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Five great books set in BOSTON
22nd January 2020
Boston is the latest place for us to visit in our ‘Great books set in…’ series. Five great books set in Boston.
‘There is about Boston a certain reminiscent and classical tone, suggesting an authenticity and piety which few other American cities possess’ – E B White
‘Boston is large enough to learn your independence and small enough to make your own’ – Henry Winkler
Blood In The Water by Jack Flynn
Homeland Security agent, Kit Steel, is committed to avenge terrorism. And she’s after the blood of her nemesis, one of world’s most ruthless and dangerous criminals, Vincente Carpio. He has the blood of her husband and young son on his hands, and Kit is unwavering in her determination to see him kept behind bars forever. Clever, calculating, and manipulative, Carpio has aid and influence on the outside, and he’s waiting for the perfect moment when the final pieces of the jigsaw fall into place.
Harbour Union chief, Cormack McConnell, has lived his life close to the wire above and below the law, and he controls everything that happens on Boston’s waterfront. Someone wants him out of the way, fast. After he narrowly survives a brutal attack on his bar, The Mariner, complications arise when Cormack believes he’s been betrayed by one of his crew – a young man, Buddy Cavanaugh, who he’s shocked to discover is the love of his precious nineteen-year-old daughter, Diamond.
Everyone has a game to play until it becomes apparent that there are much darker, far-reaching forces of evil at work which look to be preparing for the international stage. What follows is a gripping race against time, a rollercoaster action-packed story with international terrorism at its core and family at its heart.
North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo
Dennis Lehane meets Smilla’s Sense of Snow: a big discovery in the world of female suspense, about an edgy young woman with the rare ability to withstand extreme conditions
Elisabeth Elo’s debut novel introduces Pirio Kasparov, a Boston-bred tough-talking girl with an acerbic wit and a moral compass that points due north.
When the fishing boat Pirio is on is rammed by a freighter, she finds herself abandoned in the North Atlantic. Somehow, she survives nearly four hours in the water before being rescued by the Coast Guard. But the boat’s owner and her professional fisherman friend, Ned, is not so lucky.
Compelled to look after Noah, the son of the late Ned and her alcoholic prep school friend, Thomasina, Pirio can’t shake the lurking suspicion that the boat’s sinking—and Ned’s death—was no accident. It’s a suspicion seconded by her deeply cynical, autocratic Russian father, who tells her that nothing is ever what it seems. Then the navy reaches out to her to participate in research on human survival in dangerously cold temperatures.
With the help of a curious journalist named Russell Parnell, Pirio begins unraveling a lethal plot involving the glacial whaling grounds off Baffin Island. In a narrow inlet in the arctic tundra, Pirio confronts her ultimate challenge: to trust herself.
A gripping literary thriller, North of Boston combines the atmospheric chills of Jussi Adler-Olsen with the gritty mystery of Laura Lippman. And Pirio Kasparov is a gutsy, compellingly damaged heroine with many adventures ahead.
The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
This book is set primarily in Boston, post WW1.
It tells the epic story of two families, one white, one black, both trying to find their way through a new order, interweaving in real life people and events. A powerful cast of characters populate this superb story.
Girls I Know by Douglas Trevor
In the winter of 2001, 29-year-old Walt Steadman survives a shooting in his favourite Boston café that leaves four people dead. In the aftermath, Walt forms two new relationships : one with Ginger Newton, a privileged, reckless, Harvard undergraduate who is interviewing women about their lives for a book called Girls I Know, and the other with 11-year-old Mercedes Bittles, whose parent were killed in the restaurant.
Wounded but resilient, all three must deal with loss and grief and the consequences that come when their lives change in unexpected ways.
The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey
In Boston’s North End, four immigrant women leave childhood behind—but never one another.
For four young immigrant women living in Boston’s North End in the early 1900s, escaping tradition doesn’t come easy. But at least they have one another and the Saturday Evening Girls Club, a social pottery-making group offering respite from their hectic home lives—and hope for a better future.
Ambitious Caprice dreams of opening her own hat shop, which clashes with the expectations of her Sicilian-born parents. Brilliant Ada secretly takes college classes despite the disapproval of her Russian Jewish father. Stunning Maria could marry anyone yet guards her heart to avoid the fate of her Italian Catholic mother, broken down by an alcoholic husband. And shy Thea is torn between asserting herself and embracing an antiquated Jewish tradition.
The friends face family clashes and romantic entanglements, career struggles and cultural prejudice. But through their unfailing bond, forged through their weekly gathering, they’ll draw strength—and the courage to transform their immigrant stories into the American lives of their dreams.
Andrew for the TripFiction Team
Do you have a favourite read set in Boston? Have we missed an obvious choice? Please let us know in the comments below!
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