The 10 Most Popular Books We Couldn’t Put Down This March

March 31 2021
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We may have lost an hour in March, but we somehow managed to read MORE than usual. Booklovers defy all odds. Here’s the official ranking of this month’s top ten most popular books on Off the Shelf! 

In Five Years
by Rebecca Serle

Dannie Kohan has her entire life trajectory planned out. After interviewing at her dream law firm and accepting a proposal from her perfect boyfriend, she should be feeling content. But that same night, after falling asleep, she experiences a peculiar and vivid vision—she awakens in an entirely new apartment next to an entirely new man with a completely different ring sitting atop her finger. Dannie lives exactly one hour, five years in her future before reawakening next to her true fiancé. But what could this vision mean for her calculated life? And when will this mystery man come into the picture? Facing life-altering decisions and devastating heartbreak, main character Dannie starts to question if life can ever be truly planned.

Read more of Book Club Picks: 7 Relatable Reads About Life Not Going According to Plan

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In Five Years
Rebecca Serle

An Atria Book. Atria Books has a great book for every reader.

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The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton
by Eleanor Ray

After suffering an unthinkable tragedy, Amy Ashton, who once dreamed of being an artist, has begun collecting beautiful objects. As her house becomes crammed with delicate details, she grows ever more convinced that surrounding herself with things instead of people will keep her safe. But when a family with two young boys moves in next door, Amy will have a hard time keeping her heart and her door closed for long. THE MISSING TREASURES OF AMY ASHTON is a big-hearted, gentle book to soothe the soul.

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The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton
Eleanor Ray

For fans of The Keeper of Lost Things and Evvie Drake Starts Over comes a funny and tender debut about a reclusive artist whose collection has gotten out of control—but whose unexpected friendship with a pair of new neighbors might be just what she needs to start over.

Amy Ashton once dreamed of becoming an artist—of creating beautiful objects. But now she simply collects them. Aquamarine bottles, bright yellow crockery, deep Tuscan red pots (and the odd slow-cooker) take up every available inch of space in her house. Having suffered a terrible tragedy—one she staunchly refuses to let herself think about, thank you very much—she’s decided that it’s easier to love things than people. Things are safe. Things will never leave you.

But when a new family moves in next door with two young boys, one of whom has a collection of his own, Amy’s carefully managed life starts to unravel, prompting her to question why she began to close herself off in the first place. As Amy embarks on a journey back into her past, she has to contend with nosy neighbors, a meddlesome government worker, the inept police, and a little boy whose love of bulldozers might just let Amy open up her heart—and her home—again.

Quirky and charming, big-hearted and moving, The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton proves that it’s never too late to let go of the things that don’t matter...and welcome the people who do.

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MENTIONED IN:

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Dear Mrs. Bird
by AJ Pearce

Taking place in London in 1940, we meet Emmeline Lake as she begins working for Woman’s Friend magazine as a typist for the well-known advice columnist Henrietta Bird. Emmy soon learns that Mrs. Bird will not answer any letters that are unpleasant in her eyes. To Emmy, though, these are the letters that are the important ones, the ones calling out to be answered. Pretending to be Mrs. Bird, Emmy begins to answer the letters one by one. This endearing story is one of my favorites.

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Dear Mrs. Bird
AJ Pearce

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The Memory Collectors
by Kim Neville

Ev has a secret: she can feel the emotions people leave behind on particular objects. But having seen this ability ruin someone close to her before, Ev insists upon either destroying or selling the most feeling-heavy objects. Meanwhile, across town, Harriet can feel them too, and has made it her mission to collect the items Ev sells. When they finally meet, Harriet insists that together they can build a museum of objects that heal instead of harm. But as they plan for the future, the same darkness Ev saw in action before threatens to suffocate someone new.

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The Memory Collectors
Kim Neville

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.

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The Operator
by Gretchen Berg

In small-town Ohio in the 1950s, no one knows the lives of their neighbors like telephone operators. Vivian, who works the switchboards at Bell on East Liberty Street, has made it a habit to listen in on the calls she connects and forms opinions about everyone she hears. But when Vivian connects the local town snob to a mysterious caller who has information that, if revealed, could destroy Vivian’s life, she can no longer remain just a gossiper. Now, she must find out the truth, by any means possible.

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The Operator
Gretchen Berg

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Good Eggs
by Rebecca Hardiman

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!

