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Book Fair is proud to welcome Heidi Barnes, Amy Brazda, Ashley Brown, Angélique Jamail, Barbara Ivy Jogerst, Becca North, Margaret Wilson Reckling and Brian VanDeMark!

Heidi Barnes

The Bellman

All young men want to run away and join the circus. For Stanley Douglas, a naïve but determined young man, the closest he could find is The Maycliff.

When Stanley takes the first real job in his life as a bellman at an historic mansion turned luxury inn on the majestic coast of Maine, he has no idea what he’s in for. The Maycliff attracts eccentric guests of all types, from brash Texan lotharios to African dictators with suitcases full of cash. But the guests can’t compare to the staff. The Cook is a prima donna, the manager is a prissy militant, the maids are brassy pranksters, the bartender’s a drunk, and someone’s got their fingers in the till. The only bright spot may be Mindy, the pretty waitress who misses Stanley’s attempts at impressing her but always seems to find a way to bear witness to his bumbling gaffs.

Trying his best to keep order in chaos, Stanley finds that joy and loss, humor and tragedy, friendship and betrayal are all part of the job—and life. Most important, though, is the discovery that everything is going to be all right even if everything is going very, very wrong.

With wit, humor and a sense of nostalgia, The Bellman brings readers back to a day of classic American storytelling, with colorful characters, a picturesque backdrop, and a story that inspires and delights.

The Bellman's Secret

The Bellman’s Secret continues the adventures and misadventures of nineteen-year-old Stanley Douglas, the sometimes bumbling, often unlucky, and always endearing hero from Heidi Barnes’s acclaimed debut novel, The Bellman.

Working at the historic and stately Maycliff Inn on the picturesque coast of Maine, Stan must balance a revolving coterie of eccentric guests, solve the mystery of the disappearing beets, and stop an invasion of lovemaking fish from keeping everyone up at night. Above all, Stan must navigate the fickle, everchanging moods of the girl he’s sure he loves before she falls into the arms of his rival.

A mad romp through workplace hijinks, friendships, betrayal, and the joys and pains of first love, The Bellman’s Secret is a coming-of-age tale that will humor and delight.

Amy Brazda

Jesse Unleashed

Jesse Unleashed is the fur-real story of Jesse, the chocolate Labrador pup, who leaves the country and moves to the city to be with his new loving family, the Brazdas, Amy, Halle and Brady. Although he is scared to leave his ranch friends, he learns new tasks with the support of his new family. He meets new friends, including Mack the Mutt, Pinky the Poodle, and Pepper the Parrot, who all hold his friendship dear. He spreads kindness wherever he goes including school visits, old folks’ homes, and hospitals, where he brightens everyone’s day. As a Texas born doggy, children can learn and look for Texas symbols throughout the book and check at the end to see if they found them. The paw-sitive messages of spreading kindness, making and meeting friends, and doing good deeds are accompanied by hand-drawn, watercolor illustrations by local illustrator Bill Megenhardt. The book is appropriate for ages 3-9 and not only is a fun tale, but teachers can examine poetry and figurative language such as alliteration and onomatopoeia techniques.

Ashley Brown

Letters to the daughter I’ll never have

In this collection of letters to her imaginary daughter, Ashley Brown navigates the gut-wrenching territory of making the decision to opt out of parenthood. Sometimes brutally candid, sometimes funny and heartwarming, Letters to the Daughter I’ll Never Have takes readers with Brown on the journey to reconcile her grief and relief in the choice to forgo the experience of being a mother

Angélique Jamail

Finis.

Elsa’s family grows more unkind by the week. Her boss, a seven-foot-tall rage demon, has control of everything but his anger. And her cat wants to eat her. Things could be better.

In a world where one’s Animal Affinity is a sign of maturity and worth, Elsa’s inability to demonstrate hers is becoming more than a disappointing nuisance; it’s becoming a danger. She has no confidence she’ll ever conquer her Plainness by “blossoming.” She also fears both the wolf packs that prowl her neighborhood and being stuck in a life plummeting rapidly from lackluster to perilous. Fortunately, she has a cousin and a co-worker who know her better than she knows herself and can see through to what society won’t.

Finis. is the magic realism of our time, a story of finding one’s way to the end of things, of persevering through the dregs of life to discover something more.

