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PBR Book Club Recommendations


PBR Review: This is an excellent book for anyone who loves a good story about father-daughter relationships. Sally Cabot Gunning gives many heartwarming details about the intense and complex bond between Martha and her father, Thomas Jeffers More


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Talking Points: This book takes a look at the challenges of making a living in the South and being female in the late 1770s. The Jefferson family was conflicted on the concept of slavery. They disliked the idea but needed slaves to run their farms, so they tried to compensate by treating their slaves like workers. Martha was a strong, intelligent woman, but was limited by the customs of the time and her difficult marriage.

PBR Review: Whenever I read stories about women with incredible inner strength, it awakens something within me. I question why women must struggle so much in a man’s world. To some extent, this is still true today. But, in Jennie’s case, he More


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Talking Points: This story has many talking points; overcoming tragedy and personal challenges, acceptance of what we cannot change, and acceptance of others. It is not a love story, but it is a story about love. It also tackles some tough issues of the 1870s. It examines the role of women and what divorce was like in 1870. Alcoholism and abusive relations are looked at as well as the effect this and divorce had on children back then. The author also explores the struggles of being a woman, divorced and raising a child.

PBR Review: This story has a unique and compelling plot, and amazingly, as soon as you start reading, you are hooked. It's clear that Walker did a massive amount of research on narcissistic personality disorder, which has always piqued my More


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Talking Points: The main talking point of this book will be the many ramifications of narcissism; the damage a narcissist mother can wreak on her children and marriage. The power struggle between the various characters and the lies and secrets held and told are also discussion worthy, as are the actions and decisions of some of the characters.

PBR Review: A young suburban couple decides their marriage needs a boost. There is nothing alarmingly wrong with their relationship, it just feels like it’s dipping into the doldrums and getting a bit stagnant. It doesn’t need a major over More


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Talking Points: Aside from the main topic of 'is monogamy best in a marriage', which will be a hot topic, this book also explores the issues of transgender shaming, dealing with an autistic child, and relationships. It also touches on the meaning of love and examines the concept 'is the grass always greener on the other side'?

PBR Review: A story so compelling, you will share it with everyone you know. Without a doubt, the writing style is beautiful and draws you in. However, the heart of this book revolves around the depth of the characters and the complexities More


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Talking Points: A remarkable story that takes an intense look at relationships between a mother and her children and also what it means to be a mother. The story examines parenthood, class, race and inter racial adoption. There are complex family dynamics with a focus on not passing judgment too quickly, and it is also an insightful look at middle class values.

PBR Review: The unique premise, the ingenious hiding places a talented architect can make for Jews to take refuge and the convincing transformation of Lucien are three things that will linger long after you turn the last page. As the book More


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Talking Points: This book explores many moral issues. War creates, fear create circumstances that cause people to act out of character. War also tests loyalties and beings into existence an environment of choices; risks are taken, or not. Nothing is sacred; war brings out the best and the worst in people.

PBR Review: I loved this book. It felt like I was reading the intimate diary of a Hollywood star, glimpsing thoughts and reading about dreams that are meant to be secret. Evelyn, an aging star, decides at age 79, that she wants to tell her More


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Talking Points: This is an entertaining, uplifting book, members will want to share how good it made them feel. It also addresses issues of intimacy and trust and shows human nature at its best and worst. Of course, everyone loves a bit of gossip and this is all about Hollywood, gossip central. If your book club enjoys a light but engaging read, go for this one.

PBR Review: There are no guarantees in life, or are there? Is there something that can guarantee a long happy marriage? The founder of The Pact, an exclusive, by invite only secret club, thinks there is. Alice and Jake, just before their More


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Talking Points: This book explores love trust and marriage showing the vulnerability and insecurities people suffer and how fear can change a perspective create doubt or be a catalyst for bad decisions. Marriage is hard work and requires commitment. There is some violence and the storyline does require suspension of belief.

PBR Review: Southern fiction at its best; beautifully developed characters, lyrical descriptions and a story with meaning and moral lessons to ponder. Ora Lee is strong willed, and it’s a good thing because she must stand up for what she bel More


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Talking Points: This is a story about racism in the 1970s South. It is also about friendships that step outside the boundaries of color and the true meaning of family, it is not just about those who share the same parents or bloodlines. The author addresses prejudice, revenge and bravery as well as many moral issues. Excellent book club pick.

