Little by Edward CareyIntroducing: Anne Marie Grosholtz, the Swiss orphan who grows up to become famous wax sculptor Madame Tussaud.
Why you might like it: Narrated with wit and verve by Marie, Little is a picaresque story of personal reinvention that unfolds against the backdrop of the French Revolution.
Illustration alert: Complementing the text are pen-and-ink spot drawings that are simultaneously whimsical and macabre.
The splendor before the dark: A novel of the Emperor Nero by Margaret GeorgeWhat it is: the highly anticipated sequel to The Confessions of Young Nero, whose intimate portrayal of the infamous Roman emperor reveals him to be more misunderstood than monstrous.
What to expect: Rome burns and Nero wrestles with assassination plots, betrayals, conspiracies, rebellions, and shifting public opinion.
Want a taste? "Emperors did not retire into private life, like philosophers. There was only one retirement for an emperor -- the grave. And if he is lucky, a natural descent into it at an advanced age."
Beneath the Kauri tree
by Sarah Lark
As the nineteenth century draws to a close, the struggle for women's suffrage reaches a peak in New Zealand. But when the tide of change rolls in, it threatens to engulf two young women from very different backgrounds, who are coming of age amid the tumult. Torn between the two worlds that make up her heritage, Matariki Drury is the daughter of a successful white businesswoman and a descendant of Māori royalty. Scarred by poverty and hoping to make a new life for herself in this strange and forbidding land, Violet Paisley is the middle child of a poor Welsh coal-mining family. Drawn together by their shared commitment to social change, and tested by traumas that neither of them could foresee, these two independent-minded women will find themselves thrust onto the front lines of the fight for equal rights and racial justice. To win their place in this world, they must learn to rise above their personal pain and choose a path of reconciliation rather than retribution.
The kinship of secrets
by Eugenia Kim
The riveting story of two sisters, one raised in the United States, the other in South Korea, and the family that bound them together even as the Korean War kept them apart 'A gorgeous achievement' Min Jin Lee, author of Pachinko 'Graceful, poignant and moving' Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer In 1948 Najin and Calvin Cho, with their young daughter Miran, travel from South Korea to the United States in search of new opportunities. Wary of the challenges ahead, Najin and Calvin make the difficult decision to leave their other daughter, Inja, behind with their extended family; soon, they hope, they will return to her. But then war breaks out in Korea, and there is no end in sight to the separation. Miran grows up in prosperous American suburbia, under the shadow of the daughter left behind, as Inja grapples in her war-torn land with ties to a family she doesn't remember. Najin and Calvin desperately seek a reunion with Inja, but are the bonds of love strong enough to reconnect their family over distance, time and war? And as deep family secrets are revealed, will everything they long for be upended? Told through the alternating perspectives of the distanced sisters, and inspired by a true story, The Kinship of Secrets explores the cruelty of war, the power of hope, and what it means to be a sister.
Women of the dunes: A novel
by Sarah Maine
"From the author of the acclaimed novels The House Between Tides and Beyond the Wild River, a rich, atmospheric tale set on the sea-lashed coast of west Scotland, in which the lives of a ninth-century Norsewoman, a nineteenth-century woman, and a twenty-first-century archeologist weave together after a body is discovered in the dunes. Libby Snow has always felt the pull of Ullanessm a lush Scottish island enshrouded in myth and deeply important to her family. Her great-great-grandmother Ellen was obsessed with the strange legend of Ulla, a Viking maiden who washed up on shore with the nearly lifeless body of her husband--and who inspired countless epic poems and the island's name. Central to the mystery is an ornate chalice and Libby, an archaeologist,finally has permission to excavate the site where Ulla is believed to have lived. But what Libby finds in the ancient dunes is a body from the Victorian era, clearly murdered
Trinity by Louisa HallWhat it is: a mosaic novel about physicist and Manhattan Project director J. Robert Oppenheimer, told from the perspectives of seven different characters.
About the author: Louisa Hall's previous novel, Speak, also employed interconnected narratives to explore humanity's conflicted relationship with world-altering technologies.
Reviewers say: "Its genius is not to explain but to embody the science and politics that shaped Oppenheimer’s life" (The New York Times).
House of Thieves by Charles BelfoureWhat it's about: Architect John Cross attempts to save his family from financial and social ruin by joining the crime syndicate known as "Kent's Gents" and using his insider knowledge of Manhattan's buildings to plan and execute daring robberies.
Why you might like it: This fast-paced, suspenseful story by the author of The Paris Architect depicts both the high society and the criminal underworld of 1886 New York City.
The Devil's half mile by Paddy HirschThe setting: New York City in 1799.
Starring: attorney Justice "Justy" Flanagan, whose investigation into his father's death draws him into a web of conspiracy and threatens to ignite a financial panic.
For fans of: the atmosphere and rich historical detail of Lyndsay Faye's Gods of Gotham; the financial and political intrigue of David Liss' The Whiskey Rebels.
The long drop by Denise MinaGlasgow, 1958: two men embark on an all-night pub crawl: William Watt, who stands accused of murdering his entire family, and criminal Peter Manuel, who hints that he has evidence that will lead to the real killer.
Read it for: a strong sense of place, a subtle subversion of crime fiction tropes, and a penetrating look at class and gender roles.
About the author: Best known for her gritty mysteries set in modern-day Glasgow, Denise Mina takes the plunge into historical crime fiction with this novel based on real events.
Sutton by J.R. MoehringerWhat happens: Released in 1969 after a 17-year stretch behind bars, charismatic bank robber Willie Sutton tours New York City with a reporter and a photographer in tow, reminiscing about the good old days.
About the author: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist J.R. Moehringer is also the author of a memoir, The Tender Bar.
Did you know? The real Willie Sutton penned two memoirs, I, Willie Sutton, and Where the Money Was, in which he recounts the highlights of his criminal career.
See what I have done by Sarah SchmidtWhat it's about: Lizzie Borden took an axe...and, well, we all know what happened next. Or do we?
Why you might like it: This unsettling debut tells the story from the (conflicting) perspectives of Lizzie, her elder sister, a maid in the Borden household, and a stranger whose surprising connection to the crime is gradually revealed.
For fans of: Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace.
The paying guests by Sarah WatersThe situation: To maintain their upper-middle-class lifestyle in 1920s London, 27-year-old "spinster" Frances Wray and her widowed mother must take in lodgers.
What happens next: Their first "paying guests" arrive, working-class married couple Leonard and Lillian Barber. Frances soon begins an affair with lovely Lillian, setting off a tragic chain of events.
About the author: Sarah Waters specializes in suspenseful and sensual historical novels steeped in atmosphere and rich in period detail.
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