Americanah / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.
Life After Life: a novel / Kate Atkinson
Ursula Todd is born on a cold snowy night in 1910 — twice. As she grows up during the first half of the twentieth century in Britain Ursula dies and is brought back to life again and again. With a seemingly infinite number of lives it appears as though Ursula has the ability to alter the history of the world, should she so choose.
Lucky Us: a novel / Amy Bloom
Is a family the people you are born to, or the people who you find along the way? That’s what Bloom explores in this novel set in pre- and post-WWII Ohio, Los Angeles, New York and Germany. The story follows resourceful Eva, who was abandoned by her mother at an early age, and her sister Iris, an aspiring actress who tries to find love at a time when her kind of love must be secretive.
The Boys in the Boat: nine Americans and their epic quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics / Daniel James Brown
Traces the story of an American rowing team from the University of Washington that defeated elite rivals at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics, sharing the experiences of their enigmatic coach, a visionary boat builder, and a homeless teen rower.
The Miniaturist / Jessie Burton
Engaging the services of a miniaturist to furnish a cabinet-sized replica of her new home, 18-year-old Nella Oortman, the wife of an illustrious merchant trader, soon discovers that the artist’s tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways.
Ready Player One / Ernest Cline
Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.
The Boston Girl: a novel / Anita Diamant
Recounting the story of her life to her granddaughter, octogenarian Addie describes how she was raised in early-twentieth-century America by Jewish immigrant parents in a teeming multicultural neighborhood.
The Language of Flowers: a novel / Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The story of a woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own past.
All the Light We Cannot See: a novel / Anthony Doerr
A blind French girl on the run from the German occupation and a German orphan-turned-Resistance tracker struggle with respective beliefs after meeting on the Brittany coast.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: a novel / Jamie Ford
Set in the ethnic neighborhoods of Seattle during World War II and Japanese American internment camps of the era, this debut novel tells the heartwarming story of widower Henry Lee, his father, and his first love Keiko Okabe.
We are all Completely Beside Ourselves / Karen Joy Fowler
Coming of age in middle America, eighteen-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister.
All I Love and Know / Judith Frank
When Daniel Rosen’s twin brother and sister-in-law are killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, he and his husband Matthew are confronted with challenges that threaten their relationship as they try to adopt the couple’s two children.
The Rosie Project / Graeme Simsion
Don Tillman, a professor of genetics, sets up a project designed to find him the perfect wife, starting with a questionnaire that has to be adjusted a little as he goes along. Then he meets Rosie, who is everything he’s not looking for in a wife, but she ends up his friend as he helps her try and find her biological father.
Arcadia / Lauren Groff
The lyrical and haunting story of a great American dream — the progress of a utopian community and its lasting impact on a gifted young man.
The Girl in the Red Coat: a novel / Kate Hamer
Newly single mom Beth has one constant, gnawing worry: that her dreamy eight-year-old daughter, Carmel, who has a tendency to wander off, will one day go missing. And then one day, it happens. On a Saturday morning thick with fog, Beth takes Carmel to a local outdoor festival, they get separated in the crowd, and Carmel is gone.
Neverhome / Laird Hunt
Follows the experiences of Ash Thompson, who becomes a folk hero after she abandons her farmer husband and disguises herself as a man to go fight for the South during the Civil War.
Waiting / Ha Jin
An ambitious and dedicated Chinese doctor, Lin Kong finds himself torn between two very different women–the educated and dynamic nurse with whom he has fallen in love and the traditional, meek, and humble woman to whom his family married him when they were both very young.
Orphan Train / Christina Baker Kline
Close to aging out of the foster care system, Molly Ayer takes a position helping an elderly woman named Vivian and discovers that they are more alike than different as she helps Vivian solve a mystery from her past.
The Invention of Wings / Sue Monk Kidd
On Sarah Grimke’s eleventh birthday, she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, a Charleston slave, who is to be her handmaid. Follow their journey over the next thirty-five years as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
The Lowland: a novel / Jhumpa Lahiri
Spanning the oceans from India to Rhode Island, this is a story of brothers and allegiances, mothers and challenges, families and turmoil. Lahiri fleshes out her characters and events with such exquisite prose that I find myself rereading sentences just for the experience of their impact.
Secrets of a Charmed Life: [a novel] / Susan Meissner
She stood at a crossroads, half-aware that her choice would send her down a path from which there could be no turning back. But instead of two choices, she saw only one-because it was all she really wanted to see… Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades…beginning with whom she really is.
