It may have been a shorter month, but February still produced a whole lot of love for a few special books. To reduce your risk of letting your next favorite novel slip away, we’ve combed through our articles to find the top books piquing readers’ interest this month.
The 10 Most Popular Books of February
British author and public historian Alison Weir’s THE LAST WHITE ROSE explores the life of Henry VIII’s mother, Elizabeth of York, the first queen of the Tudor dynasty. And, boy, it doesn’t disappoint. The eldest daughter of King Edward IV, Elizabeth is the family favorite, living a happy life until tragedy strikes. When her father suddenly dies, her uncle, Richard III, springs into action to profit from his death, mainly by taking control of the throne. But that’s not all he desires, as he seeks to make Elizabeth his bride. Thankfully, Henry Tudor challenges Richard’s position, defeating him in battle and ascending to power himself. A dramatic life captured in incredible detail, THE LAST WHITE ROSE depicts every nuance of Elizabeth of York en route to her mothering the son who would go on to become Henry VIII. Engaging throughout, Alison Weir’s historical fiction work is the ultimate example of how an expert in the field can turn a well-known period and personality into an engrossing novel.
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Two women in 1950s America will take risks and become involved in love stories that entangle their lives forever. In Philadelphia, fifteen-year-old Ruby is determined to become the first person in her family to attend college, but a forbidden romance threatens to tug her back to the life she came from. Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Eleanor falls in love with a man at Howard University who can give her the life she wants. But to impress his family, long-standing members of the city’s Black elite, she must have a baby and cope with the challenges of motherhood.
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From the award-winning author of Yellow Wife, a daring and redemptive novel set in 1950s Philadelphia and Washington, DC, that explores what it means to be a woman and a mother, and how much one is willing to sacrifice to achieve her greatest goal.
1950s Philadelphia: fifteen-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to becoming the first in her family to attend college, in spite of having a mother more interested in keeping a man than raising a daughter. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed on to her like a birthright.
Eleanor Quarles arrives in Washington, DC, with ambition and secrets. When she meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite wealthy Black families, and his parents don’t let just anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her finally feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been searching for. But having a baby—and fitting in—is easier said than done.
With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will both make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.
In Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1939, twenty-one-year-old Grace Baker is silently hanging laundry on a clothesline in her yard. Staring out at the water that sparkles before her, she thinks of all the boats she’s seen—fishing boats, canoes, and rowboats. Those were simpler days. Now, in the shadow of World War II, the boats she knew so well have been replaced by destroyers patrolling the shoreline. Grace thinks of her three brothers, whom she said goodbye to and watched go off to war. Everyone tells her that they will be home soon, but years later, Grace is still filling her days working at the small town’s general store and thinking of her brothers. One day, Rudi, a handsome stranger, comes into the store, claiming to be a trapper. Grace is immediately attracted to him and wants to know more about him. But when she discovers the truth that he’s hiding, Grace will be faced with a choice she never thought she would have to make. Heartwarming and poignant.
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Inspired by a little-known World War II legend, a young woman and a stranger “from away” are caught on opposite sides of war in this enthralling novel about love and second chances from USA TODAY and #1 bestselling author Genevieve Graham.
In the fall of 1939, Grace Baker’s three brothers, sharp and proud in their uniforms, board Canadian ships headed for a faraway war. Grace stays behind, tending to the homefront and the general store that helps keep her small Nova Scotian community running. The war, everyone says, will be over before it starts.
Three years later, the fighting rages on and the harsh realities of war come closer to home when rumours swirl about “wolf packs” of German U-Boats lurking in the deep waters along the shores of East Jeddore, a stone’s throw from Grace’s window.
Then, one day, a handsome stranger ventures into the store. He claims to be a trapper come from away, and, as Grace gets to know him, she becomes enamoured by his gentle smile and thoughtful ways. But after several weeks, she discovers that Rudi, her mysterious visitor, is not the lonely outsider he appears to be. He is someone else entirely—someone not to be trusted.
When a shocking truth about her family forces Grace to question everything she has so strongly believed, she realizes that she and Rudi have more in common than she had thought. And if Grace is to have a chance at love, she must not only choose a side, but take a stand.
Set against the tumultuous years of World War II, Come from Away is a mesmerizing story about strangers, enemies, and friends—and the power of love to transcend the barriers that keep us apart.
Art historian Iain Pears’s THE IMMACULATE DECEPTION is the seventh novel in his Jonathan Argyll series. If you haven’t read any of the previous novels in the series, don’t worry, this book operates well as a standalone featuring Jonathan’s wife, Flavia di Stefano, most prominently as she seeks to return a stolen Claude Lorrain painting taken from the Louvre. But the thing about Landscape with Cephalis and Procris being taken is that, despite a ransom being demanded, it’s actually against the law in Italy to make such a payment. As a result, Flavia, the acting head of Rome’s art-theft squad, must go a little “off the book” to solve this case. Meanwhile, Jonathan, an art historian studying an Immaculate Conception painting that was stolen many decades ago, is finding surprising revelations in its history that connect it to an old adversary and the current case that Flavia is undertaking. It seems that this search for an art thief might be far more deadly than first imagined. Fast-paced, high-spirited, and just downright fun, this book explores Rome from an art historian’s perspective and dives deep into the intriguing art-theft trade.
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From internationally bestselling author Iain Pears comes the seventh in his Jonathan Argyll series -- an intriguing mystery of love, loss, and artistic license.
For newlywed and Italian art theft squad head Flavia di Stefano, the honeymoon is over when a painting, borrowed from the Louvre and en route to a celebratory exhibition, is stolen. Desperate to avoid public embarrassment -- and to avoid paying a ransom -- the Italian prime minister leans hard on Flavia to get it back quickly and quietly.
Across town, her husband, art historian Jonathan Argyll, begins an investigation of his own, tracing the past of a small Renaissance painting -- an Immaculate Conception -- owned by Flavia's mentor, retired general Taddeo Bottando. Soon both husband and wife uncover astonishing and chilling secrets, and Flavia's investigation takes a sudden turn from the search for an art thief to the hunt for a murderer.
Meet your next read-in-one-sitting thriller! This suspenseful debut by Julia Bartz had me hooked from the first page. THE WRITING RETREAT is about a famous author who invites five up-and-coming female novelists to her home in the Adirondacks for a month-long writing competition. The retreat is fierce, but there is a whole lot more at stake than just winning. The gothic atmospheric setting and complicated characters are icing on the cake for this cold winter hair-raiser. That’s all I’ll say about the plot . . . to make this psychological read all the more intriguing.
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The Plot meets Please Join Us in this psychological suspense debut about a young author at an exclusive writer’s retreat that descends into a nightmare.
Alex has all but given up on her dreams of becoming a published author when she receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attend an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Even the knowledge that Wren, her former best friend and current rival, is attending doesn’t dampen her excitement.
But when the attendees arrive, Roza drops a bombshell—they must all complete an entire novel from scratch during the next month, and the author of the best one will receive a life-changing seven-figure publishing deal. Determined to win this seemingly impossible contest, Alex buckles down and tries to ignore the strange happenings at the estate, including Roza’s erratic behavior, Wren’s cruel mind games, and the alleged haunting of the mansion itself. But when one of the writers vanishes during a snowstorm, Alex realizes that something very sinister is afoot. With the clock running out, she’s desperate to discover the truth and save herself.
A claustrophobic and propulsive thriller exploring the dark side of female friendships and fame, The Writing Retreat is the unputdownable debut novel from a compelling new talent.
Few love words as uniquely as librarians. And, as THE PARIS LIBRARY depicts, it is a profession that seemingly has the books to answer just about any question or solve any problem there is. For Odile Souchet, newly appointed library assistant at the American Library in Paris in 1939, the problem is that of an impending war and an evil force. When Nazis take over Paris and capture her brother, she seeks to join the fight, transporting books to Jewish patrons who are no longer allowed to visit the library. She and her fellow librarians survive the war but are met with betrayal. Meanwhile, in 1983 Montana, a lonely teen named Lily looks to distract herself from her mother’s illness by befriending her elderly next-door neighbor, Odile. Sharing a love of language, Lily and Odile become inseparable, with Odile sharing her incredible past and a dark secret that seemingly connects them. Perfect for book lovers and those who live in the library stacks, THE PARIS LIBRARY is the quintessential piece of fiction that embodies the power of the written word.
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An instant New York Times, Washington Post, and USA TODAY bestseller—based on the true story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris during World War II—The Paris Library is a moving and unforgettable “ode to the importance of libraries, books, and the human connections we find within both” (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).
Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet seems to have the perfect life with her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into the city, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.
Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love of language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.
“A love letter to Paris, the power of books, and the beauty of intergenerational friendship” (Booklist), The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest places.
I completely devoured bestselling author Amy Stuart's A DEATH AT THE PARTY. I know it has been said many times over by thriller readers but this book truly had me guessing whodunit until the very end, and I have been raving about it to everyone I know since. It’s set over the course of a single day during an elaborate garden party and shows how a family drama devolves and rumors twist until they result in doting wife, mother, and daughter Nadine standing over a dead body in the cellar. If you love books by authors Lisa Jewell, Ashley Audrain, and Lucy Foley, you'll definitely want to pick this one up. A DEATH AT THE PARTY is a tense, literary thriller filled with secrets, haunting memories, and an exquisite twist ending.
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In this tense, spellbinding thriller set over the course of a single day, a woman prepares for a party that goes dreadfully wrong—for fans of Ashley Audrain and Lisa Jewell.
Nadine Walsh’s summer garden party is in full swing. The neighbors all have cocktails, the catered food is exquisite—everything’s going according to plan.
But Nadine—devoted wife, loving mother, and doting daughter—finds herself standing over a dead body in her basement while her guests clink glasses upstairs. What happened? How did it come to this?
Rewind to that morning, when Nadine is in her kitchen, making last-minute preparations before she welcomes more than a hundred guests to her home to celebrate her mother’s birthday. But her husband is of little help to her, her two grown children are consumed with their own concerns, and her mother—only her mother knows that today isn’t just a birthday party. It marks another anniversary as well.
Still, Nadine will focus just on tonight. Everyone deserves a celebration after the year they’ve had. A chance for fun. A chance to forget. But it’s hard to forget when Nadine’s head is swirling with secrets, haunting memories, and concerns about what might happen when her guests unite.
Ten years ago, U.S. State Department intelligence officer Jordan Weiss’s life was turned upside down when she was told her college boyfriend, Jared, drowned in the River Cam. In a shocking discovery, though, Jordan realizes she had been lied to and betrayed by those closest to her. Reeling from the shock— and the knowledge that Jared is still alive—Jordan sets off in search of answers. Traveling to Jared’s last known whereabouts on the French Riviera, she encounters Nicole, a mysterious woman who flees after refusing to disclose what she knows about Jared. Following Nicole across Europe, Jordan soon discovers that she is not alone in her pursuit— Aaron, a handsome and enigmatic Israeli, is chasing Nicole for his own cryptic reasons. Though distrustful of each other, Jordan and Aaron join forces on a journey that takes them half a world away, and only steps ahead of grave peril.
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New York Times Bestselling Author of The Orphan's Tale
Past wars, past lives, past loves…Can we ever really let them go…And should we?
Ten years ago, U.S. State Department intelligence officer Jordan Weiss’s life was turned upside down when she was told her college boyfriend, Jared, drowned in the River Cam. In a shocking discovery, though, she realizes that things weren’t as they seemed and that she had been lied to and betrayed by those closest to her. Reeling from the shock— and the knowledge that Jared is still alive—Jordan resigns her State Department post and sets off in search of answers. Traveling to Jared’s last known whereabouts on the French Riviera, she encounters Nicole, a mysterious woman who flees after refusing to disclose what she knows about Jared.
