Happy Memorial Day! We hope you’ve spent the long and lovely weekend outdoors and immersed in good books. Now, for your next obsession, check out these books that have caught our attention and our hearts. The most popular books of May are trending for all the right reasons.
If your club loves gripping mysteries, THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME should be next on your list. Hannah’s husband, Owen, disappears, leaving her with his sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey, and a note reading, “Protect her.” As the mystery of Owen’s disappearance grows increasingly peculiar, Hannah quickly realizes that her husband is not the man he said he was, and his daughter may just be the only link to finding out his true identity. As Hannah and Bailey set out to uncover truths, an evocative family drama unfolds. Prepare to be shocked. This mystery is one you won’t be able to put down.
From internationally bestselling author Laura Dave comes a riveting new suspense novel about a woman’s search for the truth about her husband’s disappearance—no matter the cost.
We all have stories we never tell.
Before Owen Michaels disappears, he manages to smuggle a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers: Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.
As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered; as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss; as a US Marshal and FBI agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.
Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth, together. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they are also building a new future. One neither Hannah nor Bailey could have anticipated.
With its breakneck pacing, dazzling plot twists, and unforgettable characters, The Last Thing He Told Me is bestselling author Laura Dave’s finest novel yet, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn. This propulsive thriller with a heart is for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes.
When I first read the manuscript of Carol Edgarian's VERA, set in San Francisco around the 1906 earthquake, I knew it was a gorgeous piece of literary historical fiction. But I couldn't have predicted how resonant and relevant this thoughtful, lively account of a world recovering from disaster would feel at the time of our publication. The girl at the center of this novel discovers an unexpected strength and resilience, and readers will root for her and her new family of survivors. —Kara Watson, Executive Editor
New York Times bestselling author Carol Edgarian delivers an astonishing feat of imagination, a grand adventure set in 1906 San Francisco—a city leveled by quake and fire—featuring an indomitable heroine coming of age in the aftermath of catastrophe and her quest for love and reinvention.
Meet Vera Johnson, the uncommonly resourceful fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s most legendary bordello and ally to the city’s corrupt politicians. Vera has grown up straddling two worlds—the madam’s alluring sphere, replete with tickets to the opera, surly henchmen, and scant morality, and the violent, debt ridden domestic life of the family paid to raise her.
On the morning of the great quake, Vera’s worlds collide. As the shattered city burns and looters vie with the injured, orphaned, and starving, Vera and her guileless sister, Pie, are cast adrift. Vera disregards societal norms and prejudices and begins to imagine a new kind of life. She collaborates with Tan, her former rival, and forges an unlikely family of survivors. Together they navigate their way beyond disaster.
In Vera, Carol Edgarian creates a cinematic, deeply entertaining world, in which honor and fates are tested; notions of sex, class, and justice are turned upside down; and love is hard-won. A ravishing, heartbreaking, and profound affirmation of youth and tenacity, Vera’s story brings to life legendary characters—tenor Enrico Caruso, indicted mayor Eugene Schmitz and boss Abe Ruef, tabloid celebrity Alma Spreckels—as well as an unforgettable cast that includes Vera’s young lover, Bobby, protector of the city’s tribe of orphans, and three generations of a Chinese family competing and conspiring with Vera.
This richly imagined, timely tale of improbable outcomes and alliances takes hold from the first page, gifting readers with remarkable scenes of devastation, renewal, and joy. Told with unflinching candor and wit, Vera celebrates the audacious fortitude of its young heroine and marks a stunning achievement by an inventive and generous writer.
Fans of Kristin Harmel are in for a harrowing story with her newest novel, THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS. This vivid novel set in World War II follows one young woman with a keen sense of knowledge of the wilderness. After being stolen from her parents in Germany and raised in the wilderness of eastern Europe, Yona suddenly finds herself alone in 1941 after the woman who kidnapped and raised her dies. But her solitude does not last long. After happening upon a group of Jews fleeing from the Nazis, Yona vows to teach them everything she knows about surviving the treacherous forest, despite their skepticism of her trustworthiness. This is a heartbreaking story based on a real event during the Nazi era.
The New York Times bestselling author of the “heart-stopping tale of survival and heroism” (People) The Book of Lost Names returns with an evocative coming-of-age World War II story about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis—until a secret from her past threatens everything.
After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.
