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Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok Book Summary:
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A READ WITH JENNA * TODAY SHOW BOOK CLUB PICK NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK BY New York Times * Time * Marie Claire * Elle * Buzzfeed * Huffington Post * Good Housekeeping * The Week * Goodreads * New York Post * Publishers Weekly and many more "This is a true beach read! You can't put it down!" - Jenna Bush Hager, Today Show Book Club Pick "Powerful . . . A twisting tale of love, loss, and dark family secrets." -- Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water A poignant and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women--two sisters and their mother--in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears, and a series of family secrets emerge, from the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother--and then vanishes. Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn't rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love. But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it's Amy's turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister's movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy's complicated family--and herself--than she ever could have imagined. A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone--especially those we love.
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok Book Summary:
An Instant New York Times Bestseller A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick! “Powerful . . . A twisting tale of love, loss, and dark family secrets.” — Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water A poignant and suspenseful drama that untangles the complicated ties binding three women—two sisters and their mother—in one Chinese immigrant family and explores what happens when the eldest daughter disappears, and a series of family secrets emerge, from the New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Translation It begins with a mystery. Sylvie, the beautiful, brilliant, successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands for one final visit with her dying grandmother—and then vanishes. Amy, the sheltered baby of the Lee family, is too young to remember a time when her parents were newly immigrated and too poor to keep Sylvie. Seven years older, Sylvie was raised by a distant relative in a faraway, foreign place, and didn’t rejoin her family in America until age nine. Timid and shy, Amy has always looked up to her sister, the fierce and fearless protector who showered her with unconditional love. But what happened to Sylvie? Amy and her parents are distraught and desperate for answers. Sylvie has always looked out for them. Now, it’s Amy’s turn to help. Terrified yet determined, Amy retraces her sister’s movements, flying to the last place Sylvie was seen. But instead of simple answers, she discovers something much more valuable: the truth. Sylvie, the golden girl, kept painful secrets . . . secrets that will reveal more about Amy’s complicated family—and herself—than she ever could have imagined. A deeply moving story of family, secrets, identity, and longing, Searching for Sylvie Lee is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family. It is a profound exploration of the many ways culture and language can divide us and the impossibility of ever truly knowing someone—especially those we love. “This is a true beach read! You can’t put it down!” – Jenna Bush Hager, Today Show Book Club Pick
Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok Book Summary:
From the bestselling author of Searching for Sylvie Lee and Girl in Translation, a novel about a young woman torn between her family duties in Chinatown and her escape into the world of ballroom dancing. Twenty-two-year-old Charlie Wong grew up in New York’s Chinatown, the older daughter of a Beijing ballerina and a noodle maker. Though an ABC (America-born Chinese), Charlie’s entire world has been limited to this small area. Now grown, she lives in the same tiny apartment with her widower father and her eleven-year-old sister, and works—miserably—as a dishwasher. But when she lands a job as a receptionist at a ballroom dance studio, Charlie gains access to a world she hardly knew existed, and everything she once took to be certain turns upside down. Gradually, at the dance studio, awkward Charlie’s natural talents begin to emerge. With them, her perspective, expectations, and sense of self are transformed—something she must take great pains to hide from her father and his suspicion of all things Western. As Charlie blossoms, though, her sister becomes chronically ill. As Pa insists on treating his ailing child exclusively with Eastern practices to no avail, Charlie is forced to try to reconcile her two selves and her two worlds—Eastern and Western, old world and new—to rescue her little sister without sacrificing her newfound confidence and identity.
Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok Book Summary:
New York Times bestseller Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok is a powerful story about a Chinese immigrant family in Brooklyn.Kimberley Chang and her mother move from Hong Kong to New York. A new life awaits them - making a new home in a new country. But all they can afford is a verminous, broken-windowed Brooklyn apartment. The only heating is an unreliable oven. They are deep in debt.And neither one speaks one word of English.Yet there is hope. Eleven-year-old Kim goes to school. And though cut off by an alien language and culture and forced by poverty to work nights in a sweatshop - she finds the classroom challenges liberating. In books and learning she'll be saved. But can Kim successfully turn to lost girl from Hong Kong into a happy American woman? And should she?Jean Kwok's powerful and moving tale of hardship and triumph, of heartbreak and love, speaks of all that gets lost in translation.'A sensitively handled rites-of-passage account...has the unmistakable ring of authenticity' Metro'A truly amazing story that'll leave you full of admiration and affection for the characters' Easy Living'A classic and moving immigration story' RedJean Kwok emigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn as a child; her first novel Girl in Translation is based loosely on her own experience as a Chinese immigrant in America. With Girl in Translation Jean Kwok has won the American Library Association Alex Award, an Orange New Writers title and international critical acclaim.
