Books You May Have Missed

The Return of Faraz Ali

By Ahmad, Aamina

'Stunning not only on account of the author's talent, of which there is clearly plenty, but also in its humanity.' --New York Times Book Review (cover)

Sent back to his birthplace--Lahore's notorious red-light district--to hush up the murder of a girl, a man finds himself in an unexpected reckoning with his past.

The Darling Dahlias and the Red Hot Poker

By Albert, Susan Wittig

It's Labor Day weekend, 1935, and members of the Darling Dahlias--the garden club in little Darling, Alabama--are trying to keep their cool at the end of a sizzling summer. This isn't easy, though, since there's a firebug on the loose in Darling. He--or she!--strikes without apparent rhyme or reason, and things have gotten to the point where nobody feels safe. What's more, a dangerous hurricane is poised to hurl itself in Darling's direction, while a hurricane of a different sort is making a whirlwind campaign stop: the much-loved-much-hated senator from Louisiana, Huey P. Long, whom President Roosevelt calls the "most dangerous man in America." Add Ophelia Snow's secret heartthrob, Liz Lacy's Yankee lover, and the Magnolia Ladies' garden of red hot pokers, fire-red salvia, and hot pink cosmos, and you have a volatile mix that might just burst into flames at any moment.

​Author Susan Wittig Albert has brought us another delightful assortment of richly human characters who face the challenges of the Great Depression with courage and grace. Her books remind us that friends offer the best of themselves to each other, community is what holds us together, and even when life seems too hot to handle, there's always hope.

Love Marriage

By Ali, Monica

Set in London now, Love Marriage marks the magnificent return of Monica Ali, the Booker Prize shortlisted, "splendid, daring, brilliant, refreshing" novelist (The New Republic) "with an inborn generosity that cannot be learned" (The New York Times Book Review).

Yasmin Ghorami is twenty-six, in training to be a doctor (like her Indian-born father), and engaged to the charismatic, upper-class Joe Sangster, whose formidable mother, Harriet, is a famous feminist. The gulf between families is vast. So, too, is the gulf in sexual experience between Yasmin and Joe.

As the wedding day draws near, misunderstandings, infidelities, and long-held secrets upend both Yasmin's relationship and that of her parents, a "love marriage," according to the family lore that Yasmin has believed all her life.

A gloriously acute observer of class, sexual mores, and the mysteries of the human heart, Monica Ali has written a captivating social comedy and a profoundly moving, revelatory story of two cultures, two families, and two people trying to understand one another.

Monica Ali's Brick Lane was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was named a best book of the year by The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic.

Atomic Anna

Three brilliant women.

Two life-changing mistakes.

One chance to reset the future.

In 1986, renowned nuclear scientist, Anna Berkova, is sleeping in her bed in the Soviet Union when Chernobyl's reactor melts down. It's the exact moment she tears through time--and it's an accident. When she opens her eyes, she's landed in 1992 only to discover Molly, her estranged daughter, shot in the chest. Molly, with her dying breath, begs Anna to go back in time and stop the disaster, to save Molly's daughter Raisa, and put their family's future on a better path.

In '60s Philadelphia, Molly is coming of age as an adopted refusenik. Her family is full of secrets and a past they won't share. She finds solace in comic books, drawing her own series, Atomic Anna, and she's determined to make it as an artist. When she meets the volatile, charismatic Viktor, their romance sets her life on a very different course.

In the '80s, Raisa, is a lonely teen and math prodigy, until a quiet, handsome boy moves in across the street and an odd old woman shows up claiming to be her biological grandmother. As Raisa finds new issues of Atomic Anna in unexpected places, she notices each comic challenges her to solve equations leading to one impossible conclusion: time travel. And she finally understands what she has to do.

As these remarkable women work together to prevent the greatest nuclear disaster of the 20th century, they grapple with the power their discoveries hold. Just because you can change the past, does it mean you should?

