Three novels explore the hardships, complexities and a few triumphs within families, from the 1920s homestead to present-day Europe, make for great group discussion this month.
It’s one of America’s most iconic pieces of literature, and now, 55 years after its publication, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee has a companion.
Inspect Europe today, and you would struggle to believe that its greatest scuffles were once about anything other than bailouts and shared currency, or Eurovision and football. Yet 2015 marks the bicentennial of a battle that stands as a summation of that continent's centuries of bloody wars, particularly those of the 20th: Waterloo. Two new books take different approaches to remembering this conflict.
English audiologist-turned-author S.J. Watson made a big splash with his debut thriller, Before I Go to Sleep, in 2011. The book chronicled the struggles of a woman who suffers from an acute form of amnesia, and has to reconstruct the details of her life every day when she wakes up. Nicole Kidman starred in the much-anticipated (though tepidly received) big-screen version of Watson’s book, which was translated into over 40 languages.
In his second novel, Christopher Bollen brings a fresh perspective to the tale of a small town that hides secrets beneath its sleepy facade. With Orient, Bollen takes a real place—the North Fork of Long Island—and weaves a mesmerizing fictional web of characters and mysteries into a story that is as viscerally thrilling as it is intellectually precise.
In Where They Found Her, former lawyer Kimberly McCreight tells the story of a small town that’s rocked by an unthinkable crime. We asked McCreight, who hit the bestseller list with her debut, Reconstructing Amelia, a few questions about this shocking and suspenseful second novel.
The body of a newborn girl has been found in an idyllic New Jersey town. It’s not the best assignment for a newspaper reporter who so recently delivered a stillborn child, but Molly Sanderson wants to prove to her editor that she can cover hard news. So—despite her husband Justin’s trepidation that covering this story might cause Molly to lapse back into serious depression—she dives in, determined to find out how the child ended up abandoned beneath a bridge.
The heroines of Judith Claire Mitchell’s engrossing new novel—sisters Vee, Delph and Lady Alter—don’t bear a lot of similarity to their creator. The three were raised with a family legacy of suicide: Their great-grandmother Iris became the first to kill herself after her husband’s chemical inventions were used as World War I weapons.
Kitty Miller is living the dream. OK, so maybe her life isn’t picture-perfect according to society’s standards; it’s 1962, and she’s an unmarried woman. But after a failed long-term relationship, Kitty has come to accept that life isn’t always meant to be as we imagine. Instead of being married with kids, she and her best friend, Frieda, own a bookshop in Denver. They’re not rich—in fact, sometimes it’s hard to make ends meet—but the pair is so close they refer to one another as Sister. It’s a good life.
When 22-year-old Alice becomes pregnant out of wedlock in the early 1930s, both she and her family fear disgrace. Her mother sends her from London to the Gloucestershire countryside to await the baby’s birth at a place called Fiercombe Manor, after which she will give the baby to an orphanage. Her mother’s old friend, Mrs. Jelphs, is the housekeeper at the empty manor, and she promises to keep watch over Alice, who has concocted a cover story of a recently deceased husband.