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  • Sarah Skilton 1:30 pm on 2018/04/02 Permalink
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    April’s Best New Fiction 

    This month’s best fiction brings us new works from powerhouse writers including Meg Wolitzer, Charles Frazier, Julian Barnes, and Christopher Moore. It’s a literary feast of nostalgic love stories, satirical noir, lighthearted mysteries, and historical fiction, with Curtis Sittenfeld’s (PrepAmerican Wife) delectable collection of short stories providing the appetizers.

    Circe, by Madeline Miller
    Miller’s much buzzed-about followup to 2011’s The Song of Achilles is narrated by the dazzling, captivating, vengeful Circe, daughter of Helios, who is banished by Zeus after turning her ex’s new love into a sea monster. Dismissed as useless when she was a girl (when your dad is the sun god, there’s a lot to live up to), Circe’s true skills are her penchant for herbs and spellcasting. Circe’s infatuation with mortals is her biggest strength and greatest weakness, and you’ll breathlessly follow her witchy, thousands-of-years-in-the-making adventures.

    The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer
    Wolitzer’s fascinating, timely new book combines elements of her previous bestsellers The Interestings (with its theme of youthful expectation versus the realities of middle age) and The Wife (a dark tale of subverted female ambition). The central relationship of Persuasion is that of Greer Kadetsky, a young, shy, liberal arts–educated woman and her mentor, Faith Frank, a 60-something pioneering member of the feminist movement. Greer’s childhood sweetheart and best friend have their own compelling narratives as well. The quartet of fully realized characters will pull you in to their lives even as their respective connections with each other are potentially torn asunder.

    Varina, by Charlies Frazier
    As with his stunning, National Book Award–winning Cold Mountain (also a film starring Nicole Kidman and Jude Law), Varina is set during the Civil War. The novel is narrated as an oral memoir by the titular heroine, Jefferson Davis’s much-younger wife, whose views of the conflict did not necessarily match those of the Confederate President. Little has been written about the First Lady of the Confederacy, and the story depicted here is full of rich and often unexpected details about the antebellum south as well as Varina’s post–Civil War life in New York.

    Nantucket Wedding, by Nancy Thayer
    Widowed Alison didn’t expect to remarry, especially now that she’s a grandmother to toddlers, but when she meets David, sparks fly, and the two soon find themselves engaged. How will their adult children handle the news? Will the four new siblings find common ground with each other, or become common enemies? Most importantly, will the Nantucket wedding itself go off without a hitch or fall apart before the newly blended family has a chance to bond? Fun and fast-paced with plenty of location envy to make you drool, Wedding promises to be a perfect spring break/early summer read.

    You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories, by Curtis Sittenfeld
    In her first collection of short stories, bestselling novelist Sittenfeld’s talent for lifting the curtain on the apparent successes of others is on full display. Protagonists irritated by social media perfection and chipper volunteers (not to mention the politics of the day) are fully relatable and lovable in their snarkiness. If you enjoyed “The Prairie Wife” (first published in the New Yorker last year), in which a wife and mother considers upending the perfect social media empire of a former love, you’ll adore the nine additional stories waiting for you here.

    Noir, by Christopher Moore
    Part satire and part homage to Raymond Chandler– and Dashiell Hammett–style gumshoe fiction, Moore’s novel sends his readers to the hardboiled, foggy mean streets of 1940s San Francisco, where bartender Sammy Tiffin falls fast for a dame whose disappearance seems to involve all manner of conspiracy. Whether he’s being interrogated or chased, Sammy keeps the wisecracks flowing. And then there’s the mysterious, possibly extraterrestrial Roswell connection…

    The Only Story, by Julian Barnes
    Nineteen-year-old Paul falls in love with forty-eight-year-old Susan at a tennis club outside London in 1963. Despite (or perhaps because of) societal and parental censure, they move in together and embark on an eventually public affair. Five decades later, older but not necessarily wiser, Paul looks back on their exhilarating and painful story, parsing it for meaning and pushing on the bruise of the “the only story” of his life he has deemed worth telling. This looks to be a heartbreaking, transformative read from the acclaimed author of The Sense of an Ending, for which he won the Man Booker Prize.

