Like books, the moms in our lives are dear to our hearts. This year we’re celebrating Mom with recommendations just for her! From white-knuckling thrillers to heart-wrenching memoirs, these books are perfect for sharing with our moms this Mother’s Day.
My mother and I are the kind of mother/daughter duo that shares shoes, gossips about the latest TV dramas, and stays up late talking about life. Since my mom isn’t as voracious a reader as I am, it’s always special to find books that we can truly enjoy together. Mary Alice Monroe’s BEACH HOUSE REUNION is one of those books. My mother and I find strength in and constantly build new bonds with each other just like the courageous women of the Rutledge family. This heartwarming novel about familial expectation with a splash of summer fun is truly a gift.
Return to the bestselling Beach House series with Mary Alice Monroe’s tale of the struggles and triumphs of the historic Rutledge family of South Carolina. “Authentic, generous, and heartfelt” (Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author), this is an illuminating story of new beginnings, resilience, and one family’s enduring love.
Cara Rutledge returns to her Southern home on the idyllic Isle of Palms. Comforting in its familiarity, it is still rife with painful memories. Only through reconnecting with family, friends, and the rhythms of the lowcountry can Cara release the hold of the past and open herself to the possibility of a new career and love.
Meanwhile, her niece Linnea, a recent college graduate with an uncertain future, leaves her historic home in Charleston, with all its entitlement and expectations, and heads to her aunt’s beach house. On the island, she is free to join the turtle team, learn to surf, and fall in love. Remembering the lessons of her beloved grandmother, Lovie, the original “turtle lady,” Linnea rediscovers a meaningful purpose to her life and finds the courage she needs to break from tradition.
In “this tender and openhearted novel of familial expectations, new boundaries, and the power of forgiveness” (Booklist), three generations of the Rutledge family gather together to find the strength, love, and commitment to break destructive family patterns and to forge new bonds that will endure long beyond one summer reunion.
There are few things my mom loves more than spunky, brave, and funny female characters — which makes Dear Mrs. Bird the perfect read for her. Emmy is a plucky and empathetic young woman who feels compelled to reply to women who send letters to her boss, advice columnist Henrietta Bird. This is just such a joyful book. I fell in love with the characters immediately, and if I did, my mom definitely will.
My grandmother has been collecting Mary Higgins Clark novels since before I was born, so when I started working at S&S I got her the newest one at the time, I’VE GOT MY EYES ON YOU. A great thriller that shows the depths of a sister’s love as she hunts for her teenage sister’s murderer, this novel was a hit with the both of us. The coolest part was being able to read a current MHC title with her instead of the backlist ones I borrowed from her growing up. To this day, I pretty much only read thrillers and it’s clear where I got it from.
The newest thriller and instant #1 New York Times bestseller from Queen of Suspense Mary Higgins Clark shows us just how far a family and a town will go to protect their own in the wake of tragedy.
After a party when her parents are away, eighteen-year-old Kerry Dowling is found fully dressed at the bottom of the family pool. The immediate suspect is her boyfriend, who had a bitter argument with her at the party. Then there is a twenty-year-old neighbor who was angry because she didn’t invite him to the party. Or is there another suspect who has not yet been seen on the radar?
Kerry’s older sister Aline, a twenty-eight-year-old guidance counselor, is determined to assist the prosecutor’s office in learning the truth. She does not realize that now she is putting her own life in danger…
From #1 New York Times bestselling author and the “Queen of Suspense” comes a thrilling investigation asking what we truly know about those we trust, and the secrets lying in even the most idyllic of neighborhoods.
My mother and I love a story of comfort, family, faith, and food! FROM SCRATCH is Tembi Locke's inspiring memoir of the summers she and her daughter spent at her mother-in-law's kitchen in Sicily where she discovered the healing powers of food in the wake of her husband's death. My mom and I draw strength daily from the resilient women in our family and those we read and hear about. We also can't resist a love story and have, on occasion, bonded over a good cry. I can't wait to share Tembi Locke's story with mom!
A poignant and transporting cross-cultural love story set against the lush backdrop of the Sicilian countryside, where one woman discovers the healing powers of food, family, and unexpected grace in her darkest hour.
It was love at first sight when Tembi met professional chef, Saro, on a street in Florence. There was just one problem: Saro’s traditional Sicilian family did not approve of him marrying a black American woman, an actress no less. However, the couple, heartbroken but undeterred, forges on. They build a happy life in Los Angeles, with fulfilling careers, deep friendships and the love of their lives: a baby girl they adopt at birth. Eventually, they reconcile with Saro’s family just as he faces a formidable cancer that will consume all their dreams.
From Scratch chronicles three summers Tembi spends in Sicily with her daughter, Zoela, as she begins to piece together a life without her husband in his tiny hometown hamlet of farmers. Where once Tembi was estranged from Saro’s family and his origins, now she finds solace and nourishment—literally and spiritually—at her mother in law’s table. In the Sicilian countryside, she discovers the healing gifts of simple fresh food, the embrace of a close knit community, and timeless traditions and wisdom that light a path forward. All along the way she reflects on her and Saro’s incredible romance—an indelible love story that leaps off the pages.
