Recommendations from Lindsy Gardner, Director of Emmet O’Neal Library

When I was offered the chance to become the new director of the Emmet O’Neal Library, I jumped with joy – and then managed to find an apartment from afar, sell my house and plan the move of all my possessions (including a dog and cat) in five short weeks. My transition period didn’t allow for much time off, so this year I’m enjoying different locales and adventures from the comfort of my couch, cuddled up with my four-legged companions. These authors have created visceral, compelling and memorable settings. Bon voyage!




Death at the Chateau Bremont

By M. L. Longworth

Setting: Aix-en-Provence, France, present day. The romance between a law professor and a chief magistrate is just as suspenseful as the cozy mystery that these two solve together. This book, the first in a series, is riddled with delectable descriptions of French food and wine, and charming details of architecture and life in Provence.

News of the World

By Paulette Jiles

Setting: Texas, 1870. Captain Kidd reads newspapers in small towns to paying customers, eager to hear news of the world. When he is asked to return a young child, who was kidnapped by Indians, to her German relatives in San Antonio, he embarks on a dangerous 400-mile journey through unsettled country that changes both their lives. This book will stick with you long after you turn the last page.


By Lily King

Setting: New Guinea, 1933. Three anthropologists study the language, family structure and rituals of native tribes. Their struggle to survive in the jungle brings them together, but the changing dynamic between the three scientists becomes the biggest threat of all. Loosely based on the field work of Margaret Mead, this book was so intriguing that I immediately read her personal biography, Blackberry Winter, to determine fact from fiction.

The Boston Girl

By Anita Diamant

Setting: Boston, 1915. This is a richly detailed fictional memoir of a first-generation American who finds joy in learning and friendships and love. I highly recommend the audio version of this book, as read by Linda Lavin. Her narration is so delightful that I listened to the entire book in two days.

Anna and the Swallow Man

By Gavriel Savit

Setting: Poland, 1939. Anna’s linguistic professor father disappears, leaving her alone and scared in Krakow. Anna immediately trusts a kind stranger who seems magical, and the two survive by quietly wandering the Polish countryside together. Their unlikely companionship is a touching story of physical and emotional sacrifice. This beautifully written debut novel is my favorite book of the year…so far.