The New Girl by Daniel Silva

The New Girl

I’m always excited about a new Daniel Silva novel. They come like clockwork each summer.  They are  all wonderful and so special. Having said that, I have to say that this new one, THE NEW GIRL, is absolutely brilliant; a masterpiece!

First of all I must comment on the stunning cover art. Kudos to those involved in producing it! It tells quite a story on its own.

The foreword of this novel is not to be missed! Please make sure to read it before you begin the book. Silva states that last August 2018, he began work on a novel about a crusading young Arab prince who wanted to modernize his religiously intolerant country and bring sweeping change to the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. He set aside that manuscript two months later when the model for that character, Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, was implicated in the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and columnist for Washington Post.   Reading this foreword made the hair stand straight up on my arms. 

THE NEW GIRL begins in Geneva at an elite private school.  Who is the new girl? She arrives at school shrouded in mystery, via a motorcade fit for a king.  She is thought to be the daughter of a wealthy businessman. However, we quickly discover she’s the only child of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Khalid bin Mohammed. Oh boy, you can feel the trouble brewing.   When the prince’s daughter is kidnapped he goes to the only person he feels can help help him: Gabriel Allon.  And it begins….

Moving from Switzerland to France to Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv to London to The Netherlands ,THE NEW GIRL, moves swiftly and often. In brief to-the-point chapters that have you sitting on the edge of your seat, Silva takes you on the ride of a lifetime. I usually have some idea of the outcome; not this time. Shocking.

We are dealing with news that everyone has been exposed to in this heart-thumping spy thriller.  That makes it even  more intriguing and intense.  In fact, there were times as I read this story when I wondered if Silva ever feared for his safety. Really. Yes, I know this is written for entertainment. But it’s so realistic. So very spot-on realistic.


Daniel Silva

Silva’s brought back some of our favorite characters: Sarah Bancroft is back; Christopher Keller is here; Ari Shamron, and of course Chiara and the twins. I feel like I’ve been visiting my old friends.

I have long been intrigued by Saudi Arabia. It’s an eerily mysterious country to me. Everything about it is misted over with a little something. Silva has managed to uncover some of the ambiguity surrounding the perimeter.  The light that’s shone on this country is not necessarily a good one…. but it is what it is.

I devoured THE NEW GIRL in record time. In fact, I may reread it again soon. Yes, it’s that good. My review copy arrived from the generous publishing people at Harper Collins in exchange for an honest review and a promise that I would NOT post before pub date on July 16. I absolutely believe this is Silva’s masterpiece; best yet!!!

We have copies of THE NEW GIRL on  sale at 20% off at Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida. We’d love to see you there.



If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

Bianca Marais

If You Want To Make God Laugh

You may look at this cover and wonder about it.  Once you’ve read the book, you’ll have a better appreciation. This is a wonderful and very unique novel about three women living in South Africa, one young black teenager and two white sisters  who come together to make a family under the most extraordinary conditions.

Seventeen-year-old Zodwa is living in a squatter camp outside city limits of Johannesburg, South Africa. To say she is living in abject poverty would be a gross understatement. She is living with her mother who is deathly ill with tuberculosis.  Zodwa is pregnant.  It’s not what you think….

Ruth is a rich socialite struggling with the end of yet another marriage. She’s not handling it well. She’s a richly drawn character who will make you laugh out loud.

Delilah is Ruth’s sister. They’ve been estranged for a long, long time. But all that is about to come to an end.  The two sisters are in the midst of a  personal crisis that have made it necessary for them both to move back into their family home, the one their mom left them when she died.

And then the abandoned baby, and the dog, arrive literally on their doorstep….

Did I mention that Delilah once studied to become a nun?  Have I mentioned the wayward priest? OMG!

Set in the turbulent mid-nineties amid South Africa’s  political and societal landscape, this amazing new novel hits all the hot spots. As we  celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the end of Apartheid, I believe the time is perfect for this story to be told.