La Boutique Obscure by Georges Perec Book Summary:
The beguiling, never-before-translated dream diary of Georges Perec In La Boutique Obscure Perec once again revolutionized literary form, creating the world’s first “nocturnal autobiography.” From 1968 until 1972—the period when he wrote his most well-known works—the beloved French stylist recorded his dreams. But as you might expect, his approach was far from orthodox. Avoiding the hazy psychoanalysis of most dream journals, he challenged himself to translate his visions and subconscious churnings directly into prose. In laying down the nonsensical leaps of the imagination, he finds new ways to express the texture and ambiguity of dreams—those qualities that prove so elusive. Beyond capturing a universal experience for the first time and being a fine document of literary invention, La Boutique Obscure contains the seeds of some of Perec’s most famous books. It is also an intimate portrait of one of the great innovators of modern literature.
The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck Book Summary:
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A shocking murder in an affluent Helsinki suburb has ties to witchcraft and the occult in this thrilling U.S. debut from Finnish author Max Seeck. A bestselling author's wife has been found dead in a gorgeous black evening gown, sitting at the head of an empty dining table. Her most chilling feature--her face is frozen in a ghastly smile. At first it seems as though a deranged psychopath is reenacting the gruesome murders from the Witch Hunt trilogy, bestsellers written by the victim's husband. But investigator Jessica Niemi soon realizes she's not looking for a single killer but rather for dozens of believers in a sinister form of witchcraft who know her every move and are always one step ahead. As the bodies start piling up, Jessica knows they won't stop until they get what they want. And when her dark past comes to light, Jessica finds herself battling her own demons while desperately trying to catch a coven of killers before they claim their next victim.
Bronte's Mistress by Finola Austin Book Summary:
“A beautifully written, highly seductive debut….The chemistry between Branwell and Lydia positively crackles on the page….Masterful storytelling which is sure to delight fans of the Brontës and of historical fiction.” –Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter This dazzling debut novel for fans of Mrs. Poe and Longbourn explores the scandalous historical love affair between Branwell Brontë and Lydia Robinson, giving voice to the woman who allegedly corrupted her son’s innocent tutor and brought down the entire Brontë family. Yorkshire, 1843: Lydia Robinson—mistress of Thorp Green Hall—has lost her precious young daughter and her mother within the same year. She returns to her bleak home, grief-stricken and unmoored. With her teenage daughters rebelling, her testy mother-in-law scrutinizing her every move, and her marriage grown cold, Lydia is restless and yearning for something more. All of that changes with the arrival of her son’s tutor, Branwell Brontë, brother of her daughters’ governess, Miss Anne Brontë and those other writerly sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Branwell has his own demons to contend with—including living up to the ideals of his intelligent family—but his presence is a breath of fresh air for Lydia. Handsome, passionate, and uninhibited by social conventions, he’s also twenty-five to her forty-three. A love of poetry, music, and theatre bring mistress and tutor together, and Branwell’s colorful tales of his sisters’ elaborate play-acting and made-up worlds form the backdrop for seduction. But Lydia’s new taste of passion comes with consequences. As Branwell’s inner turmoil rises to the surface, his behavior grows erratic and dangerous, and whispers of their passionate relationship spout from her servants’ lips, reaching all three protective Brontë sisters. Soon, it falls on Lydia to save not just her reputation, but her way of life, before those clever girls reveal all her secrets in their novels. Unfortunately, she might be too late. Meticulously researched and deliciously told, Brontë’s Mistress is a captivating reimagining of the scandalous affair that has divided Brontë enthusiasts for generations and an illuminating portrait of a courageous, sharp-witted woman who fights to emerge with her dignity intact.
Searching For Sylvia by JOANNA. STEPHEN-WARD Book Summary:
Sylvia has been missing for thirty years. Will her daughters ever find her? Tordorrach is 70,000 acres of drought-stricken land in the Australian outback. Why do a group of wealthy people from London want to buy it? Seamus, the owner of Tordorrach, lives in poverty. His homestead is derelict and he is heavily in debt. The new owners run Outback Experience holidays on Tordorrach. Seamus becomes one of the gardeners, and he and his wife Mary move to a comfortable cabin on the property. Why does he hate the new owners so much that he plans to murder one of them? The idyllic life of the new owners is shattered when the body of a woman is found buried on Tordorrach. Forensics find a bullet in her body. Who was she? And who murdered her?
