December 15, 2015 Booklist 35 www.booklistonline.com
find their destinies wrapped up in a secret
room found at the top of the Pratt mansion, a
Manhattan Gilded Age home. In 1892, Olive,
of her birth. Finally, in 1944, Lucy’s daughter,
Kate, is a doctor working in the house, which
has been converted to a war hospital, when a
wounded soldier arrives, carrying a miniature
portrait of a woman who looks exactly like
Kate. As the stories unfold and intertwine, it’s
clear that each of the women must work to
uncover the truth about the family secrets that
haunt them. The men who come into their
lives are inexplicably bound to them by destiny,
and the authors do a wonderful job of slowly
teasing out the details while keeping the different story lines moving along. Strong female
characters, swoon-worthy romance, and red
herrings abound in this marvelous genre blend
of romance, historical fiction, and family saga.
Hitler Is Alive! Guaranteed True Stories
Reported by the National Police Gazette.
Ed. by Steven A. Westlake.
Jan. 2016. 400p. illus. Open Road/ MysteriousPress.com,
paper, $16.99 (9781504022156).
Well, here’s something different. The National Police Gazette, the salacious forerunner
of everything from Weekly World News and the
National Enquirer to, just maybe, the fake news
of The Colbert Report, et al., hit its stride from
1951 to 1968, during which time it published
no less than 76 Adolf Hitler–related pieces of
“journalism,” nearly all of them about how der
Führer was alive, feeling great, and planning a
comeback. Editor Westlake joyously collects
a cavalcade of these breathless accounts, filed
by intrepid deep-cover reporters, of Hitler’s
Antarctic compound; sexually frustrated Eva
Braun’s obtained diaries; and the clandestine
documents, X-rays, and blood analyses that
prove Hitler’s corpse wasn’t Hitler’s corpse (or
that Hitler had children, or that Hitler was
secretly a Jew, or . . . well, you get the idea).
Certain plot points are hammered insistently—
Hitler’s faked suicide, his U-boat getaway with
Martin Bormann, his surfacing in Argentina—
but the details of characters, times, locations,
and dollar amounts are always so exhaustive,
even numbing, that readers, too, might begin
to wonder what megaweapons the old boy is
even now cooking up in his lab. Ridiculous alt-history fun. —Daniel Kraus
Not All Bastards Are from Vienna.
By Andrea Molesini. Tr. by Antony
Shugaar and Patrick Creagh.
Feb. 2016. 352p. Grove, $26 (9780802124340); e-book
In 1917, the village of Refrontolo, not far
from the front line in the Italian region of Vene-
to, is overrun by Austro-Hungarian troops.
The Villa Spada is requisitioned, making its
inhabitants “guests in our own house, reduced
to dependence on the goodwill of enemy of-
ficers.” Through the eyes of 17-year-old orphan
Paolo, the reader comes to know the aristocratic
Spada family—eccentric and gentle Grandfa-
ther Guglielmo, fiercely intelligent Grandma
Nancy, and Aunt Maria, whose refinement and
love of horses draw the attention of several of
the officers. Rounding out the household are
three servants: the cook, Teresa; her daughter,
Loretta; and the steward, Renato, who is an
intelligence agent. They do their best to ac-
commodate and adapt in the midst of growing
scarcity, brutality, and bloodshed. They also
help the Allied Resistance, using a code involv-
ing window shutters and laundry hung out to
dry. Paolo comes of age as these activities ex-
pose the family to greater danger. Combining
a comedic touch and vivid characterizations
with harrowing depictions of wartime vio-
lence, Molesino’s first novel was awarded Italy’s
Campiello Prize. —Mary Ellen Quinn
YA: YA readers will be enticed by the
teenage narrator and coming-of-age
themes here. SH.
The Queen of the Night.
By Alexander Chee.
Feb. 2016. 576p. Houghton, $28 (9780618663026).
