The Hidden Child by Louise FeinWhat it is: a thoughtful story about the intersection of a woman's love for her disabled child and her husband's contradictory career ambitions.
The setup: Eleanor Hamilton is concerned when her four-year-old daughter Mabel begins having seizures, but not nearly as concerned as she becomes when her husband Edward, a professor in the rising field of eugenics, suggests hiding Mabel in an asylum.
Is it for you? Some readers may struggle to sympathize with Eleanor at first, as she didn't question her husband's career field until it effected her own family.
Orphans of the Storm by Celia ImrieInspired by: the true story of two small children caught between their separated parents, a situation that lead to their father booking them second-class tickets on the brand new ocean liner the RMS Titanic.
Narrated by: the boys' mother Marcella, who was already pursuing them after their father Michael absconded with them during a visit.
About the author: Celia Imrie is best known for her acting work, including appearances in Nanny McPhee, Bridget Jones's Diary, and Absolutely Fabulous. This is her 6th novel.
A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy JagoWhat it is: an engaging story of desperation and court intrigue, inspired by the 1613 poisoning of English courtier Sir Thomas Overbury.
Starring: Frances Howard, the unhappily married Countess of Essex, who develops a scandalous extramarital connection with the king's favorite Robert Carr; Anne Turner, a doctor's widow who, after forming an unlikely bond with Frances, reveals her potentially useful set of skills.
Reviewers say: Author Lucy Jago presents "a remarkable exploration of the power, limits, and price of women’s friendship" (Publishers Weekly).
The Winter Guest by Pam JenoffWhat it's about: In Nazi-occupied Poland, 18-year-old twins Ruth and Helena are raising their younger siblings in their small mountain town, which puts a strain on their once close relationship. It only gets worse after Helena comes across a stranded American soldier and secretly agrees hide him, a choice that puts their whole family in danger.
Read it for: the multifaceted characterization of each twin, who show courage and resolve in the face of their adversity but are still flawed in believable, relatable ways.
Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea KimWhat it is: an atmospheric, intricately plotted debut novel that chronicles the unlikely bonds between and defining life experiences of a group of young Koreans living through the Japanese occupation of their country, which ended in 1945.
Starring: Jade, who was sold to a courtesan school at age ten by her desperate parents; sisters Lotus and Luna, daughters of the school's proprietor who dream of following in their mother's footsteps; and JungHo, an orphan who leads a child street gang.
Read it for: the multiple perspectives on colonialism and revolution offered by the large cast of compelling characters.
The French Gift by Kirsty ManningThe setup: Evie Black arrives on the French Riviera to attend a retrospective for her deceased aunt Joséphine Murant, a celebrated but reclusive novelist.
What follows: an unanticipated dive into Aunt Joséphine's mysterious life, including the long-hidden story of her experiences during the Nazi occupation of France.
About the author: Kirsty Manning is a bestselling Australian writer whose previous historical novels include The Song of the Jade Lily, The Lost Jewels, and The Midsummer Garden.
The Last Checkmate by Gabriella SaabWhat it is: the suspenseful, richly detailed story of Maria, a young woman sent to Auschwitz for working with the Polish Resistance who is spared execution after a camp commandant learns she is a chess master.
Read it for: Maria's deeply moving emotional journey as she tries to survive the camp's horrors and lives each day on a knife's edge.
Reviewers say: Author Gabriella Saab "offers a fresh and riveting take on fortitude in an oft-dramatized hell of inexplicable loss" (Booklist).
The Sisters Sweet by Elizabeth WeissWhat it's about: Harriet Szász has only ever known life pretending to be a conjoined twin with her sister Josephine. But Josephine runs away to Hollywood to work in the newly burgeoning film industry. Left behind, Harriet is now faced with supporting her washed-up vaudevillian parents and for the first time, discovering her own identity.
For fans of: The Distance Home by Paula Saunders or Miller's Valley by Anna Quindlen.
Still Life by Sarah WinmanWhat it is: a compelling, character-driven story of war, art, and survival; a loving portrayal of and homage to the city of Florence and its postwar expat community.
Starring: Evelyn Skinner, a 64-year-old English art historian trying to save Tuscan artworks from Nazi destruction; Ulysses Temper, a 24-year-old soldier who meets Evelyn as they shelter together in a wine cellar, waiting out the latest bombing raid.
Who it's for: fans of E.M. Forster and Evelyn Waugh; anyone who enjoys stories about unlikely friendships and bonds forged by fire.
The Perishing by Natashia DeónWhat it's about: the decade-spanning, unexplained connection between three Black women: a light-skinned woman in a forbidden relationship living in the 1870s; a Prohibition-era Los Angeles Times journalist with no memories of her past and disturbing premonitions of the future; and a murderer living a century later.
Compare it to: the work of legendary science fiction author Octavia Butler, especially the novel Kindred.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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