Happy Leap Year! What better way to spend an extra day of the year than to read? If you’re looking for recommendations on what to hunker down with during these extra 24 hours, here are the books that were most popular on our site this month.
Rosemary Peterson’s calm, routine lifestyle is upended when the lido—an outdoor pool where she's swum daily since its opening and where she escaped the devastation of WWII and fell in love with her husband—is threatened with closure by a local housing developer. Thankfully a reporter takes interest in the story and teams up with Rosemary to save the neighborhood institution. THE LIDO is a charming feel-good novel that captures the heart and spirit of a community across generations—an irresistible tale of love, loss, aging, and friendship.
THE STATIONERY SHOP was our Book Club Favorites February selection, and for a good reason! Author Marjan Kamali effortlessly immerses readers in the blossoming love of teenagers amidst the sights, sounds, and culture of 1950s Iran. Two young people, Roya and Bahman, are to be married, but their world is forever changed by the onset of violent unrest in 1953 Tehran. Separated for more than sixty years, Roya, now married to someone else, finds Bahman in a nursing home and is finally able to ask him the questions that have haunted her for decades. Read our full review here.
A poignant, heartfelt new novel by the award-nominated author of Together Tea—extolled by the Wall Street Journal as a “moving tale of lost love” and by Shelf Awareness as “a powerful, heartbreaking story”—explores loss, reconciliation, and the quirks of fate.
Roya, a dreamy, idealistic teenager living amid the political upheaval of 1953 Tehran, finds a literary oasis in kindly Mr. Fakhri’s neighborhood stationery shop, stocked with books and pens and bottles of jewel-colored ink.
Then Mr. Fakhri, with a keen instinct for a budding romance, introduces Roya to his other favorite customer—handsome Bahman, who has a burning passion for justice and a love for Rumi’s poetry—and she loses her heart at once. Their romance blossoms, and the little stationery shop remains their favorite place in all of Tehran.
A few short months later, on the eve of their marriage, Roya agrees to meet Bahman at the town square when violence erupts—a result of the coup d’etat that forever changes their country’s future. In the chaos, Bahman never shows. For weeks, Roya tries desperately to contact him, but her efforts are fruitless. With a sorrowful heart, she moves on—to college in California, to another man, to a life in New England—until, more than sixty years later, an accident of fate leads her back to Bahman and offers her a chance to ask him the questions that have haunted her for more than half a century: Why did you leave? Where did you go? How is it that you were able to forget me?
Rachel Flood is a chaos agent returning home after nine years to try and make amends with those she wronged. With the help of a local outcast named Jake, Rachel might just be on the road to redemption. THE FLOOD GIRLS is a thought-provoking novel about small-town life and the act of forgiveness. You will find yourself falling in love with Jake and rooting for Rachel to remain true to herself.
When recovering alcoholic Rachel Flood comes back to her small Montana hometown, it isn’t a grand reception. This sassy novel will have you laughing through tears.
Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she thinks about her lifelong friend Elsie and wonders if a terrible secret from their past is about to come to light. Is the charming new resident who suddenly appeared who he claims to be? Why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago? And why will no one listen to her concerns? Read our full review here!
The New York Times bestselling author of THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS weaves another moving and timeless tale of love and human connection. Three lives intertwine during an overwhelming snowstorm in New York City and discover remarkable truths about what it means to be resilient and openhearted in today’s complex world.
Before THINGS IN JARS, Jess Kidd wrote two other novels, and HIMSELF is one of them. This magical debut is about a young man’s search for answers surrounding the mysterious death of his mother twenty-six years ago. Set against the mystical and rich folklore of Ireland, this darkly comedic tale of buried secrets and clever plot twists is a page-turner right up to the satisfying conclusion.
The first in Philippa Gregory’s new Fairmile series, TIDELANDS looks at the life of a woman in 1600s England who isn’t in power. While Alinor waits in a graveyard during the Midsummer’s Eve of 1648 for a ghost to free her from an abusive husband, she instead meets James, a young man on the run who will dramatically change the course of their lives for many years to come. So begins the compelling multigenerational saga set against the backdrop of the English Civil War from one of today’s literary masters. Gregory’s usual meticulous attention to detail will have readers eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.
This New York Times bestseller from “one of the great storytellers of our time” (San Francisco Book Review) turns from the glamour of the royal courts to tell the story of an ordinary woman, Alinor, living in a dangerous time for a woman to be different.
On Midsummer’s Eve, Alinor waits in the church graveyard, hoping to encounter the ghost of her missing husband and thus confirm his death. Until she can, she is neither maiden nor wife nor widow, living in a perilous limbo. Instead she meets James, a young man on the run. She shows him the secret ways across the treacherous marshy landscape of the Tidelands, not knowing she is leading a spy and an enemy into her life.