Following Nicole across Europe, Jordan soon discovers that she is not alone in her pursuit— Aaron, a handsome and enigmatic Israeli, is chasing Nicole for his own cryptic reasons. Though distrustful of each other, Jordan and Aaron join forces on a journey that takes them half a world away, and only steps ahead of grave peril.
As Jordan draws closer to finding the answers that have eluded her for a decade, larger questions remain: Can she reconcile her attraction to Aaron with her unresolved feelings for Jared, the only man she ever loved? Will the truth be too devastating to handle or finally set her free?
Will she have a chance at happiness at last? Thrilling, romantic, and impossible to put down, A Hidden Affair gives us a brave and relentless heroine who never gives up on her search for the truth.
Lisa Jewell always knows how to ensnare readers in a truly twisted tale, and WATCHING YOU is a perfect example. For instance, why have just one character who’s obsessed when you can have multiple ones? Joey has developed a bit of an unhealthy crush on her neighbor, the headmaster Tom Fitzwilliam, something Tom’s son, Freddie, is keeping a close eye on (while keeping a creepy eye on everyone else in the neighborhood too). But Joey isn’t the only one with Tom in her sights —Tom’s student Jenna is convinced her headmaster isn’t the good guy everyone thinks he is (there’s the matter of what seems to be an improper relationship between him and her best friend). And to top it all off, Jenna’s unbalanced mom is sure that Tom’s been stalking her. Is this educator who he seems to be, or does he have dark secrets that threaten the lives of all those caught in his web? You’ll just have to read this gripping novel to find out!
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Calling all historical fiction fans! Bestselling author Armando Lucas Correa’s THE NIGHT TRAVELERS has everything I love: multi-generational stories, complex characters, and a tale that will tug on your heartstrings. One generation’s story begins in 1931 Berlin with Ally, who must send her mixed-race daughter, Lilith, on a dangerous path to Havana in order to save her from Hitler’s deadly ideology of Aryan purity. Next we follow an adult Lilith, who must save her daughter, Nadine, from the upcoming Communist war by sending her to live in America. Decades later in 1988, Nadine finds herself back in her grandmother’s country of heritage, Germany, as a scientist, but one who has spent her entire lifetime avoiding the truth about her own family’s history. It is Nadine’s daughter, Luna, in turn, who begins to unravel the past and discovers a shocking betrayal that changes everything she thought she knew. This unforgettable story of mothers and daughters, sacrifice, and self-discovery will have you hastily turning the pages to discover what happens next. Over four generations, strong women captivatingly take center stage.
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Four generations of women experience love, loss, war, and hope from the rise of Nazism to the Cuban Revolution and finally, the fall of the Berlin Wall in this sweeping novel from the bestselling author of the “timely must-read” (People) The German Girl.
Berlin, 1931: Ally Keller, a talented young poet, is alone and scared when she gives birth to a mixed-race daughter she names Lilith. As the Nazis rise to power, Ally knows she must keep her baby in the shadows to protect her against Hitler’s deadly ideology of Aryan purity. But as she grows, it becomes more and more difficult to keep Lilith hidden so Ally sets in motion a dangerous and desperate plan to send her daughter across the ocean to safety.
Havana, 1958: Now an adult, Lilith has few memories of her mother or her childhood in Germany. Besides, she’s too excited for her future with her beloved Martin, a Cuban pilot with strong ties to the Batista government. But as the flames of revolution ignite, Lilith and her newborn daughter, Nadine, find themselves at a terrifying crossroads.
Berlin, 1988: As a scientist in Berlin, Nadine is dedicated to ensuring the dignity of the remains of all those who were murdered by the Nazis. Yet she has spent her entire lifetime avoiding the truth about her own family’s history. It takes her daughter, Luna, to encourage Nadine to uncover the truth about the choices her mother and grandmother made to ensure the survival of their children. And it will fall to Luna to come to terms with a shocking betrayal that changes everything she thought she knew about her family’s past.
Separated by time but united by sacrifice, four women embark on journeys of self-discovery and find themselves to be living testaments to the power of motherly love.
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