The Light in the Ruins, by Chris Bohjalian
Fin and Lady, by Cathleen Schine
Sea Creatures, by Susanna Daniel
While the first may be a no-brainer (Bohjalian has a particularly deft touch with historical family sagas--this one takes place across generations in Tuscany), the other two titles may have you a little curious.
Fin and Lady, written by Cathleen Schine (most recently notable for The Three Weissmanns of Westport) takes place in 1964--eleven-year-old Fin and his seventeen-year-old half-sister Lady have been orphaned, and Lady is now Fin's guardian and his only hope. Lady brings Fin back to Greenwich Village with her from the dusty Connecticut farm he and their mother had been living on, and he promptly finds out that he will need to be as responsible for taking care of Lady as she is for taking care of him. An unconventional family drama set in unconventional times.
In Susanna Daniel's second novel, Sea Creatures, (after 2010's popular Stiltsville) readers find Georgia moving back to her hometown of Miami with her sleep-disordered husband and mute three-year-old son, scandal and disappointment trailing in her wake. In trying to change her circumstances, however, Georgia must deal with some steep consequences both for herself and her family. This is getting a lot of critical praise, and I think it may be a great pick for book clubs and thoughtful readers alike.
Are you remembering that I promised you love stories and humor this week? I haven't forgotten! I'll be back on Thursday with the wrap-up of July's new release list. Happy reading!