From Special Topics in Calamity Physics, to The Time Travelers Wife (and of course, The Help!), many of my favorite novels from recent years are debuts. It’s so exciting to pick up a book from a fresh voice… and I always think—will this one become a hit?

It seems that this week has been good to new authors, as two debut novels will make a very exciting debut—on the New York Times’ best-selling Hardcover Fiction list. Danielle Trussoni’s Angelology, which we blogged about a few weeks ago, comes in at #7. Helen Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand is #14. (The list will be published in print on March 28.)

In BookPage, Linda White described the reaction readers will have to Simonson’s novel, set in an English village: “You’ll laugh, you’ll wipe away a tear or two and you certainly will enjoy time spent with Major Pettigrew.”

In her behind-the-book essay on Angelology, Trussoni described what readers can expect in her debut:

You will enter a secluded convent nestled next to a wide, mirror-dark river; you will climb into a narrow gorge cut deep into the granite of an Eastern European mountain; and you will sit in a shadowy lecture hall filled with students during the Second World War. You will meet a young woman named Evangeline, whose family history has drawn her into a centuries-old hidden society of scholars who practice the ancient discipline of angelology, the theological study of angels. You will become acquainted with nuns; a handsome art historian named Verlaine who rushes into Evangeline’s quiet world and changes her life; and a nefarious group of angels called Nephilim.

If you had to choose between nefarious angels or the  “hazards of English country life,” what would it be?

Have you read a good debut lately?

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