The Sharp Edges of Water

This is a book of stories as much as a collection of poems. In it, the characters swerve between the rain-drenched, tree-lined, concrete plains of Houston and the voluptuous, dynamic terrain of Los Angeles. They face multiple realities, and though they’re earnestly grounded, they sometimes swim in the waters of magic realism. Their story is both relatable and a little bit surreal. 

Barbara Ivy Jogerst

Paul Swank: Enduring Hero: An American Soldier's Sacrifice in Occupied France

Lt. Paul A. Swank led a small company of American OSS soldiers and their French resistance allies in German-occupied France in 1944, clandestinely sabotaging German operations, blowing up key bridges to halt the German advance, and allowing the eventual recapture of a key food depot. In doing so he was shot and killed by the enemy near the spa town of Alet-Les-Bains, near Carcassonne, on August 17, 1944. Paul Swank: Enduring Hero, tells his story leading up to this firefight, how OSS (the precursor to the CIA) and its Operation Groups (precursor to Special Forces) came to be, and recounts the touching aftermath, which has seen Lt. Swank over the past 75 years become an enduring symbol of French-American amity, as well as a reminder that freedom must be defended at all costs. Lt. Swank, posthumously awarded the Légion d’Honneur by France, the Distinguished Service Cross and other medals by the U.S. Army, lies where he requested to be buried, in a tomb where he fell. He is honored each August 17 in a moving ceremony.

Becca North

Your Hidden Superpowers

In Your Hidden Superpowers, Dr. Becca North, a researcher in the field of psychology, rewrites the story we tell ourselves about failure. She puts forth a vision of how shifting our view of failure would shift how we lead our lives, yielding profound benefits for us as individuals and as a society by exposing hidden resources within us—innovations, breakthroughs, joy, meaning, and magic yet to be discovered.

Margaret WIlson Reckling

Woody Creek, views from a homestead

When Margaret Reckling traded life in a major metropolis for a remote ranch in the mountains outside Aspen, she soon discovered that beyond initial impressions of reclusive celebrity and eccentric artists Woody Creek has a deeper story that often goes unrecognized by tourists and part-time residents. Early homesteaders moved to Woody Creek to support mining activities in nearby Aspen when it was still Ute Territory, and their resilience and respect for the land remains part of the community's character today. Living in a homestead that belonged to one of these families, Reckling travels in their footsteps during her summer irrigation rounds, experiences the same variable mountain weather that they endured, and rests her weary head at night within four walls built by their hands. When the winter wind swirls around her sturdy ranchhouse and stacks snow against its sides, she knows that they too heard that same fierce howl and wondered what the morning light would reveal. 

In Woody Creek: Views from a Homestead, Reckling captures the essence of this place. With her skills of close observation and patience forged by long solitary mountain winters, she creates stunning images—intimate and panoramic—of its visual riches: the handiwork of early ranchers and farmers, the sensory overload of the changing palette of the seasons, the habits and habitats of both prey and predators. From the smallest wildflower to the tallest snow-clad peak or the brightest harvest moon, this collection of images conveys the deep mysteries of the Woody Creek terrain and the way of life that the free spirits who live here have preserved with an astounding resoluteness.

Brian VanDeMark

Road to Disaster: A New History of America's Descent Into Vietnam

Many books have been written on the tragic decisions regarding Vietnam made by the young stars of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Yet despite millions of words of analysis and reflection, no historian has been able to fully explain why such decent, brilliant, and previously successful men failed so badly. With this book—more than twenty years in the making—that changes.

In Road to Disaster, acclaimed historian Brian VanDeMark draws upon decades of archival research, his own exclusive interviews with many of the officials involved with the war, and a wealth of previously unheard recordings by Robert McNamara and Clark Clifford, who served as defense secretaries for presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Beyond that, Road to Disaster is the first account of the war to look at the cataclysmic decisions of those in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations through the prism of recent research in cognitive science, psychology, and organizational theory to explain why “the best and the brightest” became trapped in situations that suffocated creative thinking and willingness to dissent; why they found change so hard; and why they were so blind to their own errors.

A comprehensive history of America’s descent into Vietnam during the 1960s that posits a striking new way of understanding that catastrophe, Road to Disaster is a landmark in scholarship and a work of paramount importance, both in comprehending what happened and why, and—just as importantly—preventing fiascoes in the future.