PBR Review: I have to start by saying this is a great story that brings real events to life and will compel you to learn more about this period in history. As I read, my passion for truth and justice started coming to life; I couldn't belie More


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Talking Points: More than other books of war this story shows the human cost of war and to some extent, the thought process behind decisions to put soldiers in harms way. There is much attention given to PTSD. And if your book club enjoys discussing the transformation of character and the whys of evil, this is a book worth exploring.

PBR Review: There are many great things about this book. It’s a feel good story, and I loved the clean, fresh writing style. The characters are believable, and the author seamlessly weaves layers of intrigue into the story. There are three More


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Talking Points: This is a book about the horrors of World War II. There is much bravery presented in this book; the war brides, the men fighting, the resistance fighters. It also makes you realize how hard it is to give up everything you know, take a chance and make a new life for yourself, in a strange country.

PBR Review: Ten year old Joan has HSAM, a condition which allows her to remember every day in her life exactly as it happened. She can recall every detail of every conversation, and everything that happened, right down to the day of the wee More


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Talking Points: This story explores friendship, being true to yourself and understanding that you will not fit in with everyone, but this is ok. It will make you realize how important memory is and what it feels like to not be remembered. The author really goes into grieving and healing.

PBR Review: This is a story of survival. In the immediate sense, Grace saves herself and her children from a fire that courses through her small seacoast town in Maine. On another level, her husband Gene, goes missing after being called to More


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Talking Points: Grace is brave and strong, and uses all her resources to survive during and after the fire. Her marriage is terrible and since it is the mid 40s, attitudes on sex are far from the modern perspective of today. There are many other constraints placed on Grace because she is a woman and it is also a story of hope and finding oneself.

PBR Review: Eleanor is unique or maybe I should say odd or damaged, but her story is moving. She loves routine. She also loves crossword puzzles, pizza and vodka. As a child her mother constantly told her she was ugly and she also suffere More


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Talking Points: Eleanors journey sheds light on mental illness, depression, survivor guilt and how judgmental people can be. It also highlights emotional abuse, physical abuse and child neglect. Society would be all the better to remember some scars are not visible and kindness works wonders. It may also be interesting to debate where Eleanor is on the Autism spectrum, if at all.

PBR Review: Ginny Moon’s character redefines what it means to be brave. After suffering a lot of physical and emotional abuse, Social Services finally deems her druggie mother unfit and Ginny is placed in foster care. However, some things j More


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Talking Points: This author does a fantastic job of giving the reader insight into the world of an Autistic child as well as the patience and understanding necessary by anyone who is a part of this childs life. The book also deals with birth parents and adoptive parents. I thought the relationship between Ginny and her forever mom is especially discussion worthy. Other topics include: special needs children at home and school, abusive mothers and social services.

PBR Review: A must read for historical fiction enthusiasts. This amazing story showcases the harshness and the opposing joy and happiness of tradition. When I read about cruel, senseless, customs such as those depicted in this story, I can’ More


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Talking Points: The story is about change, and the struggle to move forward and accept modern ways. There is also a beautiful and strong mother daughter bond as well as threads of betrayal, greed and fighting internal demons. One part of the book focuses on giving up a baby for adoption and the impact this has on both sides of the adoption. The story also shows the harshness of irrational customs and the difficulty minority cultures face.

PBR Review: Two strong women, sisters with very different personalities and different approaches to survival during war. Although there were some parts of the book that were not plausable; the story is one that is easy to read and emotionall More


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Talking Points: Books clubs may enjoy discussing how war brings out the best and the worst of people; this story has examples of both. It may also be intersting to contrast the different Nazis presented in this book, specifically why one is kind while others are not. Of course there will be those who won't be able to comprehend the torture and the conventration campswhich will make for sad but enlightening conversation. And as with most stories of war, human endurance, the will to survive and how war changes a person. It may also be interesting to try to imagine how you personally would react in the same situation, do you think you could be as brave? If given an order would you be able to take another person's life?

