FICTION
The Island of Sea Women: A Novel

The Island of Sea Women: A Novel

See spins a tale of female friendship spanning eighty years, set against the backdrop of history in an incredible setting—the very real South Korean island of Jeju. On Jeju, women are the breadwinners, making their families’ livings by free-diving into the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean, harvesting seafood to sell, while the husbands stay home with the children. This tradition has gone on for thousands of years, and we see it lived out in the lives of Young-sook Mi-ja. The two girls become fast friends as seven-year-olds in 1938, but their respective marriages take them down different paths, and bring unforeseen tensions into their relationship. (The real historical events woven into the pages make for heartrending reading.)  A second storyline, set in 2008, gives readers hints of what may have caused the rift between the girls, but it’s only in the final pages that all is revealed. A fascinating, rewarding story of strong women, little-known history, and human resilience.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Libro.fm
Buy from Bookshop
Tidelands (The Fairmile Series)

Tidelands (The Fairmile Series)

This is the first installment in a new series from seasoned historical novelist Gregory, in which she focuses on what the lives of everyday people might have been like centuries ago. The characters all live in the Tidelands, a part of England that can't be mapped because land and water are constantly shifting due to the movement of the tides. They live on an island accessible only by ferry; there's one way in, one way out, and one family that controls all these comings and goings. The unstable mood and atmosphere permeate the story, and Louise Brealey's narration draws you right in to this world. In the background, King Charles is imprisoned on the Isle of Wight, but the story centers on a midwife and herbalist whose husband's follies have plunged her into a socially and economically perilous position. I tried this book out of curiosity, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
The Stationery Shop

The Stationery Shop

In 1953 Tehran, a young man failed to meet his betrothed in a Tehran square. Sixty years later and half a world away, the woman, now grown old, is about to discover why. This sweeping love story spans 60 years and two continents, taking the reader between contemporary New England and 1953 Tehran, thoroughly immersing the reader in the volatile political climate of 1950s Iran. This is easily one of the best books I've read this year: listen to me recommend it on Episode 194 of What Should I Read Next ("No plot, no problem!"), and we'll be reading it in the MMD Book Club in January, where we'll pair it with A Place for Us. If you enjoyed either of these books, add the other to your TBR right now.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
All This Could Be Yours

All This Could Be Yours

Author:
Genre: FICTION

The latest from Jami Attenberg, whom Refinery29 calls "the queen of dysfunctional families." And the publisher says, "think the drama of Big Little Lies set in the heat of a New Orleans summer."

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
The View from Penthouse B

The View from Penthouse B

"More delicious than my cup of steaming cocoa…tender, funny…The View from Penthouse B sparkles with wit." —The New York Times Book Review

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
The Best American Short Stories 2019 (The Best American Series)

The Best American Short Stories 2019 (The Best American Series)

Author:
Genre: FICTION

From the publisher: "'As soon as you complete a description of what a good story must be, a new example flutters through an open window, lands on your sleeve, and proves your description wrong,' writes Anthony Doerr about the task of selecting The Best American Short Stories. The year's best stories are a diverse, addictive group exploring everything from America's rich rural culture to its online teen culture to the fragile nature of the therapist-client relationship. This astonishing collection brings together the realistic and dystopic, humor and terror. The Best American Short Stories 2019 includes Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Jamel Brinkley, Jeffrey Eugenides, Ursula K. Le Guin, Manuel Muñoz, Sigrid Nunez, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, Jim Shepherd, Weike Wang, and others."

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
The Lost Queen: A Novel

The Lost Queen: A Novel

The "lost queen" is Languoreth, a real sixth century Scottish queen whose twin brother inspired the legend of Merlin. Ancient Scotland is the perfect setting for a fantasy novel. Ancient magic, complex politics, and clashing religions all conspire to create an intriguing story. Reminiscent of the Arthurian legends, this book is perfect for fans of Phillippa Gregory.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel

Cruel Beautiful World: A Novel

Author:
Genre: FICTION

The Boston Globe calls this "A seductive page-turner that ripples with an undercurrent of suspense." From the publisher: It's 1969, and sixteen-year-old Lucy is about to run away with a much older man to live off the grid in rural Pennsylvania, a rash act that will have frightening repercussions for both her and her older sister, Charlotte. As Lucy's default caretaker for most of their lives, Charlotte has always been burdened by having to be the responsible one, but never more so than when Lucy's dream of a rural paradise turns into a nightmare."

