What’s New – Fiction
Laurie Gelman’s sharp debut novel about a year in the life of a kindergarten class mom– a brilliant send-up of the petty and surprisingly cutthroat terrain of parent politics
Jen Dixon is not your typical Kansas City kindergarten class mom — or mom in general. Jen already has two college-age daughters by two different (she thinks) musicians, and it’s her second time around the class mom block with five-year-old Max — this time with a husband and father on her side. Her best friend, who is also the PTA President, sees her as the “wisest” candidate for the job (or oldest) , but not all of the other parents agree.
From recording parents’ response times to her emails to suggesting someone bring “special” brownies for curriculum night, not all of Jen’s methods win approval from the other moms. Throw in an old flame from her past, a hyper-sensitive “allergy mom,” a surprisingly sexy kindergarten teacher, and an impossible-to-please Real Housewife wannabe causing problems at every turn, and the job really becomes much more than she signed up for.
Relatable, irreverent, and hilarious in the spirit of Maria Semple, this is a fresh, welcome voice in fiction — the kind of novel that moms clamor for, and a vicarious thrill-read for all mothers, who will be laughing as they are liberated by Gelman’s acerbic truths.
For readers of Paula McLain, Nancy Horan, and Melanie Benjamin, this captivating novel is inspired by a little-known interlude in the artist’s life.
The French Riviera, spring 1936: It’s off-season in the lovely seaside village of Juan-les-Pins, where seventeen-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family-owned CafÃ© Paradis. A mysterious new patron who’s slipped out of Paris and is traveling under a different name has made an unusual request – to have his lunch served to him at the nearby villa he’s secretly rented, where he wishes to remain incognito.
Pablo Picasso is at a momentous crossroads in his personal and professional life – and for him, art and women are always entwined. The spirited Ondine, chafing under her family’s authority and nursing a broken heart, is just beginning to discover her own talents and appetites. Her encounter with Picasso will continue to affect her life for many decades onward, as the great artist and the talented young chef each pursue their own passions and destiny.
New York, present day: CÃ©line, a Hollywood makeup artist who’s come home for the holidays, learns from her mother, Julie, that Grandmother Ondine once cooked for Picasso. Prompted by her mother’s enigmatic stories and the hint of more family secrets yet to be uncovered, CÃ©line carries out Julie’s wishes and embarks on a voyage to the very town where Ondine and Picasso first met. In the lush, heady atmosphere of the CÃ´te d’Azur, and with the help of several eccentric fellow guests attending a rigorous cooking class at her hotel, CÃ©line discovers truths about art, culture, cuisine, and love that enable her to embrace her own future.
Featuring an array of both fictional characters and the French Riviera’s most famous historical residents, set against the breathtaking scenery of the South of France, Cooking for Picasso is a touching, delectable, and wise story, illuminating the powers of trust, money, art, and creativity in the choices that men and women make, as they seek a path toward love, success, and joie de vivre.
Trapped on a back ward in a 1970s state mental hospital, Andy, 21, drugged, depressed, and demoralized, fights to outwit the sadistically depraved psychiatrist determined to keep him there. First, high school senior Andy Koops barely reacts to his father’s suicide. Then, in college, a manic episode lands him in a state mental hospital. After three years, he’s still hospitalized, and worse, he’s trapped in a locked back ward by a sadistic psychiatrist, Dr. Enzo Gambelli. Drugged, depressed, and demoralized, Andy is on the verge of becoming a chronic mental patient when he’s befriended by a maverick social worker who challenges him to choose: does he want to stay a patient or go home. Andy chooses home and battles Gambelli for his release—but he has no idea of the evil he is about to encounter.
An epic, ingenious new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse, The Clockwork Dynasty weaves a riveting path through history and a race of human-like machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries.
In the rugged landscape of eastern Oregon, a young scientist named June uncovers an exquisite artifact – a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll whose existence seems to validate her obsession with a harrowing story she was told by her grandfather many years earlier. The mechanical doll, June believes, is proof of a living race of automatons that walk undetected among us to this day. Ingeniously hidden inside the ancient doll is a lost message, addressed to the court of Peter the Great, czar of Russia.
Russia, 1725: Peter and Elena, two human-like mechanical beings, are brought to life under the watchful guise of Peter the Great. Their struggle to serve in the court of the czar while blending in, and to surviveâ€Ž amid those who fear and wish to annihilate them, will take Peter and Elena across Russia, Europe, and, ultimately, across the centuries to modern day.
The Clockwork Dynasty is Daniel H. Wilson’s masterful new novel. It seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings that live by different principles than humans, but ultimately value loyalty. As June learns more about these beings, she is quickly drawn into a fierce battle that has spanned the centuries, and will ultimately determine the survival or extermination of this ancient race. Richly-drawn and heart-pounding, Wilson’s novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisite characters with breathtaking technology – and unmatched action. The Clockwork Dynasty is a riveting, breakout novel.
A bracing, hypnotic coming-of-age story about the bond of best friends, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor’s Children.
Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship. The Burning Girl is a complex examination of the stories we tell ourselves about youth and friendship, and straddles, expertly, childhood’s imaginary worlds and painful adult reality — crafting a true, immediate portrait of female adolescence.