Rembrandt's Shadow by Janet Lee Berg Book Summary:
Sylvie Rosenberg escaped the Holocaust-- but can she escape the past? October 20, 1942. Benjamin Katz and his six-year-old daughter Sylvie stand with their frightened family at a train station in occupied Holland, unsure if the train would take them to their freedom-- or to a death camp. Hitler and his henchmen have long had their eye on the art collection of Benjamin and his brother, which includes Rembrandt's "Portrait of Raman." Now the brothers are faced with the ultimate choice --part with the art, or suffer the consequences. Based on a true story, Rembrandt's Shadow is the tale of two women from different generations who find themselves forced to confront each other years later-- while still haunted by the past.
Who Do You See When You Look at Me? by Angela Ray Rogers Book Summary:
Who do you see when you look at me? Most notice my wheelchair, my voice, or my crazy hair. I am me, just me, doing my best to live each day to the fullest I can. There is more to me than you might realize. I have gifts and talents that make me unique. There are also things I do just like you-things we have in common that you might not even know. When we take the time to learn about each other, something grand happens-love and understanding. Open your mind, your soul, your heart, and you will see the real me...when you look at me.
The Dearly Beloved by Cara Wall Book Summary:
“This gentle, gorgeously written book may be one of my favorites ever.” —Jenna Bush Hager (A Today show “Read with Jenna” Book Club Selection!) “A thoughtful, beautiful multigenerational novel about love, God, jealousy, and friendship.” —Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love “A moving portrait of love and friendship set against a backdrop of social change.” —The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice) “Here is the power of the novel in its simplest, richest form: bearing intimate witness to human beings grappling with their faith and falling in love. That Wall executes it so beautifully? Well, this is exactly why we read literary fiction...The best book about faith in recent memory.” —Entertainment Weekly (A-) Charles and Lily, James and Nan. They meet in Greenwich Village in 1963 when Charles and James are jointly hired to steward the historic Third Presbyterian Church through turbulent times. Their personal differences however, threaten to tear them apart. Charles is destined to succeed his father as an esteemed professor of history at Harvard, until an unorthodox lecture about faith leads him to ministry. How then, can he fall in love with Lily—fiercely intellectual, elegantly stern—after she tells him with certainty that she will never believe in God? And yet, how can he not? James, the youngest son in a hardscrabble Chicago family, spent much of his youth angry at his alcoholic father and avoiding his anxious mother. Nan grew up in Mississippi, the devout and beloved daughter of a minister and a debutante. James’s escape from his desperate circumstances leads him to Nan and, despite his skepticism of hope in all its forms, her gentle, constant faith changes the course of his life. In The Dearly Beloved, we follow these two couples through decades of love and friendship, jealousy and understanding, forgiveness and commitment. Against the backdrop of turbulent changes facing the city and the church’s congregation, these four forge improbable paths through their evolving relationships, each struggling with uncertainty, heartbreak, and joy. A poignant meditation on faith and reason, marriage and children, and the ways we find meaning in our lives, Cara Wall’s The Dearly Beloved is a gorgeous, wise, and provocative novel that is destined to become a classic.
Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon Book Summary:
“Chemo, radiation, a zillion surgeries, watching my mom age twenty years in twenty months . . . if that’s part of the Big Dude’s plan, then it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Enough said.” Smart-mouthed and funny, sometimes raunchy, Richard Casey is in most ways a typical seventeen-year-old boy. Except Richie has cancer, and he's spending his final days in a hospice unit. In this place where people go to die, Richie has plans to make the most of the life he has left. Sylvie, the only other hospice inmate under sixty, has a few plans of her own for Richie. What begins as camaraderie quickly blossoms into real love, and this star-crossed pair is determined to live on their own terms, in whatever time remains.
