City on the Penobscot: A Comprehensive History by Trudy Scee
Published in 2010, I understand that this is the first comprehensive history book about Bangor, from European settlement to present. Bangor is undoubtedly a city with rich history, and is an important place for any Maine historian to be familiar with.
The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
In Spain during the 1950’s, in the aftermath of Spain’s civil war, and during General Franco’s 36 year dictatorship, we meet Anna whose family lives in fear for many reasons and Daniel, an american boy from an oil family in Texas whose paths cross. We learn of so many atrocities committed under Franco’s dictatorship, from murder, to torture and displacement of families and stolen and sold babies. Everyone is keeping secrets of their own and so many are connected. They are all afraid, but there is a truth to be shared. The aftermath of all of this is still going on in Spain. This is so sad and powerful and a piece of history I never knew. Another must read by Ruta Sepetys!
Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett
I can’t believe I’ve never read Jewett’s work before! Country of the Pointed Firs, all about the doings and personalities of those who live in and visit a fishing village in Maine, is full of vibrant characters and a wonderful sense of place.
Grit and Grace in a World Gone Mad by Wendy Elliott
This book came to my attention because of a man named James Perry, who was from my hometown on the coast of Maine. Perry was murdered by Turkish brigands in 1920 while on duty with the YMCA, leading a convoy to bring supplies to the starving of Armenia and Syria. His death is noted in just one paragraph of the tale related by Grit and Grace; just one note in a catalog of chaos.
I had thought the book was going to be about missionaries spreading Christianity in Turkey; instead, it is a narrative of the horrors and genocide and calamities of the beautiful Anatolian peninsula and the founding of the Republic of Turkey. It is a story of a particular place at a very particular time, with resolute main characters, which illuminates the wider history of a continent and an era. Our entry into this “world gone mad” is through the clear writing and narrative style of Wendy Elliott, and her chosen heroine, Susan Wealthy Orvis, of Dubuque, Iowa.