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Shelf Renewal

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Nobody puts backlist in a corner—readers'-advisory experts Karen Kleckner Keefe and Rebecca Vnuk bring attention to older titles by featuring "dusty books" and offering read-alikes for what’s hot on the holds list.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013 7:00 am
Dusty Book: The Naked Heart by Jacqueline Briskin
Posted by: Rebecca Vnuk

One of the things I enjoy about historical women’s fiction is that it tends to age well, and The Naked Heart by Jacqueline Briskin is no exception. Contemporary fiction loses something over time, soon reeking of trends and fashion, but a book set in another era gets to stay firmly in the past. In The Naked Heart, bestselling author Briskin crafts a story of war, revenge, friendship, and love. Gilberte and Anne are best friends torn apart by the Nazis in World War I. Aristocratic Gilberte is uncovered as a collaborator while Anne gets to run off into the sunset with Gilberte’s cousin. Years later they meet again, and Gilberte is hell-bent on revenge.  Secrets from the past will get you every time…

140This is an excellent soap-opera saga, told in a breathtaking storytelling style, and anyone looking for classic dramatic women’s fiction will have plenty to sink their teeth into—while getting a history lesson at the same time.

I may be reaching pretty far back with this one (written 20 years ago, author no longer writing), but a quick WorldCat scan shows there are almost 1300 copies floating around in libraries out there, so pull it off the shelf and give it a whirl on your endcap if you can. (Plus, it’s a lurid hot pink, which is sure to catch the eye.)


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