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My big list of book club books for 2023 is here! These are the books I believe will be the most sought after and popular book club books of 2023.
I love putting together this huge list of new releases every year. But as we know, not every book is suitable for book clubs. So I spend the year prior gathering all the information I can about what will release the next year. It’s very important for me to present you all with an array of options. BTW, be sure to check out my 2022 list if you haven’t already.
I’m really excited about the group of books publishing in 2023. I just feel like this is going to be a huge reading year. We have the return of several in-demand authors such as Rebecca Makkai, Jojo Moyes, Ann Napolitano and more. We also have the much anticipated publication of Prince Henry’s memoir. And there are several debut authors on the list as well.
Usually, I present the books in order of genre. But I decided to instead list the books by month. As new books are announced, I will update this list throughout the year so it will feature new books for each month. Be sure to bookmark it and check back often!
Alright, let’s get to the must-read book club picks for 2023! Remember, these are all new releases for the year.
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor (Jan. 3)
There’s a ton of buzz surrounding Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor. This a story that is equal parts crime thriller and family saga. Taking place in Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi, this promises to be a binge-worthy read. Here’s the synopsis:
New Delhi, 3 a.m. A speeding Mercedes jumps the curb and in the blink of an eye, five people are dead. It’s a rich man’s car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold.
Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family — loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all.
In the shadow of lavish estates, extravagant parties, predatory business deals and calculated political influence, three lives become dangerously intertwined: Ajay is the watchful servant, born into poverty, who rises through the family’s ranks. Sunny is the playboy heir who dreams of outshining his father, whatever the cost. And Neda is the curious journalist caught between morality and desire. Against a sweeping plot fueled by loss, pleasure, greed, yearning, violence and revenge, will these characters’ connections become a path to escape, or a trigger of further destruction?
Equal parts crime thriller and family saga, transporting readers from the dusty villages of Uttar Pradesh to the urban energy of New Delhi, Age of Vice is an intoxicating novel of gangsters and lovers, false friendships, forbidden romance, and the consequences of corruption.It is binge-worthy entertainment at its literary best.
The Villa by Rachel Hawkins (Jan. 3)
A murder mystery set in an Italian villa sounds like a fantastic way to kick-start your reading year. The Villa follows two best friends who take a trip to Italy together. But the villa they’re staying at was the site of a brutal murder of a musician back in the ’70s. One friend becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. Sound like this will turn into a truly twisty read. Here’s the synopsis:
As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.
Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.
As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.
Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.
Inspired by Fleetwood Mac, the Manson murders, and the infamous summer Percy and Mary Shelley spent with Lord Byron at a Lake Geneva castle––the birthplace of Frankenstein––The Villa welcomes you into its deadly legacy.
Spare by Prince Henry (Jan. 10)
I don’t always find memoirs make for an ideal book club read. They can be long and so drawn out. But I think Prince Henry’s memoir goes against that trend as it will be so notable and buzz worthy.
The world has watched him grow up and seen all his life documented but it’s been rare for him to be able to present his own narrative and perspective, until recently. A book allows him to do so in a different way than televised interviews and documentaries. The title alone is one of the most impactful ones I’ve read in years. Here’s the synopsis:
It was one of the most searing images of the twentieth century: two young boys, two princes, walking behind their mother’s coffin as the world watched in sorrow—and horror. As Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest, billions wondered what the princes must be thinking and feeling—and how their lives would play out from that point on.
For Harry, this is that story at last.
With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.
Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica (Jan. 10)
Mary Kubica writes engaging and well-written thrillers. These are the type of stories you want to read in one sitting! I’m eager to read her latest, Just the Nicest Couple (great title BTW). The story is about the mystery surrounding a husband’s disappearance. Here’s the synopsis:
Jake Hayes is missing. This much is certain. At first, his wife, Nina, thinks he is blowing off steam at a friend’s house after their heated fight the night before. But then a day goes by. Two days. Five. And Jake is still nowhere to be found.
Lily Scott, Nina’s friend and coworker, thinks she may have been the last to see Jake before he went missing. After Lily confesses everything to her husband, Christian, the two decide that nobody can find out what happened leading up to Jake’s disappearance, especially not Nina. But Nina is out there looking for her husband, and she won’t stop until the truth is discovered.
Maame by Jessica George (Jan. 31)
Maame is the debut novel of Jessica George. The story follows a woman named Maddie who lives in London and cares for her father. When her mom returns home, she leaps at the chance to finally starting living her own life. But she will hit many roadblocks along her journey of self-discovery. I love these kind of coming-of-age stories and am looking forward to this one. Here’s the synopsis:
It’s fair to say that Maddie’s life in London is far from rewarding. With a mother who spends most of her time in Ghana (yet still somehow manages to be overbearing), Maddie is the primary caretaker for her father, who suffers from advanced stage Parkinson’s. At work, her boss is a nightmare and Maddie is tired of always being the only Black person in every meeting.
When her mum returns from her latest trip to Ghana, Maddie leaps at the chance to get out of the family home and finally start living. A self-acknowledged late bloomer, she’s ready to experience some important “firsts”: She finds a flat share, says yes to after-work drinks, pushes for more recognition in her career, and throws herself into the bewildering world of internet dating. But it’s not long before tragedy strikes, forcing Maddie to face the true nature of her unconventional family, and the perils––and rewards––of putting her heart on the line.
Smart, funny, and deeply affecting, Jessica George’s Maame deals with the themes of our time with humor and poignancy: from familial duty and racism, to female pleasure, the complexity of love, and the life-saving power of friendship. Most important, it explores what it feels like to be torn between two homes and cultures—and it celebrates finally being able to find where you belong.
Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes (Feb. 7)
After the huge success of The Giver of Stars, Jojo Moyes returns with her latest fiction novel, Someone Else’s Shoes. With this novel, she goes back to her contemporary/women’s fiction roots. The story is about mix-ups, mess-ups and making the most of a second chance. The synopsis is a bit vague but I suspect there’s more than meets the eye with this one. Here’s the synopsis:
Nisha Cantor lives the globetrotting life of the seriously wealthy, until her husband announces a divorce and cuts her off. Nisha is determined to hang onto her glamorous life. But in the meantime, she must scramble to cope–she doesn’t even have the shoes she was, until a moment ago, standing in.
That’s because Sam Kemp – in the bleakest point of her life – has accidentally taken Nisha’s gym bag. But Sam hardly has time to worry about a lost gym bag–she’s struggling to keep herself and her family afloat. When she tries on Nisha’s six-inch high Christian Louboutin red crocodile shoes, the resulting jolt of confidence that makes her realize something must change—and that thing is herself.
Full of Jojo Moyes’ signature humor, brilliant storytelling, and warmth, Someone Else’s Shoes is a story about how just one little thing can suddenly change everything.
Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff (Feb. 7)
For fans of WWII historical fiction, be sure to check out Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff. The story follows a woman who must rescue her cousin’s family from a train bound for Auschwitz in this tale of bravery and resistance. It sounds thrilling, and quite impactful. Here’s the synopsis:
1942. Hannah Martel has narrowly escaped Nazi Germany after her fiancé was killed in a pogrom. When her ship bound for America is turned away at port, she has nowhere to go but to her cousin Lily, who lives with her family in Brussels. Fearful for her life, Hannah is desperate to get out of occupied Europe. But with no safe way to leave, she must return to the dangerous underground work she thought she had left behind.
Seeking help, Hannah joins the Sapphire Line, a secret resistance network led by a mysterious woman named Micheline and her enigmatic brother Matteo. But when a grave mistake causes Lily’s family to be arrested and slated for deportation to Auschwitz, Hannah finds herself torn between her loyalties. How much is Hannah willing to sacrifice to save the people she loves? Inspired by incredible true stories of courage and sacrifice, Code Name Sapphire is a powerful novel about love, family and the unshakable resilience of women in even the hardest of times.
I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai (Feb. 21)
Rebecca Makkai’s last novel, The Great Believers, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. So there’s a ton of buzz with her newest novel, I Have Some Questions for You.
The story follows a woman who returns to teach at her former boarding school. But in doing so she faces her dark past as her roommate was murdered there during her senior year. Now being back at the school, she becomes drawn to the case once again. I love these literary mysteries so I’m quite looking forward to this one. Here’s the synopsis:
A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia’s death and the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.
But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent ﬂaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.
Black Candle Women by Diane Marie Brown (Feb. 28)
Black Candle Women is the debut novel of Diane Marie Brown. It’s a family drama with a magical twist about four generations of Black women living under one roof and the family curse that stems back to a Voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans. I’m really looking forward to this one—it sounds so unique and engaging. Here’s the synopsis:
Generations of Montrose women—Augusta, Victoria, Willow—have lived together in their quaint two-story bungalow in California for years. They keep to themselves, never venture far from home, and their collection of tinctures and spells is an unspoken bond between them.
But when seventeen-year-old Nickie Montrose brings home a boy for the first time, their quiet lives are thrown into disarray. For the other women have been withholding a secret from Nickie that will end her relationship before it’s even begun: the decades-old family curse that any person they fall in love with dies.
Their surprise guest forces each woman to reckon with her own past choices and mistakes. And as new truths about the curse emerge, the family is set on a collision course dating back to a Voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans’s French Quarter—where a hidden story in a mysterious book may just hold the answers they seek in life and in love…
What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez by Claire Jimenez
This is the highly anticipated debut novel of Claire Jimenez. The story follows a Puerto Rican family in Staten Island who discovers their long‑missing sister is potentially alive and cast on a reality TV show, and they set out to bring her home. It sounds so compelling. Very much looking forward to it!