When renowned soprano Lilliet Berne, the
toast of Belle Epoque Paris, is offered the role
of a lifetime in an original opera, she is shocked
to realize that the libretto seems to be based on
her own life. After reinventing herself and carefully shrouding the secrets of her early years,
she believed she had moved away from the
scandal, shame, and intrigue of her youth forever. Reaching back into time, she recalls her
Minnesota childhood, her escape to Paris, her
adventures as a hippodrome rider, her career
as a courtesan, her stint as a spy, and her meteoric rise through the cutthroat ranks of the
opera world. In order to unravel the mystery
of who has betrayed her, she reviews her entire
entangled history, recalling the twists and turns
of her own life as well as the sweeping history
of an era along the way. Peppering the unfolding plot with real-life events and figures, Chee
provides a suitably operatic backdrop for the
mesmerizing novel. —Margaret Flanagan
The Relic Master.
By Christopher Buckley.
Dec. 2015. 256p. Simon & Schuster, $26.95
In nine previous novels, including They Eat
Puppies, Don’t They? (2012) and Thank You for
Smoking (1994), Buckley has proven to be a
master of political satire, aiming most of his
barbs at contemporary American policymak-
ers. Recently opining that the 2016 election
cycle was sufficiently self-satirizing, Buckley has
sought a change of pace in his latest, stepping
back into the Middle Ages to create a ribald
farce about a holy-relics merchant. Disdaining
the public-marketplace hucksters who try to
pass off bits of bone or hair as saintly artifacts,
Dismas, a former Swiss mercenary, does quite
well with only two clients—Frederick, the ruler
of Saxony, and the archbishop of Mainz. When
Dismas’ personal fortune is raided, he and his
sidekick, the famous German engraver Al-
brecht Dürer, hatch a plan to forge the Shroud
of Turin and sell it to the archbishop. When the
charade is foiled, the pair’s only hope for atone-
ment is to steal the real shroud, and a madcap
heist adventure ensues that’s as comical as any
in Buckley’s modern-era tales. Buckley’s many
fans will be pleased. —Carl Hays
Warriors of the Storm.
By Bernard Cornwell.
Jan. 2016. 320p. Harper, $27.99 (9780062250940).
Cornwell (The Empty Throne, 2015) continues his epic rendering of the long and brutal
path toward the unification of Britain, in appropriately bloody fashion. As in the previous
eight installments of the Saxon Tales, the indomitable Uhtred of Bebbanburg narrates as
he moves from one spectacular battle to the
next. Though the late King Alfred’s son, Edward, rules Wessex and East Anglia, and his
daughter, Aethelflaed, holds a tenuous grip on
Mercia, with Uhtred’s assistance in the north,
the Vikings are not content with the status quo.
When Uhtred’s old enemy, Ragnall the Cruel,
cobbles together a formidable coalition of Vikings, Irishmen, and Northumbrians, Uhtred,
despite his somewhat divided loyalties, reacts
to the threat of invasion in order to preserve
the Saxon strongholds. Though this is a Cornwell novel and, therefore, the combat scenes
are paramount, the tangled politics and social
mores of the day are intricately interwoven into
the plot, placing the frenzied action firmly into
historical context. —Margaret Flanagan
Anything for You.
By Kristan Higgins.
Jan. 2016. 416p. HQN, paper, $7.99 (9780373789085).
Higgins continues her Blue Heron series
(In Your Dreams, 2014). As tiny as it is, Man-ningsport, New York (population 715), has a
wrong side of town, and that is where Jessica
Dunn grew up with her alcoholic parents and
younger brother, Davey, who was born with
fetal alcohol syndrome. Nicknamed “Jessica
Does” in high school, she only shares her bed
these days with Connor O’Rourke, and she has
managed to keep that relationship under wraps
for more than 10 years. She has had to, because
Davey still blames Connor for the death of his
dog when they were children, and Jessica has to
put Davey first, because their parents never did.
Jessica has a good life—her dream job, Davey,
and Connor. Maybe she sometimes wishes for
something more, but she never thought she’d
have all that she does. Then Connor gives her
an ultimatum, but Jessica believes she can never
be anyone’s wife. Recommend to readers who
enjoy authors Shannon Stacey, Macy Beckett,
or Jane Graves. —C. L. Quillen