Every weekday we feature a different review on Booklist Online. These reviews are notable for different reasons—they may be starred, or high-demand, or especially relevant to the current issue’s spotlight. We’ve collected the reviews from November 16–20 below, so you can revisit the best of the week.
Monday, November 16
Passover: Festival of Freedom, by Monique Polak
While this title in the Orca Origins series explains the holiday of Passover, it also goes further. In the introduction, Polak remembers her associations with the holiday while growing up in Montreal, mostly through friends’ seders. Her own family was not observant, and Polak believes this was in part because her Dutch mother was a Holocaust survivor. (In doing research, the author interviewed several other survivors, and their stories make up a good portion of the book.)
Tuesday, November 17
Finding Promise, by Scarlett Dunn
Former U.S. marshal Jake McBride’s life changes forever when he runs across a small wagon train in which everyone has been massacred except for one of the most beautiful women he’s ever seen. The men on his cattle drive help this mystery lady left for dead regain her health, but she can’t remember a thing about herself. Jake learns that the bandits who attacked her wagon train won’t be happy until she’s dead, too. Wealthy artist Parker Promise Sinclair has come to the West for more than the sheer adventure of it.
Wednesday, November 18
A Shiloh Christmas, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Naylor concludes the Shiloh saga with a lyrical story of character and redemption. The novel opens in July with a scorching drought that leads to a devastating fire. Shiloh and Marty’s house is spared, but Marty is upset about rumors that Judd Travers set the fire deliberately. Even when the rumors are dismissed as false, the community becomes polarized into pro-Judd and anti-Judd factions. The new preacher fuels the growing animosity by labeling Judd an irredeemable blasphemer and sinner.
Thursday, November 19
The Painter’s Daughter, by Julia Klassen
Captain Stephen Overtree has always been his older brother Wesley’s keeper. Case in point: Stephen, who is on leave from the British Army, must now travel to Devonshire to track down Wesley, who is there to paint, and bring him back home so that he can help run the family estate. When Stephen arrives in Lynmouth, however, he discovers that Wesley has already left for Italy.
Friday, November 20
HAPPY!, by Pharrell Williams
Singer-songwriter Williams brings the lyrics of his popular tune (featured in the movie Despicable Me 2) into print with this upbeat picture book. Double-page spreads feature the lyrics, along with photographs of smiling, multiethnic children wearing space suits, flying kites, dodging raindrops, and dancing, all superimposed against digitally produced backgrounds. The text literally dances across the page, with bold capital letters used for emphasized words.