Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Feb15

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly I am always on the lookout for a great new book – whether it’s at the bookstore, through a Goodreads email, or when friends talk about books they love. This time around for my recommendation here at GNB, I have gone back and forth on several books, especially one that is an important recent book, which I read, but honestly did not love. For weeks I have scoured shelves and lists to find a book to...

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The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Jan11

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend The first line of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend describes the main character, Sara, as “so ordinary it was almost scandalous.” Indeed, it is Sara’s plain appearance and simple life that make her journey in Broken Wheel, Iowa, such a delight to follow. The novel, written by Swedish author Katarina Bivald and translated into English by Alice Menzies, tells the story of Sara, who travels from...

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The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah
Nov23

The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah

The A to Z of You and Me I use my local library quite often and I found this novel in the New Release section, hoping to find a book I could recommend here on Great New Books. Confession: I chose this book mainly because of the cover and intriguing title. The description was a bit vague and there wasn’t much to go off of but it was published within the past year and I went with it. However, I wonder now if this book perhaps chose me....

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The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter
Nov09

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

I love finding a book that is impossible to put down, especially when it’s fun to read and the story sweeps me into the pages. But it is rare to find a book that is not only unputdownable, but also beautifully written, each word and scene carefully wrought. This is the case with The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter. From the opening page of The First Time She Drowned, the clean, meaningful writing combined with the compelling...

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Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon
Oct12

Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon

Leaving Lucy Pear Several years ago I fell in love with Anna Solomon’s first novel, The Little Bride, so it took hardly any press on the news of her second, Leaving Lucy Pear, to convince me to run out and grab it. In both books, Solomon weaves vivid imagery with a deep study of characters, so that the events of one person’s story are molded by the decisions of another. Leaving Lucy Pear opens on a moonlit summer night in 1917. A...

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The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Jul13

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

The Vacationers by Emma Straub I can’t pinpoint when I first became fascinated with the idyllic Spanish island of Mallorca, but for years it has been on my bucket list. So I was thrilled to travel there vicariously, courtesy of Emma Straub’s novel The Vacationers. “It was a proper Mediterranean morning, bright and warm, with a hint of olive oil in the air.”  The Posts and their friends arrive at their summer rental for a two-week...

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The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
Jul06

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

The Life We Bury This suspense novel starts out with University of Minnesota college student Joe Talbert seeking an elderly person to interview for a biography assignment in his English class. He heads to a local nursing home and after a little back and forth about what his intentions are, the receptionist suggests Carl Iverson, a recent parolee from the Department of Corrections. Mr. Iverson was paroled because he’s dying of cancer...

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Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
Mar30

Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

Starla Claudelle is a nine-year-old spitfire who lives with her paternal grandmother in Cayuga Springs, Mississippi while her father works off the coast on an oil rig and her mother is off in Nashville trying to launch a singing career. It’s right before the big fourth of July celebration and Starla manages to get herself grounded for all of the festivities by punching the town bully in the nose. During the parade, she sneaks off for...

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The Prize by Jill Bialosky
Jan27

The Prize by Jill Bialosky

In this beautifully crafted story, Edward Darby, an art dealer for the esteemed Mayweather and Darby art gallery in New York City, is a man who, inspired by his father—a Romantics scholar—fell in love with art as a young boy. It wasn’t until later in life that he realized his true passion lies within the fostering and nurturing of other artists’ work. And Edward remained steadfast in his purity, in which he never allowed himself to...

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Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
Jan13

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard I have to confess I planned to write about a different book this week. But then I brought a book with me on a long flight, and it was good — so good that I finished it in hours. It was then that I knew that I loved it, and must recommend it here. It is Susan Meissner’s new novel, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard. The back flap copy talks about a present day story involving a hat worn by Scarlett...

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The Lake House by Kate Morton
Nov11

The Lake House by Kate Morton

The Lake House I didn’t set out trying to find my favorite book of 2015 — I’ve read a lot of good books lately. Several I’ve considered favorites. But then I picked up Kate Morton’s latest novel and by the time I finished, I knew I’d found it, one I authentically loved and couldn’t wait to recommend as my favorite book of 2015. If you’ve read any of Morton’s prior books, you can guess The Lake House is a family...

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We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Oct21

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

We Never Asked for Wings The very first book I recommended here at GreatNewBooks.org was The Language of Flowers. It was Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s debut novel and it had hit me hard – so much so that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s one of my favorite contemporary novels. For those of you who haven’t read it, The Language of Flowers is about an 18-year-old girl who ages out of the US foster care system and, when left ill-prepared...

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The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
Jul22

The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

The Shell Seekers Every once in a long while, a novel comes out on shelves that stays in the hearts and minds of readers so that they feel, once they’ve turned the final page, as if they MUST recommend it to their friends, their postman, their friends and neighbors – everyone they know. One book like that for me is one I picked up at a used bookstore fifteen years ago on a whim, because the bookseller recommended it. That book is The...

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Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova
Jul08

Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova

Last spring, when I traveled to Boston to attend the Muse writer’s conference, I sat in on a class taught by a panel by four authors, on research for fiction. One of the panelists, Lisa Genova, talked about the research she’d done for her first book, Still Alice, by interviewing hundreds of early-onset Alzheimer’s patients. After the class, I bought Still Alice at the conference bookstore. Once I read it, I knew I’d found one of...

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
Jul01

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan’s novel, The Royal We, is sheer delight from start to finish.  As an American who lived in England for several formative adolescent years (ages 12-16), an unabashed Royal-watcher, and a longtime fan of the authors’ site, Go Fug Yourself, I anticipated this book for many reasons.  The Royal We did not disappoint. The story opens with a brief, suspense-setting moment as Bex, the American who is set to...

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