10 Long Books That Fly By

Jana Li
August 1 2022
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No matter how long a book actually is, an immersive story will make the reading experience fly by. Which is what we all want as readers! After all, there’s nothing worse than wishing a book would end already when there’s still two hundred pages to go. With these recommendations, you don’t need to be intimidated by novels’ length, because these stories will have you questioning where all the time went!

A Sudden Light
by Garth Stein

This captivating page-turner follows Trevor Riddell’s recollection of his childhood visit to the infamous Riddell House two decades prior, accompanied by his bankrupt father, newly separated from his wife. While his father sought to dispatch Trevor’s grandfather to a nursing home and sell off the house for profit, Trevor discovered a ghost in the house that pushed him towards a different agenda. With poetically beautiful scenes and fragments of spiritual clarity woven throughout the hidden stairways and forgotten rooms of the old estate, Stein’s storytelling is enthralling in A SUDDEN LIGHT.

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A Sudden Light
Garth Stein

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All This I Will Give to You
by Dolores Redondo

An award-winning bestseller, ALL THIS I WILL GIVE TO YOU, is a page-burner of secrets, lies, and above all else, treachery. Learning that his husband, Álvaro, had been killed in a car crash was a shock for Manuel. However, Manuel found that the secrets Álvaro kept were even more alarming. Not only was Álvaro not the unassuming man Manuel thought he married, but he is somehow connected to a powerful Spanish family. With the help of both Álvaro’s old friend and an apprehensive police officer, Manuel works to make sense of Álvaro’s life, secrets, and untimely death. However, when the truth finally unravels, you may be left wishing that the mystery could continue.

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All This I Will Give to You
Dolores Redondo

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Properties of Thirst
by Marianne Wiggins

Historical fiction can sometimes feel long. After all, some sagas have a lot of ground to cover, but Marianne Wiggins’s PROPERTIES OF THIRST—capturing the American Dream and its limitations—is an emotional, budding American classic that you won’t want to end. Rocky Rhodes has fiercely defended his ranch from the encroaching LA Water Corporation for years, but the impending World War II threatens the longevity of his home—the same home where he raised his twins, Sunny and Stryker, and mourned the loss of his wife, Lou, after her passing. With Stryker joining the fight just before the Pearl Harbor bombing, a Japanese-American internment camp being built next to the ranch, and the camp’s main architect becoming infatuated with Sunny, this is a novel so drama-packed that you won’t be aware of how fast you’re turning the pages until you reach the last one.

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Properties of Thirst
Marianne Wiggins

Fifteen years after the publication of Evidence of Things Unseen, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist Marianne Wiggins returns with a novel destined to be an American classic: a sweeping masterwork set during World War II about the meaning of family and the limitations of the American Dream.

Rockwell “Rocky” Rhodes has spent years fiercely protecting his California ranch from the LA Water Corporation. It is here where he and his beloved wife Lou raised their twins, Sunny and Stryker, and it is here where Rocky has mourned Lou in the years since her death.

As Sunny and Stryker reach the cusp of adulthood, the country teeters on the brink of war. Stryker decides to join the fight, deploying to Pearl Harbor not long before the bombs strike. Soon, Rocky and his family find themselves facing yet another incomprehensible tragedy.

Rocky is determined to protect his remaining family and the land where they’ve loved and lost so much. But when the government decides to build a Japanese-American internment camp next to the ranch, Rocky realizes that the land faces even bigger threats than the LA watermen he’s battled for years. Complicating matters is the fact that the idealistic Department of the Interior man assigned to build the camp, who only begins to understand the horror of his task after it may be too late, becomes infatuated with Sunny and entangled with the Rhodes family.

Properties of Thirst is a novel that is both universal and intimate. It is the story of a changing American landscape and an examination of one of the darkest periods in this country’s past, told through the stories of the individual loves and losses that weave together to form the fabric of our shared history. Ultimately, it is an unflinching distillation of our nation’s essence—and a celebration of the bonds of love and family that persist against all odds.

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Tuscan Rose
by Belinda Alexandra

Mystery and magic always make long books feel much shorter because of the way they capture my attention. Belinda Alexandra’s TUSCAN ROSE intertwines those elements into a World War II saga that follows a mysterious stranger, known as The Wolf, who leaves an infant, Rosa, with the sisters of Santo Spirito. Rosa, however, is no ordinary infant—in fact, the only hint towards her true identity is the tiny silver key she was wrapped up with—and when she comes of age, she leaves the nuns to become the governess of a Florentine aristocrat’s daughter. With magical blessings alongside her natural intelligence and determination, Rosa must take on the cursed house she lives in, the downfall of Italy to Fascism, and more unimaginable hardships that stand in her way.

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Tuscan Rose
Belinda Alexandra

From an international bestselling author comes a richly woven tale of passion, longing, witchcraft, and magic set in Italy during World War II.

