The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey
In the summer of 1973, Ruth and her four friends were obsessed with pre-Raphaelite paintings—and a little bit obsessed with each other. Drawn to the cold depths of the river by Ruth’s house, the girls pretend to be the drowning Ophelia, with increasingly elaborate tableaus. But by the end of that fateful summer, real tragedy finds them along the banks.
Twenty-four years later, Ruth returns to the suffocating, once grand house she grew up in, the mother of young twins and seventeen-year-old Maeve. Joining the family in the country is Stuart, Ruth’s childhood friend, who is quietly insinuating himself into their lives and gives Maeve the attention she longs for. She is recently in remission, unsure of her place in the world now that she is cancer-free. Her parents just want her to be an ordinary teenage girl. But what teenage girl is ordinary?
A Wild Idea by Jonathan Franklin
Expelled from high school in 1959, Douglas Tompkins sought his freedom in San Francisco, where he opened a ski and outdoor equipment shop he called The North Face and Esprit clothing company. Over the next twenty-five years, Tompkins built these modest shops into 2 of the world’s most beloved brands. Esprit became the envy of retail, upending the way fashion apparel is produced, marketed, and sold. Breaking from traditional corporate leadership, Tompkins practiced what he called, “management by absence,” calling into the office four to six months a year from Tibet, the Swiss Alps, Siberia, and other remote locations where he could kayak, ski, trek across a glacier, or climb mountains.
Across the River by Kent Babb
On the west bank of the Mississippi, across from the tourist-heavy French Quarter, lies the New Orleans neighborhood of Algiers. Short on hope and big dreams, its mostly poor and marginalized residents find joy on Friday nights in fall, when the Cougars of Edna Karr High School take the field. For three years, this team of scrappy, talented athletes have brought glory to Edna Karr and Algiers, winning three straight consecutive state championships in Louisiana’s ultra-competitive Class 4A division.
Award-winning sports journalist Kent Babb told Coach Brown’s story in the pages of the Washington Post. Now, he builds on his early reporting to offer a rich and deep portrait of this man, his players, and Algiers itself, where neighbors try to make the best of a terrible situation. Featuring eight pages of full-color photos, Across the River is an indelible true story of violence and pain, dedication and love, and the fight for life and a better future.
Everything I Have Is Yours by Eleanor Henderson
Eleanor met Aaron when she was just a teenager and he was working at a local record store―older, cool, experienced, and with an electric personality. Escaping the clichés of fleeting young love, their summer romance bloomed into a relationship that survived college and culminated in a marriage and two children. From the outside looking in, their life had all the trappings of what most would consider a success story.
But, as in any marriage, things weren’t always as they seemed. On top of the typical stresses of parenting, money, and work, there were Aaron’s untended wounds of depression, addiction, and family trauma. Then, when burning lesions appeared on his body overnight, Eleanor was as baffled as his doctors. There seemed to be no obvious diagnosis, let alone a cure. And when the lesions gave way to Aaron’s increasingly disturbed concerns about parasites living inside him, the husband she loved began to unravel before her eyes. A new fissure ruptured in their marriage, and new questions piled onto old ones: Where does physical illness end and mental illness begin? Where does one person end and another begin? And how do we exist alongside someone else’s suffering?
Gone for Good by Joanna Schaffhausen
The Lovelorn Killer murdered seven women, ritually binding them and leaving them for dead before penning them gruesome love letters in the local papers. Then he disappeared, and after twenty years with no trace of him, many believe that he’s gone for good. Not Grace Harper. A grocery store manager by day, at night Grace uses her snooping skills as part of an amateur sleuth group. She believes the Lovelorn Killer is still living in the same neighborhoods that he hunted in, and if she can figure out how he selected his victims, she will have the key to his identity.
If You Lived Here You’d Be Famous by Now by Via Bleidner
For Via Bleidner, transferring to Calabasas High from the private Catholic school she’s attended since second grade is a culture shock, not to mention absolutely lonely. Suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar world of celebrities, affluenza, and McMansions, Via takes a page from Cameron Crowe and pretends she’s on a journalism assignment, taking notes on her classmates and jotting down bits of overheard gossip.
Getting through high school in Calabasas is something else—from Kim Kardashian endorsing the students’ favorite hidden lunch spot, to the theater program hiring a famous dog to play Elle Wood’s Chihuahua in its production of Legally Blonde, and Kanye trying to take control of your school to make it the very first YEEZY institution.
But instead of floating through high school detached from her peers, Via finds that putting herself out there—for her writing, of course—just might have been exactly what she needed. She unexpectedly finds an eclectic group of friends to call her own, including a multi-multi-millionaire, a wild-card throwback intent on going viral, a former Disney actor, and a doughnut-dealing madman.