The Library of Legends by Janie Chang Book Summary:
“The Library of Legends is a gorgeous, poetic journey threaded with mist and magic about a group from a Chinese university who take to the road to escape the Japanese invasion of 1937 – only to discover that danger stalks them from within. Janie Chang pens pure enchantment!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Alice Network and The Huntress From the author of Three Souls and Dragon Springs Road comes a captivating historical novel—the third in a loosely-connected trilogy—in which a young woman travels across China with a convoy of student refugees, fleeing the hostilities of a brutal war with Japan. “Myths are the darkest and brightest incarnations of who we are…” China, 1937: When Japanese bombs begin falling on the city of Nanking, nineteen-year-old Hu Lian and her classmates at Minghua University are ordered to flee. Lian and a convoy of more than a hundred students, faculty, and staff must walk a thousand miles to the safety of China’s western provinces, a journey marred by hunger, cold, and the constant threat of aerial attack. And it is not just the student refugees who are at risk: Lian and her classmates have been entrusted with a priceless treasure, a 500-year-old collection of myths and folklore known as the Library of Legends. Her family’s past has made Lian wary of forming attachments, but the students’ common duty to safeguard the Library of Legends forms unexpected bonds. Lian finds friendship and a cautious romance with the handsome and wealthy Liu Shaoming. But after one classmate is murdered and another arrested, Lian realizes she must escape from the convoy before a family secret puts her in danger. Accompanied by Shao and the enigmatic maidservant Sparrow, Lian makes her way to Shanghai, hoping to reunite with her mother. On the journey, Lian learns of the connection between her two companions and a tale from the Library of Legends, The Willow Star and the Prince. Learning Shao and Sparrow’s true identities compels Lian to confront her feelings for Shao. But there are broader consequences too, for as the ancient books travel across China, they awaken immortals and guardian spirits to embark on an exodus of their own, one that changes the country’s fate forever. Based on true events, rich in Chinese history and lore, The Library of Legends is both an illuminating exploration of China’s recent past and an evocative tale of love, sacrifice, and the extraordinary power of storytelling.
The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin Book Summary:
One fateful summer. Four lives changed, forever. The stunning new novel from the New York Times bestselling author, Tara Conklin. ‘Engrossing and vivid . . . A richly observed novel, both ambitious and welcoming’ New York Times bestselling author, Meg Wolitzer
The Bakeshop at Pumpkin and Spice by Donna Kauffman,Kate Angell,Allyson Charles Book Summary:
Every autumn, Moonbright, Maine, is the picture of charm with its piles of crisp leaves, flickering jack-o’-lanterns ... and a touch of the sweetest kind of enchantment. Witches, goblins, the occasional ghost—they’re all sure to be spotted at the annual Halloween parade, where adults and children alike dress in costume to celebrate Moonbright’s favorite holiday. And no place has more seasonal spirit than Bellaluna’s Bakeshop, a family business steeped in traditional recipes, welcoming warmth—and, legend has it, truly spellbinding, heart-melting treats ... Between good-natured Halloween tricks, frothy pumpkin lattes, and some very special baked goods, for three Moonbright residents looking for love—whether they know it or not—the spookiest thing will be how magical romance can suddenly be ... PRAISE FOR THE COTTAGE ON PUMPKIN AND VINE “This wonderful, well-written collection calls to mind brisk autumn nights cuddled with a loved one.” —Publishers Weekly “This diverse trio of stories bring three couples to love with a charming, slightly sexy Halloween flair ... Sassy, funny, and dusted with magic.” —Library Journal “Delightful and spicy. . . . With humor and a little mysticism thrown in, each story winds its way to a happy ever after. Every pairing comes to fruition in a unique way.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars Includes cookie recipes!
Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang Book Summary:
From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother. That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . . In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate near Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in. Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the haunted courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes. Always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother, Jialing grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, guided by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past. But she finds herself drawn into a murder at the periphery of political intrigue, a relationship that jeopardizes her friendship with Anjuin and a forbidden affair that brings danger to the man she loves.
The Walking People by Mary Beth Keane Book Summary:
A “beautifully crafted” novel of two sisters’ lives, spanning from 1950s Ireland to modern-day America (Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin). Greta Cahill never believed she would leave her village in west Ireland. Yet one day she found herself on a ship bound for New York, along with her sister, Johanna, and a boy named Michael Ward, a son of itinerant tinkers. Back home, her family hadn’t expressed much confidence in her abilities, but Greta discovers that in America she can fall in love, earn a living, and build a life. She longs to return and show her family what she has made of herself—but that could mean revealing a secret about her past to her children. So she carefully keeps her life in New York separate from the life she once loved in Ireland, torn from the people she is closest to. Decades later, she discovers that her children, with the best of intentions, have conspired to unite the worlds she has so painstakingly kept apart. And though the Ireland of her memory may bear little resemblance to that of present day, she fears it is still possible to lose all . . . “A compelling drama of transatlantic Irish life.” —Billy Collins “Marries a deliciously old-fashioned style of storytelling with a fresh take on the immigrant experience . . . A warm, involving family drama.” —Booklist
Patsy: A Novel by Nicole Dennis-Benn Book Summary:
Best Books of 2019: Washington Post • O, The Oprah Magazine • Time • NPR • People • Buzzfeed A TODAY Show #ReadWithJenna Book Club Selection Winner • Lambda Literary Award [Lesbian Fiction] A Washington Post Lily Lit Club Selection Longlisted • PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction American Library Association • A Barbara Gittings Literature Award Honor Book (Stonewall Book Awards) Finalist • Aspen Words Literary Prize Apple Books • Best Books of the Month New York Times Book Review • Editors’ Choice Selection Kirkus Reviews • Most Memorable Fictional Families of 2019 Longlisted • The Morning News Tournament of Books A Rumpus Book Club Selection A beautifully layered portrait of motherhood, immigration, and the sacrifices we make in the name of love from award-winning novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn. Heralded for writing “deeply memorable . . . women” (Jennifer Senior, New York Times), Nicole Dennis-Benn introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine for our times: the eponymous Patsy, who leaves her young daughter behind in Jamaica to follow Cicely, her oldest friend, to New York. Beating with the pulse of a long-withheld confession and peppered with lilting patois, Patsy gives voice to a woman who looks to America for the opportunity to love whomever she chooses, bravely putting herself first. But to survive as an undocumented immigrant, Patsy is forced to work as a nanny, while back in Jamaica her daughter, Tru, ironically struggles to understand why she was left behind. Greeted with international critical acclaim from readers who, at last, saw themselves represented in Patsy, this astonishing novel “fills a literary void with compassion, complexity and tenderness” (Joshunda Sanders, Time), offering up a vital portrait of the chasms between selfhood and motherhood, the American dream and reality.
