Category Archives: Reviewed by Lois

The Lost Book of the Grail by Charlie Lovett

Old-fashioned English professor Arthur Prescott of Barchester, England has two passions in his life — books/manuscripts and the Holy Grail.  When he is not teaching, he can usually be found in the Barchester Cathedral Library, enjoying its centuries-old collection.  His predictable life is shaken up when bubbly American Bethany Davis arrives to digitize the library’s ancient manuscripts.  Are these two diametrically opposed, or can each of them appreciate both printed books and digital versions that can be used by anyone anywhere in the world?  Oh, and Bethany is also a Holy Grail enthusiast.  And there is a mystery surrounding a missing manuscript having to do with Saint Ewolda, long associated with the Cathedral.

This is a delightful novel about two very different people who just might be falling in love as they try to uncover the Cathedral’s secrets.  A great read for book lovers, Grail enthusiasts who like a quieter approach than Indiana Jones, and Anglophiles.  Reserve a copy.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat

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I seldom read biography, and certainly not sports biography, but this book was so highly recommended that I picked it up.  I’m so glad that I did.  This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  While it focuses on the life of Joe Rantz, one of the crew members at the University of Washington, it also presents the other crew members, captures the depths of the hardships filling this country during the Depression, and paints a grim picture of Hitler’s Germany.

Who knew crew was such a grueling sport?  I certainly didn’t.  These college men worked incredibly hard and sacrificed much to earn a place on the team that ultimately triumphed in the Berlin Olympics.  I was inspired by their dedication and by their commitment to each other and to their goal.  This is a story about strength of will, teamwork, and values.  Read it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal

Mr. Churchill's Secretary

It’s wartime, 1940.  Maggie Hope, raised in America, is actually British and, due to the unexpected inheritance of a house, finds herself in London and in need of a job.  Most unexpectedly, she winds up working as a typist for the prime minister, Winston Churchill himself.  Maggie’s background is actually math, and she soon finds herself caught up in intrigue and ciphers.  This book contains marvelous period detail and interesting characters.  It is both a first-rate historical novel and a fine murder mystery.  Recommended.