Potato Lake Book Club

A great group of 8 readers met Tuesday, May 3, at 10:00 am at Bella Caffe to plan the Potato Lake Book Club. Please feel free to invite any Potato Lake residents to join in on our reading fun!

Meetings: 1st Tuesday of each month
Time: 10:00 AM
Location: Bella Caffe (back room)

We initially decided to select a book for each of the coming four months: June, July, August and September. It is our plan to select a new book at the end of each meeting (so, for example, in June we will select our September book). We plan to meet year around, although we know many people will only be available in the summer months. Come when you can. We will consider a Zoom option if requested.

We selected:

Tuesday, June 7: Rosemary: the Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson
Tuesday, July 5: Vacationland by Sarah Stonich
Tuesday, August 9: Verity by Colleen Hoover
Tuesday, September 6: A Pledge of Silence by Flora J Solomon

All of these books are available in multiple formats through the Park Rapids Public Library, locally at your favorite bookseller, or online from Amazon. In addition, a few of them are available in a book bag of ten, but the entire bag must be checked out at once. If there is someone interested in doing this, and making the books available for others to pick up, let us know. Several people may be purchasing a copy, so feel free to reply to the group and ask if someone has a copy you can borrow when they finish with it.

Even if you were unable to attend the first meeting please feel free to join us! And if you’ve read the book of the month and want to come for the discussion, please do so!

For your interest, I have included the list of book club suggestions that were offered by Potato Lake residents. It’s a great list with some wonderful titles! 


Potato Lake Book Club Book Suggestions

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

The day the feds raid his high-tech firm, Owen disappears and leaves behind his new wife, Hannah, with $600,000 in cash, his sullen teenager Bailey, and a hand-scrawled note: “Protect her.” The rapid-fire pacing never lets up as Hannah delves into Owen’s past and excavates layer after layer of lies, discovering truths even Bailey never knew—as well as a lethal enemy. Interweaving the complex family relationships of Little Fires Everywhere with the suspenseful twists of Big Little Lies, The Last Thing He Told Me will trigger goosebumps and tears as you flip pages like mad to see how Hannah will handle the bombshells lurking in Bailey’s past. —Adrian Liang, Amazon Book Review

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“If you’re looking for a book to take on holiday this summer, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has got all the glitz and glamour to make it a perfect beach read — as long as you’re prepared to cry off all your sunscreen, because this book gets *emotional*. Each of Evelyn’s marriages comes with its own hurt and heartbreak, from infidelity and betrayal to domestic abuse. But running throughout Evelyn’s tumultuous life is one great love that will leave you sobbing into the pages.”  (Bustle)

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah  

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

The Work of Wolves by Kent Meyers

This story of a horse trainer and a rich man’s wife is “a gorgeously written, exacting exploration of duty and retribution set in dusty rural South Dakota” (Publishers Weekly).

Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker 

A story about growing up, becoming a woman, emotionally, spiritually, within the space of a year and a half in Montana during the early 1940s.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong 

“A fierce and timely meditation on race and gender issues from [Hong’s] perspective as a Korean American woman . . . Candid and unapologetically political, Hong’s text deftly explores the explosive emotions surrounding race in ways sure to impact the discourse surrounding Asian identity as well as race and belonging in America. . . . A provocatively incisive debut nonfiction book.”—Kirkus Reviews

A Pledge of Silence by Flora J. Solomon

This intricately woven novel asks the question, “how much can one woman take before she breaks?” Margie is a young farm girl who goes to nursing school and becomes an active nurse during World War II. The author does a dazzling job of pulling the reader into the story. 

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (Book Club in a Bag)

In the summer of 1932, on the banks of Minnesota’s Gilead River, Odie O’Banion is an orphan confined to the Lincoln Indian Training School, a pitiless place where his lively nature earns him the superintendent’s wrath. Forced to flee after committing a terrible crime, he and his brother, Albert, their best friend, Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

Shannon by Frank Delaney

In the summer of 1922, Robert Shannon, a Marine chaplain and a young American hero of the Great War, lands in Ireland. He still suffers from shell shock, and his mentor hopes that a journey Robert had always wanted to make—to find his family roots along the banks of the River Shannon—will restore his equilibrium and his vocation. 

