Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Meg's Picks: February 2017, part 3

As with most things, I have saved the best for last this month, including two buzzworthy debut novels and a sequel that I foresee being very popular this spring. Read on!

The Possessions, by Sara Flannery Murphy. In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as "bodies", wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients. Until she channels Sylvia for husband Patrick and is quickly, dangerously, obsessed with the couple. I'm recommending this otherworldly debut for fans of authors like Margaret Atwood and Alice Hoffman.

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, by Jennifer Ryan. As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to close the choir and instead “carry on singing,” resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. We come to know the home-front struggles of five unforgettable choir members: a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; the older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; her younger sister pining over an impossible crush; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia hiding a family secret; and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past. I'm recommending this to readers who enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Lilac Girls.
Also available in Large Print

The Burning World, by Isaac Marion. Marion's novel, Warm Bodies, was an international bestseller that inspired a cult fandom and a popular film adaptation. This sequel follows reluctant zombie R as he recovers from death, finding being alive hard and being human even harder. He’s learning how to read, how to speak, maybe even how to love, and the city’s undead population is showing signs of life. R can almost imagine a future with Julie, this girl who restarted his heart—building a new world from the ashes of the old one. But then helicopters appear on the horizon--someone is coming back to restore order, to return things to the way they were, the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak. The plague is ancient and ambitious, and the Dead were never its only weapon. How do you fight an enemy that’s in everyone? Can the world ever really change? Fans of the first novel have been eagerly anticipating this second for more than five years!

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