Simply Held July Authors: Mary Monroe and Louise Penny

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction and fiction? You should join Simply Held. Choose any author, celebrity pick, nonfiction and/or fiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from Simply Held. July’s authors are Mary Monroe for fiction and Louise Penny for mystery.

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Our July fiction author is Mary Monroe. Monroe was the first and only member of her family to finish high school. She never went to college or took any writing classes. Instead, she taught herself how to write and started writing short stories at the age of four. Her first novel, The Upper Room, was published in 1985. After that, it took her fifteen years before she landed a contract for her second book, God Don’t Like Ugly, which published in 2000. She has won the Oakland Pen Award for Best Fiction, the Best Southern Author Award, the Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award, and the J. California Copper Memorial Award, amongst many others.

Monroe writes romance, general fiction, romantic suspense, and historical fiction.

Monroe’s newest book is Love, Honor, Betray, which is the third book in the Lexington, Alabama series. This book was published in March 2023.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher.

Award-winning New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe delivers the latest thrillingly scandal-filled novel in her Depression-era saga of a church-going lady and her oh-so-upstanding husband racing to cover up their many sins—and gambling on one scheme too many. . .

With mysterious serial murders putting peaceful Lexington, Alabama, on edge, Jessie and Hubert Wiggins’ steadfast calm and devotion to each other reassures everyone that faith will see them through. But Jessie and Hubert have paid a terrible hidden cost to maintain their devout facade and respectable standing. Nothing can allay the guilt they feel—or stop the growing distrust between them . . .

Hubert thought he and his secret lover, Leroy, could continue seeing each other on the down-low in peace. But when Leroy’s ex-wife moves back in with him, a heartbroken Hubert is driven to distraction trying to keep Jessie in the dark—and quell his mounting jealousy. And his need for satisfaction is driving Hubert to reckless extremes—and desperate risks. . .

Jessie believes the struggles between her and Hubert will all be worth it if she can connive him to finally consummate their marriage—no matter what she has to do. But his erratic behavior and her frustration soon has her trying yet another new lover, who is as charming as he is unreliable—and unexpectedly dangerous. . .

Now with their secrets out of control—and the police perilously near—Jessie and Hubert discover who might be behind the deaths plaguing their town. But can they risk a pursuit that could expose their own web of lies? When their only choice pits them and their suspicions against each other, their next move will either bury their deceptions deep for good—or reveal the one truth they can’t escape. . .

This title is also available as a Libby eBook and large print.

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Our July mystery author is Louise Penny. Penny is most well-known for her best-selling mystery series starring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec. This series started in 2005 with Still Life and has made it up to eighteen novels (so far). It is known as both the Three Pines books and the Chief Inspector Gamache series. Her late husband Michael was the inspiration for Armand Gamache. Outside of this series, Penny worked with Hillary Clinton to write State of Terror, a geopolitical thriller that was released in 2021.

Before becoming a published author, Penny worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) as a radio host and journalist for 18 years. In 1996, Penny quit working for the CBC at the encouragement of her husband, Michael Whitehead, in order to write a novel. After five years of struggles, she decided to start writing mysteries, stop writing for an imagined reader, and start focusing on what she would like to read. She made the characters people she would want to be friends with and based the setting on her town and the surrounding area. She was rejected by numerous publishers. Frustrated, she submitted her book for the Debut Dagger award in 2004, a British crime-writing contest for unpublished works. She placed second, but left with an agent. Her first book, Still Life, was published in 2005. Her Chief Inspector Gamache series has sold more than 10 million copies in North America. A miniseries and television show were also based on the series.

Penny is a New York Times and Globe and Mail bestselling author. She has won multiple awards, including multiple Agatha Awards, a Crime Writers’ Association Dagger, and was a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel, plus many others not listed here. She currently lives outside a small village south of Montreal with her golden retrievers. Penny writes mysteries and thrillers.

Penny’s author website has many helpful parts – book club questions, reading order, literacy help, Three Pines character list, pronunciation guide, and so much more. I highly recommend you check it out.

Penny’s newest book is A World of Curiosities, book 18 in the Chief Inspector Ganache series. This book was published in November 2022.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns in the eighteenth book in #1 New York Times bestseller Louise Penny’s beloved series.

It’s spring and Three Pines is reemerging after the harsh winter. But not everything buried should come alive again. Not everything lying dormant should reemerge.

But something has.

As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines.

But to what end?

Gamache and Beauvoir’s memories of that tragic case, the one that first brought them together, come rushing back. Did their mother’s murder hurt them beyond repair? Have those terrible wounds, buried for decades, festered and are now about to erupt?

As Chief Inspector Gamache works to uncover answers, his alarm grows when a letter written by a long dead stone mason is discovered. In it the man describes his terror when bricking up an attic room somewhere in the village. Every word of the 160-year-old letter is filled with dread. When the room is found, the villagers decide to open it up.

As the bricks are removed, Gamache, Beauvoir and the villagers discover a world of curiosities. But the head of homicide soon realizes there’s more in that room than meets the eye. There are puzzles within puzzles, and hidden messages warning of mayhem and revenge.

In unsealing that room, an old enemy is released into their world. Into their lives. And into the very heart of Armand Gamache’s home.

This title is also available as large print, CD audiobook, Libby eBook, Libby eAudiobook, and Playaway audiobook.

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