Take a deep breath in. Can you smell that? It smells like spring…and new, invigorating paperbacks! We’re so ready for winter to come to a close, but in the meantime, a few fresh books will keep us happy. From thrillers and fantasy to historical fiction and memoir, here are the can’t-miss books new in paperback that we’ll be poring over this March.
The latest from bestselling author Lisa See is a mesmerizing historical fiction novel about two young girls living on a small Korean Island. Despite their different backgrounds, they become best friends and embark on an exciting life together when they begin working with their village’s all-female diving team. Spanning the course of many decades, the story follows the two girls as they grow into women who soon cannot ignore their differences, and it pushes their friendship to the limit. It’s a truly masterful tale you won’t be able to put down!
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
“A mesmerizing new historical novel” (O, The Oprah Magazine) from Lisa See, the bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and devastating family secrets on a small Korean island.
Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility—but also danger.
Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook find it impossible to ignore their differences. The Island of Sea Women takes place over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.
“This vivid…thoughtful and empathetic” novel (The New York Times Book Review) illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge and the men take care of the children. “A wonderful ode to a truly singular group of women” (Publishers Weekly), The Island of Sea Women is a “beautiful story…about the endurance of friendship when it’s pushed to its limits, and you…will love it” (Cosmopolitan).
This incredibly atmospheric novel by Kristin Harmel is a moving story set amid the champagne vineyards of France during the darkest days of World War II. In New York, 2019, Liv Kent’s eccentric French grandmother insists on taking a trip to France. Unbeknownst to Liv, her grandmother has a family secret she feels she needs to unload. In Champagne, 1940, the owner of a champagne vineyard joins the French resistance after the Germans invade. This decision leaves his new wife fearful that they’ll be exposed, and she takes a risk that could jeopardize the vineyard—and the lives of loved ones. (This is also the Book Club Favorites March selection!)
The author of the “engrossing” (People) international bestseller The Room on Rue Amélie returns with a moving story set amid the champagne vineyards of France during the darkest days of World War II, perfect for fans of Heather Morris’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
Champagne, 1940: Inès has just married Michel, the owner of storied champagne house Maison Chauveau, when the Germans invade. As the danger mounts, Michel turns his back on his marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Résistance. Inès fears they’ll be exposed, but for Céline, the French-Jewish wife of Chauveau’s chef de cave, the risk is even greater—rumors abound of Jews being shipped east to an unspeakable fate.
When Céline recklessly follows her heart in one desperate bid for happiness, and Inès makes a dangerous mistake with a Nazi collaborator, they risk the lives of those they love—and the vineyard that ties them together.
New York, 2019: Recently divorced, Liv Kent is at rock bottom when her feisty, eccentric French grandmother shows up unannounced, insisting on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and a tragic, decades-old story to share. When past and present finally collide, Liv finds herself on a road to salvation that leads right to the caves of the Maison Chauveau.
INTO THE JUNGLE is a twisted, engrossing thriller that left us gaping at the page and thinking we’d never go into a forest again. Main character Lily hops on a plane to Bolivia for a teaching job as soon as she gets the chance. The gig falls through, but she strikes up an intensely passionate affair with Omar, a handsome man who moved to the city after abandoning life in a remote jungle village. But when Omar’s nephew is killed, Lily goes back with him to the village. She is oblivious to the dangers: thirty-foot anacondas, puppy-size spiders, vengeful shamans with unspeakable powers. To survive, Lily must navigate the jungle—its wonders as well as its terrors—using only her wits and resilience. Get ready for a truly wild ride!
In this “hypnotic, violent, unsparing” (A.J. Banner, USA TODAY bestselling author) thriller from the author of the “haunting, twisting thrill ride” (Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author) The River at Night, a young woman leaves behind everything she knows to take on the Bolivian jungle, but her excursion abroad quickly turns into a fight for her life.
Lily Bushwold thought she’d found the antidote to endless foster care and group homes: a teaching job in Bolivia. As soon as she could steal enough cash for the plane, she was on it.
When the gig falls through, world-weary Lily decides to stay in Bolivia when an intense passion finds her in the form she least expected: Omar, a savvy, handsome local man who’d abandoned his life as a hunter in Ayachero—a remote jungle village—to try his hand at city life.
When Omar learns that a jaguar has killed his four-year-old nephew in Ayachero, he gives Lily a choice: Stay alone in the unforgiving city, or travel to the last in a string of ever-more-isolated river towns in the jungles of Bolivia. Thirty-foot anaconda? Puppy-sized spiders? Vengeful shamans with unspeakable powers? Lovestruck Lily is oblivious. She follows Omar to this ruthless new world of lawless poachers, bullheaded missionaries, and desperate indigenous tribes driven to the brink of extinction. To survive, Lily must navigate the jungle—its wonders as well as its terrors—using only her wits and resilience.