The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim Book Summary:
A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK 'I loved this book so much' REESE WITHERSPOON 'Suspenseful and deeply felt...raises questions about the reality of the American dream and illuminates stories that often go untold, in life as well as fiction' CHLOE BENJAMIN, bestselling author of The Immortalists Reminiscent of Celeste Ng's page-turning meditations on identity, this searing mother-daughter story explores the diverse and unsettling realities of being an immigrant in America. Margot Lee's mother is ignoring her calls. Margot cannot understand why, until she makes a surprise trip home to Koreatown, LA. What she finds there makes her realise how little she knows about her mother, Mina. Thirty years earlier, Mina Lee steps off a plane to take a chance on a new life in America. Stacking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing she expects is to fall in love. But that moment will have shattering consequences for Mina, and everything she left behind in Seoul. Through the intimate lens of a mother and daughter who have struggled all their lives to understand each other, Margot and Mina's story unravels the unspoken secrets that can drive two people apart - or perhaps bind them closer together. --- 'Carefully illuminates the two sides of the silence between a Korean immigrant mother and her Korean American daughter, a silence only too familiar to many of us - and emerges with a stunningly powerful and original novel' ALEXANDER CHEE, bestselling author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore Book Summary:
An instant New York Times Bestseller A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick! A thrilling debut that deserves your attention. -Ron Charles, the Washington Post Written with the haunting emotional power of Elizabeth Strout and Barbara Kingsolver, an astonishing debut novel that explores the lingering effects of a brutal crime on the women of one small Texas oil town in the 1970s. Mercy is hard in a place like this . . . It's February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town's men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow. In the early hours of the morning after Valentine's Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramírez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whitehead's ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil field--an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences. Valentine is a haunting exploration of the intersections of violence and race, class and region in a story that plumbs the depths of darkness and fear, yet offers a window into beauty and hope. Told through the alternating points of view of indelible characters who burrow deep in the reader's heart, this fierce, unflinching, and surprisingly tender novel illuminates women's strength and vulnerability, and reminds us that it is the stories we tell ourselves that keep us alive. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Roots and Sky by Christie Purifoy Book Summary:
When Christie Purifoy arrived at Maplehurst that September, she was heavily pregnant with both her fourth child and her dreams of creating a sanctuary that would be a fixed point in her busily spinning world. The sprawling Victorian farmhouse sitting atop a Pennsylvania hill held within its walls the possibility of a place where her family could grow, where friends could gather, and where Christie could finally grasp and hold the thing we all long for--home. In lyrical, contemplative prose, Christie slowly unveils the small trials and triumphs of that first year at Maplehurst--from summer's intense heat and autumn's glorious canopy through winter's still whispers and spring's gentle mercies. Through stories of planting and preserving, of opening the gates wide to neighbors, and of learning to speak the language of a place, Christie invites readers into the joy of small beginnings and the knowledge that the kingdom of God is with us here and now. Anyone who has felt the longing for home, who yearns to reconnect with the beauty of nature, and who values the special blessing of deep relationships with family and friends will love finding themselves in this story of earthly beauty and soaring hope.
