Fairfield County, CT is bringing it in 2021!
My home town has always been an artsy community. Historically, Fairfield County has been known to be home to authors, actors, musicians and artists living amongst the entrepreneurs, commuters, hard workers and the independently wealthy. The suburbanites have enjoyed the woodsy walking trails, backyard gardens, beautiful beaches, hometown restaurants and theaters, creating and collaborating while raising families and being active members of this vibrant community. It is no different today, as we continue to have talent all around town – including writers willing to share their stories. Below are some wonderful books published in 2021 and written by local authors, many making a splash locally as well as globally. Celebrate our friends and neighbors in the suburbs and support them by reading their books!
LifeLines by Melissa Bernstein (March 16)
Join Melissa Bernstein, Co-Founder of the wildly successful toy company Melissa & Doug, on a journey to triumph over anxiety, depression, and despair―a story she hopes will help others find their path to meaning and inner peace. Now, more than ever, Melissa’s message is needed by others, and her promise to all who journey with her is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Who would ever guess that Melissa Bernstein, happily-married mother of 6, creator of over 5,000 toys which have sold over a billion dollars, begins many days the same way far too many others do, wondering if she’ll make it to tomorrow? Melissa shows us that when darkness descends, and it seems there’s no escape, there actually is a way out, there actually is hope, and there actually is a path that can lead to meaning and purpose.
Melissa takes us on her path through depression, revealing how her “lifelines” transformed despair into a beacon of hope. Filled with prose, gorgeous photography, and many of Melissa’s verses that express her struggles and breakthroughs, LifeLines is committed to helping others who are “stuck” develop a plan for themselves to survive and thrive.
A book of struggle and salvation, connection and community, LifeLines is a framework for people seeking to understand their emotional lives and to develop their own path to self-discovery and inner transformation.
The Stranger in the Mirror by Liv Constantine (July 6)
Lynne Constantine and her sister, Valerie, the best-selling author team called Liv Constantine that brought us The Last Mrs. Parrish, once again deliver another gripping psychological thriller.
Addison’s about to get married, but she’s not looking forward to the big day. It’s not her fiancé; he’s a wonderful man. It’s because Addison doesn’t know who she really is. A few years ago, a kind driver found her bleeding next to a New Jersey highway and rescued her. While her physical wounds healed, Addison’s memory never returned. She doesn’t know her real name. Or how she ended up injured on the side of a road. Or why she can’t shake the notion that she may have done something very, very bad . . .
In a posh home in the Boston suburbs, Julian tries to figure out what happened to his loving, caring wife, Cassandra, who disappeared without a trace two years ago. She would never have left him and their seven-year-old daughter Valentina of her own free will—or would she?
As these two lives intersect, The Stranger in the Mirror hooks readers with riveting drama, told with Liv Constantine’s hallmark blend of glamour, tense psychological thrills, and jaw-dropping twists.
Eartha & Kitt; A Daugther’s Love Story in Black and White by Kitt Shapiro (May 4)
Kitt Shapiro, President of Eartha Kitt Productions, Founder and Owner of Simply Eartha LLC, business owner of the retail store West, and Eartha’s beloved daughter brings her mother to life so vividly, you will feel as if you’d met her. You’ll embrace her love of nature, exercise, simple food, and independence, along with her lessons on the importance of treating people kindly and always being true to yourself.
Eartha, who was a mix of Black, Cherokee, and white, is viewed by the world as Black. Kitt, her biological daughter, is blonde and light skinned. This is the story of a young girl being raised by her mother, who happened to be one of the most famous celebrities in the world. For three decades, they traveled the world together as mother and daughter. Even after Kitt got married and started a family of her own, she and Eartha were never far from each other’s sides.
Eartha had a very difficult childhood growing up in extreme poverty in South Carolina. She described herself as being “just a poor cotton picker from the South.” She did not have her own familial ties to lean on after being abandoned by her own mother as a toddler and having never known who her father was. She and Kitt were each other’s whole world.
Eartha’s legacy is still felt today. Not only do we still listen to “Santa Baby” every Christmas, but many of today’s most influential artists consistently mention Eartha, paying tribute to her groundbreaking stances on social issues such as racial equality and women’s and LGBTQ rights. And she is still widely remembered for her definitive portrayal of Catwoman in the classic Batman television series, voicing the character Yzma in Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove, and her many other movie and Broadway roles.
Filled with love, life lessons, and poignant laughter, Eartha & Kitt captures the passion and energy of two remarkable women.
