It’s that time of year when the snow turns to slush, the promise of springtime emerges, and we trade in our string lights and hot cocoa for anything with florals and pastel. March’s new releases are overwhelming with cathartic and refreshing reads that’ll help to overthrow your winter slump in no time. From debut novels that’ll knock your socks off to sure-to-be bestsellers we’ve been anxiously awaiting for years, here are our most anticipated reads of this month!
Courtney’s Pick #1: I am very excited to read this debut novel! THE MEMORY COLLECTORS is a story about two women who have a special gift: they can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects. Harriet and Ev decide to use their gift to curate a collection of objects that contain the purest and happiest emotions, in order to help heal others. But while they work to bring light back into people’s lives, they must be careful to avoid the darkness that has already consumed another memory collector.
Perfect for fans of The Scent Keeper and The Keeper of Lost Things, an atmospheric and enchanting debut novel about two women haunted by buried secrets but bound by a shared gift and the power the past holds over our lives.
Ev has a mysterious ability, one that she feels is more a curse than a gift. She can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects and believes that most of them need to be handled extremely carefully, and—if at all possible—destroyed. The harmless ones she sells at Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market to scrape together a living, but even that fills her with trepidation. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Harriet hoards thousands of these treasures and is starting to make her neighbors sick as the overabundance of heightened emotions start seeping through her apartment walls.
When the two women meet, Harriet knows that Ev is the only person who can help her make something truly spectacular of her collection. A museum of memory that not only feels warm and inviting but can heal the emotional wounds many people unknowingly carry around. They only know of one other person like them, and they fear the dark effects these objects had on him. Together, they help each other to develop and control their gift, so that what happened to him never happens again. But unbeknownst to them, the same darkness is wrapping itself around another, dragging them down a path that already destroyed Ev’s family once, and threatens to annihilate what little she has left.
The Memory Collectors casts the everyday in a new light, speaking volumes to the hold that our past has over us—contained, at times, in seemingly innocuous objects—and uncovering a truth that both women have tried hard to bury with their pasts: not all magpies collect shiny things—sometimes they gather darkness.
Emily’s Pick #1: THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE is based on a true story, exploring the perspectives of three different women who were powerful forces at the dawn of three separate wars: the French Revolution, World War I, and World War II. Starting off in 1774, Adrienne Lafayette—wife of Marquis de Lafayette—must decide whether to risk her life and stand by her husband’s side, or refuse to fight, maintaining her steadfast reputation. Centuries later, the decisions she makes impact the lives of a New York City socialite at the dawn of World War I and a French artist and teacher in 1940. I can't wait to read more about the legacy of the Chateau Lafayette and the actions of these three women, especially to kick off Women's History Month.
Sharon’s Pick #1: My love of American cultural history knows no bounds, so when I heard about Paulina Bren’s THE BARBIZON, I knew I had to read it. This is the first book that discusses the fascinating history of the Barbizon, the most fabulous residential hotel in America for women only, which opened in 1928. Established in the wake of World War I when women were moving in droves to New York City, the Barbizon welcomed women from all paths of life, and offered an alternative to the uncomfortable boardinghouses women had been accustomed to. THE BARBIZON discusses the hotel’s ordinary and famous inhabitants, including Grace Kelly, Sylvia Plath, and Joan Didion, and how the Barbizon survived the Great Depression, clashed with the ideals of McCarthyism, and ultimately gave all women who resided there the chance to remake themselves.
From award-winning author Paulina Bren comes the first history of New York’s most famous residential hotel—The Barbizon—and the remarkable women who lived there.
WELCOME TO NEW YORK’S LEGENDARY HOTEL FOR WOMEN
Liberated from home and hearth by World War I, politically enfranchised and ready to work, women arrived to take their place in the dazzling new skyscrapers of Manhattan. But they did not want to stay in uncomfortable boarding houses. They wanted what men already had—exclusive residential hotels with daily maid service, cultural programs, workout rooms, and private dining.
