The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara BrunsvoldNo news is bad news... for Kansas City reporter Aidyn Kelley, who's tired of fluff pieces. When her attempt to cover hard news backfires, her editor sends her to visit a hospice patient and write her obituary.
Three questions per death: But feisty 79-year-old Mrs. Kip isn't talking about herself unless Aidyn offers a wild variety of fatal endings for her. Aidyn makes up shark attacks and more, and finds herself enjoying spending time with Mrs. Kip, who's led a remarkable life.
For fans of: Katie Powner, Susie Finkbeiner, inspiring debuts, and novels that shine a spotlight on intergenerational friendship.
Heirlooms by Sandra ByrdAfter the Korean War... young Navy widow Helen Devries opens her Whidbey Island home to another young widow, Choi Eunhee. Together they manage, bonding over common losses and a shared secret.
In contemporary times... Cassidy Quinn inherits her family home and a task from her grandmother Helen: sort through a locked hope chest with Grace Kim, Eunhee's granddaughter.
Reviewers say: "gorgeous...this is a gem" (Publishers Weekly); "women's fiction as it is meant to be written" (Library Journal).
The Italian Ballerina by Kristy CambronStarring: In the present day, Delaney Coleman, whose WWII veteran grandfather recently died, and Matteo, a young Italian man who contacts Del, saying he has something of her grandfather's. During the 1940s, an English prima ballerina, two American military medics, and a young Jewish orphan carrying a small suitcase.
What it's about: a real-life World War II event where a group of people in Rome conspired to save Jews by inventing a contagious sickness, Syndrome K.
For fans of: intricate and atmospheric dual-timeline novels with touches of romance.
Walking in Tall Weeds by Robin W. PearsonEmpty nesters: In Hickory Grove, North Carolina, Paulette and Fred Baldwin's only child, McKinley, works in another state, and the interracial couple have grown apart. Paulette is still focused on her son, while furniture designer Fred's bitterness with his employers, the white George family, grows as he recalls how they treated his ancestors.
What happens: McKinley returns home, but he has plans his parents don't approve of -- including who he wants to marry.
Why you might like it: This faith-filled family drama movingly explores racism, marriage problems, and dealing with the past.
Set the Stars Alight by Amanda DykesWhat it is: a lyrical, layered dual-timeline novel with well-drawn characters, vividly described settings, and a touch of romance.
What happens: In contemporary England, marine archaeologist Lucy and her childhood friend, forensic astronomer Dash, search for the shipwreck of the HMS Jubilee. In the 1800s, Frederick, who's never been able to please his Naval captain father, goes to sea at a young age along with his friend, who's in love with a girl he must leave behind.
For fans of: Melanie Dobson, Ashley Clark, and Heidi Chiavaroli.
A Piece of the Moon by Chris FabryThe treasure: Wealthy, eccentric Gideon Quidley puts gold, cash, and more in a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, then hides it in the West Virginia mountains, offering Bible verses as clues to its location.
The hunt: A few years later, in 1981, searchers descend on a small town where likeable community radio DJs discuss and read out clues. But when a local pastor goes missing while looking for the treasure, the DJs rethink their role in the hunt and wonder how to put an end to it all.
Reviewers say: "This is Fabry's best yet" (Publishers Weekly); "The rural South comes to life, with themes of forgiveness and second chances as highlights" (Library Journal).
The Moonlight School by Suzanne Woods FisherA new start: Leaving Lexington, Kentucky in 1911, Lucy Wilson, who's never recovered from the disappearance of her toddler sister a decade ago, arrives in a rural town to do office work for her formidable aunt.
But it's not what she expected: With only 15-year-old Fin to guide her, Lucy's aunt sends her on horseback into the hollers to read letters to and take dictation from people who lack formal education. With the help of Fin, her aunt, and a handsome choirmaster, Lucy might just find home.
Did you know? Moonlight schools for adults were real, and the character of Cora Wilson Stewart is based on a real person, who was the first woman school superintendent of Rowan County.
Night Bird Calling by Cathy GohlkeThe setup: In May 1941, Lilliana Swope flees her abusive husband for No Creek, North Carolina, and the home of her elderly Great Aunt Hyacinth Belvidere.
What happens: Liliana makes a home for herself in the small town, and with help from precocious 11-year-old Celia, opens up Hyacinth's small library for all. But the local KKK isn't happy about that.
Is it for you? Depicting courage, faith, and friendship, the characters in this compelling work of historical fiction also face serious issues, like racism, child abuse, and sexual assault.
To the Moon and Back by Karen KingsburyWhat happens: Brady Bradshaw and Jenna Phillips, who both lost parents in the Oklahoma City bombing, connected with each other at the memorial site as teens. Ten years later, Ashley Baxter Blake meets struggling Brady and feels compelled to help him find Jenna.
Series alert: Though this novel is part of Karen Kingsbury's bestselling Baxter Family series, it can be enjoyed on its own.
Reviewers say: "A moving story of survival, of faith, and of beauty from ashes" (Booklist); "a tale of divine love coming to those in the most need" (Publishers Weekly).
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