Inspired by incredible true stories of survival against staggering odds, and suffused with the journey-from-the-wilderness elements that made Where the Crawdads Sing a worldwide phenomenon, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel from the #1 internationally bestselling author whose writing has been hailed as “sweeping and magnificent” (Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author), “immersive and evocative” (Publishers Weekly), and “gripping” (Tampa Bay Times).
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Emmeline Lake longs to be a Lady War Correspondent, and is close to reaching her dreams, but when a misunderstanding occurs over a job advertisement, she soon finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, renowned advice columnist of Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs. Bird insists that Emmy must discard any letters containing any unpleasantness. However, as Emmy reads desperate pleas from women who have Gone Too Far with the wrong man, or can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she begins to secretly write back to the readers who have poured out their troubles. DEAR MRS. BIRD is a love letter to the enduring power of friendship, the kindness of strangers, and the courage of ordinary people in extraordinary times.
The town of Dove Pond needs saving. Sarah Dove, the local librarian, has always had a special relationship with books. Being a book charmer, she knows exactly what books everyone should read. Sarah also knows that Dove Pond’s new town clerk, Grace Wheeler, might be just the person the town needs, and the town might be just what Grace needs. A magical, feel-good adventure.
New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins crafts an unforgettable story about a sleepy Southern town, two fiercely independent women, and a truly magical friendship.
Sarah Dove is no ordinary bookworm. To her, books have always been more than just objects: they live, they breathe, and sometimes they even speak. When Sarah grows up to become the librarian in her quaint Southern town of Dove Pond, her gift helps place every book in the hands of the perfect reader. Recently, however, the books have been whispering about something out of the ordinary: the arrival of a displaced city girl named Grace Wheeler.
If the books are right, Grace could be the savior that Dove Pond desperately needs. The problem is, Grace wants little to do with the town or its quirky residents—Sarah chief among them. It takes a bit of urging, and the help of an especially wise book, but Grace ultimately embraces the challenge to rescue her charmed new community. In her quest, she discovers the tantalizing promise of new love, the deep strength that comes from having a true friend, and the power of finding just the right book.
“A mesmerizing fusion of the mystical and the everyday” (Susan Andersen, New York Times bestselling author), The Book Charmer is a heartwarming story about the magic of books that feels more than a little magical itself. Prepare to fall under its spell.
I never knew it was possible to want the cover of a book to be re-created as wallpaper, but if someone made wallpaper patterned with the cover of THE CAVE DWELLERS, I would be the first person to buy it. From a quick glance, the cover appears to have a charming toile, but on closer inspection, motifs signifying the book’s themes such as cigarettes, the US Capitol rotunda, champagne, and a handful of money reveal themselves. This is a cover that lets me know immediately what this book is going to be about: power, privilege, high society, and things that are not what they seem.
A compulsively readable novel in the vein of The Bonfire of the Vanities—by way of The Nest—about what Washington, DC’s high society members do away from the Capitol building and behind the closed doors of their stately homes.
They are the families considered worthy of a listing in the exclusive Green Book—a discriminative diary created by the niece of Edith Roosevelt’s social secretary. Their aristocratic bloodlines are woven into the very fabric of Washington—generation after generation. Their old money and manner lurk through the cobblestone streets of Georgetown, Kalorama, and Capitol Hill. They only socialize within their inner circle, turning a blind eye to those who come and go on the political merry-go-round. These parents and their children live in gilded existences of power and privilege.
But what they have failed to understand is that the world is changing. And when the family of one of their own is held hostage and brutally murdered, everything about their legacy is called into question.
They’re called The Cave Dwellers.
Canada isn’t often the setting for historical fiction. What’s more, it’s not often used as the backdrop to a forgotten chapter of history like British “brideship” wives. Leslie Howard’s THE BRIDESHIP WIFE uncovers the plot by the British government to make newly inhabited areas of its colonies—located near Victoria, Canada—more “British” by sending ships of young, marriageable women to an area almost entirely populated by American men drawn by a gold rush. Howard’s debut boldly takes on this little-known topic to teach us the meaning of freedom and adds another debut to the unique historical fiction canon.
Inspired by the history of the British “brideships,” this captivating historical debut tells the story of one woman’s coming of age and search for independence—for readers of Pam Jenoff's The Orphan's Tale and Armando Lucas Correa’s The German Girl.
