2018 Summer Reading Guide
The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts

If you picked this book up because of the cover, I wouldn't blame you a bit. Zadie and Emma have been best friends since med school; now they're practicing physicians in Charlotte. But when an old colleague comes to town, he stirs up long-buried secrets from the past. If you love Gray's Anatomy, this one's for you. This novel had special appeal for me because it's set alternately in Charlotte, where I spent some time last fall, and Louisville, where I've lived for years.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman

This quirky little book is unlike anything I've ever read. Keiko was an uncommon child with worried parents until she takes on a job in a convenience store. They relax that she's found a pleasant and predictable routine while at university. But eighteen years later, she is still working her low-level job, and doesn't understand why society expects more from her than that. In fact, she doesn't seem to understand society's expectations—or how to conform to them—at all. Hot tip: critics are comparing Keiko to French heroine Amélie, although the two live different lives in different worlds.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
That Kind of Mother

That Kind of Mother

From the author of Rich and Pretty, a thought-provoking novel about parenthood, race, adoption. There’s a recurring Princess Diana motif in the book and I love that. The scene: late 1980s, Washington DC: diplomat’s wife Rebecca Stone has just given birth to her firstborn, and finds herself completely overwhelmed by the demands of new motherhood. Nurse Priscilla is the only person who soothes her anxieties, so much so that Rebecca persuades her to quit her job at the hospital to become her nanny. Rebecca is white; Priscilla is black—and their relationship opens Rebecca’s eyes to the comfortable truths of her own privilege. A few years later Priscilla’s own pregnancy ends in tragedy, and Rebecca steps forward to adopt Priscilla’s black baby. Her husband is baffled: is Rebecca really prepared for the realities of being a white woman with a black son? In this sensitive and sharply observed novel, Alam probes how far love and good intentions can go.
More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
Clock Dance

Clock Dance

From the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Accidental Tourist, a family drama about the quiet joys of making a life with the people you love—whether they’re family or not. Willa is a 61-year-old woman whose track record with men isn’t great, as we see through scenes set when she’s 11, 21, 41, and finally 61. They patronize her and expect to be waited on, while Willa doesn’t stand up for what she wants. Willa doesn’t even know what she wants. But then one day the phone rings, with news that her son’s ex-girlfriend Denise has been shot in Baltimore, and Denise’s daughter—presumably Willa’s granddaughter—needs someone to look after her. It’s a misunderstanding—these people are strangers to Willa—but she travels to Baltimore to lend a hand. Willa settles in to the rhythms of the family’s life, finding herself appreciated for herself for the first time. I enjoyed this quiet novel with characters you can root for (and root against, depending).

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
The Hazel Wood

The Hazel Wood

I loved this so much I included it in the 2018 Summer Reading Guide. Alice and her mom have spent 17 years on the run, trying to dodge the persistent bad luck mysteriously connected to an unnerving book of stories penned by Alice's estranged grandmother. When Alice's grandmother dies, her mother thinks they're free—until the day Alice comes home from school to discover Ella has been kidnapped, leaving behind a page torn from her grandmother's book and a note: Stay away from the Hazel Wood. But Alice has to save her mom, so she enters what she slowly begins to see is her grandmother's book of stories-come-to-life—and they suddenly look a lot more like horror than fantasy. This seriously twisted and sometimes bloody fairy tale reminds me of The Thirteenth Tale, with a dash of The Matrix.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

Bavarian widow moves to Sicily and rediscovers her love of living. "On her sixtieth birthday my Auntie Poldi moved to Sicily, intending to drink herself comfortably to death with a sea view." So says Poldi's nephew Michael. But life gets in the way: when Poldi's handyman goes missing, Poldi resolves to find him—with the help of the sexy police Commissario and a host of quirky Italians. Her quest brings Poldi back to life, and all she loves about it—namely prosecco, men, and gossip. Big-hearted and funny, smart and escapist: it's like taking your own Italian vacation.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
I’ll Be Your Blue Sky

I’ll Be Your Blue Sky

A MINIMALIST SUMMER PICK. Marisa de los Santos returns to the characters she introduced in Love Walked In. The day before her wedding, Clare has cold feet. Enter Edith, an elderly stranger Clare connects with instantly, who nudges Clare to cancel her wedding to a man who scares her. Not long after, Clare receives notice that Edith has died, and bequeathed her a strange gift—her house. Clare seeks refuge there after her nonwedding, and soon learns hints of the past role the house—and Edith—played in a “relocation system” that served women fleeing domestic violence in the 1950s. The story flips back and forth in time between Clare’s current dilemma and the 1950s mystery. This is the sequel I didn’t know I wanted, easy to read while covering serious emotional territory, packed with literary references that will warm book lovers’ hearts.
More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s Bombay)

The Widows of Malabar Hill (A Mystery of 1920s Bombay)

A MINIMALIST SUMMER PICK. Perveen Mistry is Bombay’s first female solicitor, employed by her father’s respected firm. When her father’s Muslim client dies, he is tasked with executing the will, but the three devout widows “stay behind the veil,” and must not be seen by men. When the duo discover irregularities in the estate documents, Perveen resolves to speak with the widows, because—as a woman—she’s the only one who can. Perveen is determined to protect their interests, not just because of her legal obligations but because of a disastrous past marriage, where she experienced firsthand the cruelty women can endure under the law. Toss in a murder investigation, and you get a tightly-crafted mystery, a vividly-drawn multicultural setting, and a plucky heroine fiercely taking on the challenges of her time.
More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
Sunburn