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Good Eggs
Rebecca Hardiman

“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.

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As Bright as Heaven
by Susan Meissner

In 1918, Pauline Bright moves to Philadelphia with her husband, determined to build a bigger and better life for her daughters. But when the Spanish flu runs rampant around the city, Pauline and her family struggle just for survival. When they decide to take in an infected infant, they don’t expect her to become the light of their lives. But in a harsh world in which every moment could be life or death, the bond between a mother and her daughter will prove the most resilient tie to life.

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As Bright as Heaven
Susan Meissner

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Close
The Masterpiece
by Fiona Davis

This story alternates timelines between two women fifty years apart who work in Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Clara works in the Terminal’s art school in the 1920s and Virginia in an information booth in the 1970s. When Virginia discovers a stunning piece of art in what was once the Terminals esteemed art school, she goes on a quest to find out what happened to the artist. If you love historical fiction, this is for you!

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The Masterpiece
Fiona Davis

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MENTIONED IN:

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Close
Holding
by Graham Norton

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet its inhabitants are troubled: Sergeant P.J. Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; Brid Riordan, a mother of two, hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste. So when human remains—suspected to be those of Tommy Burke, a former lover of both Brid and Evelyn—are discovered on an old farm, the village’s dark past begins to unravel. Darkly comic, and at times profoundly sad, HOLDING breathes life into a host of lovable characters, and explores—with searing honesty—the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

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Holding
Graham Norton

A New York Times bestseller

From Graham Norton—the BAFTA Award–winning and hugely popular BBC America television host—comes a charming debut novel set in an idyllic Irish village where a bumbling investigator has to sort through decades of gossip and secrets to solve a mysterious crime. “With its tale of provincial life, gimlet-eyed spinsters, and thwarted love…it feels almost like a Miss Marple mystery written by Colm Tóibín” (The New York Times).

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet its inhabitants are troubled: Sergeant P.J. Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; Brid Riordan, a mother of two, hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains—suspected to be those of Tommy Burke, a former lover of both Brid and Evelyn—are discovered on an old farm, the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As a frustrated P.J. struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his professional life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regrets.

Darkly comic, at times profoundly sad, and “especially inviting because of its tongue-in-cheek wit” (Kirkus Reviews), Holding is a masterful debut. Graham Norton employs his acerbic humor to breathe life into a host of lovable characters, and explore—with searing honesty—the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

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The Butterfly House
by Katrine Engberg

Hospitals can be unsettling places, even when they are meant to be spaces of healing. Investigator Jeppe Kørner learns that quickly as he looks into two murder victims—killed by exsanguination—who worked for Butterfly House, a now-defunct residential home for mentally ill teens. The murders seem connected in more ways than one, but who could be behind these strange killings, and where will they strike again? THE BUTTERFLY HOUSE is an international thriller that will keep you guessing up until the very end, with a stunning finale you’ll never see coming.

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The Butterfly House
Katrine Engberg

“[E]ngaging, inventive…brimming with mystery and intrigue” —Crime by the Book

In this “engrossing piece of Nordic noir” (Booklist, starred review) and sequel to the #1 international bestseller The Tenant, detectives Jeppe Kørner and Anette Werner race to solve a series of sordid murders linked to some of the most vulnerable patients in a Danish hospital.

Hospitals are supposed to be places of healing. But in the coronary care unit at one of Copenhagen’s leading medical centers, a nurse fills a syringe with an overdose of heart medication and stealthily enters the room of an older male patient.

Six days earlier, a paperboy on his route in central Copenhagen stumbles upon a macabre find: the naked body of a dead woman, lying in a fountain with arms marked with small incisions. Cause of death? Exsanguination—the draining of all the blood in her body.

Clearly, this is no ordinary murder. Copenhagen investigator Jeppe Kørner, recovering from a painful divorce and in the throes of a new relationship, takes on the case. His partner, Anette Werner, now on maternity leave after an unexpected pregnancy, is restless at home with a demanding newborn and an equally demanding husband. While Jeppe pounds the streets looking for answers, Anette decides to do a little freelance sleuthing. But operating on her own exposes her to dangers she can’t even begin to fathom.

As the investigation ventures into dark corners, it uncovers the ambition and greed that festers beneath the surface of caregiving institutions—all the more shocking for their depravity—and what Jeppe and Anette discover will turn their blood as cold as ice…

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MENTIONED IN:

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Photo credit: iStock / clu

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