Off the Shelves – July 9


New items are available at the Hancock County Public Library.


“The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House” by Kate Anderson Brower

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“The Residence” offers an intimate account of the White House service staff, from the Kennedys to the Obamas, revealing daily life through the voices of maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the president and family. These dedicated professionals maintain the mansion’s 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators and eight staircases.

They prepare everything from hors d’oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level’s basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.

From Jacqueline Kennedy’s private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband’s assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Richard Nixon’s resignation and President Bill Clinton’s impeachment battle, “The Residence” is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.


“The Children’s Crusade” by Ann Packer

“The Children’s Crusade” traces the saga of Bill Blair, his wife and his children and their lives in the San Francisco area from the mid-1950s to the present.

When the youngest of Bill’s four grown children returns home, bringing all-too-familiar troubles, family members are forced to reckon with who they are separately and together, which sets off a struggle for the family’s future. One-by-one, each sibling — Robert, a doctor like their father; Rebecca, a psychiatrist; Ryan, a schoolteacher; and James, the malcontent problem child, the only one who hasn’t settled down — takes turns telling the story. Their interwoven narratives create a portrait of family history.


“At the Water’s Edge” by Sara Gruen

Sara Gruen, author of “Water for Elephants,” unveils her new novel about a privileged young woman’s awakening as she experiences the devastation of World War II in a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands.

After disgracing themselves at a high society party in 1944 Philadelphia, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, an Army colonel who is ashamed of his son’s inability to serve in the war. When Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father’s favor is by hunting down the Loch Ness monster, Maddie reluctantly follows him to Scotland, leaving her sheltered world behind. They find themselves in a remote village, where locals have nothing but contempt for the interlopers.

Maddie is left alone at an isolated inn, where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and a knock from the postman can bring tragic news. She finds herself falling in love with the beauty and magic of the Scottish countryside. She comes to know the villagers and forms friendships with two young women who open her up to a world she never knew existed. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it appears: Her values prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.