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
The Secret Life of Anna Blanc (An Anna Blanc Mystery Book 1)

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc (An Anna Blanc Mystery Book 1)

When you’ve had your fill of Victorian London, visit 1907 Los Angeles, its corrupt police department, and a young woman determined to serve justice. Socialite Anna Blanc wants to be the next Sherlock Holmes. While she has the skill set, her social position prevents her from achieving her dream, so she pays off her chaperone, adopts an alias, and becomes a police matron for the LAPD. When she discovers that the police are covering up several brothel murders, she takes on the investigation and plunges into danger. Add in a dash of romance, and you have a perfectly page-turning mystery.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
Gold: A Novel

Gold: A Novel

When my husband, Will, was on the podcast, he named this as his favorite book possibly ever—and so I made it a winter break priority. I LOVED it and read it in two days. The story centers around two velodrome cyclists who are best friends and arch-rivals, training under the same coach for their last remaining shot at the London Olympics, while respectively navigating personal crises and the life-threatening sickness of a child (note that content warning, please). I was riveted as Cleave set out the complicated history between the two women and kept raising the stakes in the present. The story is told from multiple points of view to great effect; the coach's point of view made the book for me.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
This Tender Land: A Novel

This Tender Land: A Novel

Part Grapes of Wrath, part Huckleberry Finn: this tough and tender coming-of-age story focuses on four Minnesota kids during the Great Depression, whose respective situations become ever more impossible due to human cruelty and circumstance. After a tornado demolishes the last of life as they know it, they realize no one is going to save them—and so they make a plan to save themselves that starts with escaping down the river. This is one of my husband Will’s favorite books of the year. A great story, beautifully told.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Bookshop
Thrush Green (Thrush Green Series, Book 1)

Thrush Green (Thrush Green Series, Book 1)

Author:
Genre: FICTION

From the publisher: "Welcome to Thrush Green, the neighboring village to Fairacre, with its blackthorn bushes, thatch-roofed cottages, enchanting landscape, and jumble sales. Readers will enjoy meeting a new cast of characters and also spotting familiar faces as they become immersed in the village’s turn of events over the course of one pivotal day: May Day. All year, the residents of Thrush Green have looked forward to the celebration. Before the day is over, life and love, and perhaps eternity, will touch the immemorial peace of the village."

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies

Audrey Niffenegger calls this Romeo and Juliet retelling “A strange and unexpected treat…elegantly written, touching, and fun.” R is not your average zombie. Yes, he eats the occasional human, but he also enjoys simple pleasures, like Frank Sinatra’s music and collecting apocalyptic tchotchkes. When he meets Julie, all of the love-at-first-sight cliches come true. He feels warm, human again, but their star-crossed romance causes unexpected implications for humanity at large.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
Twice in a Blue Moon

Twice in a Blue Moon

Author:
Genre: FICTION

From the publisher: "From the New York Times best-selling duo behind The Unhoneymooners comes a poignant romance that follows two people who fall in love during a life-changing overseas vacation. As an adventurous send-off to her childhood, 18-year-old Tate Jones travels with her grandmother from their small town in Northern California to London. But the vacation of a lifetime is wonderfully derailed by the appearance of two charming Vermont farmers: grandfather Luther and his handsome grandson, Sam. Sam and Tate fall hard and fast. For two glorious weeks, the couple share their hopes, dreams, and secrets. Sam admits he suspects his grandfather is dying and that this could be the last trip they take together, and Tate reveals that she is the hidden daughter of one of the biggest film stars in the world - a secret she's never told anyone before. But when Tate is exposed by a crush of cameras and reporters, she knows she's been betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust. She is forced to decide whether she will return to her quiet life or embrace being in the public eye."

