Well, here it is. The 2019 Ultimate Summer Reading List.
I’ve made lists, checked them thrice; researched new releases, scoured all the social media channels, cyber-stalked authors, and spent an unreasonable amount of time talking to strangers in bookstores.
Listen, there are things that I’m good at, and things at which I’m just okay, but book recommendations? Book recommendations are my spiritual gift.
So, here you go. I’ve given you 35 recommendations listed in the order they are published. Some have not released yet, so if you click the “read more” at the bottom of the description or click on the buy button of your favorite retailer, you can see the release date.
Go ahead and click the Pinterest Save button on the image above and save it to your Pinterest board; there’s nothing worse than not knowing what book to read next.
Pro Tip: Preorder your books! Preorders are CRUCIAL to an author’s success. Also, most retailers don’t charge you until it ships, and it arrives on release day. It’s truly like Christmas all summer long.
So, go forth and buy your books. I’ve listed buying buttons for all your favorite retailers- even Indie booksellers- so you can order straight away. I make a small commission which funds the running of this site at no extra cost to you.
Let Me Hear What You’re Reading
Hey- I don’t want to miss a great book, so if you’re reading something I missed, PLEASE comment here or on my social media channels and let me know what to read next.
And if you read something from the list that you LOVE- let me know that too!
The 2019 Ultimate Summer Reading List
Professor Chandra is a stodgy, flawed, divorced father of three who is also a near miss for the Nobel Prize in Economics. What he isn't a near miss for is a hit-and-run accident that lands him in the hospital. Eager to return to his work and his import, his doctor tells him he really needs to get away from work because while the accident didn't kill him, the stress of his life is doing just that.
His doctor tells him to follow his bliss. Professor Chandra doesn't know it yet, but he's about to go on the journey of a lifetime.
Critics have praised this book and its main character, a loveable curmudgeon who goes on a journey to find his bliss, and maybe reconnect with his family along the way.
More info →
Nora McInerny suffered the loss of her father, her husband, and her unborn second child in one year. This is her memoir of building something new from what was left behind of that tragic year. She's remarried now and has four children ages 16 months to 16 years, but this is her memoir about Chapter Two. Life after the tragedy.
It's funny and messy and painful and hopeful. This is a book about the space between the grief of a tragedy and the silver lining, the happy ending. So many books try to rush us into being okay, but McInerny shows us how to sit in the grief. How to be brave enough to not be okay for a while. And she also shows us how to laugh while we're waiting.
She is the host of Terrible, Thanks for Asking, a podcast about how we deal with bumps in the road and tragedies, and she is the author of It's Okay to Laugh.
More info →
Ruth Reichl, a self-described Berkeley hippie, took over as editor-in-chief for Gourmet magazine in 1999. Before that, she had been a food critic for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. So, my girl knows how to eat. The question was, could she lead a magazine?
For ten years, the answer was yes. Then this pesky internet thing took off and magazines were hit hard. As was much of publishing.
This is the story of the rise and fall of Gourmet magazine in all the excess and glamour that the New York food scene can provide.
It's a balance of exceptional food writing that makes you long for citrus and rosemary for no good reason and teachable moments on business and leadership that Reichl learned the hard way. It's also not short on recipes and stories of decadence and fame.
If you like food, I mean, you really like food. This is your book. It is a delicious way to indulge in calorie-free fun.More info →
Cleeton's previous novel, Next Year in Havana, was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, and readers are saying When We Left Cuba is even better.
Sugar heiress Beatriz Perez lost everything during the Cuban Revolution and now she wants revenge. She is recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Castro's inner circle, and so she becomes a spy, but her downfall might be her obsession with getting revenge and her determination to reclaim what she's lost.
Beatriz gets caught up in the politics of the Cold War as well as an affair with a powerful man also driven by ambition. She puts everything on the line, and if she makes one bad decision it could cost her everything again.More info →
In 1914 Eliza Ferriday goes on a trip of a lifetime with a close confidante, Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs. The two had met in Paris a few years ago, and now Eliza has the opportunity to travel to St. Petersburg and see the church with jeweled mosaics, the ballet, and even the Tsar's Winter Palace.
