The most popular ebooks on the blog in 2018

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.
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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.
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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.
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I can't do better than my bookstore-owning friend Holland to sum this one up: Imagine The Help meets Comic Con, and you've got this story about right. Talented graphic novelist Leia finds herself unexpectedly pregnant after a drunken one-night-stand at a comic book convention. She doesn't know the father's name, but he looked awfully cute in his Batman suit. As Leia absorbs the knowledge that she'll soon be a mother to a biracial baby, she is summoned home to Alabama to do what she can for her struggling family—her stepsister's unraveling marriage, her grandmother's worsening dementia, and a shocking secret hidden in the family attic. This is a fast-reading, big-hearted novel that tackles Serious Issues really, really well—while spinning a terrific story.
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This is one of the buzziest books of spring, both for the stories in and surrounding the book. The author's agent plucked this one from the slush pile, sold it for a rumored price of nearly a million dollars, and Scarlett Johansson is already slated to star in the film adaptation. I read this in just two days because I wanted to know what happens next. If you love domestic noir, give this a try. (If you have had your fill of that genre, this book is not going to change your mind.) The story unfolded like a Hitchcock movie in my mind. If you loved this year's Dangerous Crossing, pick this one up (and vice versa).
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