 

When Women Were Dragons

By Barnhill, Kelly

A rollicking feminist tale set in 1950s America where thousands of women have spontaneously transformed into dragons, exploding notions of a woman's place in the world and expanding minds about accepting others for who they really are. - The first adult novel by the Newbery award-winning author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours, except for its most seminal event: the Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales, and talons; left a trail of fiery destruction in their path; and took to the skies. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex's beloved aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn't know. It's taboo to speak of.

Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of this astonishing event: a mother more protective than ever; an absentee father; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and

watching her beloved cousin Bea become dangerously obsessed with the forbidden.

In this timely and timeless speculative novel, award-winning author Kelly Barnhill boldly explores rage, memory, and the tyranny of forced limitations. When Women Were Dragons exposes a world that wants to keep women small--their lives and their prospects--and examines what happens when they rise en masse and take up the space they deserve.

The Caretakers

The Caretakers
By Bestor-Siegal, Amanda

Publisher Comments

"Thrilling and deeply moving, gorgeously written and intricately plotted . . . bold and brilliant. -ELIZABETH MCCRACKEN

Recommended by USA Today - Glamour - Business Insider - Popsugar - CrimeReads - The Millions - BookRiot - and more!

Set in a wealthy Parisian suburb, an emotionally riveting debut told from the point of view of six women, and centered around a group of au pairs, one of whom is arrested after a sudden and suspicious tragedy strikes her host family--a dramatic exploration of identity, class, and caregiving from a profoundly talented new writer.

Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family's American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault--the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.

The truth lies with six women: Géraldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother's attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family's household.

Set during the weeks leading up to the event, The Caretakers is a poignant and suspenseful drama featuring complicated women. It's a sensitive exploration of the weight of secrets, the pressures of country, community, and family--and miscommunications and misunderstandings that can have fatal consequences.

"A deep, enthralling pleasure, as wise as it is lovely. I read it voraciously, desperate to discover the fates of its unforgettable characters . . . Magnificent." - ROBIN WASSERMAN

Miss Pearly's Girls

By Billingsley, ReShonda Tate

In this captivating family drama from award-winning, bestselling author ReShonda Tate Billingsley, four estranged sisters must return to rural Arkansas when their mother is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Their mother wants them to repair their shattered relationships, but first they'll have to face the lies and obstacles they've worked so hard to leave behind...

Raising four very different daughters on her own in rural Arkansas wasn't easy for Miss Pearly Bell. And she's always regretted that the sisters went their separate ways for good--and never wanted to see each other again. But when Pearly is stricken with a terminal illness, she summons them all home--determined to somehow help them get right with each other and forgive...But that means dealing with past secrets and lies first.

As the oldest sister, pastor's wife Maxine took her responsibility way too seriously--and never fails to judge everyone else. But a secret she can no longer keep will explode everything she stands for. Youngest sister Leslie is all about making a very different life with her new love--but she didn't expect a shattering past truth to be suddenly revealed and uproot everything she ever thought she knew. Elegant PR professional Stella and her earthy twin, Star, don't see eye-to-eye on anything--and now a long-ago deception could wipe out their last chance at a relationship.

Soon each sister must confront the illusions they've taken refuge in for so long and deal with each other woman-to-woman. But can building an all-too-fragile trust repair the damage done--and help them come together when they are needed most?

Probably Ruby

By Bird-Wilson, Lisa

An Indigenous woman adopted by white parents goes in search of her identity in this unforgettable debut novel about family, race, and history.

"A passionate exploration of identity and belonging and a celebration of our universal desire to love and be loved."--Imbolo Mbue, author of Behold the Dreamers

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022--The Millions, Electric Lit

This is the story of a woman in search of herself, in every sense. When we first meet Ruby, a Métis woman in her thirties, her life is spinning out of control. She's angling to sleep with her counselor while also rekindling an old relationship she knows will only bring more heartache. But as we soon learn, Ruby's story is far more complex than even she can imagine.

