Thursday, February 26, 2015

Meg's Picks: March 2015, part 2

I'll be back next week to catch up on what I've been reading (hint: it's not much!), but in the meantime, here's the last of my picks for titles you may want to put on your to-read list next month.

The Precious One, by Maria de los Santos. Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family (including daughter Taisy) for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter, Willow, only once. Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister—a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir? For fans of fiction that deals with family secrets, this should be a sure thing.

The Lost Boys Symphony, by Mark Ferguson. After Henry's girlfriend Val leaves him and transfers to another school, his grief begins to manifest itself in bizarre and horrifying ways. Either he's hallucinating, or the strength of his heartbreak over Val has unhinged reality itself. After weeks of sleepless nights and sick delusions, Henry decides to run away. If he can only find Val, he thinks, everything will make sense again. So he leaves his mother's home in the suburbs and marches toward the city and the woman who he thinks will save him. Once on the George Washington Bridge, however, a powerful hallucination knocks him out cold. When he awakens, he finds himself kidnapped by two strangers--one old, one middle-aged--who claim to be future versions of Henry himself. Val is the love of your life, they tell him. We've lost her, but you don't have to. This is generating a lot of buzz among critics, who are calling it genre-bending and beautiful. I'm recommending this to readers who loved The Time Traveler's Wife.

Heartbreak Hotel, by Deborah Moggach. In possession of a run-down bed and breakfast that leans more toward the shabby than the chic and is, quite literally, miles from nowhere, retired actor Buffy realizes that he needs to fill the beds—and fast. Otherwise, his vision of the pastoral countryside will go up in smoke.
Enter a motley collection of guests: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who’s been unexpectedly dumped by her (not-so) nebbishy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend is much too much for him to handle. But under Buffy’s watchful eye, this disparate group of strangers finds that they have more in common than perhaps they first thought. A charming romantic comedy, a bit off the beaten path.

At the Water’s Edge, by Sara Gruen. Gruen should be a familiar name to readers, as she has made a lasting impression with Water for Elephants. Here, she returns to gift readers with another historical period piece, this time following a young wife, Maddie Hyde, who tags along with her disgraced husband Ellis and Ellis's best friend Hank as they travel from New York to Scotland, leaving behind her sheltered world for the wilds of the Scottish Highlands. Yet even as the men leave Maddie behind in the drafty inn with the contemptuous locals (the men seeking fame by hunting down the Loch Ness monster), Maddie finds herself warming both the to the landscape and to the villagers. A novel of the beauty of new possibilities, At Water's Edge is getting lots of praise, both from critics and other authors, like Jodi Picoult (My Sister's Keeper), Katherine Stockett (The Help), and Kristin Hannah (The Nightingale).

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