The Night Circus: a novel / Erin Morgenstern
Waging a fierce competition for which they have trained since childhood, circus magicians Celia and Marco unexpectedly fall in love with each other and share a fantastical romance that manifests in fateful ways.
Everything I Never Told You / Celeste Ng
A story of the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family explores the fallout of the drowning death of Lydia Lee, the favorite daughter of a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio.
Us / David Nicholls
A mild-mannered scientist with a hidden sense of humor struggles to repair his marriage and his relationship with his teen son during a month-long European tour.
Stella Bain: a novel / Anita Shreve
Suffering from shell shock and memory loss from her time spent as a nurse’s aide on a French battlefield during World War I, American Stella Bain is taken in by London surgeon August Bridge and his wife.
The Witches: Salem, 1692 / Stacy Schiff
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra analyzes the Salem Witch Trials to offer key insights into the role of women in its events while explaining how its tragedies became possible.
Where’d you go, Bernadette: a novel / Maria Semple
When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled, and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society / Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
In 1946, writer Juliet Ashton finds inspiration for her next book in her correspondence with a native of Guernsey, who tells her about the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club born as an alibi during German occupation.
The Story of Land and Sea: a novel / Katy Simpson Smith
Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.
White Teeth: a novel / Zadie Smith
Set in post-war London, this novel of the racial, political, and social upheaval of the last half-century follows two families–the Joneses and the Iqbals, both outsiders from within the former British empire–as they make their way in modern England.
The Light Between Oceans / M. L. Stedman
A novel set on a remote Australian island, where a childless couple live quietly running a lighthouse, until a boat carrying a baby washes ashore.
The Burgess Boys: a novel / Elizabeth Strout
Catalyzed by a nephew’s thoughtless prank, a pair of brothers confront painful psychological issues surrounding the freak accident that killed their father when they were boys, a loss linked to a heartbreaking deception that shaped their personal and professional lives.
Cutting for Stone: a novel / Abraham Verghese
Marion, fresh out of medical school, flees Ethiopia and makes his way to America, finding refuge in his work as an intern at an underfunded, overcrowded New York City hospital. When the past catches up to him–nearly destroying him–Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least in the world: the surgeon father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
The Secret life of Violet Grant / Beatriz Williams
Defying the privilege of her 1960s Fifth Avenue family to pursue a job with a style magazine, recent college graduate Vivian Schuyler discovers a secret about an aunt she never knew who at the dawn of World War I fled her oppressive marriage to pursue an audacious goal.
What She Left Behind / Ellen Marie Wiseman
Ten years ago, Izzy Stone’s mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother’s apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at the local museum, have enlisted Izzy’s help in cataloging items at a long-shuttered state asylum. There, amid piles of abandoned belongings, Izzy discovers a stack of unopened letters, a decades-old journal, and a window into her own past.
Lisette’s List: a novel / Susan Vreeland
A tale centered on the lives of Provence-inspired master artists follows the experiences of an exiled young Parisian who cares for her husband’s ailing grandfather during the Vichy regime and rediscovers love through the master works of Cezanne, Pissarro, Chagall and Picasso.
Small Blessings: a novel / Martha Woodroof
Tom Putnam, an English professor at a Virginia women’s college, has resigned himself to a quiet and half-fulfilled life. For more than ten years, his wife Marjory has been a shut-in, a fragile and frigid woman whose neuroses have left her fully dependent on Tom and his formidable mother-in-law, Agnes Tattle. Tom considers his unhappy condition self-inflicted, since Marjory’s condition was exacerbated by her discovery of Tom’s brief and misguided affair with a visiting poetess. But when Tom and Marjory meet Rose Callahan, the campus bookstore’s charming new hire, and Marjory invites Rose to dinner, her first social interaction in a decade, Tom wonders if it’s a sign that change is on the horizon. And when Tom returns home that evening to a letter from the poetess telling him that he’d fathered her son, Henry, and that Henry, now ten, will arrive by train in a few days, it’s clear change is coming whether Tom’s ready or not. For readers of Helen Simonson and Anna Quindlen, Small Blessings is funny, heart-warming and poignant, with a charmingly imperfect cast of cinema-ready characters. Readers will fall in love with the novel’s wonderfully optimistic heart that reminds us that sometimes, when it feels like life is veering irrevocably off track, the track changes in ways we never could have imagined
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry: a novel / Gabrielle Zevin
When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.