New Books To Check Out This Month
Historical fiction, mystery thrillers and memoirs can fill up your beach bag while on summer vacation! There is a book for everyone here, and one I am personally looking forward to reading is Tom Lake by Ann Patchett.
A Bakery in Paris by Aimie K. Runyan (Historical Fiction)
From the author of The School for German Brides, this captivating historical novel set in nineteenth-century and post-World War II Paris follows two fierce women of the same family, generations apart, who find that their futures lie in the four walls of a simple bakery in a tiny corner of Montmartre.
1870: The Prussians are at the city gates, intent to starve Paris into submission. Lisette Vigneau–headstrong, willful, and often ignored by her wealthy parents–awaits the outcome of the war from her parents’ grand home in the Place Royale in the very heart of the city. When an excursion throws her into the path of a revolutionary National Guardsman, Theodore Fournier, her destiny is forever changed. She gives up her life of luxury to join in the fight for a Paris of the People. She opens a small bakery with the hopes of being a vital boon to the impoverished neighborhood in its hour of need. When the city falls into famine, and then rebellion, her resolve to give up the comforts of her past life is sorely tested.
1946: Nineteen-year-old Micheline Chartier is coping with the loss of her father and the disappearance of her mother during the war. In their absence, she is charged with the raising of her two younger sisters. At the hand of a well-meaning neighbor, Micheline finds herself enrolled in a prestigious baking academy with her entire life mapped out for her. Feeling trapped and desperately unequal to the task of raising two young girls, she becomes obsessed with finding her mother. Her classmate at the academy, Laurent Tanet, may be the only one capable of helping Micheline move on from the past and begin creating a future for herself.
Both women must grapple with loss, learn to accept love, and face impossible choices armed with little more than their courage and a belief that a bit of flour, yeast, sugar, and love can bring about a revolution of their own.
The Last Masterpiece by Laura Morelli (Historical Fiction)
In a race across Nazi-occupied Italy, two women—a German photographer and an American stenographer—hunt for priceless masterpieces looted from the Florentine art collections.
In the summer of 1943, Eva Brunner is taking photographs of Nazi-looted art hidden in the salt mines of the Austrian hinterland. Across the ocean in Connecticut, Josephine Evans is working as a humble typist at the Yale Art Gallery.
When both women are called to Italy to contribute to the war effort, neither imagines she will hold the fate of some of the world’s greatest masterpieces torn from the Uffizi Galleries and other Florentine art collections in her hands.
But as Italy turns from ally to enemy and Hitler’s plan to destroy irreplaceable monuments and works of art becomes frighteningly clear, each woman’s race against the clock—and against one another—might demand more than they were prepared to give.
The Last Masterpiece takes readers on a heart-pumping adventure up the Italian peninsula, where nothing is as it seems and some of the greatest works of art and human achievement are at stake. Who might steal and who might save a work of art—and at what cost?
Inspired by the incredible true story of the Monuments Women, the Fifth Army WACs, and the looted Florentine art collections during World War II, the latest historical novel by USA Today bestselling author and art historian Laura Morelli plunges readers into the heart of war-torn Italy.
There’s No Coming Back From This by Ann Garvin (Chick Lit)
“The show must go on” takes on a whole new meaning for one single mom in a witty and emotional novel by the USA Today bestselling author of I Thought You Said This Would Work . It seems lately that Poppy Lively is invisible to everyone but the IRS. After her accountant absconded with her life savings, newly bankrupt Poppy is on the verge of losing her home when an old flame, now a hotshot producer, gives her a surprising way a job in costumes on a Hollywood film set. It’s a bold move to pack her bags, keep secrets from her daughter, and head to Los Angeles, but Poppy’s a capable person—how hard can a job in wardrobe be? It’s not like she has a choice; her life couldn’t get any worse. Even so, this midwesterner has a lot to learn about the fast and loose world of movie stars, iconic costumes, and back-lot intrigue. As a single mom, she’s rarely had time for watching movies, she doesn’t sew, and she doesn’t know a thing about dressing the biggest names in the business. Floundering and overlooked, Poppy has one Allen Carol, an ill-tempered movie star taken with Poppy’s unfiltered candor and general indifference to stardom. When Poppy stumbles upon corruption, she relies on everyone underestimating her to discover who’s at the center of it, a revelation that shakes her belief in humanity. What she thought was a way to secure a future for her daughter becomes a spotlight illuminating the Poppy is out of her league among the divas of Tinseltown. Poppy must decide whether to keep her mouth shut, as she’s always done, or with the help of a scruffy dog, show the moviemakers that they need her unglamorous ways, whether the superstars like it or not.
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (Fiction)
In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.
Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.