Then Austria declares war on Serbia, and Russia's imperial dynasty is in trouble. Eliza escapes back to America, and Sofya and her family flee to their country estate where they hire Varinka to do housework. Varinka's presence brings great danger to their house, and no one is safe.
Meanwhile, Eliza is at home trying to help Russian families escape the revolution. Then Sofya's letter stop coming, and Eliza fears Sofya is dead.
The novel travels from St. Petersburg, to countryside estates, to Paris, to the mansions of Long Island. The stories of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka will intersect in unpredictable ways, and no one can predict how it ends.
More info →
In 1965 Helen Gurley Brown took over Cosmopolitan magazine and became the first female editor in chief. The magazine was dying a slow death, and HGB saved it by publishing articles about things that had been off-limits in female magazines.
Alice Weiss is a young Midwestern woman trying to make it big in New York City when she lands a job working for Helen Gurley Brown. She wants to become a photographer, so the job is a perfect foot in the door, but she isn't prepared for the cutthroat world of publishing, and now editors are jumping ship refusing to work for Brown, who had previously written a scandalous bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl.
Alice, a dedicated apostle of HGB and her belief that women can demand to have it all, is appalled as confidential memos, article ideas, and even cover designs are leaked, all schemes to sabotage Helen Gurley Brown's career and vision for Cosmopolitan.
Alice becomes determined to help her succeed, and as pressure rises and Alice gets swept up in all the opulence of the New York City fashion and publishing scene, she stays dedicated to Helen Gurley Brown's belief that women can demand to have it all.
They can demand it, but can they really have it?More info →
I love a good beach read, but I don't like them syrupy sweet with all the stereotypical southern symbols and characters. Beauty queens and sweet tea get old after a while, and that is why I love Mary Kay Andrews. Her novels are funny but also intriguing; light, but not condescending.
I think Sunset Beach will be another favorite.
Nothing is going right for Drue Campbell, her mother has just died, she is out of a job, and there is nothing hopeful on the horizon. Then her father, Brice Campbell, a cheesy personal injury attorney, shows up unannounced at her mother's funeral after a twenty-year hiatus from family life. To make matters worse, he is married to Drue's middle school "friend" Wendy, who is also his office manager.
Her father offers her a job and she learns she's inherited her grandparents' beach bungalow on Sunset Beach. The only problem with that is that working for her father means working with Wendy, and the beach bungalow is in desperate need of repairs. So while it's not the perfect scenario, it does provide her a job and a place to live, and I always say a run-down house on the beach is better than a mansion on Main Street any day.
Drue has her hands full, and then there is a suspicious death at a nearby beach resort that exposes possible corruption at her father's law firm. That's when she becomes a self-appointed investigator and gets involved with a case that could implicate her father.
Nothing is ever as it seems with a Mary Kay Andrews novel, and there are all sorts of hints that there is a big twist at the end. I promise you'll enjoy this one. MKA has never let me down.More info →
Annie Taft has gone missing four days before her wedding, and the whole town is trying to find her. What everyone thinks is Annie just being Annie, starts to look more sinister as the hours pass.
Is her fiancee telling the truth? What about her secret friend? And we haven't talked about the man who was wrongly convicted of her mother's death who was released from prison on the very day Annie disappears.
There are a handful of possible suspects, and each question reveals more secrets.
How well do we really know the people we love? It's a question Marybeth Whalen asks with both humor and suspense. I read this one in two sittings and had myself an excellent time. If you like small southern towns and weddings, shady characters and mysteries, and if you enjoy some well-written characters, this one's for you.
More info →
I am half-way through this novel as I write this recommendation, and I can already tell this will be one of my top five favorites of the year.
This novel has everything. And it is a novel about everything. It's a family saga that spans three generations of the Miltons, a wealthy New England banking family, and the ripple effect of one decision Kitty Milton made in the summer of 1936.
The Miltons summer each year at their summer home on a private Island off the coast of Maine. They mingle with the country's most powerful families, but Kitty Milton utters the word "no" to a proposition that fateful summer and the trajectory of the family is changed forever.
