A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Twilight for grown-ups would be one way to describe this book, but it is so much more: a mysterious 500-year-old manuscript, a forbidden romance, untested magical power,s and the search for the origin of other-worldly speices.  Harkness’s first novel has it all, and I couldn’t put it down.  When I finished reading it, I immediately checked on-line to see if there would be a sequel and was happy to learn the author is hard at work on the next installment.  I can’t wait to see what happens to the characters next!

Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland

The newest from the author of Girl in Hyacinth Blue, this novel tells the fictionalized account of Clara Driscoll, a female artist who worked for Louis Comfort Tiffany at the turn of the century.  Clara works in the women’s division of Tiffany’s stained glass design studio and is instrumental in the conception and design of his famous stained glass lamps. Her love of art conflicts with her desire for fair treatment as a woman in a man’s world.  The book goes into breathtakingly vivid detail of the creation of Tiffany’s, and Clara’s, colorful windows and lamps. A must-read for art lovers!

My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

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This historical novel tells the story of an Albany midwife who longs to be a surgeon during the Civil War.  You follow her as she struggles for acceptance in the medical communities of Albany, Washington, D.C. and finally the battlefields of the war.  For history buffs, the descriptions of battlefield medicine are fascinating (though not for the faint of heart!) as well as the depiction of the early days of the nation’s capital.  For local readers, 1860s’ Albany has some familiar place names.  I appreciated the strong female character as well as the history of the Civil War told from the nurse/surgeon’s view.