The Immortals of Tehran by Ali AraghiWhat it is: a sweeping saga that follows a cursed Iranian family and its patriarch, a mute poet whose writing takes on mythological significance during the country's 1979 revolution.
Why you might like it: in the vein of classics like The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende, The Immortals of Tehran uses magical realism to enrich the story of one family's journey through important historical moments. And there are cats. Lots and lots of cats.
The Florios of Sicily by Stefania AuciWhat it’s about: the rise and fall of the Florio family, a distinguished business dynasty who first rose to prominence in the 19th century after moving to Sicily.
Starring: Ignazio, who founded the first family business (a spice shop) with his brother Paolo; Paolo’s son Vincenzo, who must see the increasing number of Florio businesses through a tumultuous period of expansion; and the second Ignazio, who still faces the snobbery of local aristocrats who look down on the family despite their wealth.
A Thousand Moons by Sebastian BarryWhat it's about: a makeshift family's story of growth and survival in Reconstruction-era Tennessee, a dangerous place to be for anyone who lives outside the lines.
Starring: Winona Cole, a 16-year-old Lakota girl first introduced in the novel Days Without End; Civil War veterans John Cole and Thomas McNulty, Winona's adoptive fathers; Tennyson and Rosalee, siblings and former slaves who later join the Cole family.
Read it for: the complex characters, lyrical language, and meditations on what it takes to build a family.
Liberation by Imogen KealeyWhat it’s about: the life and work of Nancy Wake, a real-life operative for the French Resistance and Special Operations Executive that the Nazis called "the white mouse" for her ability to escape tight situations.
About the author: Imogen Kealey is the collective pseudonym of novelist Imogen Robertson and screenwriter Darby Kealey.
Media buzz: A film adaptation of the novel is in development and set to star Oscar-winning actress Anne Hathaway.
Passage West by Rishi ReddiWhat it is: a moving, well-researched look at the forgotten role immigrants played in the agricultural and economic expansion of California, beginning just before World War I.
Featuring: Punjabi worker Ram Singh, who leaves his new wife and their child behind in India for a well-paying job with his sharecropper friend Karak Singh Gill.
Reviewers say: Passage West is a "richly imagined, character-driven" novel and "a wonderful historical saga" (Booklist).
Exile Music by Jennifer SteilWhat it's about: the flight of a Jewish family of musicians after the Nazi invasion of Austria destroys their culturally vibrant Viennese community, and their efforts to rebuild their lives in Bolivia.
Why you should read it: While most people are aware of the postwar escapes of Nazis to South American countries like Chile and Argentina, the stories of prewar Jewish refugees are less discussed.
About the author: Jennifer Steil is a journalist and memoirist whose previous novel The Ambassador's Wife was published in 2013.
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