Sunburn

$12.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Audible)

From the <a href=https://modernmrsdarcy.com/summer-reading-guide-2018/>Summer Reading Guide</a>. Laura Lippman's new novel begins with a sexy stranger perched on a bar stool in small-town Delaware. "It's the sunburned shoulders that get him." The bartender senses she's up to something, and he's right—Polly just walked out in the middle of her family's beach vacation, leaving her husband and three-year-old daughter behind. What kind of woman abandons her family? Her husband thinks he knows, but he doesn't know Polly’s been playing him for a long time, and she's just getting started. Soon a handsome private eye is on her tail to untangle her web of crimes—and the surprising motivation behind them—although he might get ensnared in the process. Heads up for MMD Book Clubbers: this feels like a grown-up cousin to <a href=https://modernmrsdarcy.com/books/what-i-saw-and-how-i-lied/>What I Saw and How I Lied</a>.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Force of Nature

Force of Nature

From the Summer Reading Guide. Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns in Harper’s standalone follow-up to her bestselling debut The Dry, with a premise reminiscent of Picnic at Hanging Rock. Alice Russell is Falk’s insider source on a big money-laundering case he’s been working. When Alice disappears during a wilderness expedition with some of the targets of the probe, Falk suspects foul play and rushes to aid in the search. Falk and his teammate soon discover Alice and her respective team members each kept deadly secrets and bore old grudges. If he is to untangle the mystery, he must first untangle the knotted relationships. The setting, Australia's brooding (and fictional) Giralang Ranges, is a character in itself in this intricately-plotted procedural.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Not That I Could Tell

Not That I Could Tell

In Strawser’s new domestic suspense, a tight-knit group of women gather around the backyard firepit, drink a little too much wine, and stay up way too late. By morning, one of them has vanished, and so have her children. As the authorities (and the women) begin to investigate what might have happened, they find they have more questions than answers, and the husband’s suspicious behavior has them all looking over their shoulders. Did their friend simply run away, or was she harmed, and above all—why? This would make an excellent companion to <em>I'll Be Your Blue Sky</em>.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
The Wedding Date

The Wedding Date

Guillory’s debut was inspired by frustration: she wanted to read more books about people like her and her friends: single, with jobs, and living in cities (instead of quirky small towns like you often see in romance). Oh, and she wanted to see black women in the pages. Enter The Wedding Date. Drew and Alexa meet cute in a broken-down elevator; sparks are flying within seconds. Drew’s in town to watch his ex marry his best friend (ouch). He doesn’t have a date, so he asks Alexa to come along—and pretend to be his girlfriend. But soon the fake relationship starts to feel surprisingly real. But they both have big jobs they love, in different cities. Drew’s track record with women isn’t great. Alexa is black, and Drew is white. In short: it gets complicated. But it’s a rom-com, so they’re going to see it through. Heads up, readers: this is seriously racy in parts.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
A Place for Us

A Place for Us

I adored Mirza’s slow-burning debut about an Indian-American Muslim family, which skillfully probes themes of identity, culture, family, and generational change. “I am to see to it that I do not lose you,” reads the epigraph (Whitman), and the story wonders if, despite our best intentions, one might nevertheless wound someone they love deeply enough to lose them, forever. The story opens with the oldest daughter’s wedding: the bride scans the crowd for her beloved yet rebellious brother, hoping he’ll appear despite being estranged from the family for years. Through a series of flashbacks, and in rotating points of view, Mirza examines the series of small betrayals that splintered the family, skillfully imbuing quotidian events—a chance meeting at a party, a dinner conversation about a spelling test—with deep significance, showing how despite their smallness, they irrevocably alter the course of the family’s life. The last section is a stunner, but grab the tissues first.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
What We Were Promised

What We Were Promised

After twenty years abroad, the Zhens return to their native China to take up residence among Shanghai’s nouveau riche. But deep unease lies behind the façade of their pampered lifestyle: husband Wei finds no satisfaction at work, wife Lina spends her days shopping and lunching, and both miss their daughter, who attends school in America. When Wei’s long-lost brother reappears, he stirs up a host of long-buried emotions, forcing Lina to revisit past choices she hid from her husband. The backdrop of contemporary Shanghai and a national festival highlights how the family embodies China’s current conflicts and complexities: rich vs poor, urban vs rural, old vs new values. A compelling story of class, culture, regret, and anxiety about the road not taken.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
The Perfect Couple

The Perfect Couple

Well this is new: a murder mystery from Nantucket novelist Hilderbrand that brings back beloved past characters. Celeste and Benji’s wedding is supposed to the big event of the season … until Celeste finds her maid of honor’s body floating in the bay on her wedding day. She was up before dawn because she was sneaking away from the scene of the festivities with a packed bag. Everyone thought Celeste and Benji were the perfect couple, so what is going on? As the Nantucket police open their investigation, the timeline moves back and forth between the wedding weekend and the start of the couple’s relationship, allowing the reader to slowly put the pieces together. This easy-reading mystery features well-developed characters, a solid plot, plus the food and style readers expect from Hilderbrand.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com