The novel moves through three generations and goes back and forth in time and asks how we finally remember the things we work so hard to forget. It exposes untold secrets the family inherits and how they pass them on from generation to generation. And then it lets us watch as the present calls forth a reckoning from the past.
I can't tell you a whole lot about the plot without spoiling it for you. But trust me. This is one you don't want to miss.More info →
Corey is a troubled high schooler drunk on rebellion and desperate to leave and start his life over in a new place where no one knows him. The summer before he leaves for college, he begins breaking into mansions to ease his boredom and give him a bit of a rush.
One night he breaks into the home of Leo Sheffield, a powerful and rich CEO. While Corey is enjoying the home (where he and his mother work) Mr. Sheffield unexpectedly shows up in the middle of the night with a special guest.
There is a terrible "accident." Leo is expected to bury the truth and make it all go away, only Mr. Sheffield doesn't know that Corey has seen everything. And he wasn't the only one.
Desperation and secrecy drive both Corey and Sheffield to make decisions. It's a race against time and it's a test of our closest relationships.
More info →
Emma works at The American Hotel in Sag Harbor, where she is gearing up to greet guests and watch how the other half summer. But when Henry Wyatt, an artist and one of Sag Harbor's most famous residents, dies he leaves his waterfront home filled with his art to Emma's daughter, Penny.
Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, Bea Winstead is distraught over Henry's passing, and also sure she will receive his house and his work since she is his lifelong friend and former business partner. When she hears that Penny is the sole recipient of Henry's estate, she grabs her assistant and heads to Sag Harbor to get what is rightfully hers.
While Emma is fighting Bea to defend the inheritance, Bea discovers that Harry has left sketches scattered all over town. With Penny's help, Bea pieces them together and discovers a story with an unexpected twist that will change all of their lives.More info →
Alright, Dorothea Benton Frank has been a "never miss" author for me since I discovered her in 2003. She had been discovered many years prior; I just hadn't received the memo. My all-time favorite book of hers is Plantation, and Sullivan's Island is a very close second. (There is a scene in that one that was so funny I got kicked out of bed for laughing).
Anyway, she's written another one, and this one seems like a contender for the favorite spot. You have a mother who is a "hulk of a woman" who drives her daughter Holly insane. Holly escapes by tending her bees and living a quiet life on Sullivan's Island trying not to poke the bear that is her mother. Leslie, the other daughter, learned early that the only way to escape her mother was to actually escape, so she got married and moved away, shunning island life.
But Leslie comes back, and Holly now has to tend to her mother, and her sister, who is her polar opposite. And meanwhile, next door, a drama is unfolding that will envelop both Holly and Leslie while their mother, the most fantastic hypochondriac this side of the Mississippi, "ups her game in an uproarious and theatrical downward spiral."
Holly might very well lose her mind, so she turns to her bees, "Frank brings us back to her beloved island with an unforgettable story where the Lowcountry magic of the natural world collides with the beat of the human heart."More info →
Three college friends reunite after 30 years, but none of them have created the life they dreamed for themselves.
Evvie, who dreamed of being a supermodel, starved herself nearly to death, but then derailed the whole thing by sleeping with a married man.
Maggie married her college-sweetheart, but she was not prepared for the pain his drinking would cause or the irreparable damage it would do to their relationship.
Topher has made it as an actor, but a childhood secret has kept him from having any meaningful relationships.
After 30 years, they reunite and try to rekindle their old dreams, but a dark secret is revealed that changes everything.More info →
Confession- I have not read any of Elizabeth Gilbert's fiction, and I didn't finish Eat, Pray, Love. I can only say it was a busy time, and I just never finished. But I LOVE Elizabeth Gilbert. And she LOVES this new novel she's written.
This novel has been named a Most Anticipated Book by Oprah, Real Simple, Buzzfeed, Good Housekeeping, Goodreads, and Me.
The novel takes place in the New York theater world during the 1940s. It's told from the perspective of an older woman looking back on her life. She has some regrets, but it's mostly a pleasurable stroll down memory lane.
Vivian Morris had just been kicked out of Vassar College because of her performance so, her parents send her to Manhattan to live with her aunt, who owns a theater in Midtown called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian meets an entire cast of colorful characters who are much different than the upper-crust society friends she's used to. She befriends and becomes enamored with many of them until she makes a personal mistake that results in a professional scandal.