In Sicily, it is said that every story begins with a marriage or a death—in Tembi Locke’s case, it is both. Her story is about loss, but it’s really about love found. Her story is about travel, but it’s really about finding a home. It is about food, but it’s really about chasing flavor as an act of remembrance. From Scratch is for anyone who has dared to reach for big love, fought for what mattered most, and needed a powerful reminder that life is…delicious.
Kiese Laymon addresses this heart-wrenching memoir to his mother, beginning with the lines, “I did not want to write to you. I wanted to write a lie. . . . I wrote this to you instead.” The book unpacks their complicated relationship to each other and to their bodies, to education, and to the weight of being black in America. As the title suggests, Heavy is not light reading, but I would share it with my mother for just that reason—it is an invitation to discuss tough topics while, like Kiese and his mother, learning to communicate more honestly with the people we love about the things that matter.
*Named a Best Book of 2018 by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Broadly, Buzzfeed (Nonfiction), The Undefeated, Library Journal (Biography/Memoirs), The Washington Post (Nonfiction), Southern Living (Southern), Entertainment Weekly, and The New York Times Critics*
In this powerful, provocative, and universally lauded memoir—winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal and finalist for the Kirkus Prize—genre-bending essayist and novelist Kiese Laymon “provocatively meditates on his trauma growing up as a black man, and in turn crafts an essential polemic against American moral rot” (Entertainment Weekly).
In Heavy, Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to time in New York as a college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. Heavy is a “gorgeous, gutting…generous” (The New York Times) memoir that combines personal stories with piercing intellect to reflect both on the strife of American society and on Laymon’s experiences with abuse. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, he asks us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.
“A book for people who appreciated Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family through years of haunting implosions and long reverberations. “You won’t be able to put [this memoir] down…It is packed with reminders of how black dreams get skewed and deferred, yet are also pregnant with the possibility that a kind of redemption may lie in intimate grappling with black realities” (The Atlantic).
My mom and I both love fast-paced, twisty thrillers that keep you guessing. I got my hands on an early bound manuscript of IN A DARK, DARK WOOD and immediately thought of her, so once I’d read it, I passed it along. We both devoured this story about Leonora, a woman who gets invited to an estranged friend’s bachelorette party at a creepy glasshouse in the woods. It has everything: dark secrets, amnesia, hidden motives and pasts, and a whodunit after someone winds up dead.
During a weekend away with a friend in an eerie glass house, crime writer Leonora wakes up in a hospital bed injured wondering not “What happened?” but “What have I done?” This one is for fans of GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN.
My mother isn’t a fast reader. For years I’d see her carrying around the same battered copy of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, never getting past page fifty. To help her out of this rut, I gave her my just-finished copy of IN A DARK, DARK WOOD by Ruth Ware during one of our vacations. She immediately read it cover to cover in two days in a practically unheard-of feat. We talked about the ending, and I knew I had created a new Ruth Ware fan, which is why this year I’m giving her another suspenseful thriller she’s sure to enjoy: THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY.
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood, The Woman in Cabin 10, and The Lying Game comes Ruth Ware’s fourth novel, “her best yet” (Library Journal, starred review).
On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.
Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.
Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.
I have never read any memoir more relatable, and more laugh-out-loud funny as I MISS YOU WHEN I BLINK. My mother and I are both Type A personalities who need to constantly be doing — and Mary Laura Philpott, as a Type A personality who checked of her life to-dos early, and was left feeling a bit lost, takes the common thoughts and struggles of someone experiencing the same and makes them absolutely hilarious and touching. I wanted to hug this book when I was done, and I’m sending to my mom to read ASAP.
My mom is a huge fan of Sally Field’s, and she was waiting to read IN PIECES for months. I am not as familiar with her work, but I read the first thirty pages of the book and they were stunning. This is a gorgeous memoir, and I’m so happy that I got to learn about one of my mom’s role models.
Maybe not the most traditional choice of a Mother’s Day gift, but I’m giving my mother THE TRIAL OF LIZZIE BORDEN. When she first heard about this book, I found her reciting the nursery rhyme, which had me a little uneasy. My mom knows the general overview of the case, but I think she’d love to read this because it’s greatly informative and really digs up all the facts on Lizzie Borden’s trial. If I know my mother well enough, she’s like her son, a big true-crime buff!
The remarkable new account of an essential piece of American mythology—the trial of Lizzie Borden—based on twenty years of research and recently unearthed evidence.
The Trial of Lizzie Borden tells the true story of one of the most sensational murder trials in American history. When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 1892, the arrest of the couple’s younger daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone—rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople—had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence. Was she a cold-blooded murderess or an unjustly persecuted lady? Did she or didn’t she?
The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central enigmatic character has endured for more than one hundred years. Immortalized in rhyme, told and retold in every conceivable genre, the murders have secured a place in the American pantheon of mythic horror, but one typically wrenched from its historical moment. In contrast, Cara Robertson explores the stories Lizzie Borden’s culture wanted and expected to hear and how those stories influenced the debate inside and outside of the courtroom. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper accounts, unpublished local accounts, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden offers a window onto America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties.