Publishing isn't too different from any other creative field: Mumford + Sons takes off, and suddenly you have The Lumineers. "The Office" is a hit, and three other documentary-style comedies debut the next season. Just so have the success of books like The Time-Traveler's Wife, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell, A Discovery of Witches and The Night Circus made literary/fantasy mash-up catnip to publishing professionals.
This May, three first novelists are testing the waters in this category. Which will follow in the successful footsteps of the predecessors named above? The proof is in the publishing!
The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley. An unconventional—and occasionally gender-bending—love story, Riley's debut focuses on Evelyn, a hard-working young woman who is in charge of her own North Carolina farm in the 1920s. One day, she stumbles upon a body half-buried in the ground. Soon, Evelyn realizes there's a touch of the supernatural at work when it comes to "A.," her moniker for the rescued stranger. Riley uses their improbable but tender affair to explore the power of love to transform and to overcome even the most unusual differences.
The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway. Like Deborah Harkness before her, Bee Ridgway is a historian-turned-novelist whose time in the classroom—teaching 19th-century lit at Bryn Mawr—inspired her to try her hand at her own (Regency-set) novel. But this isn't your grandmother's Jane Austen; The River of No Return combines the mystery of a time-traveling cabal with a compelling love story in a twisty page-turner that's the planned start of a new series. Calling Outlander fans, anyone?
The Golem & the Jinni by Helene Wecker. A golem, a jinni and the evil wizard that links them are the stars of Wecker's fresh, imaginative debut, which intrigues readers with its blend of Jewish and Arabic folklore. These supernatural characters are grounded by the novel's detailed and vibrant setting in 1899 New York City, which teems with a host of very human characters, from rich socialites to resourceful immigrants. We chose Wecker as one of our women to watch in 2013.
Which book will you pick up first?