    First Person, by Richard Flanagan
    Kif, a young writer frantic for cash to support his family, accepts an assignment that will test his writing chops and his sanity. If he succeeds in finishing the criminal memoir of Siegfried Heidl in six agonizing weeks, only then will he see a payday. But Heidl, an embezzler who’s been convicted of stealing $700 million from the Australian banking industry, doesn’t wish to be known, so he refuses to provide pertinent information to his ghost writer. Instead, Heidl has a penchant for turning the spotlight around and infiltrating Kif’s life. Readers are in excellent meta-fictional hands: Flanagan won the Man Booker for The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

    Paris by the Book, by Liam Callanan
    When her troubled husband Robert, who writes book for young people, disappears, left-behind Leah becomes the protagonist of her own mystery (and perhaps a romance). With her two daughters beside her, Leah follows the clues Robert left in his wake, which include plane tickets to Paris and a half-written manuscript. The manuscript, in turn, leads them to a bookshop in dire need of new owners. But will Leah’s unexpected, charmed new life in France fill the spaces where Robert used to be?

    Miss Julia Raises the Roof, by Ann B. Ross
    In Miss Julia’s nineteenth adventure, a light mystery set in small-town North Carolina, the outspoken, warm-hearted heroine is in top form as she seeks to uncover the truth about a planned group home for teenage boys, to be situated next door to her friend Hazel’s place. In theory, the project sounds good, but Julia’s hunch that something is seriously amiss proves well-founded. (“They Lord!” indeed.)

    The post April’s Best New Fiction appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 3:30 pm on 2018/03/26 Permalink
    Tags: , ,   

    10 Perfect Picks to Book Club With Your Mom This Mother’s Day 

    Brunch is great, chocolates and flowers are lovely, but for a gift that keeps you talking (and debating) long after Mother’s Day, consider buying a book for your mom, and a copy for yourself, for a buddy read that celebrates your bond. These recent selections center on fascinating women both real and fictional—and discussing them may even inspire you to learn something new about the woman who raised you.

    Love and Ruin, by Paula McLain
    After depicting the life of Hadley Richardson in her bestselling The Paris Wife, McLain sets her sights on Hemingway’s third wife, acclaimed war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Her connection to Hemingway begins in Key West, Florida, in the late 1930s and ramps up against the invigorating, terrible backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. Two stars are on the rise—journalist and novelist, equal in skill—but one must eclipse the other. 

    Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World, by Eileen McNamara
    Overshadowed by her brothers’ political fortune and fame, Eunice Kennedy Shriver quietly and determinedly forged her own path in a world that wasn’t looking at her. Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Eileen McNamara (The Boston Globe) aims to change that with a book that turns the spotlight on Eunice’s accomplishments and struggles, notably her desire to help children and persons with mental disabilities. As a founder of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, as well as Camp Shriver (which evolved into the Special Olympics), Eunice improved the lives of countless Americans and people all over the world.

    The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer
    Wolitzer’s timely new book combines elements of her previous bestsellers The Interestings (with its theme of youthful expectations versus the realities of middle age) and The Wife (a dark tale of subverted female ambition). The central relationship in Persuasion is between Greer Kadetsky, a young, shy, liberal arts–educated woman, and her mentor, Faith Frank, a 60-something pioneer of the feminist movement. Greer’s childhood sweetheart and best friend have their own compelling narratives as well, and the quartet of fully realized characters will pull you in even as the connections between them are at risk of being torn apart. 

    Varina, by Charlies Frazier
    As was his stunning, National Book Award–winning Cold Mountain (also a film starring Nicole Kidman and Jude Law), Varina is set during the Civil War. The novel is structured as an oral memoir by its titular heroine, Jefferson Davis’s much-younger wife, whose views of the conflict did not necessarily match those of the Confederate President. Little has been written about the First Lady of the Confederacy, and the story depicted here is full of rich and often unexpected details about the antebellum south, as well as Varina’s post–Civil War life in New York. 

    Alternate Side, by Anna Quindlen
    A bestselling novelist (Miller’s ValleyObject Lessons) and advice giver (A Short Guide to a Happy LifeBeing Perfect), Quindlen centers her latest novel on an elite neighborhood in Manhattan. Nora and Charlie Nolan and the rest of their secluded, close-knit community, are thrown into chaos when an act of violence with racial undertones forces them to take stock of who and what they really are. This provocative new novel will provide fodder for many conversations to come.

    You Think It, I’ll Say It: Stories, by Curtis Sittenfeld
    In her first collection of short stories, bestselling novelist Sittenfeld’s talent for lifting the curtain on the apparent successes of others is on full display. Protagonists irritated by social media perfection and chipper volunteers (not to mention the politics of the day) are fully relatable and lovable in their snarkiness. If you enjoyed “The Prairie Wife” (first published in the New Yorker last year), in which a wife and mother considers upending the perfect social media empire of a former love, you’ll adore the nine additional tales waiting for you here.

    Far from the Tree, by Robin Benway
    A young adult novel with infinite crossover appeal, this National Book Award winner twines the stories of three teens connected by a birth mother, who meet for the first time after middle sister Grace gives up her own baby for adoption. Youngest child Maya is dealing with issues herself, as her adoptive family disintegrates under the force of her mother’s alcoholism, and Joaquin, the only one of the three who wasn’t adopted as a baby, finds himself detonating the good things in his life, pulling away from both his beloved girlfriend and the foster parents who want to adopt him. Benway examines love, belonging, and different definitions of family through a delicate network of connections—platonic and romantic, blood and otherwise—as the three work up the courage to seek out the mother who cut off all contact when she gave them away.

    An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
    Newlyweds Roy and Celestial find their marriage tested after a cruel twist of fate sends Roy to prison in another state for a crime he didn’t commit. As the years of separation drag on, Celestial turns to her friend since childhood, Andre, for comfort, and Andre’s perspective provides new insight into her painful situation. Letters sent between husband and wife further illuminate this incredible contemporary study of marriage, loyalty, and racial injustice. A thoughtfully rendered, realistic drama that will have you desperate to discuss it the moment you reach the end.

    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, by Mario Giordano (translated by John Brownjohn)
    Determined to spend her twilight years drinking wine and enjoying the beauty of Sicily, sixty-year-old Auntie Poldi, a former costume designer with a wide variety of wigs, quickly discovers that a relaxing retirement is not in the cards. Eager to solve the mystery of her handyman’s disappearance, she throws herself into the official search, despite her lack of investigative credentials. It doesn’t hurt that the lead detective, Vito Montana, is dashingly handsome. The first in a decidedly cozy series, Lions is filled with humor, heart, and stunning locales.

    A Fine Romance, by Candice Bergen
    With the most welcome news of a Murphy Brown revival, it’s a perfect time to read series star Bergen’s second memoir from 2016 (her first memoir, Knock Wood, came out in 1984, several years before she landed her most iconic role). The romance of the title refers to a lullaby Bergen would sing her daughter, Chloe, the product of Bergen’s marriage to the late, great filmmaker Louis Malle (Au Revoir Les Enfants; My Dinner with Andre). With good-humored, honest prose, fun name-drops, and self-deprecation, Bergen reflects on her extraordinary life, including plenty of surprises regarding her relationships. For one thing, her father, puppet master Edgar Bergen, didn’t leave her an inheritance—but he did provide for his ventriloquist doll, Charlie McCarthy. She juggled motherhood, widowhood, and TV stardom during a time of social and political upheaval (remember Dan Quayle?), and she presents as both an aspirational and relatable figure to women and moms everywhere.

    The post 10 Perfect Picks to Book Club With Your Mom This Mother’s Day appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 4:00 pm on 2018/02/28 Permalink
    Tags: , alternate side, , auntie poldi and the sicilian lions, christina lynch, , , i'll be your blue sky, italian teacher, , john brownjohn, kristin harmel, leah stewart, mario giordano, marisa de los santos, , not that i could tell, speak no evil, the italian party, the room on rue amelie, , uzodinma iweala, what you don't know about charlie outlaw   

    The Best New Fiction of March 2018 

    This month brings us several poignant family dramas and plenty of neighborhood intrigue, from a wealthy New York City enclave to a scandal-plagued Ohioan suburb. A heart-pounding thriller aboard an airplane; a TV star’s abduction; and three books set in Italy will have you staying up late turning pages and practicing your grazies and pregos! Lastly, a long-awaited second novel from Beasts of No Nation author Uzodinma Iweala promises to leave you gasping.

    Accidental Heroes, by Danielle Steel
    This thriller set in the not-so-friendly skies finds a Homeland Security agent racing against the clock to prevent tragedy aboard a flight from New York to San Francisco. Assisting him in his tense mission are a group of “everyday people” whose fates have converged. Some of them work for the airport or the airline, and some of them are strangers thrown together from across the country. None of them expected to be heroes. Now boarding: A character study wrapped around an action-packed drama.

    Alternate Side, by Anna Quindlen
    A bestselling novelist (Miller’s ValleyObject Lessons) and advice-giver (A Short Guide to a Happy LifeBeing Perfect), Quindlen centers her latest novel on an elite neighborhood in Manhattan. Nora and Charlie Nolan, and the rest of their secluded, close-knit community, are thrown into chaos when an act of violence with racial undertones forces them to take stock of who and what they really are.

    The Italian Teacher, by Tom Rachman
    As with his first, critically lauded book The Imperfectionists, Rachman’s latest takes place in Rome, this time in the 1950s art world. Charles “Pinch” Bavinsky is one of seventeen kids produced by a philandering, impossible-to-pin-down father, Bear Bavinsky, who also happens to be a genius painter. At first, Pinch yearns to follow in his father’s footsteps, or at least become his biographer. Will Pinch’s job as a language instructor in London bring him the fulfillment he hopes for, or will his complicated relationship with his father be the only legacy available to him?

    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, by Mario Giordano (translated by John Brownjohn)
    Determined to spend her twilight years drinking wine and enjoying the beauty of Sicily, 60-year-old Auntie Poldi, a former costume designer with a wide variety of wigs, quickly discovers that a relaxing retirement is not in the cards. Eager to solve the mystery of her handyman’s disappearance, she throws herself into the official search, despite her lack of investigative credentials. It doesn’t hurt that the lead detective, Vito Montana, is dashingly handsome. The first in a decidedly cozy series, Lions is filled with humor, heart, and stunning locales.

    The Room on Rue Amelie, by Kristin Harmel
    Harmel’s poignant novels always tug at the heartstrings, whether they concern the past (When We Meet Again), the present (The Life Intended), or both (The Sweetness of Forgetting). With Amelie, she whisks readers to occupied Paris in 1939, where three people’s lives converge: an American newlywed unsure if her marriage can last, a Jewish child fearful of deportation, and a British RAF pilot who has lost his mother to the Blitz and now finds himself cut off behind enemy lines.

    The Italian Party, by Christina Lynch
    A sumptuous, detail-rich debut packed with secrets, it’s part spy novel, part political thriller, part mystery, and part relationship drama. Oh, and there’s satirical humor, too! Party takes place in Siena, Italy, in 1956, where just-married “American innocents,” Scottie and Michael Messina, have arrived for Michael’s job with Ford tractors. There are many problems with this scenario: Scottie is protecting a troubling personal secret, Michael is hiding an explosive professional one; and he also wouldn’t mind being reunited with his former (male) lover while they’re in town. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

    Speak No Evil, by Uzodinma Iweala
    A stunning, powerful follow-up to Iweala’s 2005 debut Beasts of No NationSpeak takes place in an America where immigrants continue to struggle with cultural integration. A Nigerian-American senior in high school living in Washington, DC, Niru has a bright future ahead of him, including a slot at Harvard in the fall. His homosexuality is a secret he must keep from his strict Nigerian parents, whose “cure” for his “corruption” includes physical abuse and a forced visit to Nigeria, a country Niru has never considered home. His white best friend, Meredith, in an attempt to help him, makes the situation exponentially worse. Their two stories will undoubtedly stick with readers for months to come.