“Delivered in alternating chapters narrated by Ruth, Delilah, and Zodwa, IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH shares its indelible characters’ divergent perspectives on class, race, and faith, as it probes issues seemingly ripped from today’s headlines.  Whether it’s rape or rampant racism, or the systemic cover-up of criminality within institutions, or the echo of the Me Too movement, or issues that the LGBTQ community faces, Marais’s book reveals the subsequent irreversible damage done to innocents and the vulnerable among us, particularly when good people do nothing to stand up against it. Emotionally rich and beautifully paced, it tenderly asks, How far will the human heart go to protect itself and the ones it loves? The result is an unforgettable tale about love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit. “

I don’t think there is anyone more qualified to tell this story than Bianca Marais. She was born in South Africa and now lives in Toronto. Before turning to writing, she started a corporate training company and volunteered with Cotlands, where she assisted care workers in Soweto with providing aid for HIV/AIDS orphans.

My review copy arrived at Copperfish via Putnam Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House. I will be raving about this novel for years to come. It is one of my favorites.  And if you want more of Marais’s writing, her first novel HUM IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE WORDS is available now in paperback. I only wish I had time to read it right now.


We have copies of IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH at Copperfish Books. They are discounted 20%. Come on up.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys

New, from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner of THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, comes THE NICKEL BOYS, a novel based on the hellish Dozier School for Boys in Florida. This now notorious and horrific institution was a total moral failure in its time.  And I just discovered it only closed in 2011! Whitehead uses the heartbreaking story of two young boys to bring us  this tale of Jim Crow-era Florida.

Be prepared to be shocked. Because you will be. Be prepared to be moved to tears. You will be that too. Most of all, be prepared to remember Elwood and Turner forever.

In a letter written by Colson Whitehead that arrived with my review copy of THE NICKEL BOYS, Whitehead goes on to say that he first came upon a news report about the Dozier School for Boys in the summer of 2014. It was in the midst of the Ferguson protests. It was a story he had not heard before , and it was worth telling. I’m so glad he has done just that.

Colson Whitehead

Elwood is a black teen eagerly looking forward to attending the local colored college.  He never makes it through the gates. Where he does make it is to the Nickel Academy. There he meets and befriends Turner. Neither boy should be there.

” In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear “out back.”

I devoured this book. It’s small coming in at just over 200 slight pages. What it lacks in length it gains exponentially from  everything else! It is a devastating piece of literature.

“Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, THE NICKEL BOYS is a heartbreaking, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers!!!”

This book is going to be on every list this year and into next. Whitehead has done it again!  After THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD I could not help but wonder what his next offering would be.  Well, here it is.  And, I hear he’s deep into writing his next novel. Takes place in Harlem in the 60’s.

My review copy came to Copperfish Books from Doubleday Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House. We will have copies of THE NICKEL BOYS for sale beginning tomorrow and they will be discounted at 20% off. We’d love to see you!

The Rest Of Maurice’s Summer Reading List 2019

The New Girl

At the top of my summer reading list is THE NEW GIRL by Daniel Silva. The publisher made me promise NOT to post my review until pub date.  So much about this brilliantly written new novel is right up to date with the news….. It’s a real masterpiece! 7/16 Copperfish Books will have copies on pub date.

Bianca Marais

If You Want To Make God Laugh

IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH by Bianca Marais blew my mind! Great writing. What a story. South Africa. Loved it. 7/16

Girls Like Us

Alger’s third novel, GIRLS LIKE US, is a murder mystery set on Long Island and based on a true story. It’s fast-paced and perfect for summer. Is available right now.

The Gifted School

THE GIFTED SCHOOL might as well be ripped straight from the headlines of every newspaper in the country. A novel based on how kids get into special schools. A must-read.  Available now.



Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party

Love the cover of THE LAST BOOK PARTY. The perfect beach read that is much more…. This book is just right for bibliophiles and beach lovers. And it’s much more than a beach read. Available now.

Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys

Colson Whitehead needs no introduction.  His first novel after his outrageously successful THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD.  This new novel is based on a real story of a home for boys in northern Florida and the hellacious happenings going on within its walls. Do NOT miss this one. It is going to be a force this year. Coming 2/16. We will have copies at Copperfish Books.

