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CHARITY GIRL

 During World War I, seventeen-year-old Frieda Mintz secures a job at a Boston department store and strikes out on her own, escaping her repressive Jewish mother and marriage to a wealthy widower twice her age. Determined to find love on her own terms, she is intoxicated by her newfound freedom and the patriotic fervor of the day. That is, until a soldier reports her as his last sexual contact, sweeping her up in the government’s wartime crusade against venereal disease. Quarantined in a detention center, Frieda finds in the Home’s confines a group of brash, unforgettable women who help her see the way to a new kind of independence.

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IN HOVERING FLIGHT

 At 34, Scarlet Kavanagh has the kind of homecoming no child wishes, a visit back to family and dear friends for the gentle passing of her mother, Addie, a famous bird artist and an even more infamous environmental activist. Though Addie and her husband, ornithologist Tom Kavanagh, have made their life in southeastern Pennsylvania, Addie has chosen to die at the New Jersey home of her dearest friend, Cora. This is because the Kavanagh’s ramshackle cottage is filled with too much history and because, in the last ten years or so, and for reasons that are not entirely clear, even bird song has seemed to make Addie angry,

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THE STONE DIARIES

 From her calamitous birth in Manitoba in 1905 to her journey with her father to Indiana, throughout her years as a wife, mother, and widow, Daisy Stone Goodwill struggled to understand her place in her own life. Now, in old age, Daisy attempts to tell her life story through a novel. She listens, she observes, and, through sheer force of imagination, she becomes a witness of her own life: her birth, her death, and the troubling misconnections she discovers in between.

“She enlarges on the available material, extends, shrinks, reshapes what’s offered; this mixed potion is her life.

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SOUL

 In 19th century Britain, Lavinia is married to an older man who seems to appreciate her lively curiosity. Lavinia proves to be an apt pupil in both the study and the bedroom, glorying in the pleasures of the physical.

In 21st century Los Angeles, geneticist Julia is trying to identify people who can kill without remorse. Stunned to discover that she seems to possess the trait she is looking for, Julia is reassured of her emotions by her intense passion for her husband and her delight in her pregnancy.

In the past,

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THE FAITH CLUB

The Faith Club was started when Ranya Idliby, an American Muslim of Palestinian descent, recruited Suzanne Oliver, a Christian, and Priscilla Warner, a Jew, to write about their three religions. As the women’s meetings began, it became clear that they had their own adult struggles with faith and religion, and they needed a safe haven where they could air their concerns, admit their ignorance, and explore their own faiths.

Ranya, Suzanne, and Priscilla began to meet regularly to discuss their religious backgrounds and beliefs and to ask each other tough questions. As the three women met and talked,

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DRIVING WITH DEAD PEOPLE

 Small wonder that, at nine years old, Monica Holloway develops a fascination with the local funeral home. With a father who drives his Ford pickup with a Kodak movie camera sitting shotgun just in case he sees an accident, and whose home movies feature more footage of disasters than of his children, Monica is primed to become a morbid child.

Yet in spite of her father’s bouts of violence and abuse, her mother’s selfishness and prim denial, and her siblings’ personal battles and betrayals, Monica never succumbs to despair. Instead, she forges her own way,

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