After years of living in the US, Linden Malegarde returns home to Paris to celebrate his father's 70th birthday. The whole family is there and tensions are running high as they navigate deeply ingrained family dynamics — coping with anxieties about success and disappointment — all while trying to keep the reunion as peaceful as possible.
Promising review: "Beautifully written and filled with quiet emotion — The Rain Watcher is the type of book that made me feel an incredible stillness while reading. There is an elegance to the way De Rosnay writes that is so delicate, and I think that is where the sense of peace comes from as you read her work." —Mackenzie
Nine strangers gather at Tranquillum House, a remote health resort, for ten days — some to lose weight, others to take a much needed break. Formerly best-selling novelist Frances Welty is there to deal with a few ailments, most significantly a broken heart, but she finds herself fascinated by her fellow guests — many of whom don't appear to need a health resort at all.
Promising review: "I can’t tell you what I loved about this book without giving away too much, so all I can say is, read it, read it, read it. There’s humor, there’s character development, there’s plot, there’s pathos — and did I mention humor?" —Not My Real Name
Violet Baumgartner is obsessed with maintaining the facade of a happy family, and for 30 years she's been crafting that image via annual holiday letters. She decides to throw her husband an epic retirement party (perfect for bragging about in this year's installment) but it's there that she finds out her daughter has been keeping a shocking secret from her, shattering that facade completely.
Promising review: "I love books about messy families and this one falls into that category. I never felt so many different emotions for one character until I met Violet Baumgartner. I liked her, disliked her, thought she was crazy, thought she was a disrespectful control freak; I had empathy for her and loved her... not in that order. Usually I plow through books and forget about them two days later but with this one I took my time and savored every minute." —Heidi Heberlein
Evelyn never took to motherhood; she married later in life, setting aside her career. When her daughter Laura grows up, she's desperate to marry as soon as possible, and ends up with a man whose expectations of those in his life are rigid and oppressive. When their daughter Grace leaves home, she's plagued by the sense that she'll never live up to her potential. It's a multi-generational story that looks at the trials of women in one family, looking at the ways their obligations to their families guide their lives and sense of self.
Promising review: "The writing just sings. Every word, sentence and paragraph fits together in perfect magical symmetry. The description of the college town is so vivid, that I could see every street, house, and garden." —SKS
When Lucille Howard takes her late friend Arthur's advice and begins teaching a baking class, she's shocked how quickly it takes off. To keep up with the growing interest, she hires an assistant — who can't bake but who is eager to work to keep her mind off of a big regret. And when a new family moves in next door, Lucille finds herself drawn to the son, who's struggling in his own way. It's a story about a close-knit community and taking care of those around you.
Promising review: "Berg's love for food and home shines through once again in this novel. She writes of such ordinary things with extraordinary love and care. Thank you, Elizabeth, for this wonderful warm escape from the world." —Beth
While staying in the attic of a rundown English country mansion, Frances Jellico discovers a peephole which allows her to see into the private lives of the couple below her. It's the summer of 1969, and Frances is there to research garden architecture, but she finds herself much more taken with Cara and Peter — who, to Frances's happy surprise, are eager to get to know her, too. But as the summer progresses, it becomes clear the couple are hiding something.
Promising review: "If you love a good, thought-out, spectacular character-driven story, this one is for you. If you enjoy fleshed-out characters, suspense, and quiet, gentle shocks, this is for you. This book is elegant, creepy, dark, and wonderful." —Pamela A. Poddany
Two years after the end of World War II, Eleanor Moskowitz and Patricia Bellamy suffer a minor traffic accident, and walk away with the sense that it was fated — Eleanor, a young teacher looking for work, will be tutor to Patricia's unruly daughter, Margaux. Eleanor and Margaux form an immediate bond; it's the only thing that makes Eleanor feel comfortable in the Bellamy's massive Park Avenue home. But when she is invited to spend the summer with the family at their Connecticut country home, a surprise romance between Eleanor and Patricia's brother forces the women to confront all of the unspoken prejudices that stand between them.
Promising review: "I was totally drawn into the lives of all the characters as they struggle with class and religious differences, marital issues and societal expectations. Not Our Kind is an engaging story of family, love and forgiveness with strong female characters and vivid descriptions of the settings. I highly recommend it for historical fiction fans of this era." —Carla S.
One summer, shortly before World War II, Chi Chi Donatelli and Saverio Armandonada fall in love on the Jersey shore. The pair have big, show biz dreams — they want to sing with the legendary orchestras of the time — and soon after their marriage they find themselves propelled into success, thrown into the worlds of night clubs, radio, and television. But if they want to have a family, one will have to set this burgeoning career aside. Who will it be?
Promising review: "This was wonderful, just wonderful. It’s so much more than a romance. It’s about the choices we make and how they impact our lives and the lives of those in our inner circle. It’s about lessons learned, even after repeated mistakes, and much more. [...] Chi-Chi was a strong, amazing woman I felt privileged to get to know." —Anon customer
When a young woman moves into her new fiance's opulent, secluded Long Island mansion, she expects to fall into a life of luxury. What she finds, instead, is a house haunted by the memory of her fiance's late first wife, and a teenage daughter who is intent on making her life terrible.
Promising review: "Gabriele has created a spellbinding read that is truly enticing. Her mastery of a storybook romance gone awry, the carefully constructed facade cracking, will keep the reader guessing until the final breathless conclusion." —Sheri Melnick
Adam and Emily are deeply and happily in love, but there's just one problem — Adam's mom, Pammie. Pammie would do anything for her son, and she'd do anything to preserve her own relationship with him. And now she wants Emily gone for good.
Promising review: "Holy cow, Jones wrote the hell out of this book. She wrote dysfunction at its truest form without fault or apology. She was extremely masterful at keeping the reader in one state of mind only to find out life has quite a few twists and turns. Wow! I loved this story!" —Kiwes
Irene Steele enters the new year with a new reality: Her husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash, and she and her sons must travel to the Caribbean island of St. John to sort out the details of this devastating accident. After they arrive, though, other details are uncovered — specifically that her beloved husband was leading a secret life.
Promising review: "This book is dazzling! I absolutely could not put it down. I loved everything about it — characters, setting, deceit and drama! A perfect forget-your-own-life read. Anxiously awaiting more." —ladybugs8453
When Alva Smith married into the Vanderbilt family, she was determined to win the respect of New York's rarefied old-money circles. Coming from the South, her family was left destitute after the Civil War, and the Vanderbilts — wealthy but shunned because of their new money — didn't bring her any clout. She made up for this by designing and building nine mansions, hosting decadent balls, and arranging for her daughter to marry a duke. But most significantly, she asserted power within her marriage and eventually became a leader in women's suffrage.
Promising review: "This novel was pure enjoyment, taking the reader back to a time in history when a way of life among the super-wealthy could only be imagined. Beautifully written, with characters who are genuine, and settings that are scrupulously described. Highly recommended." —Barbara McArthur
Reviews are edited for length and/or clarity.