Thursday, May 8, 2014

Reading Ahead: June 2014, part 3

In the book world (publishing, libraries, book stores), summer is perhaps second only to the holiday season for deluges of new titles.  I'm hoping you've got a little time set aside this summer, because the publishing world has got literally scores of new fiction books just begging to be read.  So whether your plans will include being at the shore, pool- or lake-side, or just some downtime enjoying your own backyard, I'll make sure you have a book to go along with you.  In this case, fiction of all stripes--book clubs and beach readers, take note!

The Arsonist, by Sue Miller.  Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for 15 years, Frankie Rowley has come home—home to the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Is it an accident, or arson?  When another summer house burns, and then another, the social fault-lines of the town open up and what was once a community built on trust and respect begins to dissolve into chaos and suspicion.  Miller (The Senator's Wife, While I Was Gone) excels at emotional insight--this should be excellent.

China Dolls, by Lisa See.  See is best known for 2005's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, about a long friendship between two women in early 19th-century China and the secrets they shared.  Here in her latest novel, See again examines the binding nature of secrets and the strength of friendship, this time among three women of Chinese descent who meet in 1938 San Francisco, a time when the city is about to open the World's Fair on Treasure Island and the country hovers on the cusp of war.  Book clubs should absolutely take notice.

All Fall Down, by Jennifer Weiner.  Weiner has a delicate touch when it comes to emotional subject matter, and in her new novel, All Fall Down, it's about as emotional as it gets.  From the outside, Allison Weiss has the perfect fairy-tale life.  Handsome husband, adorable daughter, big house, great job.  It's all perfect, that is, until she gets a little wake-up call that forces her to stop and examine her life and the way she avoids dealing with some of the less-than-perfect things, like her husband beginning to become distant or her father's worsening early Alzheimer's.  A painkiller at the end of a long day is no different than a glass of wine if it helps her unwind, right?  Except her dependence is getting expensive and increasingly hard to hide.  Weighty stuff, but the critics are giving it major kudos. 

The Beekeeper’s Ball, by Susan Wiggs.  Wiggs's fresh entry in her Bella Vista chronicles follows chef Isabel Johansen as she comes to Bella Vista to set about the project of transforming her childhood home into a culinary arts retreat.  All is well until journalist Cormac O'Neill arrives, war-torn and full of bravado, to dig into Isabel's secret past.  Susan Wiggs is great with stories of the heart and examining the ties that bind families together--this should make for great beach reading this summer.

Save the Date, by Mary Kay Andrews. A Savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime—one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn't believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in.  Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all.  Chick-lit by one of the masters, told with wit and candor.  

That rounds out my offerings today, but there is still so much more coming in June--if you can believe it, I've only covered half so far!  I'll be back with more next week.  In the meantime, happy reading!

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