Wine People by Michelle Wildgen (Fiction)
A rich, intoxicating escape into the hedonistic and cutthroat world of wine and what happens when two ambitious women, opposites in every way, join forces to succeed in a competitive male-dominated industry. In their late 20s, Wren and Thessaly land coveted jobs at a glamorous New York City boutique wine distribution company where they’re expected to have an exquisite wine palate, endless tolerance for alcohol and socializing, and the ability to sell, sell, sell. Hardworking, by-the-book Wren comes from a modest background and has everything to prove. Thessaly hails from a family of California wine growers. Her natural charm is shadowed by an overwhelming sense of self doubt. On a fateful business trip to Europe, the unlikely pair forge an alliance and launch a friendship that changes the course of their careers and lives. With mouth-watering descriptions of food and wine, Wine People is an utterly entertaining page-turner that explores all the ways the closest of friends can both misjudge and uplift the ones they love.
The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman (Aug. 15 – Historical Fiction)
From the beloved New York Times bestselling author of The Marriage of Opposites and the Practical Magic series comes an enchanting novel about love, heartbreak, self-discovery, and the enduring magic of books.
One brilliant June day when Mia Jacob can no longer see a way to survive, the power of words saves her. The Scarlet Letter was written almost two hundred years earlier, but it seems to tell the story of Mia’s mother, Ivy, and their life inside the Community—an oppressive cult in western Massachusetts where contact with the outside world is forbidden, and books are considered evil. But how could this be? How could Nathaniel Hawthorne have so perfectly captured the pain and loss that Mia carries inside her?
Through a journey of heartbreak, love, and time, Mia must abandon the rules she was raised with at the Community. As she does, she realizes that reading can transport you to other worlds or bring them to you, and that readers and writers affect one another in mysterious ways. She learns that time is more fluid than she can imagine, and that love is stronger than any chains that bind you.
As a girl Mia fell in love with a book. Now as a young woman she falls in love with a brilliant writer as she makes her way back in time. But what if Nathaniel Hawthorne never wrote The Scarlet Letter ? And what if Mia Jacob never found it on the day she planned to die?
Nathaniel Hawthorne “A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.”
This is the story of one woman’s dream. For a little while it came true.
Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo (Magical Realism)
From bestselling, National Book Award-winning author Elizabeth Acevedo comes her first novel for adults, the story of one Dominican-American family told through the voices of its women as they await a gathering that will forever change their lives.
Flor has a gift: she can predict, to the day, when someone will die. So when she decides she wants a living wake–a party to bring her family and community together to celebrate the long life she’s led–her sisters are surprised. Has Flor forseen her own death, or someone else’s? Does she have other motives? She refuses to tell her sisters, Matilde, Pastora, and Camila.
But Flor isn’t the only person with secrets. Matilde has tried for decades to cover the extent of her husband’s infidelity, but she must now confront the true state of her marriage. Pastora is typically the most reserved sister, but Flor’s wake motivates this driven woman to solve her sibling’s problems. Camila is the youngest sibling, and often the forgotten one, but she’s decided she no longer wants to be taken for granted.
And the next generation, cousins Ona and Yadi, face tumult of their own: Yadi is reuniting with her first love, who was imprisoned when they were both still kids; Ona is married for years and attempting to conceive. Ona must decide whether it’s worth it to keep trying–to have a child, and the anthropology research that’s begun to feel lackluster.
Spanning the three days prior to the wake, Family Lore traces the lives of each of the Marte women, weaving together past and present, Santo Domingo and New York City. Told with Elizabeth Acevedo’s inimitable and incandescent voice, this is an indelible portrait of sisters and cousins, aunts and nieces–one family’s journey through their history, helping them better navigate all that is to come.
None of This is True by Lisa Jewell (Aug. 8 – Mystery/Thriller)
Lisa Jewell returns with a scintillating new psychological thriller about a woman who finds herself the subject of her own popular true crime podcast.
Celebrating her forty-fifth birthday at her local pub, popular podcaster Alix Summers crosses paths with an unassuming woman called Josie Fair. Josie, it turns out, is also celebrating her forty-fifth birthday. They are, in fact, birthday twins.
A few days later, Alix and Josie bump into each other again, this time outside Alix’s children’s school. Josie has been listening to Alix’s podcasts and thinks she might be an interesting subject for her series. She is, she tells Alix, on the cusp of great changes in her life.
Josie’s life appears to be strange and complicated, and although Alix finds her unsettling, she can’t quite resist the temptation to keep making the podcast. Slowly she starts to realise that Josie has been hiding some very dark secrets, and before she knows it, Josie has inveigled her way into Alix’s life—and into her home.
But, as quickly as she arrived, Josie disappears. Only then does Alix discover that Josie has left a terrible and terrifying legacy in her wake, and that Alix has become the subject of her own true crime podcast, with her life and her family’s lives under mortal threat.
Who is Josie Fair? And what has she done?
Learned By Heart by Emma Donoghue (Aug. 29 – Historical Fiction)
A heartbreakingly gorgeous novel based on the true story of two girls who fall secretly, deeply, and dangerously in love at boarding school in 19th century York, from the bestselling author of Room and The Wonder.