Built in 1927 at the height of the Roaring Twenties, the Barbizon Hotel was intended as a safe haven for the “Modern Woman” seeking a career in the arts. It became the place to stay for any ambitious young woman hoping for fame and fortune. Sylvia Plath fictionalized her time there in The Bell Jar, and, over the years, its almost 700 tiny rooms with matching floral curtains and bedspreads housed Titanic survivor Molly Brown; actresses Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Ali MacGraw, Jaclyn Smith, Phylicia Rashad, and Cybill Shepherd; writers Joan Didion, Diane Johnson, Gael Greene, and Meg Wolitzer; and many more. Mademoiselle magazine boarded its summer interns there, as did Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School its students and the Ford Modeling Agency its young models. Before the hotel’s residents were household names, they were young women arriving at the Barbizon with a suitcase and a dream.
Not everyone who passed through the Barbizon’s doors was destined for success—for some it was a story of dashed hopes—but until 1981, when men were finally let in, the Barbizon offered its residents a room of their own and a life without family obligations or expectations. It gave women a chance to remake themselves however they pleased; it was the hotel that set them free. No place had existed like it before or has since.
Beautifully written and impeccably researched, The Barbizon weaves together a tale that has, until now, never been told. It is both a vivid portrait of the lives of these young women who came to New York looking for something more, and an epic history of women’s ambition.
Emily’s Pick #2: When March arrives, I love to stack my TBR piles with feel-good reads that will keep me in good spirits, and GOOD EGGS seems like it'll provide that with such a refreshing perspective. Filled with a rambunctious cast of characters, GOOD EGGS is a story about what happens when a new caretaker arrives to aid the elderly (and delightfully naughty) Millie, and whose presence upends a chaotic three-generation Dublin household. I'm a big fan of Fredrik Backman’s good-natured characters and uplifting surprises so I'm sure I'll enjoy this similar spring debut!
“A joyous, exuberantly fun-filled novel of second chances. An absolute delight from start to finish!” —Sarah Haywood, New York Times bestselling author
“Bracing, hilarious, warm, this novel is as wayward and mad as the human heart.” —Judy Blundell, New York Times bestselling author
A hilarious and heartfelt debut novel following three generations of a boisterous family whose simmering tensions boil over when a home aide enters the picture, becoming the calamitous force that will either undo or remake this family—perfect for fans of Where’d You Go, Bernadette and Evvie Drake Starts Over.
When Kevin Gogarty’s irrepressible eighty-three-year-old mother, Millie, is caught shoplifting yet again, he has no choice but to hire a caretaker to keep an eye on her. Kevin, recently unemployed, is already at his wits’ end tending to a full house while his wife travels to exotic locales for work, leaving him solo with his sulky, misbehaved teenaged daughter, Aideen, whose troubles escalate when she befriends the campus rebel at her new boarding school.
Into the Gogarty fray steps Sylvia, Millie’s upbeat home aide, who appears at first to be their saving grace—until she catapults the Gogarty clan into their greatest crisis yet.
With charm, humor, and pathos to spare, Good Eggs is a delightful study in self-determination; the notion that it’s never too late to start living; and the unique redemption that family, despite its maddening flaws, can offer.
Allie’s Pick: If you loved DAISY JONES & THE SIX, you are going to devour THE FINAL REVIVAL OF OPAL & NEV! This electric new novel tells the story of an iconic rock duo from the early ’70s who shot to fame on the music scene. But after a promotional concert turned violent, the two stars wind up on vastly different paths. Decades later, the duo are contemplating a reunion concert, and a music journalist sees her chance to write the true story of the legends. S. Sunny Shelton thought she knew everything about Opal & Nev’s history, but as she begins interviewing the major players of the time, she uncovers an allegation that changes everything. This book is unlike any I’ve ever read before, and I’m constantly recommending it to my friends!
A kaleidoscopic fictional oral history of the beloved rock ’n’ roll duo who shot to fame in 1970s New York, and the dark, fraught secret that lies at the peak of their stardom.
Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.
In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.
Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.
Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.
Sara’s Pick #1: The women of 1790s London had little recourse if they were desperate to be free of a man—be they a lover, a father, or a brother. But Nella uses her skills as a healer to run an apothecary and give them a way out, so long as they never use the remedy against another woman. And this apothecary would have been lost to history, if not for historian Caroline Parcewell finding a mysterious vial three hundred years later. Full of intrigue and heart-stopping moments, THE LOST APOTHECARY will keep you on your toes as the tale weaves itself around the lives of three very different women.
