Celebrate Father’s Day and all that dads bring to our lives with some recent books featuring fathers at their best and maybe when stumbling just a little.
“When Dr. Mike Scanlon is called to serve as an army doctor in Afghanistan, he’s acutely aware of the dangers he’ll face and the hardships it will cause his wife Chloe and newborn baby. And deep inside, he doesn’t think of himself as a warrior, but a healer. However, in an ironic turn of events, as Mike operates on a wounded soldier in a war-torn country, Chloe dies at home in the suburbs, in an apparent household accident. Devastated, he returns home to bury her, only to discover that the life he left behind has fallen apart. His medical practice is in jeopardy, and he is a complete stranger to the only family he has left – his precious baby girl. Worse, he learns a shocking secret that sends him into a downward spiral.” publisher
Long Gone Daddies (M) by David Wesley Williams. “All his life, Luther Gaunt has heard songs in his head – songs of sweet evil and blue ruckus, odes to ghosts, drinking hymns. In search of his past, he hits the road with his band, the Long Gone Daddies, and his grandfather’s cursed guitar. While his band mates just want to make it big when they get to Memphis, Luther retraces the steps of his father and grandfather, who each made the same journey with the same guitar years earlier. Malcolm Gaunt could have been Elvis – that white man who could sing black except his rounder’s ways got him shot before he could strike that first note for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. At least that’s what Luther’s father–Malcolm’s son–always told him when fame came calling and he disappeared down south, too. As Luther discovers the truth about the two generations of musicians that came before him, he must face the ghosts of history, the temptations of the road, and the fame cravings of a seriously
The Son (M) by Philipp Meyer. “Spring, 1849. The first male child born in the newly established Republic of Texas, Eli McCullough is thirteen years old when a marauding band of Comanches storms his homestead and brutally murders his mother and sister, taking him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and language, answering to a new name, becoming the chief’s adopted son, and waging war against their enemies, including white men — which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is. But when disease, starvation, and overwhelming numbers of armed Americans decimate the tribe, Eli finds himself alone. Neither white nor Indian, civilized nor fully wild, he must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong — a journey of adventure, tragedy, hardship, grit, and luck that reverberates in the lives of his progeny.” publisher
The Humanity Project (M) by Jean Thompson. “After surviving a shooting at her high school, Linnea is packed off to live with her estranged father, Art, who doesn’t quite understand how he has suddenly become responsible for raising a sullen adolescent girl. Art’s neighbor, Christie, is a nurse distracted by an eccentric patient, Mrs. Foster, who has given Christie the reins to her Humanity Project, a bizarre and well-endowed charity fund. Just as mysteriously, no one seems to know where Conner, the Fosters’ handyman, goes after work, but he has become the one person Linnea can confide in, perhaps because his own home life is a war zone: his father has suffered an injury and become addicted to painkillers. As these characters and many more hurtle toward their fates, the Humanity Project is born: Can you indeed pay someone to be good? At what price?” publisher
The Douglas Notebooks (M) by Christine Eddie. “Romain was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. At 18, he leaves his family for a home in the forest, learning to live off the land rather than his family’s wealth. Éléna flees a house of blood and mayhem, taking refuge in a monastery and later in the rustic village of Rivière-aux-Oies. One day, while walking in the woods, Éléna hears the melody of a clarinet and comes across Romain, who calls himself Starling and whom Éléna later renames Douglas, for the strongest and most spectacular of trees. Later a child named Rose is born. Fade to black. When the story takes up again, Douglas has returned to the forest, Rose is in the village under the care of others, and Éléna is gone. From these disparate threads, Christine Eddie tenderly weaves a fable for our time and for all times. As the years pass, the story broadens to capture others in its elegant web — a doctor with a bruised heart, a pharmacist who may be a witch, and a teacher with dark secrets. Together they raise this child with the mysterious heritage, transforming this story into an ode to friendship and family, a sonnet on our relationship with nature, and an elegy to love and passion.” publisher
Schroder (M) by Amity Gaige. “Attending a New England summer camp, young Eric Schroder-a first-generation East German immigrant-adopts the last name Kennedy to more easily fit in, a fateful white lie that will set him on an improbable and ultimately tragic course. Schroder relates the story of Eric’s urgent escape years later to Lake Champlain, Vermont, with his six-year-old daughter, Meadow, in an attempt to outrun the authorities amid a heated custody battle with his wife, who will soon discover that her husband is not who he says he is. From a correctional facility, Eric surveys the course of his life to understand-and maybe even explain-his behavior: the painful separation from his mother in childhood; a harrowing escape to America with his taciturn father; a romance that withered under a shadow of lies; and his proudest moments and greatest regrets as a flawed but loving father.” publisher