Three Ways To Disappear

Mostly set in India present day, this novel by a fresh new author, is a lovely debut. Gorgeous prose.  Complex. 7/16

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Books, a cat, a smart young woman and a bookstore. A great summer read.  Available now in trade paper. You can pick up your copy at Copperfish today.



Chances Are

I’ve been waiting for another novel by Russo for years. Now I’ve got it. You have this to look forward to.  Coming this month. CHANCES ARE.

Don’t forget the sunscreen and lots of water when spending time in the sun.  All you need now is a good strong tote bag to carry all your great books and stuff. Cheers!


Is It Really Already July? Musings From Maurice

As I sit at the computer on this sultry Sunday afternoon in July, I can’t help wondering where the first half of the summer has disappeared. Holy cow. Our country has just celebrated Independence Day and that means we’re way into summer. The rumbling of a thunderstorm has already pierced the sky on the Cape where I live. Makes for a great reading day, though. You know me, always ready with a great book or books! I’m currently reading GIRLS LIKE US by Cristina Alger. I love her writing and have been following her through three novels. Now she’s penned this wonderful murder mystery. Perfect for summer.

Girls Like Us

The Critics Choice and Elaine Newton’s lecture series will soon be listed for the upcoming season. The six books have already been chosen and I have just been alerted by Elaine that there will be one more surprise. And it’s a good one! I will post on the blog when announced.

I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of THE NEW GIRL

The New Girl

by Daniel Silva. Let me tell you that it is truly a masterpiece. This thriller is amazing. Review to follow on pub day.

It’s hard to believe but bookings are still coming in for the upcoming season. And I am hard at reading to keep up so I can once again offer you the best books with the most complete information.  I’m reading far into the new year now and just had the pleasure of reading

A Good Neighborhood

A GOOD NEIGHBOR by Therese Anne Fowler. Comes out in February 2020. and you are going to want to hold onto your hat. This one is a real page-turner. Her best yet.

THE THROW DOWN: What did I toss lately? I can’t say I tossed it, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea,  FLEISHMAN IS IN TROUBLE had a great start. Quickly caught my interest. It’s being raved about in certain high circles and even by reviewers I really admire.  It’s a matter of taste. I don’t think it’s for most of my readers. Boom!

Fleishman Is In Trouble

We’ve had a bit of stress going on around our house. Our Wyatt has been dealing with some mysterious ailment.  He even had to undergo a kitty cat colonoscopy. Yes, very stressful. We’ve just recently been given a diagnosis. IBD. Wow, in a cat. Who knew? We are so relieved it isn’t something worse. Still, it’s something we will have to be on top of all the time. Wyatt is a big part of our family and we cherish him.

Like a lot of this country we’ve  been watching a wonderful series on TV this summer.  Outlander is a great show. I love that my husband also loves it. Some of it is harsh, but the story is wonderful and the characters divine. I know many of you know this story through the amazing series by Diana Gabaldon.

It is finally confirmed. I am flying to Asheville in August to lead Camp Mom Mom. I’m returning for the third summer. It’s exciting. I will make sure I visit as many of the bookstores with the kids as I possibly can.  French Broad Chocolate. The usual suspects. I never tire of this. Looking forward to a bear siting in the neighborhood.  And  maybe even a tea party on the deck overlooking those amazing mountains.

Last month I mentioned my husband and I would be traveling to Cuba this month to celebrate our anniversary. Well, low and behold, as things will happen, our cruise is not to be.  So, we put our heads together and decided we would go bigger…. And we did. We have booked a seven day cruise during Christmas week. Yes, not fooling around. Merry Christmas to us.

In the next few days I will be posting the last of the summer reading. Some great stuff!


The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

Karen Dukess

The Last Book Party

This cover shows a book begging to be read. Cat nip for book people.

When I saw this book was about book publishing in the 1980’s, Cape Cod, and New York City, well, my heart began doing somersaults. That’s how excited I was. And rightly so.

Eve Rosen is 25-years-old and working  in a lowly, poorly paid position in  publishing  in New York City. She half-heartedly aspires to be an author, herself. But that’s the hitch, she isn’t putting her whole self behind her work. So, when a new person is hired to take over the job she should have been first in line to get, she quits!

