| By Tamara Butler |
The bonds of friendship can accomplish great things. This holiday season, Thorndike is celebrating these relationships with five large print titles about the lengths people will go to for their friends. The past comes back to haunt a German woman decades after World War II when she befriends a young boy that takes her back to a history she buried long ago (All the Broken Places), while in another novel, a retired teacher reconnects with her best friend with whom she shared the terrible tragedy of losing children (The Old Place). On a London bus, a young woman makes friends with an older man who lost his great love in 1962 when he misplaced the bus ticket with her number on it. He has taken that same route for decades, hoping to find her again, to no avail. His new young friend is determined to help him find her (The Lost Ticket). A college radio host makes it her mission to protect her “girls” from players and users. So, when she finds herself having to take part in a fake romantic liaison with the biggest player of all, it’s her own heart she has to protect (Honey and Spice). Lastly, a memoir covering the fifty-year friendship between an NPR correspondent and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg explores how women support each other through careers, illness, and loss (Dinners with Ruth).
All the Broken Places by John Boyne
New York Times Bestselling Author
Inspired by a Character in Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Ninety-one-year-old Gretel Fernsby has lived in the same well-to-do mansion block in London for decades. She lives a quiet, comfortable life, despite her deeply disturbing, dark past. Then, a new family moves into the apartment below her. In spite of herself, Gretel can’t help but begin a friendship with the little boy, Henry, though his presence brings back memories she would rather forget. All the Broken Places moves back and forth in time between Gretel’s girlhood in Germany to present-day London as a woman whose life has been haunted by the past. Now, Gretel faces a similar crossroads to one she encountered long ago. Back then, she denied her own complicity, but now, faced with a chance to interrogate her guilt, grief, and remorse, she can choose to save a young boy. If she does, she will be forced to reveal the secrets she has spent a lifetime protecting. This time, she can make a different choice than before—whatever the cost to herself.
The Old Place by Bobby Finger
Kirkus Starred Review
A Bighearted and Moving Debut
Billington, Texas, is a place where nothing changes. Well, almost nothing. For the first time in nearly four decades, Mary Alice Roth is not getting ready for the first day of school at Billington High. A few months into her retirement—or district-mandated exile as she calls it—Mary Alice does not know how to fill her days. Mary Alice and Ellie were a pair since the day Ellie moved in next door. That they both were single mothers—Mary Alice widowed, Ellie divorced—with sons the same age was a pleasant coincidence, but they were forever linked when they lost the boys, one right after the other. Years later, the two are working their way back to a comfortable friendship. But when Mary Alice’s sister arrives on her doorstep with a staggering piece of news, it jeopardizes the careful shell she’s built around her life.
The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson
An Amazon Best Book
Strangers on a London bus unite to help an elderly man find his missed love connection in this heartwarming new novel. When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, brokenhearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 that he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like hers. They made plans for a date at the National Gallery art museum, but Frank lost the bus ticket with her number on it. For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her, but with no luck. More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time. But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chances for happiness—before it’s too late.
Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola
New York Times Bestseller
Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick
A TikTok Book Club Pick
Two Starred Reviews
Sharp-tongued and secretly soft-hearted Kiki Banjo has just made a huge mistake. As an expert in relationship evasion and the host of the popular student radio show Brown Sugar, she’s made it her mission to make sure the women of the African-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University do not fall into the mess of “situationships,” players, and heartbreak. But when the Queen of the Unbothered kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just publicly denounced as “The Wastemen of Whitewell,” in front of every Blackwellian on campus, she finds her show on the brink. They’re soon embroiled in a fake relationship to try to salvage their reputations and save their futures. Kiki has never surrendered her heart before, and a player like Malakai won’t be the one to change that, no matter how charming he is or how electric their connection feels. But surprisingly entertaining study sessions and intimate, late-night talks at old-fashioned diners force Kiki to look beyond her own presumptions. Is she ready to open herself up to something deeper?
Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships by Nina Totenberg
Celebrated NPR correspondent Nina Totenberg delivers an extraordinary memoir of her personal successes, struggles, and life-affirming relationships, including her beautiful friendship of nearly fifty years with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Dinners with Ruth is an extraordinary account of two women who paved the way for future generations by tearing down professional and legal barriers. It is also an intimate memoir of the power of friendships as women began to pry open career doors and transform the workplace. At the story’s heart is one special relationship: Ruth and Nina saw each other not only through personal joys but also illness, loss, and widowhood. During the devastating illness and eventual death of Nina’s first husband, Ruth drew her out of grief; twelve years later, Nina would reciprocate when Ruth’s beloved husband died. They shared not only a love of opera but also of shopping, as they instinctively understood that clothes were armor for women who wanted to be taken seriously in a workplace dominated by men. During Ruth’s last year, they shared so many small dinners that Saturdays were “reserved for Ruth” in Nina’s house.
About the Author
Tamara Butler is an acquisitions editor with over 20 years prior experience in public and academic libraries. She has a master’s degree in library science from the University of Buffalo and a master of fine arts in writing from Lindenwood University. When not checking out the latest Southern gothic novels, Tamara loves to spend time on New England beaches and hang out with her two energetic beagles.