Drawing on years of investigation and Anne Lister’s five-million-word secret journal,Learned by Heart is the long-buried love story of Eliza Raine, an orphan heiress banished from India to England at age six, and Anne Lister, a brilliant, troublesome tomboy, who meet at the Manor School for young ladies in York in 1805 when they are both fourteen.
Emotionally intense, psychologically compelling, and deeply researched, Learned by Heartis an extraordinary work of fiction by one of the world’s greatest storytellers. Full of passion and heartbreak, the tangled lives of Anne Lister and Eliza Raine form a love story for the ages.
Under the Tamarind Tree by Nigar Alam (Aug. 15 – Historical Fiction)
A compellingly heartbreaking debut novel about the echoes of Partition and four friends whose dark secrets lead to a life-changing night that comes back to haunt them decades later.
One night. Four friends. Countless secrets.
1964. Karachi, Pakistan. Rozeena is running out of time. She’ll lose her home—her parents’ safe haven since fleeing India and the terrors of Partition—if her medical career doesn’t take off soon. But success may come with an unexpected price. Meanwhile the interwoven lives of her childhood best friends—Haaris, Aalya, and Zohair—seem to be unraveling with each passing day. The once small and inconsequential differences between their families’ social standing now threaten to divide them. Then one fateful night someone ends up dead and the life they once took for granted shatters.
2019. Rozeena receives a call from a voice she never thought she’d hear again. What begins as an ask to look after a friend’s teenaged granddaughter struggling with her own demons grows into an unconventional friendship—one that unearths buried secrets and just might ruin everything Rozeena has worked so hard to protect.
Captivating and atmospheric, Under the Tamarind Tree shows us the high-stakes ripple effects of generational trauma, and the lengths people will go to protect the ones they love.
New York Times bestselling author Lara Love Hardin recounts her slide from soccer mom to opioid addict to jailhouse shot-caller and her unlikely comeback as a highly successful ghostwriter in this harrowing, hilarious, no-holds-barred memoir.
No one expects the police to knock on the million-dollar, two-story home of the perfect cul-de-sac housewife. But soccer mom Lara Love Hardin has been hiding a shady she is funding her heroin addiction by stealing her neighbors’ credit cards.
Lara is convicted of thirty-two felonies and becomes inmate S32179. She learns that jail is a class system with a power structure that is somewhere between an adolescent sleepover party and Lord of the Flies . Furniture is made from tampon boxes and Snickers bars are currency. But Lara quickly finds the rules and brings love and healing to her fellow inmates as she climbs the social ladder to become the “shot caller,” showing that jailhouse politics aren’t that different from the PTA meetings she used to attend.
When she’s released, she reinvents herself as a ghostwriter. Now, she’s legally co-opting other people’s identities and getting to meet Oprah, meditate with The Dalai Lama, and have dinner with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. But the shadow of her past follows her. Shame is a poison worse than heroin—there is no way to detox. Lara must learn how to forgive herself and others, navigate life as a felon on probation, prove to herself that she is more good than bad, and much more.
The Many Lives of Mama Love is a heartbreaking and tender journey from shame to redemption, despite a system that makes it almost impossible for us to move beyond the worst thing we have ever done.
Everything/Nothing/Someone by Alice Carriere (Aug. 29 – Memoir)
A powerful literary debut that tells of a young woman’s coming-of-age in the bohemian ’90s, as her adolescence gives way to a struggle with dissociative disorder.
Alice Carrière tells the story of her unconventional upbringing in Greenwich Village as the daughter of a remote mother, the renowned artist Jennifer Bartlett, and a charismatic father, European actor Mathieu Carrière. From an early age, Alice is forced to navigate her mother’s recovered memories of ritualized sexual abuse, which she turns into art, and her father’s confusing attentions. Her days are a mixture of privilege, neglect, loneliness, and danger—a child living in an adult’s world, with little-to-no enforcement of boundaries or supervision.
When she enters adolescence, Alice begins to lose her grasp on herself, as a dissociative disorder erases her identity and overzealous doctors medicate her further away from herself. She inhabits various roles: as a patient in expensive psychiatric hospitals, a denizen of the downtown New York music scene, the ingenue in destructive encounters with older men—ricocheting from experience to experience until a medication-induced psychosis brings these personas crashing down. Eventually, she finds purpose in caring for her Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother as she descends into dementia, in a love affair with a recovering addict who steadies her, in confronting her father, whose words and actions splintered her, and in finding her voice as a writer.
With gallows humor and brutal honesty, Everything/Nothing/Someone explores what it means for our body and mind to belong to us wholly, irrevocably, and on our own terms. In pulsing, energetic prose that is both precise and probing, Alice manages to untangle the stories told to her by her parents, the American psychiatric complex, and her own broken mind to craft a unique and mesmerizing narrative of emergence and, finally, cure.