Kelly’s Pick: Want to know how to make a Stephen King novel even scarier? Listen to the audiobook edition. I definitely needed to sleep with the light on after listening to LATER—and I haven’t felt this way since reading IT. This audiobook tells the story of Jamie Conklin, born with an unnatural ability to see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine. I still have goose bumps from listening to this audiobook! Seth Numrich’s tantalizing narration and deliberate pacing made Jamie’s character really come alive and pulled me into each scene. If you’re a horror fan like I am, this is a must-listen.
A BRAND-NEW NOVEL FROM LEGENDARY STORYTELLER STEPHEN KING!
SOMETIMES GROWING UP MEANS FACING YOUR DEMONS
The son of a struggling single mother, Jamie Conklin just wants an ordinary childhood. But Jamie is no ordinary child. Born with an unnatural ability his mom urges him to keep secret, Jamie can see what no one else can see and learn what no one else can learn. But the cost of using this ability is higher than Jamie can imagine—as he discovers when an NYPD detective draws him into the pursuit of a killer who has threatened to strike from beyond the grave.
Later is Stephen King at his finest, a terrifying and touching story of innocence lost and the trials that test our sense of right and wrong. With echoes of King’s classic novel, It, Later is a powerful, haunting, unforgettable exploration of what it takes to stand up to evil in all the faces it wears.
Sharon’s Pick #2: KLARA AND THE SUN is Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel since he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature; needless to say, there is already tremendous buzz surrounding this book. However, I’m excited to read KLARA AND THE SUN regardless of Ishiguro’s accolades, because of its compelling premise that explores artificial intelligence and its emotional capabilities. The book follows Klara, an Artificial Friend who resides in a shop. She spends her days watching customers and passersby on the street, observing their behavior and hoping someone will choose her. If there’s ever a time I would cry over the emotional well-being of a robot, it would probably be while reading this book.
Heather’s Pick: Whether you love him or not, you can’t deny that Ernest Hemingway made a big impact on the literary world. I still remember touring his Key West home as an impressionable young girl and being starry-eyed at the sight of his typewriter (and his six-toed cats, of course). THE HEMINGWAY STORIES—which is featured in Hemingway, the new three-part PBS documentary film from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick—is a good excuse for fans to revisit his best short stories. Not only are the stories arranged in chronological order so that you can trace Hemingway’s evolution as a writer, but they are accompanied by essays reflecting on his work from notable figures such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Tim O’Brien, and Mary Karr. I’m curious to read “The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” “Up in Michigan,” “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” and other stories, in order to gain a more nuanced understanding of the man who wrote them.
A new collection showcasing the best of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories including his well-known classics, as featured in the magnificent three-part, six-hour PBS documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick—introduced by award-winning author Tobias Wolff.
Ernest Hemingway, a literary icon and considered one of the greatest American writers of all time, is the subject of a major documentary by award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. This intimate portrait of Hemingway—who brilliantly captured the complexities of the human condition in spare and profound prose, and whose work remains deeply influential in literature and culture—interweaves a close study of biographical events with excerpts from his work.
The Hemingway Stories features Hemingway’s most significant short stories in chronological order, so viewers of the film as well as fans old and new can follow the trajectory of his impressive life and career. Hemingway’s beloved classics, such as “The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” “Up in Michigan,” “Indian Camp,” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” are accompanied by fresh insights from renowned writers around the world—Mario Vargas Llosa, Edna O’Brien, Abraham Verghese, Tim O’Brien, and Mary Karr. Tobias Wolff's introduction adds a new perspective to Hemingway’s work, and Wolff has selected additional stories that demonstrate Hemingway’s talent and range.
The power of the Ernest Hemingway’s revolutionary style is perhaps most striking in his short stories, and here readers can encounter the tales that created the legend: stories of men and women in love and in war and on the hunt, stories of a lost generation born into a fractured time. This collection is a perfect introduction for a new generation of Hemingway readers and a vital volume for any fan.
Courtney’s Pick #2: Can you imagine finding out that your childhood babysitter turned out to be a serial killer? The answer to that question isn’t a hypothetical for author Liza Rodman, who finds out decades later that the babysitter whom she felt connected to and looked up to as a child was actually a vicious killer. Part memoir, part crime investigation, this book will be hard to put down until the very end.
