Eli's Promise by Ronald H. BalsonGermany, 1946: Despite the betrayal of his employee-turned-war-profiteer Max Poleski, Polish Jewish businessman Eli Rosen and his son Isaac have both survived the Holocaust and managed to reunite. With no sign of his wife Esther however, Eli begins the daunting task of searching for her in a sea of displaced people.
Chicago, 1965: Eli learns that Max is up to his old ways, exploiting political corruption and the Vietnam War for financial gain. Seeing a chance to stop the destruction of more lives, Eli's new plan is to bring Max to justice by any means necessary.
The Glass House by Beatrice ColinWhat it is: an engaging and intricately plotted story of family dysfunction, fading aristocratic glory, and frustrated female ambition set in rural Scotland just before World War I.
Starring: Antonia McCullough, an aspiring artist who lives a quiet life with her husband on her family's decaying estate Balmarra House; Cicely Pick, the wife of Antonia's estranged brother George, who arrives from Darjeeling with a secret plan to lay claim to Balmarra.
The Blind Light by Stuart EversWhat it's about: After taking part in a 1959 military exercise meant to simulate a nuclear attack, British soldiers James Carter and Drummond Moore forge an unlikely friendship across class boundaries that will shape them both in unforeseen ways for decades to come.
Read it for: the friends' shared obsession with surviving nuclear fallout, which casts a sense of foreboding over the 50 years they spend building their lives and families in close proximity to one another.
Reviewers say: "With its slow burn, Evers’s vivid, perceptive chronicle of secrets and desperation satisfies" (Publishers Weekly).
Death and the Maiden by Ariana Franklin and Samantha NormanWhat it is: the long-awaited final entry in the series of novels that began with Mistress of the Art of Death.
Starring: Italian-born physician Adelia Aguilar, first brought to England by king Henry II to investigate suspicious deaths using her medical training.
About the authors: This posthumously published novel was completed by journalist and film critic Samantha Norman, the daughter of original author Ariana Franklin.
The Lost Shtetl by Max GrossWhere it's set: Kreskol, an insular Polish shtetl so isolated that its residents escaped the horrors of the Holocaust and the rest of the 20th century.
What happens next: A divorcee's flight from the village inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will drag Kreskol and its people into the 21st century, for better or worse.
Read it for: the surprising moments of absurdity and laugh-out-loud humor in this thought-provoking novel.
Actress by Anne EnrightWhat it is: a character-driven account of the larger-than-life personality and career of Irish acting legend Katherine O'Dell, as told by her novelist daughter Norah.
Read it for: the engaging portrait of well-meaning but complex Katherine, who struggles to navigate fame and single motherhood in an era without models for either.
About the author: Irish writer Anne Enright's previous novels include The Green Road and Man Booker Prize-winning The Gathering.
Marlene by C. W. GortnerWhat it's about: the compelling professional and personal lives of legendary German-American actress Marlene Dietrich.
Why you might like it: Gortner revels in the details of formative eras in Dietrich's life, from the seductive and seedy cabaret scene of Weimar Berlin to the star-studded USO tour she participated in during World War II.
Try this next: The Only Woman in the Room by Heather Terrell, which tells the story of Austrian actress and scientist Hedy Lamarr and her unique contributions to the war effort.
Isadora by Amelia GrayWhat it is: a moody and character-driven depiction of iconoclastic dancer and choreographer Isadora Duncan, set primarily in 1913 just after the drowning deaths of her two young children.
Read it for: the lyrical writing style, which perfectly fits the drama and sensuality of the woman herself.
Reviewers say: Isadora is "a mythic, fiercely insightful, mordantly funny, and profoundly revelatory portrait of an intrepid and indelible artist" (Booklist).
The Crooked Path by Irma JoubertStarring: Lettie Louw, a young woman in pre-apartheid South Africa who is determined to become a doctor like her father; Marco Romanelli, an Italian immigrant whose physical and mental health were deeply scarred by his experiences in World War II.
Love the one you're with: Marco and Lettie meet and decide to marry for less-than-romantic reasons, neither expecting to fall in love. But as the years go by they do develop a bond, which faces its ultimate test when Marco's fragile health deteriorates.
Yesternight by Cat WintersPicture it: Gordon Bay, a bleak town on the Oregon coast where the "Roaring Twenties" are anything but.
The setup: Pioneering child psychologist Alice Lind has arrived to test the IQ of the towns' children and decides to stay with the friendly O'Daire family while she's there.
What goes wrong: Alice unwittingly throws off her hosts' family dynamics, at the same time finding herself drawn towards the handsome patriarch and puzzling over his troubled young daughter who tells disquieting stories about a past life.
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