A book that takes place in the South of France AND about wine? Yes, please! This is the perfect novel to take on vacation - you won't be able to put it down. The story is captivating, alternating between the present day when Kate returns to the family vineyard to prepare for the Master of Wine exam, and World War II, when the family was either part of the Resistance or collaborators.
The Lost Family is a saga you won't be able to put down. It begins in WWII where Peter Rashkin experiences a devastating loss, and follows him through his emigrating to New York City and becoming a chef and owner of Masha’s in 1965. The characters are so completely drawn, flawed and real, you feel that you know them. It's the story of a marriage from beginning, with a husband who can't recover from the scars of loss, and a beautiful wife who is trying to find her way. It's both funny and sad at times, and it will stay in your thoughts long after you read the last page.
This was such a clever, enjoyable mystery! Putting himself in the novel, yet keeping his personal life personal, was brilliantly done. I also loved all the references to an author's life, from writing for movies, to the relationship with agents and editors. Super fun read - I couldn't put it down, then laughed out loud at the ending!!!
This was such a sweet and wonderful novel, and the perfect book to share with everyone.
The Escape Artist is the best new thriller I've read in a long time! I'm so glad to know it's going to be a series. The two main characters, mortician Zig, and soldier Nola Brown are so richly developed, with flashbacks to the events that shaped them seamlessly woven with the current action. They are both flawed, yet believable and utterly complex. I can't wait to see what comes next!
The Woman in the Window is a twisty, Hitchcockian, thrilling mystery, and is 100% unputdownable! Anna Fox’s solitary existence in her New York brownstone is filled with watching black & white mystery movies, drinking wine, and keeping tabs on her neighbors through her windows. She’s suffering from PTSD caused by an unknown trauma, and is separated from her family for unknown reasons. She is fascinated by the new, seemingly picture perfect, family who moves in next door, and she compulsively spies on them. Then she sees a horrific event, and must figure out how to deal with trying to figure out what’s real, and what’s part of her paranoid agoraphobia. The way A.J. Flynn crafts this brilliant novel is perfection itself, both an homage to Hitchcock and fabulously original.
This is a touching novel about mothers, daughters, and the secrets we keep from each other. Clara never returned to her hometown in the Adirondacks after she went to college. Now her mother, Tamar, is ill and Clara finally returns home. Her questions build as her mother's memory fades. This is a perfect choice for book groups!
This is the most riveting and utterly gripping entry in the Inspector Gamache series, and that really says a lot! A figure in black appears in the town square, silent and unmoving. The entire town is on edge until it disappears, and a body is found. The story builds stealthily through the trial, and the parallel challenge facing Gamache at the Surete. This is the best one yet!
All parents have had those moments when something happens and you think, "This is it. The moment my life changes." This is the story of two families who face the unimaginable: they lose their children in a foreign country. The story alternates between characters, with each fully realized and fully drawn. Maile Meloy explores what happens to each marriage, the relationship between the wives, who are cousins and close since childhood, and between the siblings who are missing. The writing is incredible, and the story is such that you can't put it down until you find out what happens. It's such a satisfying read, making you really think, wondering how you would react in the same situation.
The Girls is narrated by 14-year-old Evie, an average teenager living with her recently-divorced mother in Northern California during the 60s. She is enthralled by a group of girls she sees walking through the park who catch her eye with their careless abandon. Evie ends up befriending the girls and following them to the "Ranch", which is run by a Manson-esque leader. Evie is a heartbreaking character, so desperate to be accepted, you want to grab her and shake her - or give her a huge hug. Emma Cline perfectly captures the pain of being a teenage girl who will do anything to be part of a group.
When she was eleven years old, Rose fell into a hole while walking in the woods. What she learned later was that she fell into a giant metal hand. Seventeen years later, she is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. Told in transcripts of interviews with an unknown questioner, this novel is an unbelievable story that is thought-provoking and thrilling!
You won't want to start this one unless you have a whole day to spend reading; it will hook you right from the start. Nora is invited to a weekend "hen party" for a childhood friend whom she hasn't seen in 10 years. They stay in an eerie glass house in the middle of the woods. Two days after arriving, she wakes up in the hospital with no idea of what has happened. You will be riveted by how the story unravels with unexpected twists. This is one of the best mysteries I've read in a long time!
Joshilyn Jackson has a way of creating characters you would swear she must have met in real life. I have read her novels since her brilliant gods of Alabama, and The Opposite of Everyone is her best yet. Joshilyn’s truest gift is her language, the way she tells her story, and how she brings you on an emotional journey right along with the characters, making you laugh out loud along the way. Paula Vauss is a no nonsense attorney in Atlanta with a sort-of boyfriend and a mother she sends checks to each month. One month the check is returned with a message that drags her back into her childhood, to trace her mother’s journey, trying to find her before it’s too late. It’s a story about family, how we choose to present ourselves when we are adults, and how the person we are as children never really goes away. It’s also about forgiveness and second chances, and it’s one of those you wish were just a little bit longer.
Jean Taylor is reeling after the sudden loss of her husband in a freak traffic accident. Now that her husband is gone, everyone wants to know what she has to say about the crimes of which her husband had been accused. Will she keep the secrets she kept close in her marriage? Jean has never opened up to the police. She stood by her man, withstanding all the gossip and speculation. Will she tell the truth? Will she keep quiet? Told in alternating voices, this thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train.
Fates and Furies is the story of a (perfect?) marriage, told first from the perspective of the husband, Lotto, then in the second half from the perspective of Mathilde, the wife. Lauren Groff writes like she is on fire - her language is beautiful and the story is thoroughly engaging. I love this book and didn't want it to end.