“Gripping, breathtaking, and exquisitely told—Into the Jungle pulls you into another world, returning you forever transformed” (Wendy Walker, USA TODAY bestselling author).
In WE WERE RICH AND WE DIDN’T KNOW IT, Tom Phelan recounts his upbringing in rural 1940s Ireland. He grew up without rural electrification, a telephone, or indoor plumbing. Through laughter and tears, he masterfully weaves a heartfelt memoir about a time when small farmers struggled to survive and turkey eggs were hatched in the kitchen cupboard, a time when the Church exerted enormous control over Ireland. It’s a beautiful tale of the strength of the human spirit in the face of life’s adversities.
“You don’t have to be Irish to cherish this literary gift—just being human and curious and from a family will suffice.” —Malachy McCourt, New York Times bestselling author of A Monk Swimming
In the tradition of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and Alice Taylor’s To School Through the Fields, Tom Phelan’s We Were Rich and We Didn’t Know It is a heartfelt and masterfully written memoir of growing up in Ireland in the 1940s.
Tom Phelan, who was born and raised in County Laois in the Irish midlands, spent his formative years working with his wise and demanding father as he sought to wrest a livelihood from a farm that was often wet, muddy, and back-breaking.
It was a time before rural electrification, the telephone, and indoor plumbing; a time when the main modes of travel were bicycle and animal cart; a time when small farmers struggled to survive and turkey eggs were hatched in the kitchen cupboard; a time when the Church exerted enormous control over Ireland.
We Were Rich and We Didn’t Know It recounts Tom’s upbringing in an isolated, rural community from the day he was delivered by the local midwife. With tears and laughter, it speaks to the strength of the human spirit in the face of life’s adversities.
WE ARE ALL GOOD PEOPLE HERE is a beautiful multigenerational novel that explores the complex relationship between two very different women and the secrets they bequeath to their daughters. Eve and Daniella meet in college in the 1960s and quickly become friends. But the expanding awareness of the South’s systematic injustice forces them to question everything they thought they knew. After a tragedy, Eve returns to Daniella for help. But the past isn’t easily buried, and soon it affects the lives of their daughters.
From the author of A Place at the Table and A Soft Place to Land, an “intense, complex, and wholly immersive” (Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author) multigenerational novel that explores the complex relationship between two very different women and the secrets they bequeath to their daughters.
Eve Whalen, privileged child of an old-money Atlanta family, meets Daniella Gold in the fall of 1962, on their first day at Belmont College. Paired as roommates, the two become fast friends. Daniella, raised in Georgetown by a Jewish father and a Methodist mother, has always felt caught between two worlds. But at Belmont, her bond with Eve allows her to finally experience a sense of belonging. That is, until the girls’ expanding awareness of the South’s systematic injustice forces them to question everything they thought they knew about the world and their places in it.
Eve veers toward radicalism—a choice pragmatic Daniella cannot fathom. After a tragedy, Eve returns to Daniella for help in beginning anew, hoping to shed her past. But the past isn’t so easily buried, as Daniella and Eve discover when their daughters are endangered by secrets meant to stay hidden.
Spanning more than thirty years of American history, from the twilight of Kennedy’s Camelot to the beginning of Bill Clinton’s presidency, We Are All Good People Here is “a captivating…meaningful, resonant story” (Emily Giffin, author of All We Ever Wanted) about two flawed but well-meaning women clinging to a lifelong friendship that is tested by the rushing waters of history and their own good intentions.
NPR named this love story, set in a world with time travel and a time war, one of the best books of 2019—and for a good reason. It follows two time-traveling rivals who fall in love and must change the past to ensure their future. What begins as a correspondence between two agents in warring factions, meant to be a battlefield boast, becomes something significantly more. But if their bond is discovered, it would mean both their deaths.
“[An] exquisitely crafted tale...Part epistolary romance, part mind-blowing science fiction adventure, this dazzling story unfolds bit by bit, revealing layers of meaning as it plays with cause and effect, wildly imaginative technologies, and increasingly intricate wordplay...This short novel warrants multiple readings to fully unlock its complexities.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review).
From award-winning authors Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone comes an enthralling, romantic novel spanning time and space about two time-traveling rivals who fall in love and must change the past to ensure their future.
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandment finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.
Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, becomes something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean the death of each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win. That’s how war works, right?
Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.
T Kira Madden’s memoir is an unflinching look at her adolescence as a queer, biracial teen, and her experience with trauma, family, and forgiveness. She was raised in an affluent environment, attending private schools and buying brand names, but her parents were both addicts, leaving her feeling exquisitely alone. The memoir spans decades, from the 1960s to the present, where she tries to come to terms with her father’s death. It’s a beautiful, raw story that left an imprint on our minds.