Sold on a Monday – Kristina McMorris (Book Club in a Bag)

“The sale of two young children leads to devastating consequences in this historical tearjerker from McMorris… Set against the hardscrabble backdrop of the Great Depression, McMorris’s altruistic and sometimes damaged characters have moral compasses that realistically waver. A tender love story enriches a complex plot, giving readers a story with grit, substance, and rich historical detail.” – Publishers Weekly

The Only Woman in the Room – Marie Benedict (Book Club in a Bag)

A powerful book based on the incredible true story of the glamour icon and scientist, The Only Woman in the Room is a masterpiece that celebrates the many women in science that history has overlooked.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie is 14 when her mother dies, and she must go into service to help her father make ends meet. Her prodigious intellect and the fact that she is sneaking into the manor library at night to read Hume, Kierkegaard, and Jung alert Lady Rowan to the fact that she has an unusual maid. She arranges for Maisie to be tutored, and the girl ultimately qualifies for Cambridge. She goes for a year, only to be drawn by the need for nurses during the Great War. After serving a grueling few years in France and falling in love with a young doctor, Maisie puts up a shingle in 1929 as a private investigator. The impact of the war on the country is vividly conveyed. A strong protagonist and a lively sense of time and place carry readers along, and the details lead to further thought and understanding about the futility and horror of war, as well as a desire to hear more of Maisie. This is the beginning of a series, and a propitious one at that.

A Room With a View by EM Forster

Set in early 1900s Italy and England, A Room with a View offers a humorous critique of Edwardian-era society. The novel begins in Florence, Italy, where Miss Lucy Honeychurch, who is chaperoned by her spinster cousin Miss Charlotte Bartlett, arrive at the Pensione Bertolini to find that instead of rooms with a view of the Arno, as promised, theirs face a drab courtyard. Another guest spontaneously offers to swap the rooms that he and his son have to remedy their distress. Thus ensues an unlikely acquaintance and a series of unforeseen, if not fateful, events that upend the lives of the eccentric cast of characters who vividly animate this enduring and delightful tale. Widely recognized as one of the finest novels of the twentieth century, A Room with a View is one of Forster’s most celebrated works.

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Book Club in a Bag)

“A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned, Doerr’s magnificently drawn story seems at once spacious and tightly composed. . . . Doerr masterfully and knowledgeably re-creates the deprived civilian conditions of war-torn France and the strictly controlled lives of the military occupiers.” —Booklist (starred review)

Boundary Waters by William Kent Krueger (Book Club in a Bag)

Former small-town sheriff Cork O’Connor leads a desperate search-and-rescue mission into the unforgiving Minnesota wilderness in this “gritty, bloody adventure” (Publishers Weekly) from critically acclaimed author William Kent Krueger’s award-winning mystery series.

One Thousand White Women: the Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus (Book Club in a bag)

One Thousand White Women begins with May Dodd’s journey into an unknown world. Having been committed to an insane asylum by her blue-blood family for the crime of loving a man beneath her station, May finds that her only hope for freedom and redemption is to participate in a secret government program whereby women from “civilized” society become the brides of Cheyenne warriors. What follows is a series of breathtaking adventures—May’s brief, passionate romance with the gallant young army captain John Bourke; her marriage to the great chief Little Wolf; and her conflict of being caught between loving two men and living two completely different lives.

Rosemary: the Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Larson (Book Club in a Bag)

“…the third child to Joseph And Rose Kennedy, Rosemary was slower to develop mentally than her siblings,thanks to an unnecessarily prolonged birth. Throughout her early childhood and adolescence, her mental disabilities were kept hidden from the press and those outside the family, enabling Rosemary to attend prestigious private schools, to be presented to the king and queen of England, and to enjoy a life full of social events. However, as she entered her early 20s, her inability to function like others her age and her unruly behavior presented increasing difficulties for her family…Inorder to suppress Rosemary’s mental health issues, her father ordered her to undergo a…lobotomy…[t]he results were drastic and completely damaging. Larson does an excellent job of portraying theKennedy family, providing ample background on the political and economic rise of Joe Sr., the obsessions with weight and the need for solitude of Rose, the role the parents played in Rosemary’s life…and the interactions among Rosemary and her siblings. KIRKUS REVIEW

The Girl in the Photograph by Senator Byron Dorgan 

Through the story of Tamara, an abused Native American child, North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan describes the plight of many children living on reservations—and offers hope for the future.

