Mrs. Osmond: A Novel by John BanvilleStarring: Isabel Archer, heroine of The Portrait of a Lady, in a sequel to Henry James' classic novel.
Book buzz: Critics are raving about this "superb Henry James pastiche" (The Guardian), an "epochal act of imitation, salutation, and imagination" (NPR) that evokes "James's limpid prose, deft plotting, and finely limned characterization" (Library Journal, starred review).
You might also like: Colm Tóibín's The Master, an introspective novel that examines Henry James' personal life.
Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace by Jennifer ChiaveriniIntroducing: Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace: the mathematician (and daughter of Romantic poet Lord Byron) who's widely considered to be the first computer programmer.
Why you might like it: This fictional memoir illuminates Ada's complicated personal life as well as her professional partnerships with Charles Babbage and Mary Somerville.
Try this next: Joan Spicci's Beyond the Limit, about Sofya Kovalevskaya, stars another unconventional 19th-century woman mathematician.
The Last Man in Europe by Dennis GloverWhat it is: A fictionalized account of the last decade of writer Eric Blair's (a.k.a. George Orwell's) life, which reveals the events and experiences that influenced some of the author's best-known works.
Why you might like it: This compelling novel places its complex protagonist in a race against time (and tuberculosis) as he struggles to finish Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Ravenspur: Rise of the Tudors by Conn IgguldenWhat it's about: This concluding volume of the Wars of the Roses series traces the fall of the Plantagenets and the rise of the Tudors.
For fans of: the intricate dynastic politics of Sharon Kay Penman's historical sagas and the fast-paced, visceral military action of Bernard Cornwell's novels.
You might also like: Philippa Gregory's Cousins' War series, which depicts this period from the perspective of the women involved.
Moloka'i by Alan BrennertWhat it's about: At age 7, Honolulu resident Rachel Kalama contracts leprosy (Hansen's disease). Forcibly separated from her family, she spends the next several decades in the Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement on the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, where she builds a life for herself.
Further reading: To learn more about the history of the Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement and its 8,500-plus inhabitants, pick up John Tayman's nonfiction book, The Colony.
The Anchoress by Robyn CadwalladerWhat it's about: In 1255 England, 17-year-old Sarah becomes an anchoress of the Church of St. Juliana. Confined to a tiny chamber measuring nine by seven paces, Sarah prays that her cell will protect her from life's dangers. Alas, even stone walls can't keep the world at bay.
Want a taste? "Here I will stay forever; this is the home I have chosen."
Try this next: For another lyrical, reflective novel about the life of a medieval anchoress, check out Mary Sharratt's Illuminations, about Hildegard of Bingen.
A Piece of the World: A Novel by Christina Baker KlineFeaturing: Christina Olson, a disabled woman who lives a solitary life on her family's farm in rural Maine before befriending artist Andrew Wyeth and becoming the subject of his iconic painting, "Christina's World."
For fans of: engaging and richly detailed historical novels that imagine the creation of famous artworks, such as Gloria Goldreich's The Bridal Chair or Maureen Gibbon's Paris Red.
The Wind Is Not a River: A Novel by Brian PaytonWhat it's about: In 1943, journalist John Easley embeds with a bomber crew headed for the Japanese-occupied Aleutian Islands. Shot down over the island of Attu, John and aviator Karl Bitburg must survive while evading enemy soldiers.
Why you might like it: Focusing on the only World War II battle to be fought on North American soil, this compelling novel movingly recreates a little-known historical event through the eyes of its sympathetic characters.
The Light Between Oceans: A Novel by M.L. StedmanWhat it's about: An emotionally scarred World War I veteran becomes a lighthouse keeper on a small island off the coast of Australia. When a boat washes ashore carrying an infant girl, he and his wife decide to keep the baby -- a decision with far-reaching consequences.
You might also like: Karen Viggers' The Lightkeeper's Wife, another moving novel about a lighthouse keeper who starts an unconventional family on an isolated island off the coast of Australia.
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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