Book Briefs: ‘Leaving Lucy Pear,’ ‘Hamilton: The Revolution’ and ‘The Fisher King’

“Leaving Lucy Pear” – Viking – $26  – Three Out of Five Stars

I heard an intriguing piece with author Anna Solomon on NPR and decided to get her book, “Leaving Lucy Pear.”

Solomon, a former NPR reporter, was really on her game during the interview, weaving a complex story about the intersection of two women’s lives near the turn of the century.

During the 1917 late summer pear harvest, a young, unwed mother leaves her infant daughter in the orchard near her uncle’s house because she knows the people who steal the fruit every year have a lot of children and she would rather have her daughter – called Lucy Pear – raised by a family than in an orphanage.

Fast forward 10 years.

Lucy Pear’s foster mother comes to work for Lucy’s birth mother and her elderly uncle in their big house on the coast of Massachusetts.

If you like Virginia Woolf’s stories, you might enjoy “Leaving Lucy Pear.”

I probably would have liked the story more if I were more familiar with the Gloucester area, the fishing industry and rum running.

Solomon is a talented writer, but, the prose lagged and there wasn’t much dialogue to drive the plot, leaving me indifferent as to the story’s outcome, although I would probably read a sequel, should there be one,  to find out what became of the young, resilient Lucy Pear.


Hamilton: The Revolution – Grand Central Publishing – $40 list – $27 at  – Five Out of Five Stars

It’s time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. If you have a “Hamilton” fan on your list, you’re in luck.

Grand Central Publishing has released one of the most beautiful coffee table books on shelves this year.

“Hamilton: The Revolution” offers a behind-the-scenes peek at one of Broadway’s most successful shows, offering up more than 200 stories written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the driving force behind the game-changing musical and all the words to the show’s songs.

“Hamilton” won 11 Tonys, including Best Musical and won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The show just opened in Chicago, with San Francisco and London runs planned next year.

During Miranda’s stint as Alexander Hamilton, the “founding father without a father,” tickets for the show were scooped up months in advance, going for thousands in the re-sale market on the Internet.

This glorious book contains lyrics, stunning photographs, including full color, two-page spreads, and more than 50 interviews with people involved with the production.

Plus, it smells like the books that once sat on the shelves at the Carnegie Library, which is reason enough to pick up a copy.

Like the ground-breaking show, “Hamilton: The Revolution” will change the way you look at librettos (text used in extended musical work) – and for only $27 at


“The Fisher King” – Skyhorse Publishing – $18.99 – Four Out of Five Stars

Winnsboro native Melissa Whitley Lenhardt has written a follow-up to “Stillwater,” her first Jack McBride mystery.

“The Fisher King,” set for release Nov. 1, takes place six weeks after former FBI agent McBride accepts the job as chief of police in the small, East Texas town of Stillwater.

A scandal cost McBride his position with the government, his wife, Julie, has left and he’s doing his best to raise teenage son, Ethan, alone.

It’s not going well. On his first day at work, his gun is stolen.

When he meets Ellie Martin, Stillwater native and book store owner, sparks fly, but McBride does his best to resist, as a romantic entanglement is the last thing he needs.

Complicating matters, Jack’s wild-boy brother, Eddie, shows up on his motorcycle, itching for trouble.

In “Stillwater,” McBride solves a double homicide and a decades-old murder and uncovers corruption and drug trafficking issues.

His estranged wife, gone almost a year, pops back into Jack and Ethan’s life.

In “The Fisher King,” an abandoned house on the outskirts of town is burned to the ground, with two bodies inside.

As Jack navigates his way through small town politics, he also discovers that life with Julie isn’t what he wants. His heart lies with Ellie – and hers with him.

Add two shocking murders and drug smuggling, and you have all the ingredients for a late-night page turner.

Lenhardt is really coming into her own. With “The Fisher King,” she’s developed characters I want to know better.






Looking forward to seeing Melissa at a book signing Gilbreath Memorial Library Friday, Nov. 18, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.



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