    I’ll be Your Blue Sky, by Marisa de los Santos
    The compelling friendship between Cornelia Brown and her surrogate daughter Clare (first explored in the bestselling, warmhearted Love Walked In and Belong to Me) continues, alternating between the present and the past. Now a grown woman, Clare is engaged to a man whose temperament swings between charming and controlling. When an elderly acquaintance, Edith, helps Clare realize the situation’s inherent danger, Clare gets a new lease on life. The two women’s stories are further connected when Clare inherits Edith’s Delaware beach house, which served as a shelter for abused women in the 1950s.

    What You Don’t Know About Charlie Outlaw, by Leah Stewart
    Charlie Outlaw, a TV actor overwhelmed by his recent fame, seeks refuge at a secluded island, where he’s kidnapped for ransom. Josie Lamar, the woman who dumped him, struggles with her own life in the spotlight—or, rather, out of it; the superhero she played on a cult TV show twenty years ago remains her defining role, and she’d love to move on with a new character. Despite their break-up, their love story isn’t over by a long shot, and readers will eagerly devour this showbiz-filled adventure.

    Not That I Could Tell, by Jessica Strawser
    Think Desperate Housewives meets Big Little Lies, with a dash of Where’d You Go, Bernadette thrown in for good measure. A thriller set in small-town Ohio, the mystery kicks off when Kristin, a soon-to-be-divorced mother of twins, disappears. The neighborhood moms can’t fathom what caused her to flee, and their curiosity about their friend’s secret forces them to examine their own home lives in greater detail.

    What new fiction are you excited to read in March?

    The post The Best New Fiction of March 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 4:00 pm on 2018/02/08 Permalink
    Tags: all of you, , christina lee, , kate willoughby, , out of the game, , romancing the duke, so lonely, , the spymaster's lady, topaz, uncertain magic   

    6 Forever Alones Who Find Love  

    Whether it’s by choice or circumstance, Forever Alones believe they’re destined for a life of solitude. Of course, this makes for an especially sweet romance when they’re proven wrong. Featuring spies and spinsters, telepaths and tattoo artists, and one hell of a brooding duke, these tales prove it’s never too late for love to change your heart.

    Romancing the Duke, by Tessa Dare
    Izzy Goodnight, “at her best when invisible” is “overdue for a ravishing.” As a child, she was a beloved character in her father’s serial, a fantasy adventure that included a sweeping romance. But as a spinster of 26, wild-haired Izzy learned long ago that fairy tale endings and happily-ever-afters are for other people, not her. But then she unexpectedly inherits a castle, with a grumpy, scarred-but-sexy Duke to go with it. As they vie for the rights to the property, sparks fly between them that prove impossible to ignore. A fun historical with a Beauty and the Beast vibe.

    Topaz, by Beverly Jenkins
    Today there’s nothing unusual about an unmarried, 28-year-old newspaperwoman. But in 1884, it’s extremely rare. Especially if the newspaperwoman is black. Accomplished, ambitious, “too tall” journalist Katherine Love doesn’t need or want a man in her life, until the story she’s broken wide open lands her in danger. Enter Dixon Wildhorse, a Black Seminole marshal from Oklahoma’s Indian country. The strapping lawman has been sent by Kate’s father to rescue (and wed) Kate. Although Kate feels an undeniable attraction to Dix, she’s equally determined to continue her career. Whose will power will prove strongest?

    Out of the Game, by Kate Willoughby
    In her third stand-alone book from the In the Zone series about contemporary hockey players, Willoughby introduces readers to the gorgeous team playboy, Alex, who never intends to settle down the way his friends and teammates have. But a torrid kiss from Claire several months earlier has rarely left his mind, and when he gets the opportunity to spend a weekend with her, he jumps at the chance—and discovers he might be ready for a relationship after all.