The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger Book Summary:
INSTANT NATIONAL BESTSELLER "Goes down as easy as a gin and tonic on a summer day." - J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times Book Review "Top of the syllabus for book clubs." - People "The summer read that predicted the college-admissions scandal." -The Wall Street Journal Smart and juicy, a compulsively readable novel about a previously happy group of friends and parents that is nearly destroyed by their own competitiveness when an exclusive school for gifted children opens in the community This deliciously sharp novel captures the relentless ambitions and fears that animate parents and their children in modern America, exploring the conflicts between achievement and potential, talent and privilege. Set in the fictional town of Crystal, Colorado, The Gifted School is a keenly entertaining novel that observes the drama within a community of friends and parents as good intentions and high ambitions collide in a pile-up with long-held secrets and lies. Seen through the lens of four families who've been a part of one another's lives since their kids were born over a decade ago, the story reveals not only the lengths that some adults are willing to go to get ahead, but the effect on the group's children, sibling relationships, marriages, and careers, as simmering resentments come to a boil and long-buried, explosive secrets surface and detonate. It's a humorous, keenly observed, timely take on ambitious parents, willful kids, and the pursuit of prestige, no matter the cost.
All Adults Here by Emma Straub Book Summary:
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A TODAY SHOW #ReadWithJenna BOOK CLUB PICK! "In a time when all we want is hope, it’s a beautiful book to reach for." -Jenna Bush Hager “Literary sunshine.”—New York Times “The queen of the summer novel.”—Entertainment Weekly "Brimming with kindness, forgiveness, humor and love and yet (magically) also a page turner that held me captive until it was finished. This is Emma Straub's absolute best and the world will love it. I love it." —Ann Patchett “An immensely charming and warmhearted book. It’s a vacation for the soul.”—Vox A warm, funny, and keenly perceptive novel about the life cycle of one family--as the kids become parents, grandchildren become teenagers, and a matriarch confronts the legacy of her mistakes. From the New York Times bestselling author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers. When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she'd been to her three, now-grown children. But to what consequence? Astrid's youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her daughter is pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence. And her eldest seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which long-ago lapses were the ones that mattered? Who decides which apologies really count? It might be that only Astrid's thirteen-year-old granddaughter and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most. In All Adults Here, Emma Straub's unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.
Florida by Lauren Groff Book Summary:
**A BARACK OBAMA BOOK OF THE YEAR** **2018 National Book Awards Finalist** In these vigorous stories, Lauren Groff brings her electric storytelling to a world in which storms, snakes and sinkholes lurk at the edge of everyday life, but the greater threats are of a human, emotional and psychological nature. Among those navigating it all are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy, grown up; a restless, childless couple; a searching, homeless woman; and an unforgettable conflicted wife and mother. The stories in this collection span characters, towns, even centuries, but Florida – its landscape, climate, history and state of mind – becomes the gravitational centre. With shocking accuracy, Groff pinpoints the connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury – the moments that make us alive. 'Restorative fiction for these urgent times.' New York Times ‘A blistering collection ... lyrical and oblique.' Guardian
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins Book Summary:
"A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged. Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother's sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from--a place to which she vowed she'd never return."--Provided by publisher.
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes Book Summary:
"In a small town in Maine, recently widowed Eveleth "Evvie" Drake rarely leaves her house. Everyone in town, including her best friend, Andy, thinks grief keeps her locked inside, and she doesn't correct them. In New York, Dean Tenney, former major-league pitcher and Andy's childhood friend, is struggling with a case of the "yips": he can't throw straight anymore, and he can't figure out why. An invitation from Andy to stay in Maine for a few months seems like the perfect chance to hit the reset button. When Dean moves into an apartment at the back of Evvie's house, the two make a deal: Dean won't ask about Evvie's late husband, and Evvie won't ask about Dean's baseball career. Rules, though, have a funny way of being broken--and what starts as an unexpected friendship soon turns into something more. But before they can find out what might lie ahead, they'll have to wrestle a few demons: the bonds they've broken, the plans they've changed, and the secrets they've kept. They'll need a lot of help, but in life, as in baseball, there's always a chance--right up until the last out"--
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins Book Summary:
The #1 New York Times Bestseller, USA Today Book of the Year, now a major motion picture starring Emily Blunt. The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives, from the author of Into the Water. “Nothing is more addicting than The Girl on the Train.”—Vanity Fair “The Girl on the Train has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since Gone Girl. . . . [It] is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership.”—The New York Times “Marries movie noir with novelistic trickery. . . hang on tight. You'll be surprised by what horrors lurk around the bend.”—USA Today “Like its train, the story blasts through the stagnation of these lives in suburban London and the reader cannot help but turn pages.”—The Boston Globe “Gone Girl fans will devour this psychological thriller.”—People EVERY DAY THE SAME Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She's even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life--as she sees it--is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. UNTIL TODAY And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua Book Summary:
NATIONAL BESTSELLER * In a powerful debut about modern-day motherhood, immigration, and identity, a pregnant Chinese woman stakes a claim to the American dream in California. "Utterly absorbing."--Celeste Ng * "A marvel of a first novel."--O: The Oprah Magazine * "The most eye-opening literary adventure of the year."--Entertainment Weekly NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post * NPR * Real Simple Holed up with other mothers-to-be in a secret maternity home in Los Angeles, Scarlett Chen is far from her native China, where she worked in a factory and fell in love with the married owner, Boss Yeung. Now she's carrying his baby. To ensure that his child--his first son--has every advantage, Boss Yeung has shipped Scarlett off to give birth on American soil. As Scarlett awaits the baby's arrival, she spars with her imperious housemates. The only one who fits in even less is Daisy, a spirited, pregnant teenager who is being kept apart from her American boyfriend. Then a new sonogram of Scarlett's baby reveals the unexpected. Panicked, she goes on the run by hijacking a van--only to discover that she has a stowaway: Daisy, who intends to track down the father of her child. The two flee to San Francisco's bustling Chinatown, where Scarlett will join countless immigrants desperately trying to seize their piece of the American dream. What Scarlett doesn't know is that her baby's father is not far behind her. A River of Stars is a vivid examination of home and belonging and a moving portrayal of a woman determined to build her own future. Praise for A River of Stars "Vanessa Hua's story spins with wild fervor, with charming protagonists fiercely motivated by maternal and survival instincts."--USA Today "A River of Stars is the best of all worlds: part buddy cop adventure, part coming-of-age story and part ode to female friendship."--NPR "Hua's epic A River of Stars follows a pair of pregnant Chinese immigrant women--two of the more vibrant characters I've come across in a while--on the lam from Los Angeles to San Francisco's Chinatown."--R. O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries, in Esquire "A delightful novel of motherhood and Chinese immigration . . . Without wading into policy debates, Ms Hua dramatises the stories and contributions of immigrants who believe in grand ideals and strive to live up to them."--The Economist
Two Steps Forward by Graeme Simsion,Anne Buist Book Summary:
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Rosie Project comes a story of taking chances and learning to love again as two people, one mourning her husband and the other recovering from divorce, cross paths on the centuries-old Camino pilgrimage from France to Spain. “The Chemin will change you. It changes everyone…” The Chemin, also known as the Camino de Santiago, is a centuries-old pilgrim route that ends in Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Every year, thousands of walkers—some devout, many not—follow the route that wends through quaint small villages and along busy highways alike, a journey unlike any other. Zoe, an artist from California who’s still reeling from her husband’s sudden death, has impulsively decided to walk the Camino, hoping to find solace and direction. Martin, an engineer from England, is road-testing a cart of his own design…and recovering from a messy divorce. They begin in the same French town, each uncertain of what the future holds. Zoe has anticipated the physical difficulties of her trek, but she is less prepared for other challenges, as strangers and circumstances force her to confront not just recent loss, but long-held beliefs. For Martin, the pilgrimage is a test of his skills and endurance but also, as he and Zoe grow closer, of his willingness to trust others—and himself—again. Smart and funny, insightful and romantic, Two Steps Forward reveals that the most important journeys we make aren’t measured in miles, but in the strength, wisdom, and love found along the way. Fans of The Rosie Project will recognize Graeme Simsion’s uniquely quirky and charming writing style.
Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien Book Summary:
"Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family's Chinese restaurant even though she'd rather be doing just about anything else. Then, just when she has a chance for a "real" job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge. Surprising everyone--including herself--she turns out to be quite capable of running the place. Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . .and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery"--
Far as the Eye Can See by Robert Bausch Book Summary:
A Union veteran several times over, Bobby Hale has repeatedly deserted and re-enlisted under different names to earn the enlistment bonus. After the civil war, he sets his heart on California, but only makes it as far as Montana. Now after shooting the wrong people he has to evade not only the US Army but also the native population. Against the growing conflict of the Great Sioux War, Bobby is travelling across the harsh horizon to make it back to Eveline, a poker-playing wagon owner who has taught him that he does not have to spend his life alone. Within miles of the woman he believes can save him, Hale's trigger finger lands him in trouble again, changing the course of his journey and setting him on a heart-stopping adventure across the Great Plains. Across ten years and thousands of hard-won miles, Bobby comes to understand the wilderness through those he encounters: the pioneers on the wagon trail who follow the glittering promise of gold; a Crow Brave who shows him meaning of real freedom and strength; and the militia men, still carrying the scars of the recent war, whose hatred of “Injuns” is even stronger than their fear. Far as the Eye Can See is the story of life in a place where every minute is an engagement in a kind of war of survival, and of how two people in the midst of such majesty and violence can manage to find a pathway to their own humanity.