A magical, richly woven World War II– era saga filled with passion, secrets, beauty, and horror from internationally acclaimed bestselling author Belinda Alexandra.

FLORENCE, 1914. A mysterious stranger known as The Wolf leaves an infant with the sisters of Santo Spirito. A tiny silver key hidden in her wrappings is the one clue to the child’s identity. . . . FIFTEEN YEARS LATER, young Rosa must leave the nuns, her only family, and become governess to the daughter of an aristocrat and his strange, frightening wife. Their house is elegant but cursed, and Rosa—blessed with gifts beyond her considerable musical talents—is torn between her desire to know the truth and her fear of its repercussions. All the while, the hand of Fascism curls around beautiful Italy, and no citizen is safe. Rosa faces unimaginable hardship: her only weapons her intelligence, intuition, and determination . . . and her extraordinary capacity for love.

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Fellowship Point
by Alice Elliott Dark

In FELLOWSHIP POINT, celebrated author, Agnes Lee, desperately wants to protect the coastal Maine peninsula of Fellowship Point, which requires convincing investors to terminate a long-standing partnership. While it may seem convenient that her best friend, Polly, happens to be one of those shareholders, Polly more so values creating beauty and harmony in her well-off life and doesn’t know what she wants when it comes to Fellowship Point. The pair’s lifelong friendship is further tested when Agnes is encouraged to write her memoirs, which means long-buried secrets and darkness from each woman’s past is bound to come to light. Though this novel stands at nearly six hundred pages, with the vast number of themes it covers—women’s lives, class divisions, protection of the natural world, and our relationship to history—it’ll keep you thoroughly engaged.

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Fellowship Point
Alice Elliott Dark

The masterful story of a lifelong friendship between two very different women with shared histories and buried secrets, tested in the twilight of their lives, set across the arc of the 20th century.

Celebrated children’s book author Agnes Lee is determined to secure her legacy—to complete what she knows will be the final volume of her pseudonymously written Franklin Square novels; and even more consuming, to permanently protect the peninsula of majestic coast in Maine known as Fellowship Point. To donate the land to a trust, Agnes must convince shareholders to dissolve a generations-old partnership. And one of those shareholders is her best friend, Polly.

Polly Wister has led a different kind of life than Agnes: that of a well-off married woman with children, defined by her devotion to her husband, and philosophy professor with an inflated sense of stature. She exalts in creating beauty and harmony in her home, in her friendships, and in her family. Polly soon finds her loyalties torn between the wishes of her best friend and the wishes of her three sons—but what is it that Polly wants herself?

Agnes’s designs are further muddied when an enterprising young book editor named Maud Silver sets out to convince Agnes to write her memoirs. Agnes’s resistance cannot prevent long-buried memories and secrets from coming to light with far-reaching repercussions for all.

Fellowship Point reads like a classic 19th-century novel in its beautifully woven, multilayered narrative, but it is entirely contemporary in the themes it explores; a deep and empathic interest in women’s lives, the class differences that divided us, the struggle to protect the natural world, and, above all, a reckoning with intimacy, history, and posterity. It is a masterwork from Alice Elliott Dark.

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The Pursuit of Happiness
by Douglas Kennedy

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS is a postwar love story about Sara, an unconventionally fierce young woman, and Jack, a US Army journalist who has just come home from a defeated Germany. As the young couple navigate difficult choices with profound consequences in the McCarthy era, we explore the different world views and dynamics that follow war. This epic tale promises to be a quick reading experience, just as all epic love stories have that tendency to feel tragically too short.

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The Pursuit of Happiness
Douglas Kennedy

This international bestseller tells the incredible and heartbreaking love story of Sara and Jack as they learn to understand their differences in postwar New York.

“Kennedy tells his epic tale with a keen eye and brisk pace.... a winningly sincere love story.” —Publishers Weekly

Manhattan, Thanksgiving eve, 1945.

The war is over, and Eric Smythe’s party was in full swing. All his clever Greenwich Village friends were there. So too was his sister Sara, an independent, outspoken young woman, starting to make her way in the big city.And then in walked Jack Malone, a U.S. Army journalist just back from a defeated Germany, a man whose world view was vastly different than that of Eric and his friends.

This chance meeting between Sara and Jack and the choices they both made in the wake of it would eventually have profound consequences, both for themselves and for those closest to them for decades afterwards.

Set amidst the dynamic optimism of postwar New York and the subsequent nightmare of the McCarthy era, The Pursuit of Happiness is a great, tragic love story; a tale of divided loyalties, decisive moral choices and the random workings of destiny.