Cape Cod is calling. It’s summertime. And there’s a research assistant position with Eve’s name written all over it.  Henry Grey, a very well known writer for the New Yorker,  is working on his memoir and needs a fresh perspective and a lot of help. His poetess wife Tillie is busy with her own work and happy to pawn him off on someone else. So Eve is happy to step in for the summer.

Cape Cod in the summer is another world. All the beautiful artists and writers re and publishing people hang out and play and stay well into September. The dunes come alive and the water beckons. Love is in the air. And so is infidelity and something else…

Eve finds more than she bargains for on the Cape this summer. I would not call this a coming of age novel. But there is definitely some of that here. Young and middle aged people are dealing with disparity and angst that will be life-changing, to say the least.

This was the time of real honest-to-God typewriters, snail mail, old fashion land line phones, and manuscripts sent to publishing houses in large cardboard boxes. Oh yea, it was really like that.

I loved all the book talk.  The story is surrounded by books.   You will be happily up to your last hair in books. Good books. Smelling books, reading books, talking books. Book cat nip.

Okay, so this story is about books. I loved it. It’s the perfect summer read for those of you who love to read and enjoy the beach. And, want to know more about the lure of yesterday’s publishing world. Kirkus says ,” It’s a bibliophile’s delight.”  

It’s hard to believe this is a debut novel. It’s got the depth and wit of a much more accomplished author.  THE LAST BOOK PARTY comes in at a mere 256 pages. It can easily be read in one sitting, but don’t let the smallness fool you.  THE LAST BOOK PARTY is a true summer force.

Karen Dukess

Karen Dukess is an author to watch, and I can not wait for her next novel.

My review copy came from Henry Holt Publishers in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, I loved it.  THE LAST BOOK PARTY by Karen Dukess will be available for purchase on Tuesday, July 9th. We will have copies of this novel at Copperfish Books

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

in Punta Gorda, Florida. They will be discounted 20%. Come on up and see us. We LOVE talking about books!


The Last Collection by Jeanne Mackin

The Last Collection

“Set in 1938, THE LAST COLLECTION captures Paris between the wars: a brief golden spell of freedom, risk-taking, and wild delight. And while designers’ rivalry was rooted in business, it was inflamed by political tensions of the time: as France stood on the brink of war, Parisians looked with unease at German soldiers in their midst, and the dark, troubled times that loomed.”

The paragraph above pretty much sums up the times this novel is set in. For those of you who adore fashion and adornment this novel is for you. You’re going to  fall in love with the beauty of the amazing couture clothes.

Lily is teaching art at a school for girls in England when her brother Charlie invites her to stay with him in Paris.  Lily’s lost her husband and decides to step outside her comfort zone and go. Little does she know what she’s getting herself into.

It’s 1938 and Coco Chanel is the premiere fashion designer of the times. Her designs are understated and classic.  But there’s a new designer in town and she’s causing a rift in the fashion world. Elsa Shiaparelli is on her way up the fashion ladder and she’s a force to be dealt with.  Total opposites, Chanel and Schaip  are vicious enemies in more ways than one.

THE LAST COLLECTION is pumped full with research that is spot-on.  There’s even a scene at a ball where Coco lights Schaip’s dress on fire….. Hateful. And,  we get more than a small glimpse of something we’ve heard about for years. Coco is shown to have had an affair with a Nazi officer. And even collaborated with the enemy.

Shiaparelli hires Lily to work in her shop and that’s when we truly begin to get a look inside the fashion world, and the rivalry between the queens of fashion.

Over the years we’ve heard a lot about Coco Chanel. But not so much about her rival Elsa Shiaparelli. It’s fascinating to say the least. The descriptions of the clothes were bright and fun. Bold. Also the accessories.

There are so many novels out this  year about WW11. This one is not entirely set during the war. Still, there’s quite a bit of it….

Jeanne Mackin

Jeanne Mackin

is the author of THE BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN  ( loved it) as well as several historical novels. She lives with her husband in upstate New York.

My lovely finished  book arrived from Berkley, a division of Penguin Random House.  You historical fiction lovers are in for such a treat. And you fashionistas will be over the moon. Enjoy!