Given up for adoption as an infant, Ruby is raised by a white couple who understand little of her Indigenous heritage. This is the great mystery that hovers over Ruby's life--who her people are and how to reconcile what is missing. As the novel spans time and multiple points of view, we meet the people connected to Ruby: her birth parents and grandparents; her adoptive parents; the men and women Ruby has been romantically involved with; a beloved uncle; and Ruby's children. Taken together, these characters form a kaleidoscope of stories, giving Ruby's life dignity and meaning.

Probably Ruby is a dazzling novel about a bold, unapologetic woman taking control of her life and story, and marks the debut of a major new voice in Indigenous fiction.

The Lioness

By Bohjalian, Chris

A luxurious African safari turns deadly for a Hollywood starlet and her entourage in this riveting historical thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Flight Attendant.

The best possible combination of Hemingway and Agatha Christie -- a gorgeously written story about the landscape and risks of Africa, whose edge-of-your-seat plot makes it impossible to put down."

--Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Wish You Were Here

Tanzania, 1964. When Katie Barstow, A-list actress, and her new husband, David Hill, decide to bring their Hollywood friends to the Serengeti for their honeymoon, they envision giraffes gently eating leaves from the tall acacia trees, great swarms of wildebeests crossing the Mara River, and herds of zebras storming the sandy plains. Their glamorous guests--including Katie's best friend, Carmen Tedesco, and Terrance Dutton, the celebrated Black actor who stars alongside Katie in the highly controversial film Tender Madness--will spend their days taking photos, and their evenings drinking chilled gin and tonics back at camp, as the local Tanzanian guides warm water for their baths. The wealthy Americans expect civilized adventure: fresh ice from the kerosene-powered ice maker, dinners of cooked gazelle meat, and plenty of stories to tell over lunch back on Rodeo Drive.

What Katie and her glittering entourage do not expect is this: a kidnapping gone wrong, their guides bleeding out in the dirt, and a team of Russian mercenaries herding their hostages into Land Rovers, guns to their heads. As the powerful sun gives way to night, the gunmen shove them into abandoned huts and Katie Barstow, Hollywood royalty, prays for a simple thing: to see the sun rise one more time. A blistering story of fame, race, love, and death set in a world on the cusp of great change, The Lioness is a vibrant masterpiece from one of our finest storytellers.

I'll Be You

By Brown, Janelle

Two identical twin sisters and former child actors have grown apart--until one disappears, in this "cleverly crafted and psychologically nuanced" (Time) suspense novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Things.

"An addictive thriller that will keep readers burning through pages . . . sneakily hypnotic."--Los Angeles Times

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022--PopSugar, CrimeReads

"You be me, and I'll be you," I whispered.

As children, Sam and Elli were two halves of a perfect whole: gorgeous identical twins whose parents sometimes couldn't even tell them apart. They fell asleep to the sound of each other's breath at night, holding hands in the dark. And once Hollywood discovered them, they became B-list child TV stars, often inhabiting the same role.

But as adults, their lives have splintered. After leaving acting, Elli reinvented herself as the perfect homemaker: married to a real estate lawyer, living in a house just blocks from the beach. Meanwhile, Sam has never recovered from her failed Hollywood career, or from her addiction to the pills and booze that have propped her up for the last fifteen years.

Sam hasn't spoken to her sister since her destructive behavior finally drove a wedge between them. So when her father calls out of the blue, Sam is shocked to learn that Elli's life has been in turmoil: her husband moved out, and Elli just adopted a two-year-old girl. Now she's stopped answering her phone and checked in to a mysterious spa in Ojai. Is her sister just decompressing, or is she in trouble? Could she have possibly joined a cult? As Sam works to connect the dots left by Elli's baffling disappearance, she realizes that the bond between her and her sister is more complicated than she ever knew.

I'll Be You shows Janelle Brown at the top of her game: a story packed with surprising revelations and sharp insights about the choices that define our families and our lives--and could just as easily destroy them.