PBR Review: There are a lot of interwoven themes in this book, which combined with the many layers and complexities of human relationships, give the story depth. I really enjoy books about family drama and Emily Giffin nails family dynamics More


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Talking Points: An emotional read covering the topics of friendship, love, forgiveness, guilt, letting go and second chances. Grief can be destructive in nature, and some navigate this better than other; it can create strong bonds between people or tear them apart. The struggles of being in relationships will also make for some good conversation as well as the damaging effects of keeping secrets. The author also presents different kinds of love

PBR Review: This is a fictionalized account of true events. 900 German Jews looking for a safe haven, boarded the St.Louis for a trans atlantic trip. Many were to stay in Cuba, the first stop, with the others continuing on to the United Stat More


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Talking Points: It is hard to understand the policies in place that caused a ship of 900 Jewish refugees making a transatlantic journey to escape the horros of the Natzis, to be denied entry. It's even harder to comprehend the depth of despair these people must have felt when their hope of living was taken away. These refugees were refused entry by Canada and The United States. Prior to this many were sent back because there were unable to pay the fee to Cuba, which was their first stop. Although there are differences, it's easy to compare these events to the refugee situation today. History repeats itself, we must remember to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. Like many Holocaust books, there are many tragic circumstances covered in this book.

PBR Review: Gracy is a midwife in a small mining town in Colorado. She has a deep love of midwifery and is devoted to her family. Reading her story draws the reader into the life of a woman and a midwife living in 1880. Life was hard, you More


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Talking Points: Gracy, her life, tenacity, strength and values will be great for book club discussion. There are a lot of womens issues covered in this book too. Midwifery is an interesting topic and since this story takes place at a time when doctors were taking over the practice, it will make for even better discussion. The book also touches on adultery, loyalty and a mothers love.

PBR Review: First off I have to say I loved Captain Kidd, the main character in this book. He is warm and compassionate, and lives by a set of stands that are enviable. He is in his 70s widowed and has two grown daughters. In his mind he is More


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Talking Points: Book clubs will love discussing Captain Kidd and his special relationship with Johanna and what made him accept the challenge, especially given his age and the times. Johanna is also a fascinating character. What she endured, her untrusting nature and the shocks she has lived through; witnessing her parents death, being kidnapped and living with the Kiowa. The harsh times of this period are also noteworthy; evilness prevailed but so did goodness. An excellent book club selection.

PBR Review: It’s almost impossible to convey how immensely fun and clever this book is. Its about two very imperfect people; Don who has what appears to be Asperger syndrome, and Rosie, a bit of a mess herself, and the exact opposite of wha More


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Talking Points: Book clubs will love discussing Don. His personality disorder will get members talking about having empathy for others, what it is like to be different as well as acceptance of oneself and others. Rosie on the other hand is a break the mold type of person and so will generate some discussion about not following the crowd and staying true to oneself. The topic of Aspergers syndrome may also generate some conversation.

PBR Review: This heartwarming story is a must read for animal lovers and especially for those who have lost a pet. If you liked The Art of Racing in the Rain, then you'll surely find this book enjoyable. The premise of the book is a dog re More


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Talking Points: Book Clubs will enjoy discussing this book because it touches upon many topics related to finding meaning and purpose in life. Dog lovers will love discussing the relationship between humans and animals.

PBR Review: I was pulled into this heartfelt story right from the start. Africa is huge, I’ve read many books set in this country, yet I feel there is always something to learn with each new book. Young Beryl was a delight to read about. Gr More


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Talking Points: This book tackles many topics that are discussion worthy. Beryl is abandoned by both mother and father. She is strong and independent and reaches for her dreams, seemingly undeterred by these set backs or the opinion of others. She was adventurous and certainly brave, most likely because of her free spirited youth growing up on a farm in Kenya. The book also looks at failed marriages and pain of love lost.

PBR Review: After reading this beautifully written story, the meaning of Wyeth’s s painting “Christina’s World” will be forever changed for me. Kline gives the reader an intimate look at the real life muse of Andrew Wyeth; the inspiration fo More


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Talking Points: Members will love discussing Christinas strong character, it is unforgettable. I also think the special relationship she had with Wyeth is very discussable. Christinas early life and her family as well as her relationship with her brother Al will also spark conversation. The book takes a sincere look at living with hardship and sacrifice and the obligation of parents as well as overcoming the challenges of living with an incurable disability.
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