Jonathan Franzen is a writer who swings for the fences, an ambition that attracts terabytes of online derision. Hold the derision. Franzen’s fifth novel, Purity, is quite simply his best, most textured, most plot-driven and, oddly enough, most optimistic novel to date.
They say that with every loss comes a gain, but in Charlie Cates’ case, that seems unimaginable. Her 5-year-old son’s sudden death from a brain aneurysm has turned her world upside down. A divorced single parent, Charlie put Keegan at the center of her world. Well-intentioned attempts from neighbors and colleagues to help Charlie get back on her feet only remind her of her dreaded new normal. When her old editor at Cold Crimes magazine calls with an unusual opportunity, Charlie—ready for a change—boldly seizes it, heading to Chicory, Louisiana, to write about a long-cold missing-persons case.
Debut novelist Kevin Sands is off to a roaring good start with The Blackthorn Key, which unfolds during six consecutive springtime days in 1665 London. Historical settings can be a bit off-putting to a young reader—they’re generally convinced that it’s going to be too “historical,” and without technology, how exciting can it be? But Sands imbues the story with all the realities of 17th-century England and still keeps the pace tripping along.
In his richly detailed and stimulating new book, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, historian Greg Grandin writes that Kissinger was “the quintessential American, his cast of mind perfectly molded to his place and time.”
New York Times best-selling author Jodi Thomas introduces readers to her new series, Ransom Canyon, with an eponymous novel about four families struggling to hold it all together. Set against the beautiful, rugged landscape of a west Texas town, Ransom Canyon is a subtle, sweet start to a new small-town saga.
New York Times best-selling romance author Kristan Higgins branches into women’s fiction with her latest novel, If Only You Knew. This is an engaging story of sisters Jenny and Rachel, who are forced to make difficult choices in an effort to turn their lives around.
Sally MacKenzie’s What to Do with a Duke is the first in a new series and a masterful mélange of Regency romance pleasures. The small English town of Loves Bridge vibrates with heritable curses, tension between social castes,and the insatiable longings of its beguiling inhabitants.
The most common advice to aspiring authors is “Write what you know.” Clearly Elisabeth Egan took this advice to heart when penning her debut novel, A Window Opens, a literary anthem for 21st-century working mothers.
As a teenage boy who loves fashion, Francis is used to being teased and bullied at school, and he feels totally alone until he meets Jessica, a girl who shares his untraditional interests. But Jessica has a peculiarity of her own: For all her good spirits, she is thoroughly, completely and definitely dead. Francis is the only person who can see or hear her.
Social work research professor Brené Brown is not your run-of-the-mill academic. Eschewing the ivory tower, Brown puts her research—enhanced by her personal story and the stories of others—out into the world for all to see (catch her TED talk on vulnerability—millions have!). She’s ready to rumble with the tough stuff of life, including failure, imperfection, vulnerability, shame and courage.