England is in the grip of a bloody civil war that reaches into the most remote parts of the kingdom. Alinor’s suspicious neighbors are watching each other for any sign that someone might be disloyal to the new parliament, and Alinor’s ambition and determination mark her as a woman who doesn’t follow the rules. They have always whispered about the sinister power of Alinor’s beauty, but the secrets they don’t know about her and James are far more damning. This is the time of witch-mania, and if the villagers discover the truth, they could take matters into their own hands.
“This is Gregory par excellence” (Kirkus Reviews). “Fans of Gregory’s works and of historicals in general will delight in this page-turning tale” (Library Journal, starred review) that is “superb… A searing portrait of a woman that resonates across the ages” (People).
Who doesn’t love a ghost story? But what happens when a ghost story has some basis in historical fact? In this haunting novel, discover the truth behind the senseless murder of a young woman in nineteenth-century Appalachia and how her ghost allegedly helped bring her murderer to justice. A mesmerizing tale of law, race, and spirituality, THE UNQUIET GRAVE is an unforgettable true story.
In his second historical fiction about World War II, Armando Lucas Correa once again expertly weaves together the past and present and invites us to read about the tragedies of the war, particularly those faced by children, in this intimate, heartbreaking novel. THE DAUGHTER’S TALE tells the story of just one of the many displaced children. A mother bravely sends away her older daughter and saves the younger one from a death camp. We follow the younger daughter, Lina, as she moves throughout Europe and later the world, desperately trying to find safety and family. Read our full review of The Daughter’s Tale!
From the internationally bestselling author of The German Girl, an unforgettable, “searing” (People) saga exploring a hidden piece of World War II history and the lengths a mother will go to protect her children—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls, We Were the Lucky Ones, and The Alice Network.
Seven decades of secrets unravel with the arrival of a box of letters from the distant past, taking readers on a harrowing journey from Nazi-occupied Berlin, to the South of France, to modern-day New York City.
Berlin, 1939. The dreams that Amanda Sternberg and her husband, Julius, had for their daughters are shattered when the Nazis descend on Berlin, burning down their beloved family bookshop and sending Julius to a concentration camp. Desperate to save her children, Amanda flees toward the South of France. Along the way, a refugee ship headed for Cuba offers another chance at escape and there, at the dock, Amanda is forced to make an impossible choice that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Once in Haute-Vienne, her brief respite is interrupted by the arrival of Nazi forces, and Amanda finds herself in a labor camp where she must once again make a heroic sacrifice.
New York, 2015. Eighty-year-old Elise Duval receives a call from a woman bearing messages from a time and country that she forced herself to forget. A French Catholic who arrived in New York after World War II, Elise is shocked to discover that the letters were from her mother, written in German during the war. Her mother’s words unlock a floodgate of memories, a lifetime of loss un-grieved, and a chance—at last—for closure.
Based on true events and “breathtakingly threaded together from start to finish with the sound of a beating heart” (The New York Times Book Review), The Daughter’s Tale is an unforgettable family saga of love, survival, and redemption.
Megan Miranda can write a plot twist, and in THE LAST HOUSE GUEST, she kept us guessing all the way to the extremely satisfying end. Set in a small beachfront town in Maine, two girls become unlikely friends, and are inseparable every summer for years. But when one of them turns up dead, the other becomes a suspect, and has to find out what happened before the whole town turns against her.
**A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick and New York Times bestseller**
“Once again, Megan Miranda has crafted the perfect summer thriller.” —Riley Sager, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Time I Lied
The summer after a wealthy young summer guest dies under suspicious circumstances, her best friend lives under a cloud of grief and suspicion in this “clever, stylish mystery that will seize readers like a riptide” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) featuring “dizzying plot twists and multiple surprise endings” (The New York Times Book Review).
Littleport, Maine, has always felt like two separate towns: an ideal vacation enclave for the wealthy, whose summer homes line the coastline; and a simple harbor community for the year-round residents whose livelihoods rely on service to the visitors.
Typically, fierce friendships never develop between a local and a summer girl—but that’s just what happens with visitor Sadie Loman and Littleport resident Avery Greer. Each summer for almost a decade, the girls are inseparable—until Sadie is found dead. While the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother, Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name, before the facts get twisted against her.
Another thrilling novel from the bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger, Megan Miranda’s The Last House Guest is a smart, twisty read with a strong female protagonist determined to make her own way in the world.
“A riveting read…from master of suspense, Megan Miranda,” (Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl) The Last House Guest is a smart, twisty read that brilliantly explores the elusive nature of memory and the complexities of female friendships.