Where the Grass is Green and the Girls Are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger (May 18)
Lauren Weisberger, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada and When Life Gives You Lululemons brings us a highly entertaining, sharply observed novel about sisters, their perfect lives . . . and their perfect lies.
A seat at the anchor desk of the most-watched morning show. Recognized by millions across the country, thanks in part to her flawless blond highlights and Botox-smoothed skin. An adoring husband and a Princeton-bound daughter. Peyton is that woman. She has it all.
Until . . .
Skye, her sister, is a stay-at-home mom living in a glitzy suburb of New York. She has degrees from all the right schools and can helicopter-parent with the best of them. But Skye is different from the rest. She’s looking for something real and dreams of a life beyond the PTA and pickup.
Until . . .
Max, Peyton’s bright and quirky seventeen-year-old daughter, is poised to kiss her fancy private school goodbye and head off to pursue her dreams in film. She’s waited her entire life for this opportunity.
Until . . .
One little lie. That’s all it takes. For the illusions to crack. For resentments to surface. Suddenly the grass doesn’t look so green. And they’re left wondering: will they have what it takes to survive the truth?
Better To Trust by Heather Frimmer (Sept. 21)
Heather Frimmer, a radiologist specializing in breast and emergency room imaging, a
wife and mother of two, brings us her second medical fiction novel.
When trust is violated, can it ever be recovered?
Alison Jacobs needs brain surgery and places ultimate trust in her sister’s husband, Grant Kaplan, a world-renowned neurosurgeon and expert in treating her condition. But Grant is hiding a dark secret which threatens the outcome: an addiction to prescription pills. As Alison struggles to rebuild her life, Grant’s daughter, Sadie, spends more time with a new friend. Frustrated that her parents exclude her from the conversations about her beloved aunt, Sadie makes increasingly risky choices which could endanger not only her, but her entire family.
Alison is also harboring her own secret-an extramarital affair with a woman. Her close call with mortality spurs her to take a closer look at her marriage, explore her newfound sexuality and figure out what she wants for her future. How will she rebuild her life and move forward? Can she find a way to repair her broken relationship with her only sister?
Secrets swirling around drug use and sexual identity must be dealt with in order for the family to learn to trust each other again.
Pops: Learning to Be a Son and a Father by Craig Melvin (June 15)
A powerful, intimate memoir and exploration of fatherhood and race from Craig Melvin, news anchor of NBC’s Today show.
For Craig Melvin this book is more an investigation than a memoir. It’s an opportunity to better understand his father; to interrogate his family’s legacy of addiction and despair but also transformation and redemption; and to explore the challenges facing all dads–including Craig himself, a father of two young children.
Growing up in Columbia, South Carolina, Craig had a fraught relationship with his father. Lawrence Melvin was a distant, often absent parent due to his drinking as well as his job working the graveyard shift at a postal facility. Watching sports and tinkering on Lawrence’s beloved (but unreliable) 1973 Pontiac LeMans were two ways father and son connected, but as Lawrence’s drinking spiraled out of control, their bond was stretched to the breaking point. Fortunately, Craig had a loving, fiercely protective mother who held the family together. He also had a series of surrogate father figures in his life–uncles, teachers, workplace mentors–who by their examples helped him figure out the kind of person and father he wanted to be.
Pops is the story of all these men–and of the inspiring fathers Craig has met reporting his “Dads Got This Series” on the Todayshow. Pops is also the story of Craig and Lawrence Melvin’s long journey to reconciliation and understanding, and of how all these experiences and encounters have informed Craig’s understanding of his own role as a dad.
Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic by Scott Gottlieb (Sept. 21)
Has America’s COVID-19 catastrophe taught us anything?
In Uncontrolled Spread, physician and former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb shows how COVID-19 was able to trounce America’s pandemic preparations and outlines the steps that must be taken to protect against the next outbreak. As the pandemic unfolded, Gottlieb was in regular contact with all the key players in Congress, the Trump administration, and the drug and diagnostic industries. He provides an inside account of how level after level of American government crumbled as the COVID-19 crisis advanced.
A system-wide failure across government institutions left the nation blind to the threat, and unable to mount an effective response. We’d prepared for the wrong virus. We failed to identify the contagion early enough and became overly reliant on costly and sometimes divisive tactics that couldn’t fully slow the spread. We never considered asymptomatic transmission and we assumed people would follow public health guidance. Key bureaucracies like the CDC were hidebound and outmatched. Weak leadership aggravated these woes. We didn’t view a public health disaster as a threat to our national security.
