Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Freebie: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer, The Road From Gap Creek by Robert Morgan

Congratulations to Elaine Panneton, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear and Golden State by Michelle Richmond.

This week's book giveaway is a trio of novels which will provide hours of bookish delights for all readers.  One lucky person will win a copy of all three novels: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer, and The Road From Gap Creek by Robert Morgan.  The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is a hardback, the other two are trade paperbacks.  And now a word about the books from the publishers...

In the spirit of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Gabrielle Zevin’s enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books and booksellers.  On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto "No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World."  A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.  A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be.  His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen.  Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island--from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude.  Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him.  These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.  And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore.  It’s a small package, but large in weight.  It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew.  It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world; or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.  As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.  For more about the book and to read the opening lines, check out last month's edition of Front Porch Books.

In Andrew Sean Greer's novel, readers can take a unforgettable trip through the many lives of one fascinating character.  After the death of her beloved twin brother, Felix, and the breakup with her longtime lover, Nathan, Greta Wells embarks on a radical psychiatric treatment to alleviate her suffocating depression.  But the treatment has unexpected effects, and the Greta of 1985 finds herself transported to remarkably similar lives in different eras--as a bohemian and adulteress in 1918, and a devoted wife and mother in 1941--fraught with familiar tensions and difficult choices.  Traveling through time, the modern Greta learns that each reality has its own losses and rewards, and that her alternate selves are unpredictable, driven by their own desires and needs.  And as the final treatment looms, one of these other selves could change everything.  Magically atmospheric, achingly romantic, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells beautifully imagines "what if" and wondrously wrestles with the impossibility of what could be.  John Irving praised The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by saying, “The premise of this novel isn’t that a woman travels through time: it’s that ‘the impossible happens once to each of us’....What this wonderful novel teaches us is how magic works.”  I previously featured the novel as one of my Sunday Sentences.

In The Road From Gap Creek, one of America's most acclaimed writers journeys to the land on which he has staked a literary claim to paint an indelible portrait of a family in a time of unprecedented change.  When Robert Morgan began the saga of the Richards family in his novel Gap Creek, the book became an Oprah Book Club Selection, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers to its beguiling story of a marriage begun with love and hope but beset by chaos at the turn of the twentieth century.  Now, in a masterful work of historical fiction, he introduces a new generation of this close-knit family in a captivating story that looks ahead to the uncertainties of the future, the struggle to define oneself, and the discovery of enduring love.  Daniel Woodrell (author of Winter’s Bone) had this to say about the book: “In The Road From Gap Creek [Morgan] delivers another powerhouse novel of his people, with their virtues and failings, wins and losses, loves and sorrows.”

If you’d like a chance at winning copies of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells and The Road From Gap Creek, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on April 10, at which time I’ll draw the winning name.  I’ll announce the lucky reader on April 11.  If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

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