Thursday, February 13, 2014

Reading Ahead: March 2014, Meg's Picks, part 1

 I like to be ahead of the curve when it comes to reading trends.  That means I pay close attention to reviews and early critical acclaim.  If there's something that has other readers breathless with anticipation, I want to know about it!  And of course, there's no point unless I can share this information with other readers.  Here are some of my picks for books you should make sure not to miss next month.

The Weight of Blood, by Laura McHugh.  Critics have earmarked this suspense novel for fans of Gillian Flynn, David Woodrell and Scott Smith.  In the town of Henbane, deep in the Ozark Mountains, Lucy experiences loss twice in her life: once as a child when her mother leaves her behind with her father, and again when she is almost an adult, after her friend Cheri disappears and is later found murdered.  Haunted, Lucy cannot rest until she knows the truth about both disappearances.  They had me at hello! 

The Lost Sisterhood, by Anne Fortier.  Author of New York Times bestseller Juliet has returned with what is reportedly another spellbinding novel that brings history to life.  Here, young scholar Diana Morgan risks everything--her reputation, her livelihood, her life--to follow a line of research that has haunted her since her grandmother disappeared years ago: The legend of the Amazons.  Made an offer she cannot refuse by a mysterious foundation, Diana travels from England to North Africa and beyond, but danger lurks just a step behind her.  This looks like it should be extremely entertaining.

You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz.  Judging by the advance hype, this is going to be extremely popular.  I'm going to recommend that if the premise intrigues you, you place a hold now!  Grace is living the only life she ever wanted: dedicated to her husband, their young son, and the patients of her therapy practice.  Spurred on by her dismay at the way her female patients delude themselves about relationships, Grace has also written a self-help book titled You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them.  When disaster strikes, Grace finds herself horrified at her inability to take her own advice, and must start over.  I'd recommend this for fans of Jane Green and Jennifer Weiner, in particular.

Cambridge, by Susanna Kaysen.  If the author's name seems familiar, it should: Kaysen was also the author of best-seller Girl, Interrupted.  Here, Kaysen writes a novel-of-life, exploring nostalgia and memory set among the academics and artists of 1950s Cambridge, MA.  The precocious narrator would rather be home in Harvard Square--after being uprooted, everywhere her family moves for her father's job, be it London, Florence, or Athens, leaves Susanna feeling lost and excluded and longing ever more strongly for Cambridge.  When she finally returns, it's with a sigh of relief cut short--could her feelings of being an outsider be attached to her and not her location?  I'm finding myself fascinated by the premise.

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