Uncontrolled Spread argues we must fix our systems and prepare for a deadlier coronavirus variant, a flu pandemic, or whatever else nature may threaten us with. Gottlieb outlines policies and investments that are essential to prepare the United States and the world for future threats.
The Accidental Suffragist by Galia Gichon (June 1)
A commentator for MSN, Bloomberg Radio, and Real Simple magazine, Galia Gichon spent six years writing financial research for top investment banks Bear Stearns and Nomura Securities before launching Down-to-Earth Finance, a top personal financial & investment advising firm in New York. She brings us her first novel based on history.
It’s 1912, and protagonist Helen Fox is a factory worker living in New York’s tenements. When tragedy strikes in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Helen is seduced by the Suffragist cause and is soon immersed, working alongside famous activists.
As Helen’s involvement with the cause deepens, she encounters myriad sources of tension that test her perseverance: estrangement from her husband, who is blindsided by his wife’s sudden activism; ostracization by neighbors; unease at working side by side with wealthier suffragettes; and worry about her children as she leaves them to picket the White House in Washington.
The narrative spans World War One and concludes with the triumph of 1919. In a time when the obstacles for women, from any background, were insurmountable, Helen discovers her voice as an independent woman and dreams of equality in a male-dominated society.
Creativity and Gratitude: Exercises and Inspiration for a year of Art, Hope, and Healing by Amy Oestreicher
Amy tragically passed away in April 2021. This is the companion workbook to her memoir, My Beautiful Detour.
Amy Oestreicher was an Audie Award-nominated author, writer for The Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, health advocate, award-winning actress, mixed media artist, songwriter and playwright. As a survivor and “thriver” of multiple traumas, Amy eagerly shared the gifts of life’s “beautiful detours” and the tremendous gifts that can be reaped from adversity. She toured “Gutless & Grateful,” her original one-woman musical autobiography, since its NYC debut in 2012, to conferences, theatres, colleges, and organizations nationwide, winning seven national awards. Amy headlined international conferences on leadership, entrepreneurship, women’s rights, mental health, disability, creativity, and domestic violence prevention. She was a SheSource Expert, a “Top Mental Health” writer for Medium, and a regular lifestyle, wellness, and arts contributor for over 70 notable online and print publications, and and her story has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, CBS, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, MSNBC, among others.
Amy delivered three TEDx talks on transforming trauma to Creative Growth, As a playwright, her works include “More Than Ever Now,” inspired by oral histories transcribed from three generations of survivors, and the multimedia musical, “Passageways: Songs of Connection, Abnormal & Sublime.”
To celebrate her own “beautiful detour”, Amy created the #LoveMyDetour campaign, to help others cope in the face of unexpected events. Her passion for inclusion, equity and amplifying marginalized voices earned her various honors, including a scholarship from the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor Professionals, the first annual SHERocks HERstory National Performing Artist Honoree, a United Way Community Helper award, and a National Sexual Education Grant honor. To creatively engage student advocacy efforts, Amy developed a trauma-informed program combining mental health education, sexual assault prevention, and Broadway Theatre for college campuses, organizations and conferences. She designed a creative curriculum for “Detourist Resiliency,” an outreach program taken to schools, hospitals, and at-risk youth. As a PTSD Specialist and multidisciplinary teaching artist, Amy was committed to honoring the arts as an integral part of education, self-empowerment and community.
Rubylicious by Victoria Kann (Sept. 28)
Victoria Kann is the author-artist of the beloved Pinkalicious series, including NY Times bestseller, Peterrific, and four #1 New York Times bestselling books, Aqualicious, Emeraldalicious, Silverlicious, and Goldilicious. She is the artist and coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers Pinkalicious and Purplicious. In addition, Victoria cowrote Pinkalicious: The Musical which premiered in New York City to sold-out audiences and continues to be performed across the country. Victoria is the co-executive producer of Pinkalicious & Peterrific on PBS Kids. Her award-winning artwork has graced the covers and pages of many magazines, newspapers, and books. She lives with her husband and two daughters.
Victoria Kann, is back with Rubylicious, an all new-picture book about generosity and kindness, starring Pinkalicious and Peterrific.
Pinkalicious is searching for stones for her rock collection when suddenly—POOF!—out pops a surprise! Rocky is here to grant Pinkalicious and her brother Peter one wish, and one wish only, so they must choose wisely.
Should they wish for a pile of sweets? Or the ability to fly? Or maybe a castle with a fire-breathing dragon? But are any of those things good enough to be their very best, most special wish in the whole wide world? And what will happen to Rocky after they make their wish?
