2017 Summer Favorites
The Lost Book of the Grail

The Lost Book of the Grail

I love a good literary mystery, and it turns out I have plenty of company. This is the newest from the author of The Bookman's Tale and First Impressions. Arthur is a staid and steady—perhaps a trifle boring?—old-school Brit; Bethany is a techie American who's come to his English library to digitize his beloved ancient manuscripts. Arthur's smitten, yet quite concerned—will she interfere with his personal quest for the Grail? Books, romance, and literary high jinx—what's not to love? More info →
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Mr. Rochester

Mr. Rochester

Many of you said you were skeptical of anyone messing with the classics ... but found this really well done. In this work of historical fiction, Shoemaker imagines a backstory for Brontë's timeless hero, and it is not what I expected. She begins in his youth, with his education and increasingly complicated family history, then moves onto his troubled coming of age in Jamaica, his father's shady business dealings, and how he became entangled with Bertha Mason. This feels a little like Brontë, but even more like Dickens. More info →
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The Alice Network

The Alice Network

You'll probably be seeing this one everywhere now that Reese Witherspoon gave it a big thumbs-up. It's 1947, and society girl Charlie St. Clair is desperate to find her beloved cousin Rose, who mysteriously vanished during the war. Her inquiries lead her to Eve, a cranky old woman, who Charlie soon discovers has intimate ties to the first female spy network, and who may have personal and professional reasons for tracking down Rose—and getting revenge in the process. A little bit The Nightingale, a little bit Girl in Disguise. More info →
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He Said/She Said

He Said/She Said

I loved this one, and have been thrilled to see you all giving it so much love, especially because it just came out on June 27. Kit and Laura first came together because of a common obsession: they're eclipse chasers, who travel the world to experience solar eclipses firsthand. The story opens when the two are married, expecting their first children (twins!), and taking pains to keep any trace of their existence off the internet. We soon learn this is because of an event they witnessed at an eclipse festival in 1999, which, along with the subsequent trial, had devastating consequences for all involved, consequences that still endanger them today—and we're about to find out just how much. A fabulous psychological thriller. More info →
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The Jane Austen Project

The Jane Austen Project

I'm not the only one who found this Jane Austen time travel novel a pleasant surprise. Producers, are you paying attention? Readers are clamoring for this to become a good Netflix series. At some unspecified point in the future, the earth's atmosphere has been destroyed, food can no longer be grown, and wormholes to the past are in constant use. So when Rachel is asked to go back in time and retrieve the finished (yes, really!) manuscript of The Watsons, she jumps at the chance. But things do not go as planned... Gentle readers, this does not read like an Austen novel, and Janeite purists will need their smelling salts. But if you love Jane Austen AND Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, give this one a try. More info →
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The Good Widow

The Good Widow

Talk about a great pool-side read: this is exactly the kind of book many of you think of when you think "summer reading." Liz and Lisa's first thriller will suck you in and have you flying through the pages. Jacks's marriage had grown lukewarm, but it was stable—at least she thought so. Her husband was on a business trip to Kansas—or so she thought— when the cops show up to deliver the blow: her husband was killed in a car wreck. In Hawaii. And so was the young blonde with him. Soon Jacks is on a plane to Hawaii for answers, and the more she discovers, the less she understands. More info →
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Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage

Author:
Series: 2017 Summer Favorites, Book 3
I'm so glad many of you took a chance on this not-quite-traditional summer reading selection. This is still easily one of the best books I've read this year. I wouldn't have "gotten" this at 22 but adored it in my 30s. Time, memory, marriage—things many of us relate to, or can at least imagine—but Shapiro writes about them with such freshness the concepts seem brand new. My favorite line of exploration: the nature of mistakes, near-misses, and time: "The stumbles and falls; the lapses in judgment; the near misses; the could-haves. I’ve become convinced that our lives are shaped less by the mistakes we make than when we make them." If I were to judge my books by how many passages require book darts, this one wins everything. More info →
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