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

Salt Houses

Author:
Series: Sweeping Family Sagas
Genre: FICTION

Alyn's debut novel follows three generations of a Palestinian family from the Six-Day War of 1967 to 1990 Kuwait to Beirut, Paris, and Boston. The story opens with Alia's wedding, when Alia's mother, Salma, reads her future and sees both turmoil and travel. While she keeps her premonitions secret, they all come true as the family is uprooted by war and loss. A lyrical tale of assimilation and the importance of family.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
The Promise: A Novel

The Promise: A Novel

Author:
Genre: FICTION

Publishers Weekly says this has shades of Willa Cather, Sinclair Lewis, and Conrad Richter.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
The Dearly Beloved: A Novel

The Dearly Beloved: A Novel

Author:
Series: Sweeping Family Sagas
Genre: FICTION

A compelling premise and graceful telling landed this one on my favorites list. Charles and Lily meet James and Nan in 1963 Greenwich Village when Charles and James are both called to serve Third Presbyterian Church. The two men steward the church through upheaval and change, despite their personal differences. I couldn't stop reading as the couples and their families struggle with faith and friendship.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
How Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories

How Long ’til Black Future Month?: Stories

Author:
Genre: FICTION

N.K. Jemisin is one of the most notable science fiction writers of our time. These days writers with great taste are reading Jemisin; she's one of the best world-builders out there.

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

Ordinary Grace

From the publisher: "New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson's Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder. When tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family—which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother—he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years."

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
The Family Upstairs: A Novel

The Family Upstairs: A Novel

From the publisher: "Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she's been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought:  I am finally going to know who I am. She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London's fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. But what she can't possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them." Ruth Ware called this, "Rich, dark, and intricately twisted, this enthralling whodunit mixes family saga with domestic noir to brilliantly chilling effect."

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
Passion on Park Avenue

Passion on Park Avenue

Author:
Genre: FICTION

Reviewers say Lauren Layne is sexy, snarky, and charming—perfect for fans of Candace Bushnell, Christina Lauren, and Sally Thorne. "From the publisher: "An Oprah.com Best Romance Novel! From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, the first in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps. For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it's going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan's upper class stop treating her like an outsider."

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Clear Light of Day

Clear Light of Day

Author:
Genre: FICTION

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. James Mustich in his 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die recommends this as a "moving and atmospheric novel" about two sisters who clearly love each other, but whose relationship is strained, caring for their autistic brother at home. The novel flashes back from Old Delhi to their childhood in independence-era India. This is very much a family novel, but one that lives in history's shadow.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
The Wild Inside (Glacier Mystery Series)

The Wild Inside (Glacier Mystery Series)

Author:
Series: Wilderness Novels
Genre: FICTION

At fourteen, Ted Systead faced a camper's worst nightmare: his father was viciously attacked by a grizzly bear. At thirty-four, Ted serves as a Special Agent for the Department of the Interior. When he gets called back to Glacier National Park for a case that eerily resembles his father’s death, he must sort through his own trauma in addition to the murky details of the case. Stubborn townspeople and a powerful beast complicate his investigation as Ted treks deeper and deeper into the wilderness.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
Nothing Short of Dying: A Clyde Barr Novel

Nothing Short of Dying: A Clyde Barr Novel

Author:
Series: Wilderness Novels
Genre: FICTION

Sixteen years ago, Clyde Barr left the beautiful Colorado landscape for the adventure of a lifetime. Since then, he's travelled around the world as a hunter, mercenary, and convict. Now he's back home, but the past still haunts him. While camping, Clyde gets a frantic phone call from his sister, Jen. The line goes dead before he gets her location, sending him into rescue-mode. Along with his sidekick Allie, Clyde will stop at nothing to save his sister.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
The River at Night: A Novel

The River at Night: A Novel

Author:
Series: Wilderness Novels
Genre: FICTION

When Winifred Allen's best friends suggest a wilderness adventure in Maine for their annual girls' trip, she reluctantly agrees. Swimming in depression and grief, Wini could really go for more of a beach vacation. But hiking and rafting through the Allagash Wilderness proves to be revitalizing...until their trip takes a treacherous turn. After a freak accident, Wini and her friends are stranded and forced to rely on strangers for supplies and shelter. Just when the women think they're safe, the battle for survival really begins, and Wini must prove her strength.

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