For readers who befriended the magical and sometimes maddening Waverly women in novelist Sarah Addison Allen’s debut novel, Garden Spells, the arrival of First Frost is certain to take the chill out of the bleakest winter day.
The stories we consume in youth—whether through books, television, film or song—often become the defining narrative of our lives. A shared affection draws people together, and a mention of a character or a trace of a lyric can immediately transport us to another place and time.
Grace Chapman has a seemingly perfect life: She’s a lifestyle icon with a best-selling author husband, a loving daughter and a gorgeous home outside of New York City. A former cookbook editor, she now cooks legendary meals for the local women’s shelter and plans community fundraisers.
British-born Maud Heighton, the protagonist of Imogen Robertson’s latest page-turner, The Paris Winter, couldn’t have picked a worse time to come study painting at Academie Lafond. It’s the winter of 1909-1910, when the Seine overflowed its banks, flooding people out of their homes and sucking away the very ground beneath their feet.
With The Furies, British writer Natalie Haynes has delivered an addictive, dark and suspenseful— yet sensitive—debut about death, obsession and fate.
First love, young love, unexpected love—any kind of love with a deep vein of naiveté and innocence—this is Rainbow Rowell’s wheelhouse. She manages to capture raw emotion with a wave of nostalgia that captivates not only her primary audience of young adult readers, but also those of us who, at least in theory, have moved past the age of soaring crushes and crushing heartbreak.
Let’s not mince words: George and Irene are weirdos. George is a teacher of astronomy who has visions of ancient gods and goddesses. Irene is an astrophysicist who discovers tiny, purple black holes and doesn’t believe in love or anything else that can’t be measured with very precise instruments. George, on the other hand, longs for love like a consumptive Victorian heroine. They’re both from Toledo and, according to the powers that be, are supposed to end up together. The question Lydia Netzer’s second novel asks is ‘How?’
For most high school bullying victims, life eventually gets better. For Toni Murphy, her torment at the hands of a mean-girl clique turns into a nightmare she can’t escape.
The story of the once-successful novelist trapped in the throes of writer’s block, personal woes and emotional contemplation is a favorite of many novelists, from Stephen King to Michael Chabon, but lesser versions of the tale often veer into the realm of plodding semi-autobiographical navel-gazing and serve the writer more than the book itself. With her latest novel, Tatiana de Rosnay not only avoids the pitfalls of the struggling-novelist story, but also obliterates them with a lush, beautifully rendered saga layered with secrets, scandal and, yes, an exploration of what it means to be a writer who’s terrified of having nothing left to say.
Christopher Golden’s Snowblind is a supernatural thriller that transcends the ghost story genre. While this spooky story will not disappoint readers who relish all things creepy, Snowblind is also a well-observed tale populated by a cast of characters whose Recession-era lives are portrayed with poignant authenticity, offering up a 21st-century landscape of tract homes, strip malls and fast food joints inhabited by ordinary folks.