In the Country of Others by Leila Slimani
Mathilde, a spirited young Frenchwoman, falls in love with Amine, a handsome Moroccan soldier in the French army during World War II. After the war, the couple settles in Morocco. While Amine tries to cultivate his family farm’s rocky terrain, Mathilde feels her vitality sapped by the isolation, the harsh climate, the lack of money, and the mistrust she inspires as a foreigner. Left increasingly alone to raise her two children in a world whose rules she does not understand, and with her daughter taunted at school by rich French girls for her secondhand clothes and unruly hair, Mathilde goes from being reduced to a farmer’s wife to defying the country’s chauvinism and repressive social codes by offering medical services to the rural population.
As tensions mount between the Moroccans and the French colonists, Amine finds himself caught in the crossfire: in solidarity with his Moroccan workers yet also a landowner, despised by the French yet married to a Frenchwoman, and proud of his wife’s resolve but ashamed by her refusal to be subjugated. All of them live in the country of others – especially the women, forced to live in the land of men – and with this novel, Leila Slimani issues the first salvo in their emancipation.
Maiden Voyages by Siân Evans
During the early twentieth century, transatlantic travel was the province of the great ocean liners. It was an extraordinary undertaking made by many women, whose lives were changed forever by their journeys between the Old World and the New. Some traveled for leisure, some for work; others to reinvent themselves or find new opportunities. They were celebrities, migrants and millionaires, refugees, aristocrats and crew members whose stories have mostly remained untold―until now.
Maiden Voyages is a fascinating portrait of these women as they crossed the Atlantic. The ocean liner was a microcosm of contemporary society, divided by class: from the luxury of the upper deck, playground for the rich and famous, to the cramped conditions of steerage or third class travel. In first class you’ll meet A-listers like Marlene Dietrich, Wallis Simpson, and Josephine Baker; the second class carried a new generation of professional and independent women, like pioneering interior designer Sibyl Colefax. Down in steerage, you’ll follow the journey of émigré Maria Riffelmacher as she escapes poverty in Europe. Bustling between decks is a crew of female workers, including Violet “The Unsinkable Stewardess” Jessop, who survived the Titanic disaster.
Mrs. March by Virginia Feito
George March’s latest novel is a smash. No one is prouder than Mrs. March, his doting wife. But one morning, the shopkeeper of her favorite patisserie suggests that his protagonist is based on Mrs. March herself: “But isn’t she…” Mrs. March leaned in and in almost a whisper said, “a whore?” Clutching her ostrich-leather pocketbook, she flees, that one casual remark destroying her belief that she knew everything about her husband—as well as herself. Suddenly, Mrs. March is hurled into a harrowing journey that builds to near psychosis, one that begins merely within the pages of a book but may uncover both a killer and the long-buried secrets of her past.
Cul-de-sac by Joy Fielding
Someone on this quiet, unassuming cul-de-sac will be shot dead in the middle of a sultry July night. Will it be Maggie, the perfectionist wife, or Craig, the husband who can’t quite live up to her expectations? They’ve packed up their two children and fled their life in California, hoping for a fresh start in Florida, only to find the demons of the past hovering on their doorstep. Maybe it will be Nick, a highly respected oncologist, or his wife, Dani, a successful dentist, both with well-kept secrets of their own. Or Julia, an elderly widow, whose troubled grandson has recently moved in with her, introducing unsavory habits and even more unsavory acquaintances into her formerly quiet existence. Then there’s Olivia and her husband, Sean. Having lost his job at a prestigious advertising agency, Sean is depressed, resentful of his working wife, and drinking heavily. He is also prone to increasingly violent fantasies. And what of the newlyweds, Aiden and Heidi, whose marriage is already on the rocks, due to Aiden’s reluctance to stand up to his intrusive mother? Matters aren’t helped when Heidi befriends Julia’s grandson, setting the stage for a major blowup.
A diverse group of neighbors, to be sure. Yet all harbor secrets. All bear scars. And all have access to guns. Not all will survive the night.
The Eternal Audience of One by Rémy Ngamije
Nobody ever makes it to the start of a story, not even the people in it. The most one can do is make some sort of start and then work toward some kind of ending.
One might as well start with Séraphin: playlist-maker, nerd-jock hybrid, self-appointed merchant of cool, Rwandan, stifled and living in Windhoek, Namibia. Soon he will leave the confines of his family life for the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town, in South Africa, where loyal friends, hormone-saturated parties, adventurous conquests, and race controversies await. More than that, his long-awaited final year in law school promises to deliver a crucial puzzle piece of the Great Plan immigrant: a degree from a prestigious university.
But a year is more than the sum of its parts, and en route to the future, the present must be lived through and even the past must be survived.