Ultimately, as scandal is wont to do, it leads her to a new understanding of herself and the life she wants, and so now at eighty-nine years old, Vivian tells her story at last about those years at the playhouse and how they altered the course of her entire life. And as only Vivian can say, "At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is."More info →
Patti Callahan Henry is another favorite of mine. She published Becoming Mrs. Lewis in November of 2018, and now she has a new novel coming out just in time for summer.
This one is about a rift between two sisters, and the family it erodes. Lena Donahue fled her hometown of Watersend, South Carolina after a Shakespearean-level betrayal and has reinvented herself in New York City as a travel writer. She doesn't travel home, though.
That is until her father is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Lena returns to Watersend, and with her sister, she has avoided for over a decade, and her brother who runs the family's Irish pub and has tried to be the peacemaker, she tries to preserve her dad's life in stories and photographs.
It might take discovering her father's secret past to bring Lena clarity about her own identity.More info →
This novel, written by the same author as Girl in Translation, is another one focused on women and family secrets.
Sylvie, the beautiful and brilliant successful older daughter of the Lee family, flies to the Netherlands to see her dying grandmother, and then she vanishes.
Amy, the baby of the family, is too young to remember that Sylvie had been raised by a distant relative in a distant place and didn't rejoin her family in America until she was nine because her parents immigrated to the United States, and were too poor to keep her.
Amy has always looked up to her sister and takes it upon herself to find her. She flies to the last place Sylvie was seen, but instead of finding Sylvie, she finds the truth about the secrets Sylvie keeps and how her family's choices have affected them all.
It's described as "both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive portrait of an immigrant family."More info →
I've always secretly hoped that I had a long-lost aunt somewhere ready to leave me an impressive estate. Chances are slim for me, but for Emily Dawson, the lesser cousin in a prosperous English merchant family. While her uncle is a shipping magnate, her father is a vicar, and Emily knows her cousin will take over the family business and there is no room for her there.
Then her grandfather dies, and she finds out she has inherited a sugar plantation in Barbados. A sugar plantation no one knew he owned. She, along with her cousin and his new wife, travel to the plantation to find it is a burnt-out shell after a slave uprising and there are rumors of ghosts and other unpleasantries.
Emily can't figure out why her grandfather would leave her a dilapidated sugar plantation. She doesn't know why a neighboring family is so intent on buying it from her. The answers seem to lie in the past tangled up in deceit, greed, doomed love, and betrayal.
Critics say Willig has outdone herself on this one, and that's saying a lot because she doesn't write a bad book.More info →
Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a perfect Leave It to Beaver household in Detroit in the 1950s. Jo is a tomboy who wants only to make the world fair while Bethie is pretty, feminine, and concerned with being good; she plans to use her beauty and her pleasant demeanor to glide into her own June Cleaver world.
The truth ends up looking much different than the dream. Jo and Bethie both suffer traumas and tragedies that change who they are. The grow up in the time of free love, Vietnam, Woodstock, and women's lib, and Bethie becomes and adventure-loving hellion who has dedicated herself to everything but settling down. And Jo becomes the proper young mother in Connecticut wearing cardigans and ballet flats and smiling at other mothers in the grocery store. She watches the world light up while Bethie seems intent on burning it down.
Neither are happy. Both are searching for authenticity in themselves and the world around them.
Can we miss the boat on our own lives? Do we get the chance, even later in life, for a reboot? For a chance at authenticity?More info →
Sue Ellen Wright, another Pleasantville Perfect character, thinks everything is going just as she planned. Her career is solid and fulfilling, and so is her marriage. Her kid is near perfect as well, and just about to fly the nest.
Then. (There's always a Then.)
She finds out her husband is having an affair, and her kid has wrecked his life. So, she packs everyone up and takes them to a Greek island for a month in hopes of fixing everything. There's a lot of Sue Ellen's past on this island, and some of the past might just be what can fix the present. Or maybe it will just completely wreck the whole thing. Only time will tell, but a Greek island is not a bad way to pass the time.