This gem of a book looks at how being selfless can be its own best reward. Rubylicious is a sparkling addition to the Pinkalicious library!
The King’s Anatomist by Ron Blumenfeld (Oct. 12)
A retired pediatrician and former columnist for a local newspaper, Ron Blumenfeld brings us his first work of historical fiction.
A revolutionary anatomist, a memory-laden journey, and a shocking discovery.
n 1565 Brussels, the reclusive mathematician Jan van den Bossche receives shattering news that his lifelong friend, the renowned and controversial anatomist Andreas Vesalius, has died on the Greek island of Zante returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Jan decides to journey to his friend’s grave to offer his last goodbye.
Jan’s sentimental and arduous journey to Greece with his assistant Marcus is marked by shared memories, recalled letters, and inner dialogues with Andreas, all devices to shed light on Andreas’ development as a scientist, physician, and anatomist. But the journey also gradually uncovers a dark side of Andreas even as Jan yearns for the widow of Vesalius, Anne.
When Jan and Marcus finally arrive on Zante, the story takes a major twist as a disturbing mystery unfolds. Jan and Marcus are forced to take a drastic and risky measure that leads to a shocking discovery. On his return home, Jan learns that Andreas was an unknowing pawn in a standoff between King Philip of Spain, his employer, and Venice. When he arrives home in Brussels, he must finally reckon with his feelings for Anne.
A debut novel by Ron Blumenfeld, The King’s Anatomist is a fascinating medical history blended eloquently with meaningful relationships and a riveting mystery. Set within a pivotal time in European history, the story carries readers through some of the most important medical discoveries while engaging them in a deeply personal story of growing older and confronting relationships. A fictional masterpiece with real and relevant historical sources, The King’s Anatomist is as enlightening as it is enjoyable.
I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 Graphic Novel (20th anniversary celebration adaptation) by Lauren Tarshis
Lauren Tarshis, editor of Storyworks, the Scholastic magazine and author of the I Survived series brings us a graphic novel based on the I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 in recognition of the 20th anniversary.
On the day that shocks the world, one boy just wants to find his family. A powerful addition to the gripping I Survived series.
The only thing Lucas loves more than football is his Uncle Benny, his dad’s best friend at the fire department where they both work. Benny taught Lucas everything about football. So when Lucas’s parents decide the sport is too dangerous and he needs to quit, Lucas has to talk to his biggest fan.So the next morning, Lucas takes the train to the city instead of the bus to school. It’s a bright, beautiful day in New York. But just as Lucas arrives at his uncle’s firehouse, everything changes — and nothing will ever be the same again.
Clean Sweep by E.B. Lee (July 20)
Former flower farmer, E.B. Lee brings us her debut novel, putting a spotlight on homelessness.
The gritty streets of New York City prove no match for love, compassion, and human connection in this heartfelt journey.
Carli Morris is looking forward to a quiet retirement. With more money than she can imagine earned from the sale of her Madison Avenue ad agency, she dreams of spending her golden years painting and giving back to society. But the heartbreaking discovery of a homeless woman dead in Carli’s neighborhood reopens the wounds of Carli’s own tragic loss and causes a change of plan.
Realizing her busy career sheltered her from the vulnerable, she throws herself on a mission to get the defenseless off the streets. But as she sacrifices her own needs to support others, her new colleague’s peculiar behavior collides with Carli’s own unresolved grief in a staggering sequence of events that will alter her life forever.
Can Carli dig deep and make a powerful, personal impact?
Clean Sweep is a dynamic literary novel. If you like moving revelations, gut-wrenching decisions, and life-affirming transformations, then you’ll love E. B. Lee’s enlightening tale.
From news anchors and doctors to best selling authors and entrepreneurs, local talent with a Fairfield County, CT connection are making a big splash with their books in 2021.
Not every Fairfield County suburban author has a book being released in 2021, yet there are talented writers with notoriety and popularity in my vicinity I want to recognize. For additional favorite local (to me) authors who are stars, check out:
If I missed a Fairfield County, CT author you think deserves a mention, please leave me a comment!
Tessa Wegert, Cristina Alger, and Wendy Walker come to mind. (Perhaps Juliet Grames and Heather Webb too?)
Thank you! I will have to do a Part 2!
This has always been a very special community in so many ways! Thank you for highlighting some of the authors and stories among us. I love your blog and appreciate your dedication to reading and readers!
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