Neshama’s Choices for June 26th

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Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark   

Fellowship Point, a Quaker sanctuary on the coast of Maine, is now threatened by some of the descendants of the original founders. Caught in the crossfire are Agnes and Polly, very old friends. Agnes is a writer with a secret.  An ambitious young editor wants her to write a memoir. Polly’s husband has just died and her grown children have plans for her and the land that goes against the grain. A very absorbing tale that spans decades with wonderful characterizations, rapturous descriptions of nature, and lots of wits. So satisfying!   


All the Beauty in the World by Patrick Bringley   

Subtitled The Metropolitan Museum and Me. Do you ever wonder what those museum guards are thinking while they stand around?   This author who did it for a decade takes us inside his head and behind the scenes. We get to observe specific works and their viewers’ reactions, along with historical underpinnings. Bringley left a less-than-satisfying job at the New Yorker when his brother died and discovered this new one provided solace, food for thought, and beauty on a daily basis. I like quotidian details as well as rapture, and this book provides them both.   


The Lost Wife by Susanna Moore   

In this novel, desperate Sarah makes the trek from New England to Indian territory in the mid-1800s to escape her brutal husband. When she arrives at the outpost, she discovers the friend she planned to meet there has died. She adjusts with surprising strength, marries a local doctor who studies native life and has two more children. (She left one behind when she fled.) In the Sioux uprising, she and the kids are taken captive.  She’s learned some of the tribe’s language and forms a deep bond with Chaska who becomes her protector. Of course, tragedy is inevitable—starvation, broken treaties—that grim familiar story. When it’s all over she takes her children to return to the East Coast and reclaim her other daughter. One fascinating detail: how she and her children acclimated to native ways and how hard readjustment was for the kids.   


The Trackers by Charles Frazier   

It’s the Depression and Val is an artist commissioned to make a mural on a post office in Wyoming, a project designed to lift spirits in the locality.  He’s invited to stay on a ranch where rich John and Eve play out the domestic drama. Val gets sucked in when Eve disappears, and John sends him out to find her.  He has political ambitions and can’t afford a scandal. The journey takes Val from Florida where he has unfortunate run-ins with her first partner Jake’s family, to San Francisco where he tracks her down, singing in a nightclub. The story Eve initially told John turns out to have many holes in it. There’s a stolen Rembrandt (John’s an art collector), and lots of wrong turns and suspenseful skirmishes. What a good yarn!