Claire Messud, one of our finest novelists, is as accomplished at weaving a compelling fictional world as she is at asking the big questions: To what extent can we know ourselves and others? What are the stories we create to comprehend our lives and relationships? Brilliantly mixing fable and coming-of-age tale, The Burning Girl gets to the heart of these matters in an absolutely irresistible way.
The Store doesn’t just want your money–it wants your soul.Imagine a future of unparalleled convenience. A powerful retailer, The Store, can deliver anything to your door, anticipating the needs and desires you didn’t even know you had. Most people are fine with that, but not Jacob and Megan Brandeis. New York writers whose livelihood is on the brink of extinction, Jacob and Megan are going undercover to dig up The Store’s secrets in a book that could change the entire American way of life–or put an end to Jacob’s. After a series of unsettling discoveries, Jacob and Megan’s worst fears about The Store seem like just the beginning. With nothing escaping The Store’s watchful eye, harboring a secret that could get him killed, Jacob has to find a way to publish his expose–before the truth dies with him.
Beloved bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns with a powerful standalone novel about a woman forced to start her life anew, embarking on the most courageous journey of all—to a place where she learns what love and trust really mean.
Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, Shay realized she would do anything to help him avoid the men who were threatening him, and she crossed lines she never should have crossed. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold.
Pastor Drew Douglas adored his wife. But when he lost her, it was all he could do to focus on his two beautiful kids, and his flock came in a distant third. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew.
The pair strike up a friendship—Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose—that, over time, turns into something deeper, something soulful, spiritual, and possibly romantic. Even Drew’s two children are taken with this woman who has brought light back into their lives. Perhaps most important, Shay learns to trust again as she, in turn, proves herself trustworthy to her adopted community.
But Caden’s return to town and a disastrous secret threaten to undo the life Shay has tried so hard to rebuild. It will take the utmost courage and faith if she and Drew hope to find healing and open their hearts to a brighter future.
The latest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen.
Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king’s half sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her throne, and locked Jane in the Tower of London. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block, where Jane transformed her father’s greedy power grab into tragic martyrdom.
“Learn you to die,” was the advice Jane wrote to her younger sister Katherine, who has no intention of dying. She intends to enjoy her beauty and her youth and fall in love. But she is heir to the insecure and infertile Queen Mary and then to her half sister, Queen Elizabeth, who will never allow Katherine to marry and produce a Tudor son. When Katherine’s pregnancy betrays her secret marriage, she faces imprisonment in the Tower, only yards from her sister’s scaffold.
“Farewell, my sister,” writes Katherine to the youngest Grey sister, Mary. A beautiful dwarf, disregarded by the court, Mary keeps family secrets, especially her own, while avoiding Elizabeth’s suspicious glare. After seeing her sisters defy their queens, Mary is acutely aware of her own danger but determined to command her own life. What will happen when the last Tudor defies her ruthless and unforgiving Queen Elizabeth?
When a mysterious figure appears in Three Pines one cold November day, Armand Gamache and the rest of the villagers are at first curious. Then wary. Through rain and sleet, the figure stands unmoving, staring ahead.
From the moment its shadow falls over the village, Gamache, now Chief Superintendent of the SÃ»retÃ© du QuÃ©bec, suspects the creature has deep roots and a dark purpose. Yet he does nothing. What can he do? Only watch and wait. And hope his mounting fears are not realized.
But when the figure vanishes overnight and a body is discovered, it falls to Gamache to discover if a debt has been paid or levied.
Months later, on a steamy July day as the trial for the accused begins in MontrÃ©al, Chief Superintendent Gamache continues to struggle with actions he set in motion that bitter November, from which there is no going back. More than the accused is on trial. Gamache’s own conscience is standing in judgment.
In her latest utterly gripping book, number-one New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny shatters the conventions of the crime novel to explore what Gandhi called the court of conscience. A court that supersedes all others.
A searing and profound Southern odyssey by National Book Award-winner Jesmyn Ward.
In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in Sing, Unburied, Sing she is at the height of her powers.
Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.
Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.
“New York, Paris, London — every grand metropolis — has its own irresistible attraction but Rome so swirls with stories of saints and sinners … lovers and fighters, that she compels you towards her, like gravity … . No one leaves her unaltered. Part of you always loves her. This is the place where passions are aroused, senses inflamed, and lovers fall into each other’s arms. It all appears to unfold like magic but I will tell you what really happens … Come with me, if you will, and observe my labors.”
Mark Lamprell’s One Summer Day in Rome is an enchanting novel about three couples drawn irresistibly to Rome, narrated by the city itself.
Alice, an art student in New York City, has come to Rome in search of adventure and inspiration before settling down with her steady, safe fiancÃ©. Meg and Alec, busy parents and successful business people from LA, are on a mission to find the holy grail, a certain blue tile that will make their home renovation complete — but soon it becomes clear that their marriage needs a makeover as well. Connie and Lizzie are women of a certain age — “Sometimes I look at my laughter lines and wonder what on earth could have been that funny” — who come from London to scatter the ashes of their beloved husband and brother. Both women are seemingly done with romance, but Rome has other ideas.
Brimming with wit and charm (and gelato) , One Summer Day in Rome is the most delicious novel you will read this summer.