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April 5, 2012 / schulerbooks

Future Title Highlights

By far the best perk of working at a bookstore is access to Advance Reader Copies of upcoming books that publishers print up for reviewers and booksellers. We’ve got a couple of upcoming novels to mark down on your reading calendar — this pair of novels  featuring Western women in Asia will appeal to armchair travelers, although the two are quite different in mode and style.
Jana Bibi’s Excellent Fortunes by Betsy Woodman — available on July 17 — is set in 1960s India.  Jana Bibi, a middle aged widow who has lived most of her life in India, inherits an old house in the remote North Indian town of Hamara Nagar.  She moves in with her parrot, Mr. Ganguly, and finds the town full of fascinating characters including a philosophizing junk dealer and a bullying police chief.
When her new home is threatened by a government dam, the local residents enlist Jana Bibi in their campaign to put the town on the map and save it from destruction.  Jana Bibi and Mr. Ganguly soon find themselves telling fortunes to lure tourists and deep in the local gossip, plots and romantic subplots of a small rural town.  A fun, light read, it will please readers of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series or anyone in the mood for a little cheerful adventure.

The second book, The Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson — available on May 22 follows Evangeline English and her sister Lizzy, who set off with a fellow missionary in 1923, determined to establish a mission in the ancient Chinese Silk Road city of Kashgar.  Evangeline, however, conceals the fact that her real motive is not the conversion of souls, but gathering material for a travel book she plans to publish about their adventures.  The missionaries soon find themselves caught up in cultural and historical forces beyond their control and fighting to preserve their sanity and their lives.

Chapters of Evangeline’s story alternate with story of Frieda, a young woman in modern-day London who assists Tayeb, an immigrant she finds sleeping in the hallway of her apartment building.  Suddenly, Frieda is informed she is next of kin to a recently deceased woman, Irene Guy, and must clear out Irene’s apartment. Tayeb comes along to help and he and Frieda find themselves launched into a strange trip back through time and across continents as the connections between Frieda and Evangeline’s stories slowly surface.  Part adventure, part romance, part mystery, this is the kind of novel that carries the reader away to another time and place.

Andrea K., Okemos

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