Vacationland by Sarah Stonich (Book Club in a Bag)

On a lake in northernmost Minnesota, you might find Naledi Lodge—only two cabins still standing, its pathways now trodden mostly by memories. And there you might meet Meg, or the ghost of the girl she was, growing up under her grandfather’s care in a world apart and a lifetime ago. Now an artist, Meg paints images “reflected across the mirrors of memory and water,” much as the linked stories of Vacationland cast shimmering spells across distance and time.

The Maid by Nita Prose

“The Maid is a masterful, charming mystery that will touch your heart in ways you could never expect. The endearing, unforgettable Molly reminds us to challenge our assumptions about one another, and shows us how meaningful it is to feel truly seen in the world.”—Ashley Audrain

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Whose truth is the lie? Stay up all night reading the sensational psychological thriller that has readers obsessed, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends With Us. Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber

THE USA TODAY BESTSELLERHeather Webber’s Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm.Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café. It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about.

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St James

A true crime blogger gets more than she bargained for while interviewing the woman acquitted of two cold case slayings in this chilling new novel. In 1977, Claire Lake, Oregon, was shaken by the Lady Killer Murders: Two men, seemingly randomly, were murdered with the same gun, with strange notes left behind. Beth Greer was the perfect suspect—a rich, eccentric twenty-three-year-old woman, seen fleeing one of the crimes. But she was acquitted, and she retreated to the isolation of her mansion. In Oregon, 2017: Shea Collins is a receptionist, but by night, she runs a true crime website, the Book of Cold Cases—a passion fueled by the attempted abduction she escaped as a child. When she meets Beth by chance, Shea asks her for an interview. To Shea’s surprise, Beth says yes.

For Love of Lakes by Darby Nelson

Nelson weaves an interesting and thought-provoking story based on his love of lakes and the outdoor world. The text blends his power of observation, personal scientific knowledge and an appreciation of important contributions to the field of limnology. His “story-teller” approach provokes readers to consider their particular “dream” lakes and what they might do to protect them for future generations.—Steven Heiskary, Research Scientist, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Past President 2005, North American Lake Management Society

We Were the Morris Orphans by Kathi Morris

From that July day in 1968 on, the Morris family became the Morris orphans: ten children who attracted nationwide attention, and a trust fund that didn’t bring out the best in those who fostered them. Kathi, the oldest, was only seventeen when her parents were killed by a drunk driver. This is her story—behind the headlines—of when the Morris orphans only had their mutual loss and each other.

West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge

It’s 1938. The Great Depression lingers. Hitler is threatening Europe, and world-weary Americans long for wonder. They find it in two giraffes who miraculously survive a hurricane while crossing the Atlantic. What follows is a twelve-day road trip in a custom truck to deliver Southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo. Behind the wheel is the young Dust Bowl rowdy Woodrow. Inspired by true events, the tale weaves real-life figures with fictional ones, including the world’s first female zoo director, a crusty old man with a past, a young female photographer with a secret, and assorted reprobates as spotty as the giraffes.

Oceanography of the Moon by Glendy Vander

After the untimely deaths of her aunt and mother, young Riley Mays moved from Chicago to her cousins’ Wisconsin farm. Here she found solace in caring for her extraordinary adoptive brother, exploring the surrounding wild nature, and gazing at the mystical moon—a private refuge in which she hides from her most painful memories. But ten years later, now twenty-one, Riley feels too confined by the protective walls she’s erected around herself. When a stranger enters her family’s remote world, Riley senses something he’s hiding, a desire to escape that she understands well.

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

Set during the height of the women’s suffrage movement and with the Great War looming, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. Inspired by actual events, author Pip Williams has delved into the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary to tell this highly original story. The Dictionary of Lost Words is a delightful, lyrical, and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words and the power of language to shape the world.

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meisner

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters—Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa—a chance at a better life. But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without—and what they are willing to do about it.