The Parisian by Isabella HammadIntroducing: Midhat Kamal, the Sorbonne-educated son of a wealthy Palestinian textile merchant who finds himself caught between cultures.
What happens: Known as "the Parisian" in his hometown of Nablus, a small village "north of Jerusalem, south of Damascus," Midhat has a front-row seat to history as colonial powers squabble over his homeland.
Reviewers say: a "dazzling debut novel" (The New York Times).
American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie ThorntonStarring: Alice Roosevelt, daughter of Theodore Roosevelt. Just 18 when her father is elected president, spirited Alice becomes a celebrity, a fashion icon, and a walking scandal who smokes, gambles, and rides in automobiles with men.
Why you might like it: Alice's lively narration describes her coming-of-age in the public eye while capturing her larger-than-life personality.
You might also like: Jerome Charyn's The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King, in which Teddy Roosevelt recounts his adventurous life.
The Quintland Sisters: A Novel by Shelley WoodWhat it's about: In 1934, quintuplets are born to a poor family in rural Ontario. Teenage midwife Emma Trimpany, who helps deliver all five girls, tells their story.
Inspired by: the real-life Dionne sisters of Canada, the first known quintuplets to survive infancy and reach adulthood.
You might also like: Ami McKay's The Birth House, another engaging, well-researched historical novel about rural Canadian midwives.
I Always Loved You: A Story of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas by Robin OliveiraStarring: artists Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas.
What it's about: their complicated relationship, which begins when Edgar invites Mary -- rejected by the Paris Salon -- to exhibit her paintings with the Impressionists.
Try this next: Harriet Scott Chessman's Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper, about Cassatt's relationship with her sister; Cathy Marie Buchanan's The Painted Girls or Kathryn Wagner's Dancing for Degas, which focus on Degas and his dancer-models.
The Collector's Apprentice: A Novel by B.A. ShapiroStarring: 19-year-old Paulien Mertens, who becomes Vivienne Gregsby and finds a job with an American art collector who shares her passion for post-Impressionist art. Little does he know she's got an ulterior motive.
Why you might like it: Cameos by famous artists and evocative details of Paris in the 1920s add atmosphere to a slow-burning tale of passion, murder, and revenge.
Did you know? Although this novel's characters are fictitious, its featured works of art form the core of the collection at the real-life Barnes Foundation museum in Philadelphia.
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic SmithWhat it's about: A 17th-century Dutch masterpiece is stolen from a Manhattan residence in 1957 and replaced with a skillfully executed forgery. The switch remains a secret for decades -- until the museum curator who created the fake is confronted by both versions.
Why you might like it: Parallel narratives unfold and eventually converge in this atmospheric novel, which reveals surprising connections among individuals separated by time and geography.
The Girl Between by Lisa StrømmeInspired by: the life of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch and the creation of his iconic painting, The Scream.
What happens: Hired as a housemaid by the wealthy Ihlen family, 16-year-old Johanne becomes the confidante of youngest daughter Tullik and reluctantly helps the girl pursue an ill-fated love affair with Munch.
For fans of: Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring, Nellie Hermann's The Season of Migration.
Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O'Keeffe by Dawn TrippWhat happens: Once aspiring artist Georgia O'Keeffe becomes the muse and mistress of photographer Alfred Stieglitz, she struggles to be recognized as an artist in her own right -- especially after Stieglitz revives his own flagging career by exhibiting nude portraits of Georgia.
Why you might like it: Emphasizing O'Keeffe's rich inner life, this lyrical novel presents a nuanced portrait of an iconic American artist.
Want a taste? "This is not a love story. If it were, we would have the same story. But he has his, and I have mine."
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