Tomorrow we would dock in Victoria on the northwest coast of North America, about as far away from my home as I could imagine. Like pebbles tossed upon the beach, we would scatter, trying to make our way as best as we could. Most of us would marry; some would not.
England, 1862. Charlotte is somewhat of a wallflower. Shy and bookish, she knows her duty is to marry, but with no dowry, she has little choice in the matter. She can’t continue to live off the generosity of her sister Harriet and her wealthy brother-in-law, Charles, whose political aspirations dictate that she make an advantageous match.
When Harriet hosts a grand party, Charlotte is charged with winning the affections of one of Charles’s colleagues, but before the night is over, her reputation—her one thing of value—is at risk. In the days that follow, rumours begin to swirl. Soon Charles’s standing in society is threatened and all that Charlotte has held dear is jeopardized, even Harriet, and Charlotte is forced to leave everything she has ever known in England and embark on a treacherous voyage to the New World.
From the rigid social circles of Victorian England to the lawless lands bursting with gold in British Columbia’s Cariboo, The Brideship Wife takes readers on a mesmerizing journey through a time of great change. Based on a forgotten chapter in history, this is a sparkling debut about the pricelessness of freedom and the courage it takes to follow your heart.
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One morning, twenty-year-old sisters Julia and Valentina Poole receive news that their English aunt Elspeth Noblin has died and left them her London apartment. But there are two conditions for this inheritance: they must live in the flat for a year before they sell it and their parents must not enter it. The girls move to Elspeth’s flat, bordering the vast Highgate Cemetery, and become involved with their neighbors: Martin, a composer of crossword puzzles who suffers from crippling OCD, and Robert, Elspeth’s elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. They also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including—perhaps—their aunt.
Intensely attached twins Julia and Valentina move to London when their aunt dies and leaves them her apartment on the edge of Highgate Cemetery. As they become involved in the lives of the eccentric neighbors, the twins discover that much is still alive in Highgate—including, perhaps, their aunt.
William Kent Krueger’s upcoming prequel to his Cork O’Connor series follows a young boy with as much heart, history, and personality as Kya in WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, so you’re in for a ride. It starts off with the puzzle of a murder, as Cork doubts the main murder suspect did it, placing his opinions at odds with his sheriff father and the rest of the townspeople. In the summer of 1963, he sets out to prove them wrong and attain true justice for his murdered friend. This book comes out in August, so while you wait, you could check out Krueger’s beloved bestseller THIS TENDER LAND, which also holds a story as heartfelt and endearing as WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, but instead of one coming-of-age story it packs in four orphaned children in 1932 traveling along Minnesota’s Gilead River in a canoe in search of a new home. In all of Krueger’s books, nature sings and humans grow up and connect with one another across ages and cultures, so you could readily pick up any one of them for a good CRAWDADS comparison.
Read more of 8 Vivid Novels for Fans of Where the Crawdads Sing
The author of the instant New York Times bestseller This Tender Land returns with a powerful prequel to his acclaimed Cork O’Connor series—a book about fathers and sons, long-simmering conflicts in a small Minnesota town, and the events that echo through youth and shape our lives forever.
Aurora is a small town nestled in the ancient forest alongside the shores of Minnesota’s Iron Lake. In the summer of 1963, it is the whole world to twelve-year-old Cork O’Connor, its rhythms as familiar as his own heartbeat. But when Cork stumbles upon the body of a man he revered hanging from a tree in an abandoned logging camp, it is the first in a series of events that will cause him to question everything he took for granted about his hometown, his family, and himself.
Cork’s father, Liam O’Connor, is Aurora’s sheriff and it is his job to confirm that the man’s death was the result of suicide, as all the evidence suggests. In the shadow of his father’s official investigation, Cork begins to look for answers on his own. Together, father and son face the ultimate test of choosing between what their heads tell them is true and what their hearts know is right.
In this masterful story of a young man and a town on the cusp of change, beloved novelist William Kent Krueger shows that some mysteries can be solved even as others surpass our understanding.
In 1913, Laura Lyons lives in an apartment in the New York Public Library with her family. The disappearance of a rare book from the library changes her life forever. In 1993, Sadie Donovan, Laura’s granddaughter, works in the same library as a curator. The past repeats itself when rare books begin disappearing, leading Sadie down a path that will shed new light on her family’s history. An excellent book club read.
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