A chilling true story—part memoir, part crime investigation—reminiscent of Ann Rule’s classic The Stranger Beside Me, about a little girl longing for love and how she found friendship with her charismatic babysitter—who was also a vicious serial killer.
Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck. He bought them popsicles and together, they visited his “secret garden” in the Truro woods. To Liza, he was one of the few kind and understanding adults in her life. Everyone thought he was just a “great guy.”
But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysitter was a serial killer.
Some of his victims were buried—in pieces—right there, in his garden in the woods. Though Tony Costa’s gruesome case made screaming headlines in 1969 and beyond, Liza never made the connection between her friendly babysitter and the infamous killer of numerous women, including four in Massachusetts, until decades later.
Haunted by nightmares and horrified by what she learned, Liza became obsessed with the case. Now, she and cowriter Jennifer Jordan reveal the chilling and unforgettable true story of a charming but brutal psychopath through the eyes of a young girl who once called him her friend.
Emily’s Pick #3: When I first saw this book, I was immediately enraptured by the beautiful cover, and then became even more so as I started reading this timely and striking story of a loving family torn apart by civil war and an unjust immigration system. We follow Mauro and Elena as they fall in love in a Colombia ravaged by civil war. As snippets of their past are revealed, the story pulses with urgency while, years later, their youngest child, Talia, races to reunite with her parents and siblings before their plane leaves for America. Mirroring the fragmented family itself, the book’s story line reflects bits and pieces of each character’s perspective in time and place, until it all comes together in a beautiful yet terrifying work of art. Author Patricia Engel is herself the daughter of Colombian immigrants—and she lends an incredibly moving and authentic voice to a family struggling to keep it all together through the realities of a broken immigration system.
“Remarkable...this is as much an all-American story as it is a global one.” —Booklist (starred review)
For readers of Valeria Luiselli and Edwidge Danticat, an urgent and lyrical novel about a Colombian family fractured by deportation, offering an intimate perspective on an experience that so many have endured—and are enduring right now.
Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally be reunited with her family in the north.
How this family came to occupy two different countries, two different worlds, comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia’s parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro’s deportation and the family’s splintering—the costs they’ve all been living with ever since.
Award-winning, internationally acclaimed author Patricia Engel, herself a dual citizen and the daughter of Colombian immigrants, gives voice to all five family members as they navigate the particulars of their respective circumstances. And all the while, the metronome ticks: Will Talia make it to Bogotá in time? And if she does, can she bring herself to trade the solid facts of her father and life in Colombia for the distant vision of her mother and siblings in America?
Rich with Bogotá urban life, steeped in Andean myth, and tense with the daily reality of the undocumented in America, Infinite Country is the story of two countries and one mixed-status family—for whom every triumph is stitched with regret, and every dream pursued bears the weight of a dream deferred.
Sharon’s Pick #3: The beginning of THE GIRLS ARE ALL SO NICE HERE seems auspicious enough. Ambrosia “Amb” Wellington is ten years out of college, trying to make a new life for herself, when she receives an invitation to her ten-year college reunion. However, this is accompanied by an anonymous note that reads, “We need to talk about what we did that night.” When Amb and her former best friend, Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, arrive at the reunion, they keep receiving increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that the note writer doesn’t want answers: they want revenge. THE GIRLS ARE ALL SO NICE HERE is exactly the type of thriller I can’t wait to sink my teeth into.
Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.
A lot has changed in the years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads “We need to talk about what we did that night.”
It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.
At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl who paid the price.
Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a shocking novel about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.
Jess’s Pick: I can’t wait for the new Janet Evanovich novel. FBI Agent Kate O’Hare and charming con man Nicholas Fox are at it again! This new novel is nonstop twists and turns as Fox and O’Hare attempt to uncover a buried train filled with Nazi gold. Part Mission Impossible, part Mr. & Mrs. Smith, this novel is high-octane written by one of the bestselling novel writers!
FBI agent Kate O’Hare and charming con man Nicholas Fox race against time to uncover a buried train filled with Nazi gold in this thrilling adventure in the “romantic and gripping” (Good Housekeeping) Fox and O’Hare series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich.
Straight as an arrow special agent Kate O’Hare and international con man Nick Fox have brought down some of the biggest criminals out there. But now they face their most dangerous foe yet—a vast, shadowy international organization known only as the Brotherhood.