    The Spymaster’s Lady, by Joanna Bourne
    In this Regency-era swashbuckler, Annique Villiers has been a spy for as long as she can remember. A French double-agent entrusted with the much-coveted Albion plans, her code name is “Fox Cub,” and “she’s made mistakes which haunt her at night and which [she] cannot erase.” As Annique puts it, “To love, in our profession…is madness.” But after teaming up with a dashing enemy agent, Robert Grey, to enact a bonkers-awesome prison break, Annique and Grey find themselves willing to twist a few laws if it means getting closer to each other.

    All of You, by Christina Lee
    This New Adult romance features Bennett, a hot, tattooed, male virgin who captivates the imagination of his frisky downstairs neighbor, Avery. Though Bennett and Avery come from similarly dysfunctional pasts, their methods of coping couldn’t be more different. Convinced that being single is the only way to stay sane, Avery eschews relationships, preferring short-lived hookups. Bennett, however, is wary of no-strings sex, determined to hold out for something real. Will he find it with Avery?

    Uncertain Magic, by Laura Kinsale
    Fans of Sookie Stackhouse will love this supernatural Gaelic romance about Roderica (“Roddy”) Delamore, an Irish lass whose telepathy allows her to read the minds of everyone around her. Roddy is resigned to a lonely existence, dressing up as a boy and tending to her father’s horses, whose physical ailments she deciphers with her gift. She’s certain “no man could abide to have his mind an open book for his wife to read,” but then she discovers there is one man upon whom her powers don’t work; too bad he’s the terrifying Devil Earl of Ireland, Faelan Savigar, and he may be hiding an even bigger secret than Roddy.

    What Forever-Alone-no-more romances do you love?

    The post 6 Forever Alones Who Find Love  appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Sarah Skilton 5:00 pm on 2018/01/30 Permalink
    Tags: a long way from home, an american marriage, elizabeth crook, , house of impossible beauties, joseph cassara, , minrose gwin, only child, only killer and thieves, paul howarth, peter carey, promise, rhiannon navin, robin oliveira, , , tayari jones, the great alone, the which way tree, , winter sisters   

    The Best New Fiction in February 2018 

    Historical fiction fanatics are in for a Valentine’s treat this month, with seven historical novels to choose from. Pick a locale, and there’s something for everyone, from the wild west of Civil War-era Texas, to 1880s and 1950s Australia, to 1970s Alaska, to 1980s Harlem and the rise of ball culture at the House of Xtravaganza. Or pick a season and read about man vs nature, with a devastating blizzard in Albany, New York in 1879, or a once-in-a-lifetime tornado in Tupelo, Mississippi in 1936. Contemporary fans are in luck, too, with Sophie Kinsella’s latest romantic comedy about a marriage that’s stuck in a rut, and Rhiannon Navin’s debut novel written from the viewpoint of a first grader who survives a school shooting.

    The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
    It’s 1974 and Ernt Allbright thinks he can escape the horrors of Vietnam by forcing his 13-year-old daughter Leni and tragically devoted wife Cora to move to Alaska, where a homestead in the wilderness of Kaneq awaits them. But Ernt’s struggles with violence and PTSD are just beginning, and his family is utterly unprepared to save him, or themselves. Isolated, off the grid, and surrounded by darkness in the unending wintertime, mother and daughter must find a way to survive. A chilling, worthy follow-up to Hannah’s 2015 smash The Nightingale.

    Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella
    Compared to the hapless heroine of last year’s delightful My Not So Perfect Life, which delved into the problems of a 20-something seeking career fulfillment and romance, the married couple in Surprise Me, Sylvie and Dan, appear stable and settled, happy to be raising their twin daughters together. But after it hits them that few, if any, surprises await them in life, they fight hard to keep the spark in their relationship alive. In the process, they uncover aspects of each other’s pasts that may not be so easily reconciled. Kinsella is always a cut above in her depiction of the wonderful, occasionally fragile joys of love and friendship.

    An American Marriage, by Tayari Jones
    Newlyweds Roy and Celestial find their marriage tested after a cruel twist of fate sends Roy to prison in another state for a crime he didn’t commit. As the years of separation drag on, Celestial turns to her friend since childhood, Andre, for comfort, and Andre’s perspective provides new insight into her painful situation. Letters sent between husband and wife further illuminate this incredible, contemporary study of marriage, loyalty, and racial injustice. A thoughtfully rendered, realistic drama that’s especially perfect for fans of the TV series Rectify.

