
Hannah Richell
May 2014

On a sultry summer’s day in 1980, five friends stumble upon an abandoned lakeside cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. For Kat and her housemates, it offers an escape, a chance to drop out for a while. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise and when an unexpected visitor appears at their door, nothing will be the same again. Three decades later, Lila arrives at the same remote cottage. With her marriage in crisis, she finds solace in renovating the tumbledown house. Little by little she wonders about the previous inhabitants. How did they manage in such isolation? And why did they leave in such a hurry, with their belongings still strewn about? Most disturbing of all, why can’t she shake the feeling that someone might be watching her? THE SHADOW YEAR is a mesmerizing story of tragedy, lies and betrayal.

Add THE SHADOW YEAR to your Goodreads to-read list.

Read an excerpt of THE SHADOW YEAR here.

New books from previously featured She Reads authors, now available for pre-order:


THE BRIDGE TENDER by Marybeth Whalen

Emily must realize that her dreams didn’t have to die with her first love. When Emily Shaw, a young widow, learns that her late husband's last surprise for her involves returning to Sunset Beach, North Carolina, to realize an old dream of theirs, she reluctantly embarks on a summer of discovery in the midst of grief. There, in the oasis of the beach community, she meets a host of townspeople with their own broken dreams and unexpected situations. As the island citizens divide over the fate of a nostalgic bridge, Emily happens upon a man who just may be the one to restore her faith in dreams, hope, and possibly love.

GOODNIGHT MOON by Sarah Jio

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Songs) is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be. June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.

BEST OF THE BLOG THIS MONTH. In case you missed them, here are the most-read posts on She Reads this month:

What we are reading to our kids this summer, and what they are reading ro themselves.

Believe it or not, Edgar Allan Poe was a good looking guy.

Book Review of ALIAS HOOK in which Captain Hook is the good guy!

Why we love to hate women's magazines.

Are your children almost out of school for the summer? Do you have family coming into town? Are you looking for ways to make your kitchen a warm and welcome place? Then grab a copy of this cookbook: 


The Loving Kitchen is a collection of comforting recipes straight from the kitchen of popular food blogger LeAnn Rice.

You know the feeling you get when you’re an overnight guest in someone’s home, and you awaken to a hot-off-the-griddle breakfast? Or when a coworker brings in a pan of her famous brownies to celebrate your recent promotion? Doesn’t it feel great when dinner at the neighbors’ house includes multiple courses of scratch-made recipes and conversation that lingers beyond dessert and that last cup of coffee?

For many of us, these are the moments in which we feel most loved. That’s the idea behind The Loving Kitchen. Get your family’s day started right with LeAnn’s fluffy Pumpkin Spice Pancakes, or a bowl of Almond Coconut Granola and yogurt. Keep your favorite sports fans fueled through the entire game with hearty servings of Hot Sausage and Spinach Dip, or toss together a Grilled Chicken and Berry Salad for lunch with your dearest girlfriends.

Want a signature dinner you can serve on those special occasions? Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Orange Cranberry Glaze with Creamy Smashed Baby Potatoes is the perfect meal to celebrate a milestone. LeAnn’s sunny narrative and ideas for bringing people together will remind you that the best meal you’ll ever cook is the one you prepare as an act of love.

Our co-founder, Ariel Lawhon, recently got a rave review in the New York Times for her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS. Based on the 1930 disappearance of a New York State Supreme Court Judge, it is the story of three women who know what happened to him but, for very different reasons, choose not to tell.
“Inspired by a real-life unsolved mystery, this mesmerizing novel features characters that make a lasting impression.”--PEOPLE MAGAZINE

"More meticulously choreographed than a chorus line. It all pays off."--THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW 


“This story is at once an intricate tale of disparate but coexisting definitions of love and loyalty as well as a tale of what it meant to be a person of power in New York City in the early 20th century. Historical fiction and true crime readers will thoroughly enjoy this book.” â€” Library Journal
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