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy is every bit as endearing as it's predecessor, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. In this story, we see things from the viewpoint of Queenie as she waits in hospice for Harold to get there. Between postcards, Queenie reminisces about her days working with Harold, filling in many of the questions about their friendship. If you loved Harold, you will quickly fall in love with Queenie as well.
This captivating historical novel by the author of The Paris Wife tells the story of the early life of Beryl Markham in 1920s Kenya. Abandoned by her mother, she grew up on her father's horse farm training racehorses; lessons weren't learned in school, but came from the native Kipsigis tribe who shared the estate. It is a fascinating story that makes me want to read her autobiography, West With the Night.
The story begins with Linz, a talented neurogeneticist researching memory and and decoding genes that help the brain make memories. She has been plagued by a vivid nightmare from her childhood, and is confronted by a perfect rendition of her dream in a painting in an artist's show. From this intriguing introduction, the story quickly gains momentum and doesn't quit. What if there was a drug that helped Alzheimer's patients regain their memory? What would happen if a healthy person took that drug? What if we could remember our previous lives and those we lived them with? What if those connections followed us throughout many incarnations? I highly recommend this smart thriller! You won't be able to put it down.
This is my favorite kind of book - well-drawn characters, a good mystery that will keep you guessing, and incredible historical details. I was not surprised to hear how long it took Ian Caldwell to write this book. Most of the story takes place in Vatican City, an unusual location that was so interesting to learn about. The main character is a Greek Catholic priest with a brother also in the priesthood, but the more traditional Roman Catholic branch. A murder, the Shroud of Turin and even the Pope play significant roles in this fabulous novel. This is one read you won't soon forget.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell is so amazing that I couldn't wait to get home at the end of the day and start reading. Mitchell's characters are vividly detailed, crazily diverse yet so real it feels like he is channeling them. Holly, for instance is a 15 years old sensitive teenager who is contacted by voices she calls the "radio people" and she is a magnet for psychic phenomena. When you meet up with her in later chapters, it's like meeting an old friend. Once again Mitchell deftly knocks our socks or to quote Joe Hill, "The levels of awesome in this book are off the charts." It couldn't be better put.
Sophie Hannah has captured the personality of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot so perfectly in The Monogram Murders, it's eerie. Hannah's Poirot is taking a vacation, resting the little gray cells, by staying in a lodging house in view of his home. (For Poirot travel is stimulating, but not restful). Poirot quickly takes Edward Catchpool, a fellow lodger and detective at Scotland Yard, under his wing. One evening, Catchpool comes in distressed by three murders committed in three separate rooms in a London hotel, and the partnership between the experienced, world-famous detective and his protégé takes off. The staff at the hotel, especially the general manager, Luca Lazzari, are brilliantly described. Fans of Agatha Christie will not be disappointed with this faithful yet fresh mystery starring the ever so efficient Belgian, Hercule Poirot.
Nella Oortman is a young bride, recently married to a wealthy merchant, Johannes, living in Amsterdam. Leaving her farm in the country, Nella feels uncertain with her role as wife, sharing the house with her sister-in-law, who does not welcome her warmly. Her husband is frequently away and she finds herself at a loss. Then Johannes brings home an extraordinary wedding gift - a cabinet sized exact replica of their home. Nella seeks out an enigmatic and elusive artist who creates tiny miniatures to order. As she begins to furnish the replica of their home, she also begins to understand the complexities of her situation and those in her new family, through the symbolism of the miniatures. Beautifully written, this novel will capture your imagination.
The Lobster Kings is a powerful, heartfelt family saga featuring the Kings family -- lobstermen (and women) on Loosewood Island for over three hundred years. Inspired by King Lear, The Lobster Kings is the story of Cordelia Kings' struggle to maintain her island's way of life in the face of danger from offshore, drug dealers on the island and the rich, looming, mythical legacy of her family's namesake.
Don't be daunted by the size of Natchez Burning - Greg Iles is a master storyteller and you will be eagerly awaiting the rest of the trilogy. Penn Cage is mayor of Natchez, Mississippi, and has to use all of his considerable resources to help his father, who has been accused of murder. Penn's investigating leads to racial murders in the 60s, a group that is an evil offshoot of the KKK, and the possibility that his father is not the perfect hero as he -- and everyone else in town -- believes him to be.
I read Maisie Dobbs in one sitting and I remember being so moved by it. It has a little bit of something for everyone. It's part detective novel, part historical drama with a little romance and feminist coming of age thrown in for good measure. I loved the setting, London between the wars, the author Jacqueline Winspear really gets the feeling and the tone of the time. What more can I say - the characters are wonderful, it's an easy read, and best of all it's the first book in a series (each one is better than the one before).
In The Golem and the Jinni, Helene Wecker has created an enchanting fairy tale of a novel grounded in turn-of-the-century Manhattan. Chava is a golem -- a woman made of clay -- brought to life in Poland. Ahmad is a jinni, imprisoned in his copper flask in the Syrian desert, and released in New York, yet still not entirely free. Part historical fiction, part fantastic tale, you will get lost in this delightful debut.
This book is crazy good! A mythic quest with a 15 year-old girl and her uncle, inspired by The Odyssey with plenty of whaling mythology and adventure. An epic novel that will keep you entranced.
From the author of Bel Canto, the emotionally precise story of a fateful night and day that will change everything for one Boston family. Set over a period of twenty-four hours beginning with an argument on a snowy night, Ann Patchett weaves the stories of her unforgettable characters together with a stunning ending.