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Sisters in Arms by Kaia AldersonWhat it is: a suspenseful and compelling story of two Black women's contributions to the Allied war effort and their experiences serving in the racially segregated ranks of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps.
Read it for: the intricate plotting, courageous characters, and journey through a rarely explored corner of history.
Reviewers say: "Themes of female friendship, bravery, and resilience radiate from the pages of this magnificent novel" (Booklist).
The Godmothers by Camille AubrayWhat it's about: The lives, loves, and secrets of four sisters-in-law from a prominent Italian family who become godmothers to each other's children and steer the family through World War II and the criminal underworld.
Starring: Naples-born Filomena, the primary narrator of the story; shy, traumatized Amie; nurse and single mother Lucy; and well-educated Petrina, only sister of Filomena's, Amie's, and Lucy's husbands.
Why you might like it: Although they sometimes clash, each woman brings something different to the table that makes them a formidable team when they work together to protect the family.
Songs in Ursa Major by Emma BrodieThe premise: In 1969, aspiring singer Jane Quinn has a chance meeting with folk music star Jesse Reid, leading to her band's big break and an intense, volatile love affair.
The problem: The music world reduces Jane's considerable talent to her connection with Jesse, something that independent-minded Jane cannot abide, and as their career paths diverge, Jesse's lifestyle begins to spiral out of control.
For fans of: Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Everyman by M Shelly ConnerWhat it's about: In 1972, Black 22-year-old Eve Mann, who was raised by her aunt in Chicago, arrives in the dubiously named town of Ideal, Georgia, on a mission to discover more about her family's past and the mother who died giving her birth.
Read it for: the engaging, lyrical writing; Eve's moving search for her identity; the historical backdrop that spans both the Great Migration and the Black Power movement.
Reviewers say: Everyman "wonderfully evokes a sense of place, and a palpable curiosity about the past" (Publishers Weekly).
Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch by Rivka GalchenWhat it is: a richly detailed and atmospheric story set in Reformation-era Germany and inspired by the real witchcraft allegations leveled against Katharina Kepler, mother of legendary mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler.
About the author: Everyone Knows is the long-awaited second novel of journalist and writer Rivka Galchen, whose award-winning first novel Atmospheric Disturbances was published in 2008.
Did you know? Some historians argue that the witch trial was instigated by Kepler's fellow Lutherans, who mistrusted his willingness to serve the catholic Holy Roman Emperor.
Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather WebbWhat it's about: the reluctant reunion of well-heeled, estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine Sommers, and their 1937 journey across the Atlantic to fulfill their dying grandmother's final wish.
Why you might like it: Though their voyage on the RMS Queen Mary gets off to a rough start, the sisters learn new things about themselves, each other, and their family history that help them build a stronger bond than they've ever had before.
Try this next: Lynn Cullen's The Sisters of Summit Avenue, which examines another fraught relationship between sisters during the Great Depression.
Painting the Light by Sally Cabot GunningWhat happens: In 1898, aspiring painter Ida Russell gets word that the ship carrying her emotionally distant husband Ezra has sunk, with no survivors.
What now? Becoming a widow gains Ida, who had grown lonely and miserable on Ezra's Martha's Vineyard farm, certain rights she never enjoyed before. Now she has the chance to rebuild her life and rediscover her love of painting, but first she must summon the courage to take it.
About the author: Novelist Sally Cabot Gunning has published other evocative works of historical fiction including Benjamin Franklin's Bastard and The Rebellion of Jane Clarke, as well as the Peter Bartholomew series of mysteries.
The Great Mistake by Jonathan LeeInspired by: the discreet personal life and shockingly public death of Andrew Haswell Green, a lawyer and city planner involved in creating some of the most emblematic landmarks in New York City.
Landmarks include: Central Park, the Bronx Zoo, the New York Public Library, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Why you might like it: Author Jonathan Lee mixes an atmospheric and richly detailed character study with elements of a detective novel, delving into events that may have led to the day in 1902 when Green was shot outside of his Park Avenue home.
How to Find Your Way in the Dark by Derek B. MillerWhat it's about: Only a year after losing his mother, 12-year-old Sheldon Horowitz must move to live with his uncle Nate in Hartford, CT, after the "accidental" death of his father. As the shadow of World War II approaches, Sheldon stews in the suspicion that his father was murdered and soon he's planning to get revenge.
Read it for: Sheldon's engaging narrative voice, which is both witty and wise beyond his years; Sheldon's amusing experiences at Borscht Belt resorts in the Catskills; the interesting juxtaposition of American anti-Semitism with the rise of Nazism in Europe.
The Vixen by Francine ProseWhat it is: a suspenseful and thought-provoking novel in which a young Jewish man working in the publishing industry during the Red Scare tries to balance career, identity, family, and personal ethics after being assigned to edit a tawdry, anti-Semitic novel based on the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.
About the author: Francine Prose is the former president of the literature nonprofit PEN America whose previous work includes novels such as After and A Changed Man and nonfiction titles Reading Like a Writer and The Lives of Muses.
Reviewers say: "Smart, assured fiction from a master storyteller and thoughtful social commentator" (Kirkus Reviews).
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