Directly descended from the Vatican Bank priests who served Hitler during World War II, the Brotherhood is on a frantic search for a lost train loaded with $30 billion in Nazi gold, untouched for over seventy-five years somewhere in the mountains of Eastern Europe.
Kate and Nick know that there is only one man who can find the fortune and bring down the Brotherhood—the same man who taught Nick everything he knows—his father, Quentin. As the stakes get higher, they must also rely on Kate’s own father, Jake, who shares his daughter’s grit and stubbornness. Too bad they can never agree on anything.
From a remote monastery in the Swiss Alps to the lawless desert of the Western Sahara, Kate, Nick, and the two men who made them who they are today must crisscross the world in a desperate scramble to stop their deadliest foe in the biggest adventure of their lives.
Sara’s Pick #2: Jayne Baek is in the prime of her life, but things aren’t going so great. She’s struggling through fashion school, she’s not all that fond of her friends or boyfriend, and she has an eating disorder that she’s not ready to deal with. She’s nothing like her successful, perfect older sister June. But when June reveals she’s been diagnosed with cancer, Jayne steps up to help. YOLK presents a nuanced and intimate tale of two sisters as they battle illnesses, resentment, and all the complications that come with sisterhood. Prepare the tissue box: this one is a real tearjerker.
From New York Times bestselling author Mary H.K. Choi comes a funny and emotional story about two estranged sisters and how far they’ll go to save one of their lives—even if it means swapping identities.
Jayne and June Baek are nothing alike. June’s three years older, a classic first-born, know-it-all narc with a problematic finance job and an equally soulless apartment (according to Jayne). Jayne is an emotionally stunted, self-obsessed basket case who lives in squalor, has egregious taste in men, and needs to get to class and stop wasting Mom and Dad’s money (if you ask June). Once thick as thieves, these sisters who moved from Seoul to San Antonio to New York together now don’t want anything to do with each other.
That is, until June gets cancer. And Jayne becomes the only one who can help her.
Flung together by circumstance, housing woes, and family secrets, will the sisters learn more about each other than they’re willing to confront? And what if while helping June, Jayne has to confront the fact that maybe she’s sick, too?
Sharon’s Pick #4: One subject I have been wanting to explore more in literature is environmental intersectionality. Since reading books such as SILENT SPRING by Rachel Carson and ANIMAL’S PEOPLE by Indra Sinha, as well as following events such as the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, I have been fascinated by the connections that exist between corporate greed, environmental degradation, and mass resistance. HOW BEAUTIFUL WE WERE promises to be the next great novel in this literary tradition. Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, the book tells the story of how an American oil company, enabled by a corrupt government, brings destruction to Kosawa through its search for a profit. As pipeline spills leave a farmland infertile and children die from drinking toxic water, the people of Kosawa are left with no choice but to fight back.
Emily's Pick #4: In THE COLDEST WINTER EVER, the character of Winter Santiaga gripped me from page one. She was so full of surprises, opinions, stubbornness, and shocking observations that I couldn’t stop reading. I flew through the pages, following Winter as her prominent drug-dealing father gets arrested, ruining their family’s relationships, wealth, and views of one another, and as Winter scrambles to keep control of her family’s reputation and her power on the streets of Brooklyn. And the sequel, LIFE AFTER DEATH, picks up from Winter’s perspective once again. Old enemies resurface, forcing Winter to fight for her life in an imaginative spree in the underworld, where she confronts her past experiences and current demons.
The stunning and long-anticipated sequel to Sister Souljah’s million copy bestseller The Coldest Winter Ever.
Winter Santiaga is back.
Twenty years ago, Sister Souljah’s debut novel, The Coldest Winter Ever, became a bestselling cultural phenomenon. Fans fell in love with the unforgettable Winter Santiaga, daughter of a prominent Brooklyn drug-dealing family, who captivated her lovers, friends, and enemies with her sexy street smarts. For two decades, fans have begged for answers about what happened to Winter. Now all is revealed in Sister Souljah’s page-turning sequel, filled with her trademark passion, danger, temptation, and adventure. With her jail sentence coming to a close, Winter is ready to step back into the spotlight and reclaim her throne.
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