The One & Only, by Emily Giffin. Giffin is a New York Times bestselling author several times over, which is why readers are very eagerly anticipating her newest novel. Shea Rigsby loves her hometown, college town Walker, Texas, where life revolves around football. She loves it so much, in fact, that she stayed there to attend college and went to work for the college after graduation. Life for Shea is comfortable and familiar, until tragedy strikes their small community. Suddenly, Shea has to wonder whether the life she has made for herself is enough for her, and whether the people she trusted the most are really deserving of that trust. A novel of love and loyalty, secrets and fears, treated with Giffin's gentle touch. I'm expecting this to be a breakout for Giffin, and I'd be surprised if movie rights weren't sold in short order.
The Secret Life of Violet Grant, by Beatriz Williams. Moving back and forth between 1914 Berlin and 1964 Manhattan, this is a tale of two women who defy convention in a bid for personal freedom and fulfillment. Vivian Schuyler has turned her back on her monied Fifth Avenue family to take a job with the Madison Avenue's sharp and stylish Metropolitan magazine, much to said family's dismay. Then Vivian receives an overseas package that uncovers a lost chapter of her family's history--an aunt, Violet Grant, who Vivian never knew existed, and whose own story was one of defiance and desperation. I think this has great potential, both as a beach read of substance and for book clubs. I'm definitely recommending it to fans of family sagas, like those written by Adriana Trigiani, Elin Hilderbrand and J. Courtney Sullivan.
The Snow Queen, by Michael Cunningham. Cunningham is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Virginia Woolf's last days in his Pen/Faulkner Award and Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Hours. It's November 2004 and Barrett Meeks, having lost love yet again, sees a vision he cannot deny. He doesn't believe in God, but it seems that religion has found him in his time of need. His brother, Tyler, is in the process of losing love--his fiancee Beth is facing terminal illness with as much bravery as she can muster. Tyler, however, finds his solace in a much darker place than his brother Barrett. Cunningham is known for his subtle prose and his intense empathy for his flawed characters. This promises to be a beautiful work of prose.
I've been busy reading even as I anticipate all the new books summer has to offer--I'll be back next week with something I just can't keep to myself. In the meantime, happy reading!