If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim Book Summary:
“An immersive, heartbreaking story about war, passion, and the road not taken.” — People "One of the most beautiful and moving love stories you’ll read this year." — Nylon Magazine NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2019 BY The Washington Post • The New York Post • Vulture • Real Simple • Bustle • Nylon • Thrillist • Mental Floss • Self magazine • Booklist • Refinery 29 An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love—the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today. When the communist-backed army from the north invades her home, sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, along with her widowed mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp along the coast. For a few hours each night, she escapes her family’s makeshift home and tragic circumstances with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan. Focused on finishing school, Kyunghwan doesn’t realize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the beautiful and spirited Haemi—and is determined to marry her before joining the fight. But as Haemi becomes a wife, then a mother, her decision to forsake the boy she always loved for the security of her family sets off a dramatic saga that will have profound effects for generations to come. Richly told and deeply moving, If You Leave Me is a stunning portrait of war and refugee life, a passionate and timeless romance, and a heartrending exploration of one woman’s longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world.
Felt in the Jaw by Kristen N. Arnett Book Summary:
In her debut story collection, Kristen Arnett, with dark humor, explores the lives of queer women and their families in the light of the bleak Florida sun. A young dancer suddenly loses language while her family struggles to understand their new roles. A mother endures a horrifying spider bite while camping with her daughters in the backyard. A family reunion goes sour when a group of cousins are left to their own devices. In these ten stories, outward strength is always betrayed by deep vulnerability: these are characters so desperate for family and connection that they often isolate themselves--and sometimes, it's the world isolating them.
The Mountains Sing by Que Mai Phan Nguyen Book Summary:
A New York Times Editors’ Choice Selection A Best Book of the Month/Season: The New York Times * The Washington Post * O, The Oprah Magazine * USA Today * Real Simple * Amazon * PopSugar * Book Riot * Paperback Paris * She Reads * We Are Bookish A Best New Historical Fiction Novel: BuzzFeed Books * Goodreads "[An] absorbing, stirring novel . . . that, in more than one sense, remedies history." —The New York Times Book Review “A triumph, a novelistic rendition of one of the most difficult times in Vietnamese history . . . Vast in scope and intimate in its telling . . . Moving and riveting.” —VIET THANH NGUYEN, author of The Sympathizer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart. Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope. The Mountains Sing is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s first novel in English.
The Less Dead by Denise Mina Book Summary:
'Denise Mina is the cream of the crop, an author who pushes the crime novel in new and exciting directions and never fails to deliver.' IAN RANKIN When Margo goes in search of her birth mother for the first time, she meets her aunt, Nikki, instead. Margo learns that her mother, Susan, was a sex worker murdered soon after Margo's adoption. To this day, Susan's killer has never been found. Nikki asks Margo for help. She has received threatening and haunting letters from the murderer, for decades. She is determined to find him, but she can't do it alone... A brilliant, thought-provoking and heart-wrenching new thriller about identity and the value of a life, from the award-winning author of The Long Drop and Conviction. PRAISE FOR DENISE MINA: 'You won't be able to put Conviction down' Reese Witherspoon 'Unsettling, evocative and staggeringly good' Daily Express 'A masterpiece by the woman who may be Britain's finest living crime novelist' Daily Telegraph 'An atmospheric recreation of a vanished Glasgow...and a compelling exploration of the warped criminal mind' The Times on The Long Drop: Top Ten Crime Novels of the Decade
Devoted by Dean Koontz Book Summary:
The chilling, unputdownable new novel from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense. A mother, a boy, and a desperate battle against the night. Woody Bookman hasn't spoken a word in his eleven years of life. Not when his father died in a freak accident. Not when his mother Megan tells him she loves him. For Megan, keeping her boy safe and happy is what matters. But Woody believes a monstrous evil is behind his father's death and now threatens him and his mother. And he's not alone in his thoughts. An ally unknown to him is listening. Woody's fearful suspicions are taking shape. A malicious man driven by evil has set a depraved plan into motion. And he's coming after Woody and his mother. The reasons are primal. His powers are growing. And he's not alone. Praise for Devoted: 'Readers who were wondering how Koontz could possibly follow up his remarkable Jane Hawk series can breathe a sigh of relief. His new novel finds him still at the top of his game ... Scary, sickening (in that good way), and touching, this is a novel that will delight both the author's legion of fans and those who finally decide it's time to find out what this guy Koontz is all about.' Booklist (starred review)