Grant Grinder is one of my favorite writers; he's edgy, but his insights are sharp and funny and he "is a master of simultaneously loving and filleting people who mean well, but...aren't doing so well with the big questions of life." says David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl.More info →
Natalie Tan returns home when she finds out her mother has died. She hasn't spoken to family or been home since she left seven years ago to become a chef, a job her family absolutely did not support. When Natalie returns to San Francisco's Chinatown, she is shocked to see that the vibrant neighborhood she remembers is fading. Businesses are failing and families are leaving.
But what's even more shocking is that she learns she has inherited her grandmother's restaurant. In an encounter with the neighborhood seer Natalie has the restaurant's fortune read. The seer tells her that she must cook three recipes from her grandmother's cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed.
Natalie doesn't care to help the neighbors because these very neighbors were the ones who left her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was a child.
But with a little magic, some new friends, and maybe even a romantic interest, Natalie starts to realize she might have been wrong about a lot of things.More info →
It's late August, and the South is in full bloom, and she's also ripe for a storm, which is exactly how an eclectic group of people fleeing a hurricane set to hit the coast of Florida and South Carolina end up at a farm in North Carolina.
The only thing any of them have in common is Grace and Charles Phillips, and their daughter Moira, and their need for a safe place to ride out the storm. Arriving at the Phillips in search of shelter are Javier Angel de la Cruz, a famed horse equestrian, a makeup artist named Hannah, horse breeder Gerda Klug and her daughter Elise, and Cara Rutledge, an island native.
There are a lot of personalities and emotions swirling around the Phillips' farm, and everyone is at their wit's end. They are forced to deal with unresolved issues, secrets, and biases they carry.
This is a story about finding what's important and dumping what isn't. It's a great book for a good day by the water.More info →
Libby is sixteen years old and has just lost her mother and finds herself moving into a triple-decker home with her father. They live in the middle apartment, and her two aunts live in the apartment above. Libby's father is a former soldier who is now a policeman who works nights, so she finds herself spending almost equal time with her father and her aunts, and the two households couldn't be more different. Or lonely.
Quinn Ellis' husband has just gone missing. He's an Iraq war vet and has gone missing during a PTSD attack. Quinn moves into the apartment downstairs, and Libby takes an immediate disliking to her. Soon enough, Libby starts to warm up to Quinn and they develop an unlikely friendship that starts to feel like home for both of them.More info →
Elin Hilderbrand is the Queen of Summer Reads, and now she has written a historical novel about the summer of 1969. Hildebrand, who writes of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard with all the dedication of place as any southern writer, again sets her novel in the beach towns of New England.
The Levin family summers at their grandmother's home in Nantucket, but this year the gathering is as uncertain as the political climate. Blair, the oldest sister, is pregnant with twins and can't travel. Kirby, the middle sister, is enamored with the civil rights protests and determined to be independent. She takes a summer job on Martha's Vineyard. And Tiger, the only son, is a soldier recently deployed to Vietnam.
So Jessie, thirteen, and feeling very much alone, is the only Levin summering with her grandmother and her mother, each of them hiding a disturbing secret. As summer progresses, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, a woman dies, a man goes to the moon, and the Levin family suffer their own political upheavals.More info →
I have always loved books where the characters suffer from family, and the Sorenson family suffers from and with each other. Claire Lombardo has written a beautiful book about a couple and their four adult daughters, and all the dramas that come with a family of four daughters. It's a long book, but it is like taking a long luxurious vacation, even with all the drama.
I loved the characters, and as much as I don't want to tell you what I'm about to tell you, I think it's important. Claire Lombardo is 30. THIRTY! And that is only important because she is so attuned to Marilyn and Dave who are in their sixties, that I just kept wondering how she did it.
So, to be clear, I'm not pointing out that the author is thirty years old because I'm shocked she writes well. Of course a thirty-year-old woman can write a beautiful and engaging book, I tell you that because she knows the inner lives of people twice her age as well as she does.
That being said, the book is beautiful. And though it is long, it was a pretty quick read for me because the pacing is so well-done that you don't notice the length. My only complaint was that the ending wrapped up a little more neatly than I wanted, but it was still satisfying, and not distracting enough to change my opinion of the novel.
