Weeding through the titles in your local bookstore or, even worse, on Amazon to find holiday gifts for the book lovers in your life can be daunting. If your usual solution is to head for the bookstore gift cards, take heart. We’ve got your back with this list of fiction, nonfiction and children’s titles by local authors.
“The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane” By Katherine Howe (Hachette, 2009)
Set partly in modern-day Andover and partly in the Merrimack Valley during the Salem witch trials, Howe’s supernatural love story is packed with suspense and surprises, and serves as a reminder that the witch trials took place across the region, not only in Salem.
“Evenfall” By Liz Michalski (Berkley, 2011)
Haverhill resident (and mvm contributor) Liz Michalski’s debut novel, set in rural Connecticut, explores the power love has to heal and redeem broken relationships, even beyond the grave.
“Folly Cove” By Holly Robinson (Berkley, 2016)
The latest by Rowley’s Holly Robinson is set in Rockport and tells the story of four sisters who reunite to celebrate their mother’s birthday, only to have painful family secrets revealed.
“Spouses & Other Crimes” By Andrew Coburn (Stark House Press, 2014)
Fans of Andover’s crime fiction master will love his latest, a short-story collection featuring all the grit and sublime detail that made him famous as the author of full-length thrillers.
“A Ronan Marino Mystery: Two Redheads & a Dead Blonde” By Lloyd Corricelli (CreateSpace, 2015)
Tewksbury native Lloyd Corricelli teamed up with local comic artist Alex Cormack to create this graphic novel version of the first book in his Ronan Marino crime series.
“The Vaults” by Toby Ball (Thorndike Press, 2011)
The first installment in the City Trilogy by Durham, N.H., writer Toby Ball, the book is set in the 1930s and involves an archivist, a journalist and a private eye who launch an investigation into their city’s corrupt administration.
“Stone Angels” by Michael Hartigan (Merrimack Media, 2015)
The Stoneham resident’s latest book tells the story of college student Augustine Shaw and his attempt to escape tragic circumstances, including two murders. Hartigan is the communications director for U.S. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.
“Armenians of the Merrimack Valley” By E. Philip Brown and Tom Vartabedian (Arcadia, 2016)
Armenians were among the immigrants who came to the Merrimack Valley after World War I to work in the mills. They created vibrant communities in Haverhill, Lowell and Lawrence, and their presence is still felt today.
“Where Divers Dare: The Hunt for the Last U-Boat” By Randall Peffer (Berkley, 2016)
Phillips Academy writing teacher Randall Peffer is the author of several books, many with nautical themes. His latest details the harrowing search for the wreck of German submarine U-550, which was sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy off of Nantucket in April 1944.
“Massacre on the Merrimack: Hannah Duston’s Captivity and Revenge in Colonial America” By Jay Atkinson (Lyons Press, 2015)
In 1697, Haverhill resident Hannah Duston was kidnapped by American Indians who killed her infant daughter. Two weeks later, Duston killed several of her captors and escaped down the Merrimack River in a canoe. Methuen writer and Boston University lecturer Jay Atkinson recounts her incredible story.
“Royal Mistress: A Novel” By Anne Easter Smith (Touchstone, 2013)
Arguably one of America’s best historical novelists, Anne Easter Smith of Newburyport hits another home run with her latest, a 500-plus-page epic that tells the story of Jane Shore, the young wife of a silk merchant in 15th century England who becomes the mistress of King Edward IV.
“The Altarpiece” By Lauren Fogle Boyd (Lucky Bat Books, 2013)
UMass Lowell history professor Lauren Fogle Boyd’s novel takes readers back to the Third Reich, when art was a political issue and young art historian Anke Junger, daughter of Nazi-persecuted modern artist Dietrich Junger, is thrown into a world
of danger and intrigue in her efforts to keep the famous Ghent Altarpiece out of Hitler’s reach.
“Townie: A Memoir” By Andre Dubus III (W.W. Norton & Co., 2011)
Fans of Andre Dubus III’s work will not want to miss the author’s intimate, sometimes brutal yet ultimately uplifting story of his life growing up the child of divorced parents on the rough edges of 1970s Haverhill and Newburyport.
“The Years of Zero: Coming of Age Under the Khmer Rouge” By Seng Ty (CreateSpace, 2014)
Lowell resident Seng Ty tells the devastating, moving story of his family’s exile and ultimate extermination by the Communist Khmer Rouge regime in late-1970s Cambodia – a must-read for anyone seeking to better understand the Cambodian genocide.
“Crash: A Mother, A Son And The Journey From Grief To Gratitude” By Carolyn Roy-Bornstein (Skirt!, 2012)
Newburyport pediatrician Carolyn
Roy-Bornstein found herself on the other side of the stretcher one winter night when her son and his girlfriend were hit by a drunken driver. The book recounts her family’s journey helping her son recover from a brain injury, and how they learned to cope when their lives were forever changed in an instant.
“The Face in the Frost” By John Bellairs (MacMillan, 1969)
Now-deceased Haverhill young adult author John Bellairs was considered a master of Gothic fantasy. Perhaps his best-known novel, “The Face in the Frost” is a tale of wizards, kings, an adventurer, and a power that is beyond their control.
“The Bobbin Girl” By Emily Arnold McCully (Dial Books, 1996)
Set in 19th century Lowell, “The Bobbin Girl” tells the story of a young mill worker, her struggle to survive horrible working conditions, and how she found the courage to protest a pay cut.
“Bread and Roses, Too” By Katherine Paterson (Clarion Books, 2006)
“Bread and Roses, Too” is a fictionalized account of the 1912 Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence told from the perspective of the young daughter of Italian immigrants.
For reviews of several books listed in this article, browse our Art & Entertainment section.