Barrett Bookstore to host authors Haley Tanner, Ruta Sepetys

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Barrett Bookstore in Darien is hosting a pair of best-selling authors who appeal to adults and teens alike.

Haley Tanner (above, left), author of the whimsical love story “Vaclav & Lena”; and Ruta Sepetys (above, right), author of the harrowing historical novel “Between Shades of Gray,” will discuss their books on Thursday, March 1 and Wednesday, April 4, respectively. Both events start at 7 p.m.

“What a great opportunity to connect with your teenager over two thought provoking books,” Libby Stowell, of Barrett Bookstore, said.

For information on “Vaclav & Lena” and “Between Shades of Gray” from Barrett Bookstore, read below:

“Vaclav & Lena” centers on the title characters — Russian immigrants who meet at age six in the English as a second language class at their Brooklyn, N.Y. school.

Vaclav’s passion is magic and his dream of becoming “Vaclav the Magificant” is intrinsically tied to Lena’s role as his Lovely Assistant. The two become soul-mates, aligned in their struggle to assimilate into American culture.

What begins as a light-hearted tale moves into deeper waters, but through all the twists and turns, the most enduring theme of the novel is the power of love, according to the bookstore

“This was a staff favorite when it first came out, and we think it will reach the audience it deserves when the paper edition arrives on February 7th,” Sheila Daley, owner of Barrett Bookstore, said.

“Between Shades of Gray” yells of the atrocities that take place in war-torn Lithuania through the eyes of a 15-year-old girl.

In 1941, Lina’s school-girl life is suddenly upended when she, her mother and her younger brother are taken from their home, shoved into a cattle car and sent on a journey though the Russian wilderness ending in a labor camp north of the Arctic Circle.

As Lina struggles to survive amid horrific living conditions, she finds solace in her art, meticulously and at great risk documenting events hoping that somehow the messages will reach her father to let him know they are alive.

The book is partly based on the experiences of the author’s grandfather, a Lithuanian immigrant.

Scott Gargan

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