Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly is the story of three very different women whose lives were forever changed by World War II. Based on the true story of Caroline Ferraday, Herta Oberheuser and the Polish prisoners of the Ravensbrück concentration camp, this novel is a moving look at one of the ugly atrocities that took place during the war. Kasia is a Polish teenager whose efforts for the resistance result in her internment at Ravensbrück. Herta takes a position as a doctor at Ravensbrück. And Caroline is a New York socialite whose postwar life is given new purpose when she hears of the plight of the prisoners of Ravensbrück. Kelly weaves together these stories in heartbreaking and unforgettable ways. Find it at Excelsior Bay Books.
— Raela Schoenherr is an editor at a Minnesota publishing company. She loves to talk books and writing on Twitter.
Les Tourelles de la Crée
Les Tourelles de la Crée comes from Chateau de la Crée of Burgundy, France, with production dating back to the 15th century. This estate has a reputation for great red and white wines, many at the prestigious Premier Cru status. This wine comes from the Montagny region, known especially for its world-class chardonnay. It’s crisp and dry, and the minerality and neutral oak flavors make it lively and smooth, with more nuance than its buttery California counterparts. Domaine Serene winery of Willamette Valley, Oregon, recently purchased this estate and is keeping the focus on high-quality wines from de la Crée, so be on the lookout for more wines from this estate. At $32.99, it’s a great introduction to terrific Burgundy wine. Find it at Wayzata Wine & Spirits.
— Kevin Castellano is the general manager of Wayzata Wine and Spirits and a lake-area wine and liquor expert.
You Want It Darker
Sadly, the legendary musician Leonard Cohen passed away less than three weeks after the release of this record. You Want It Darker is introspective, like a man remembering his life in the rearview mirror. He sings specifically that he is “leaving the table… out of the game,” which makes me wonder if he knew his time was coming to an end. The album is also a back-and-forth between darkness and light, as Cohen shares life lessons like a preacher, backed by his choir and Hammond organ. Each song is beautifully orchestrated, especially the string quartet on the final track, “String Reprise/Treaty.” We think Cohen might be one of the most under-celebrated songwriters of his time. Luckily, he left us one last gift to remember him by. The album is available online and at local book and music stores.
— Sean Schultz is a lifelong musician who enjoys consuming popular culture. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two dogs.