One of the most popular books of the last few weeks has been Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. If you loved the book and are looking for something similar, or if you need something to read until your hold comes in, here are a few readalikes.
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
It is a perfect July morning, and Elle, a fifty-year-old happily married mother of three, awakens at “The Paper Palace”—the family summer place which she has visited every summer of her life. But this morning is different: last night Elle and her oldest friend Jonas crept out the back door into the darkness and had sex with each other for the first time, all while their spouses chatted away inside.
Now, over the next twenty-four hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives.
Hope and Glory by Jendella Benson
Glory Akindele returns to London from her seemingly glamorous life in LA to mourn the sudden death of her father, only to find her previously close family has fallen apart in her absence. Her brother, Victor, is in jail and won’t speak to her because she didn’t come home for his trial. Her older sister, Faith, once a busy career woman, appears to have lost her independence and ambition, and is instead channeling her energies into holding together a perfect suburban family. Worst of all, their mother, Celeste, is headed toward a breakdown after the death of her husband and the shame of her son’s incarceration.
Rather than returning to America, Glory decides to stay and try to bring them all together again. It’s a tall order given that Glory’s life isn’t exactly working out according to plan either, and she’s acutely aware that she’s not so sure who she is and what she wants.
Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins
The Frosts are a typical American family. Barb and John, married almost fifty years, are testy and bored with each other…who could blame them after all this time? At least they have their daughters– Barb’s favorite, the perfect, brilliant Juliet; and John’s darling, the free-spirited Sadie. The girls themselves couldn’t be more different, but at least they got along, more or less. It was fine. It was enough.
Until the day John had a stroke, and their house of cards came tumbling down.
Now Sadie has to put her career as a teacher and struggling artist in New York on hold to come back and care for her beloved dad–and face the love of her life, whose heart she broke, and who broke hers. Now Juliet has to wonder if people will notice that despite her perfect career as a successful architect, her perfect marriage to a charming Brit, and her two perfect daughters, she’s spending an increasing amount of time in the closet having panic attacks.
And now Barb and John will finally have to face what’s been going on in their marriage all along.
One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.
And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back.
Every Time You Go Away by Elizabethe Harbison
Jane Holcomb isn’t exactly a widow, though she feels like one. She divorced her unfaithful husband, Ben, ten months before he died of a heart attack at the beach house he got in the divorce settlement. He was thirty-two. Two years later, Jane returns to the house to clean it up in preparation to sell it. Much to her surprise, Ben arrives soon after her. He has finally learned his lesson, finally realized she’s the love of his life and that he blew things big-time by cheating on her—unfortunately, he’s only learned this after death. Jane has to contend with her ghost of an ex-husband discreetly while also dealing with the coming and going of various guests—including her sister, who wants to know what the heck is going on with suddenly-skittish Jane, and a handsome contractor who sets sparks flying at Jane, much to the consternation of her jealous late husband. Jane will have to find the strength and independence within herself, as well as the forgiveness that will help her move on with her life and Ben move on past this mortal medium where he is stuck trying to atone for his sins with a sassy ex-wife.
The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton
Mary Frances “Frankie” Lombard is fiercely in love with her family’s sprawling apple orchard and the tangled web of family members who inhabit it. Content to spend her days planning capers with her brother William, competing with her brainy cousin Amanda, and expertly tending the orchard with her father, Frankie desires nothing more than for the rhythm of life to continue undisturbed. But she cannot help being haunted by the historical fact that some family members end up staying on the farm and others must leave. Change is inevitable, and threats of urbanization, disinheritance, and college applications shake the foundation of Frankie’s roots. As Frankie is forced to shed her childhood fantasies and face the possibility of losing the idyllic future she had envisioned for her family, she must decide whether loving something means clinging tightly or letting go.
Daughters Beyond Command by Véronique Olmi
Three sisters were born into a modest Catholic family in Aix-en-Provence. Sabine, the eldest, dreams of an artist’s life in Paris; Helene, the middle girl, grows up divided between the bourgeois environment of Neuilly-sur-Seine and the simple life led by her parents; Mariette, the youngest, learns the secrets and silences of a dazzling and crazy world.
In 1970, French society is changing. Women have emancipated themselves whilst men have lost their bearings, and the three sisters, each in their own way, find ways to live a life of their own–a strong life, far from the morality, education, and the religion of their childhood.
Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard; the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time—and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.