Us, by David Nicholls. Why is this on my radar? Well, several reasons. First, it was long-listed for The Man Booker Prize. Second, Nicholls' 2010 novel, One Day, was enormously popular. And third? The premise has me hooked, knowing as I do how sensitively Nicholls writes about matters of the heart. Douglas Petersen's quiet reserve hides a sly wit that seduces beautiful Connie into a second date...and eventually marriage. Now almost thirty years later, they live in the London suburbs with their moody seventeen-year-old son, Albie. And Connie has decided that she wants a divorce. What follows is Douglas's endearing and achingly optimistic attempt to save his marriage and connect, at long last, with the son who has felt like a stranger in his own house, all over the course of a potentially ill-timed family trip around Europe. I am actually counting the days until this one is released, folks.
Citizens Creek, by Lalita Tademy. Tademy is the bestselling author of Cane River, which was an Oprah Book Club pick in 2001. She has also been quiet for nearly 7 years, since Red River was published in 2007. She returns here with the story of Cow Tom, born into slavery in 1810 Alabama and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his tenth birthday. Cow Tom is gifted with the extraordinary ability to master languages, allowing him to act as a translator for his master and later to be hired out to US military generals, enabling him to earn money and eventually purchase his freedom. But this is also the story of Cow Tom's granddaughter Rose, who becomes the leader of their family in the face of political unrest. There is a lot of buzz about this, so fans of historical novels should especially take note.