As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section — SunLit — we’re featuring staff picks from book stores across the state. >> Click here for more SunLit

This week’s bookstore: BookBar, 4280 Tennyson St., Denver

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Fellowship Point

By Alice Elliott Dark
Scribner/Marysue Rucci Books
$28 (hardcover)
July 5, 2022

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From the publisher: Celebrated children’s book author Agnes Lee is determined to secure her legacy—to complete what she knows will be the final volume of her pseudonymously written Franklin Square novels; and even more consuming, to permanently protect the peninsula of majestic coast in Maine known as Fellowship Point. To donate the land to a trust, Agnes must convince shareholders to dissolve a generations-old partnership. And one of those shareholders is her best friend, Polly.

Polly Wister has led a different kind of life than Agnes: that of a well-off married woman with children, defined by her devotion to her husband, and philosophy professor with an inflated sense of stature. She exalts in creating beauty and harmony in her home, in her friendships, and in her family. Polly soon finds her loyalties torn between the wishes of her best friend and the wishes of her three sons—but what is it that Polly wants herself?

From Bess Maher, event liaison: Following the full, complicated lives of Agnes and Polly, lifelong friends, neighbors, and shareholders of land in Maine–with its own complicated history–as well as Maud, Agnes’s young editor, “Fellowship Point” feels like a 19th-century novel but one that casts women as the landowners. The writing is so close to each character’s point of view and so rich in detail, you’ll feel like you are the one spending the summer in Maine, walking in the dark woods or writing in your attic room. A great summer read for those interested in the environment, the lives of authors, and what it means to own land. 

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We Are Not Like Them

By Christine Pride & Jo Piazza
Atria Books
$17.00 (paperback)
Aug. 2, 2022

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From the publisher:

Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia.

But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend.

From Amanda Myers, lead booktender: This touching novel explores some of the most sensitive and divisive issues confronting Americans, but it is also a compelling story about the enduring power of female friendship and a reminder that the ties that bind us are more important than the forces that divide us. This is a perfect choice for a book club!

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Plain Bad Heroines

By emily m. danforth
HarperCollins
$17.99 (paperback)
Oct. 5, 2021

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From the publisher: Our story begins in 1902, at the Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it the Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths.

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer Merritt Emmons publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded Age institution.  But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.

From Mara Kalinoski, marketing coordinator and booktender:  Welcome to Brookhants School for Girls—once the site of the gruesome death of two students, now the centerpiece of a film production, and utterly cursed. Split between two timelines, this novel explores queer desire, memory, and self-discovery against a campy, creepy backdrop. Six hundred pages of glorious fun.

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