Liv and Nora are cousins, close as sisters. After a rough year and lots of family drama, they're in desperate need of a low-key family getaway. The cruise was going to be perfect. And it is, for a while. But then on a normal—almost boring—Central American shore excursion, a series of misunderstandings and misjudgments ends with terrifying confusion—where are the children? Soon enough, the adults realize six children have vanished—and from alternating points of view, we discover where they went, and why, and who's to blame. (There's lots to go around.) Readers take note: this is messy, and a little racy.
Violet and Finn were meant to be—anyone who knows their story knows that much. Yet three years into their marriage, Violet walks into the hotel room she's sharing with her husband and son and finds that Finn is gone—and he's taken their son with him. In a matter of days, her picture-perfect marriage is revealed to be something else, maybe even something sinister: Finn is wanted on a kidnapping charge, and Violet wonders if she ever knew him at all. I love that the plot hinges on a Craigslist "missed connections" posting, and the atypical Cincinnati setting is satisfying and believable. Publication date: March 28.
This was a hard read because of the content but so, so good. Backman's latest novel is set in a backwater Swedish town whose glory days are gone—except when it comes to hockey. In Beartown, hockey is everything, and the players on the boys' A-team have god-like status. But this isn't just a hockey story. One night after a huge win, the teens throw a raucous party to celebrate—and what happens there splinters the community. Part coming-of-age story, part community-in-crisis, completely fabulous. (And I don't care a bit about hockey, so that's saying something.) Heads up, readers: triggers abound. If you've read and enjoyed Backman in the past, you'll recognize his skillful prose, but not the tone: this novel bears none of the whimsy of his previous work.
The book begins with an accident. It was just a fender-bender, and it wasn't their fault, but after two years in Jordan as an Army wife, Cass has learned it doesn't matter—as Americans, they're always the guilty party. Newly arrived Margaret, whose husband is also stationed at the Embassy, chafes at these local "customs," and all the other cultural pressures she feels as an American living in a country that's becoming increasingly dangerous. But Margaret determines to go pay the "guilt tax" anyway, and asks Cass to babysit her child while she tends to her quick errand. When Margaret doesn't return, Cass becomes annoyed, then increasingly worried.... as it dawns on Cass that she never understood her friend at all. This close look at two women, two marriages, and two worlds is dark and broody in the best kind of way. Publication date: June 27.
After a scorching summer and months of no rain, the largest fires in Maine's history swept over its coast, from Bar Harbor to Kittery. In Shreve's claustrophobic domestic suspense we experience this real event through the eyes of Grace Holland, whose marriage is its own sort of natural disaster. Her husband came back from the war a little broken. So did her friend's husbands, yet they don't seem as cruel. When wildfires break out, her husband leaves to help dig a fire break, and Grace and her children flee to the ocean to escape the flames. When her husband doesn't return, Grace thinks she's lost him forever—and she's far from devastated. But then he returns, and the real trouble begins. Dark and a little melodramatic, but oh-so-discussable. Publication date: April 18.