This one is one of my summer favorites, and I'd say it will be in the top 10 for the year.More info →
No, this isn't a book about the Kardashians and our current cultural climate. This is the story of the feud between Coco Chanel, a designer known for classic, elegant, and timeless fashions, and her arch-nemesis Elsa Schiaparelli whose designs were bold and experimental for the time.
The story plays out with the looming invasion of Paris in 1938 as Lily Sutter, a recently widowed American teacher comes to visit her brother in Paris. Lily finds herself working at Elsa Schiaparelli's store and gets caught up in the drama of the explosive relationship between the two designers.More info →
Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita are friends and coworkers at Truviv, when the CEO of the company dies suddenly. His death is bad news for the foursome because their boss, Ames, will most likely be his successor. Each woman has a unique relationship with Ames, who is infamous for the ways he treats women. Mostly the talk of his behavior has been ignored and swept under the rug, but with him about to take the helm of the entire company, the ladies decide something must be done.
Sloane and her comrades' actions cause a catastrophic shift in the office. Lies come to the surface and secrets are revealed. Not everyone survives.
This novel is 9 to 5 for a new age. It's funny and insightful and deeply explores what it is to be a woman today.
And maybe if we're really lucky, Reese Witherspoon will pick up the rights and cast Dolly Parton. Wouldn't that be great?More info →
Nell Flynn hasn't been home in ten years. It's a predictable story. Her mother was brutally murdered and the killer never found. Her father, the local homicide detective is aloof and not exactly Father of the Year.
Nell, now an FBI agent, comes home after her father is killed in a motorcycle accident to settle the estate and tend to his affairs. While she's home, her father's partner, Lee Davis, requests that she look into the deaths of two young women in her town.
The more she digs, the more she is convinced that her father should have been the prime suspect in their deaths.
Nell, haunted by doubts about her mother's death and her own role in exonerating her father, can't help but wonder if the murders of all three are connected and what, if any, role she had in the deaths of all three women.More info →
I loved this novel. I think it will be one of my top five favorites for 2019. Now, I taught for 24 years in one of the wealthiest districts in the country, so I was intimate with the subject matter.
It's more substantial than a beach read, but not so literary that you need clove cigarettes and a beret to read it. Bruce Holsinger is a professor at the University of Virginia, so he knows a few things about gifted kids and competitive parenting.
And listen, there is a surprise at the end that I just didn't see coming. Then it was coming, and I just had to watch the train wreck.
What Holsinger does, though, is make you really root for and hope for good things for parents who are doing awful things. They say reading fiction makes you more empathetic, so if you're in education, you might want to pick this one up before school gets in full swing.More info →
Beatriz Williams is another of my never-miss authors. I discovered here with Along the Infinite Sea, and have read everything she's published.
If you like historical fiction, and you don't know Beatriz Williams. Well, let me introduce you.
The Golden Hour takes place in the Bahamas at the beginning of World War II. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor are living there after Edward abdicated the throne to marry a twice-divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson. This is a novel about espionage and secrecy and biases and all the things.
There is a plot twist at the end that I did not see coming, and I think that this is my new favorite Beatriz Williams book. If you like this one, I'd recommend you read Summer Wives, Along the Infinite Sea, and Cocoa Beach.More info →
"A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, Karen Dukess's The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice."
It's the summer of 1987 and so far Eve Rosen's life is in the toilet. Then she gets the opportunity to go to an early summer fete at the Cape Cod of famed writers, Henry Gray and his wife Tillie, a New Yorker writer and poet respectively. Enamored with the party and the guests, she sees and is immediately smitten with the Gray's son. And just when she thought the summer couldn't get better, she is offered a job as Henry Gray's research assistant which gets her closer to her career goals as well as his son, and it also gets her an invitation to the exclusive Book Party the Gray's host each summer where all the guests dress as literary characters.
Everyone who is anyone in New York City is at the party and Eve is enamored with the guests, the food, the drinks, the excess. Just when she thinks life is finally turning around for her she discovers truths that are nearly impossible to believe. Everything she thought she knew about the literary world and the who's who of New York City gets turned upside down, and Eve discovers that not everything that glitters is gold.More info →
Annette Feldman books a cruise for her entire family to celebrate her 70th birthday. It's been over ten years since all her people were under one roof for more than twenty-four hours.