    Only Killers and Thieves, by Paul Howarth
    In 1885, Colonial Australia (where the indigenous people were targeted by the Native Police Force) is as wild and untamed as it will ever be—and this debut novel fully immerses readers in that world. In an outback suffering from devastating drought, two young brothers become caught up in a manhunt for an aboriginal stockman whom they believe has murdered their parents and little sister. But the truth is elusive, and the killing spree against native tribesman that results from their misguided “vengeance” has far-reaching consequences, and may haunt Billy and Tommy the rest of their lives.

    Only Child, by Rhiannon Navin
    Written from the perspective of a first-grade boy, and reminiscent of Room, by Emma Donahue, Only Child depicts the emotionally devastating consequences of a school shooting. When his older brother Andy is killed, six-year-old Zach (who hid with a teacher during the slaughter) is thrust into a new world he doesn’t recognize. His parents are unable to cope with the enormity of their loss—or its circumstances—leaving Zach to come to terms with the situation largely on his own. He builds a secret hideout in Andy’s closet, where he finds solace in the Magic Treehouse series, by Mary Pope Osborne. Expect to see this debut dominate book club lists with its timely and sensitive portrayal of a family’s grief.

    The Which Way Tree, by Elizabeth Crook
    An award-winning author with an abiding love for Texas and the West, Crook sets her fifth novel in Civil War-era Texas, in which an orphaned brother and sister conscript a Tejano outlaw to help them seek revenge against the wild panther that killed the girl’s mother. Fans of True Grit, by Charlies Portis; Little Big Man, by Charles Berger; and Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy, will want to get their hands on it ASAP.

    Promise, by Minrose Gwin
    As with her acclaimed debut (Queen of Palmyra), in Promise, Gwin tackles the relationship between races in the south. It’s 1936, and Tupelo, Mississippi is hit with a colossal tornado that kills hundreds of people and upends even more lives. An older black woman, Dovey, barely survives the disaster, but manages to use what strength she has left to navigate the wreckage of the town with Jo, a white teenager whose family is violently linked to Dovey’s.

    House of Impossible Beauties, by Joseph Cassara
    This glamorous, gritty, and glittering debut based on real events deals with the highs and lows of the ball culture scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s in Harlem. Angel, a 17-year-old runaway trans girl, is without a family to call her own, so she helps create one—House of Xtravaganza—and eventually becomes its house mother. Within the first all-Latinx house in the Harlem ball circuit, gay and trans performers strut and vogue on the runway to compete for trophies and prizes, while behind the scenes they deal with AIDS-related illnesses, drug addiction, and family betrayals.

    A Long Way From Home, by Peter Carey
    With two Booker Prizes (Oscar and Lucinda in 1988, and True History of the Kelly Gang, in 2001), and several other awards under his belt, Carey continues to delight and educate his readers with books related to his native Australia. This time he tackles the 1954 Redex Reliablility Trial, in which car racers compete across 10,000 miles of outback while maintaining a particular speed. This unique venue provides the perfect backdrop for a humorous adventure. That Carey includes a subversive deep dive into the clearly-still-relevant realities of racism against the Indigenous population proves why he’s won so many awards for his work.

    Winter Sisters, by Robin Oliveira
    Doctor Mary Sutter is back! When two little girls become lost in a blizzard in 1879 Albany, New York, the no-nonsense but empathetic Civil War midwife-turned-surgeon takes up the daunting task of finding them. It’s not necessary to read Oliveira’s bestselling debut, My Name is Mary Sutter, about the good doctor’s life on the battlefield, but two historical novels are better than one, and Winter Sisters will make you cross your fingers for a third installment about Mary. A suspenseful, gripping tale that never loses its historical authenticity while illuminating present-day parallels.

    What new fiction are you excited to read this month?

    The post The Best New Fiction in February 2018 appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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