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Black Cake
by Charmaine Wilkerson

You can inherit many things, but choosing who you become is another story. This is a hard lesson to learn for Byron and Benny, estranged brothers who have just lost their mother, Eleanor, but were left a confusing inheritance: a black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and an eight-hour voice recording detailing her tumultuous life story, which includes hints of yet-to-be-revealed mysteries and the shocking secret of a long-lost baby. The two brothers must work together to repair their own relationship so they can piece together Eleanor’s true history and honor her final requests. Though BLACK CAKE tackles a multitude of heavy issues—resentment, cultural diaspora, abandonment, and racism—it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Instead, it leaves you wanting more of the story and its thoughtful introspection.

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Black Cake
Charmaine Wilkerson

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The Evening Hero
by Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Dr. Yungman Kwak immigrated after the Korean War to pursue the American Dream, even though that meant leaving behind all that he cared about and valued. He’s made a life for himself in rural Minnesota, working as an obstetrician at the local hospital, but his life is built on a lie that has been threatened to be exposed. Suddenly, it seems like everything in his life is falling apart when the hospital shuts down, his marriage falters, and his son is losing money every day in shaky investments. THE EVENING HERO explores the crossroads Yungman is facing: he could continue to hide his secret or come clean and potentially lose everything. This novel questions what the so-called American Dream even means, while also being dark and comical in a way that makes 448 pages feel like nothing.

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The Evening Hero
Marie Myung-Ok Lee

A sweeping, lyrical novel following a Korean immigrant pursuing the American dream who must confront the secrets of the past or risk watching the world he’s worked so hard to build come crumbling down.

Dr. Yungman Kwak is in the twilight of his life. Every day for the last fifty years, he has brushed his teeth, slipped on his shoes, and headed to Horse Breath’s General Hospital, where, as an obstetrician, he treats the women and babies of the small rural Minnesota town he chose to call home.

This was the life he longed for. The so-called American dream. He immigrated from Korea after the Korean War, forced to leave his family, ancestors, village, and all that he knew behind. But his life is built on a lie. And one day, a letter arrives that threatens to expose it.

Yungman’s life is thrown into chaos—the hospital abruptly closes, his wife refuses to spend time with him, and his son is busy investing in a struggling health start-up. Yungman faces a choice—he must choose to hide his secret from his family and friends or confess and potentially lose all he’s built. He begins to question the very assumptions on which his life is built—the so-called American dream, with the abject failure of its healthcare system, patient and neighbors who perpetuate racism, a town flawed with infrastructure, and a history that doesn’t see him in it.

Toggling between the past and the present, Korea and America, Evening Hero is a sweeping, moving, darkly comic novel about a man looking back at his life and asking big questions about what is lost and what is gained when immigrants leave home for new shores.

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My Dirty California
by Jason Mosberg

The best way to make a book go by faster is adding a bit of thrill—and that’s exactly what MY DIRTY CALIFORNIA does. This thriller follows Jody, who descends into the Los Angeles underworld to find the masked murderer who shot his father and brother, Marty, only two days after Marty’s long-awaited homecoming. However, Jody’s investigation digs up more than he bargained for. There are strange videos recorded by Marty that lead Jody to some of the city’s most threatening corners and people, unfortunately creating more mysteries than they solve. Though MY DIRTY CALIFORNIA may be on the longer side, its suspenseful and intricate plot makes the story feel fast paced.

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My Dirty California
Jason Mosberg

In this literary thriller, a young man descends into the Los Angeles underworld to find his family’s killer—aided by a group of strangers with their own shadowy pasts.

When Marty returns to Pennsylvania after living in California for ten years, he’s happily welcomed by his father and older brother, Jody. The joyful reunion is short-lived. Two days later, Jody enters the house to find his father and Marty shot dead as their masked killer flees out the back door. Without any answers from the local police, Jody heads to Los Angeles looking for who murdered his family and why.

Soon, he finds a trove of strange videos recorded by his brother that leads him into the city’s most dangerous corners, where he comes up against drug dealers, crooked cops, surf gangs, and black-market profiteers. As his investigation expands, it also intersects with Pen, a documentary filmmaker who suspects humanity is living in a simulation and that her missing father found a portal to escape; Renata, an undocumented immigrant who might have evidence to support Pen’s theory; and Tiph, a young mother whose desperate efforts to support her only child via a stolen art stash could prove the key to answering all these mysteries.

My Dirty California is a cinematic, suspenseful, intricately plotted thriller that explores the darker side of the glamorous Golden State.

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Under the Light of the Italian Moon
by Jennifer Anton

Nina Argenta faces a difficult choice as a strong-willed woman who’s determined to establish her own future: stay in rural Italy to maintain a traditional life for her mother because her brother has already left for America, or join her childhood friend Pietro, who is leaving Italy to work in the coal mines of America. The looming war and rise of Mussolini’s Fascists don’t make her decision any easier. Jennifer Anton’s UNDER THE LIGHT OF THE ITALIAN MOON is a gripping and heartbreaking tale, based on a true story, that captures readers and doesn’t let them go.

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Under the Light of the Italian Moon
Jennifer Anton

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10 Long Books That Fly By

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Photo credit: iStock / nikkimeel

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