So, a cruise. There's so much to do! Activities for everyone! Unending buffets! Nightlife! Excursions! It's perfect!
Except the family can't read the room and take a cue from the Carnival commercials that this is SUPPOSED TO BE FUN. So, they bicker, old sibling rivalries are reinvigorated, the teenage grandkids are nothing but trouble, and everyone seems hell-bent on unearthing and airing all the family secrets.
For everyone with a less-than-perfect family, this is your escape.More info →
One summer as Grace Kelly was trying to avoid an aggressive photographer, she slipped into a boutique and befriended Sophie Duval, the owner who helped her fend off James Henderson, the photographer. The friendship that formed that day "sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy."
James Henderson is a British Photographer who takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing on the SS Constitution from New York with Grace Kelly's wedding party. James, who is smitten with Sophie from his first encounter with her when she hid Kelly, must now choose love or getting the story of the century.
It's been described as "smart, romantic, and heartbreaking," so get reading!More info →
I love when a city or landmark debuts as a character in a novel. In The Chelsea Girls, both New York City and The Chelsea hotel play part in the drama of two young women trying to make it on Broadway in the mid-twentieth century.
Spanning the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, The Chelsea Girls tells the story of Hazel Riley, a playwright, and Maxine Meade, an actress trying to make a name for themselves on Broadway against the backdrop of the Communist witch hunt led by Senator Joseph McCarthy.
The women soon learn that talent isn't nearly as important as political pull when trying to make one's mark in the Big Apple, and if they aren't careful with their positioning, they could easily find themselves on the wrong side of Mr. McCarthy.
Fiona Davis explores the complicated bonds of female friendship along with the effects of McCarthyism on art in mid-century America.
I love Fiona Davis's historical fiction. The Address was my introduction to her, and I've read everything since. If you love her as I do, try The Masterpiece, which features Grand Central Station, and The Address which takes place at The Dakota. Ms. Davis knows New York better than Carrie Bradshaw herself.More info →
I have loved Joshilyn Jackson since I bought Gods in Alabama in an airport years ago. She had me at the first line. She is sharp-witted and a master at character creation.
She's written a domestic thriller. And don't think for a minute that I am not counting the minutes for this one.
Amy is your basic suburban nightmare; you know the one, the perfect mom with the sweet family who bakes cookies and never misses yoga and helps her best friend run their local book club.
Everything is Reese Witherspoon perfect until Angelica Roux shows up for bookclub one night. She is sultry and charming, and everyone seems to be entranced by her except Amy. Amy is not having it.
But the real kicker is that Angelica knows the truth about Amy and what she once did. So, Amy has to go into Alexis Colby mode to protect herself and the life she has curated. Amy and Angelica will start a suburban war that will excavate the secrets of hidden pasts.
Amazon calls it "a diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation, and love filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson's trademark humor."
Listen, anything diabolical is worth the read.
So come on ladies, grab a bottle of Cupcake Pinot Grigio and throw on your Tory Burch thongs, it's time to hit the country club pool with some diabolical suburban drama.More info →
Liv Kent is living in New York and has unexpectedly hit rock bottom just before her grandmother shows up unannounced insisting on a trip to France. Liv is reluctant, but her grandmother insists. As the novel unfolds, Liv understands her grandmother's ulterior motive is to tell her a tragic decades-old story that takes them to the caves of Maison Chaveau.
Ines is newly married to Michel, a winemaker in Champagne as World War II looms closer and closer to champagne. Michel turns his back on his new marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Resistance during the German occupation of France. Meanwhile, Ines tries to help protect Celine, the half-Jewish wife of one of the vineyard's chefs, and her friend.
Celine makes a reckless decision in an effort to be free while Ines has made an awful mistake with a Nazi collaborator. Between them, Celine and Ines have risked the lives of everyone they love and Maison Chaveau.
This might be one that hits the big lists. It's "perfect for fans of Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale."More info →