The Ramirez women of Staten Island orbit around absence. When thirteen‑year‑old middle child Ruthy disappeared after track practice without a trace, it left the family scarred and scrambling. One night, twelve years later, oldest sister Jessica spots a woman on her TV screen in Catfight, a raunchy reality show. She rushes to tell her younger sister, Nina: This woman’s hair is dyed red, and she calls herself Ruby, but the beauty mark under her left eye is instantly recognizable. Could it be Ruthy, after all this time?
The years since Ruthy’s disappearance haven’t been easy on the Ramirez family. It’s 2008, and their mother, Dolores, still struggles with the loss, Jessica juggles a newborn baby with her hospital job, and Nina, after four successful years at college, has returned home to medical school rejections and is forced to work in the mall folding tiny bedazzled thongs at the lingerie store.
After seeing maybe‑Ruthy on their screen, Jessica and Nina hatch a plan to drive to where the show is filmed in search of their long‑lost sister. When Dolores catches wind of their scheme, she insists on joining, along with her pot-stirring holy roller best friend, Irene. What follows is a family road trip and reckoning that will force the Ramirez women to finally face the past and look toward a future—with or without Ruthy in it.
What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez is a vivid family portrait, in all its shattered reality, exploring the familial bonds between women and cycles of generational violence, colonialism, race, and silence, replete with snark, resentment, tenderness, and, of course, love.
The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell (March 7)
Ooo I loved The Maid by Nita Prose and The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell sounds like a similar vein. This is a locked-room mystery where someone turns up dead on the set of TV’s hottest baking competition. I’m ready to read this one right now! Here’s the synopsis:
Every summer for the past ten years, six awe-struck bakers have descended on the grounds of Grafton, the leafy and imposing Vermont estate that is not only the filming site for “Bake Week” but also the childhood home of the show’s famous host, celebrated baker Betsy Martin.
The author of numerous bestselling cookbooks and hailed as “America’s Grandmother,” Betsy Martin isn’t as warm off-screen as on, though no one needs to know that but her. She has always demanded perfection, and gotten it with a smile, but this year something is off. As the baking competition commences, things begin to go awry. At first, it’s merely sabotage—sugar replaced with salt, a burner turned to high—but when a body is discovered, everyone is a suspect.
A sharp and suspenseful thriller for mystery buffs and avid bakers alike, The Golden Spoon is a brilliant puzzle filled with shocking twists and turns that will keep you reading late into the night until you turn the very last page of this incredible debut.
Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano (March 14)
Ann Napolitano’s previous book, Dear Edward, is one of the best books I read in years. I initially thought it would be too hard of a read—the journey of a lone survivor of a plane crash—but it was so well-written and heartfelt. I’m so looking forward to her latest novel, Hello Beautiful. It’s a story about broken people, family and love. Here’s the synopsis:
William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, where his parents could hardly bear to look at him, much less love him—so when he meets the spirited and ambitious Julia Padavano in his freshman year of college, it’s as if the world has lit up around him. With Julia comes her family, as she and her three sisters are inseparable: Sylvie, the family’s dreamer, is happiest with her nose in a book; Cecelia is a free-spirited artist; and Emeline patiently takes care of them all. With the Padavanos, William experiences a newfound contentment; every moment in their house is filled with loving chaos.
But then darkness from William’s past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia’s carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters’ unshakeable devotion to one another. The result is a catastrophic family rift that changes their lives for generations. Will the loyalty that once rooted them be strong enough to draw them back together when it matters most?
The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner (March 21)
Sarah Penner’s debut novel The Lost Apothecary was a breakout hit of 2021. Her latest novel is a whodunnit full of suspense, mystery and illusion. It takes place in 1873 and follows a woman looking for the truth about her sister’s death. Here’s the synopsis:
1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.
Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. But as the women team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves…
Homecoming by Kate Morton (April 4)
One of the most anticipated books is Homecoming by Kate Morton. Her previous novel, The Clockmakers Daughter, was a huge success. Her latest novel revolves around a crime, which will have ripple effects across generations. Looking forward to this one! Here’s the synopsis:
Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek in the grounds of the grand and mysterious house, a local delivery man makes a terrible discovery. A police investigation is called and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most shocking and perplexing murder cases in the history of South Australia.
Many years later and thousands of miles away, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for almost twenty years, she now finds herself laid off from her full-time job and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call out of nowhere summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and been raced to the hospital.
At Nora’s house, Jess discovers a book that chronicles the police investigation into a long-buried crime: the Turner Family Tragedy of Christmas Eve, 1959. It is only when Jess skims through the pages that she finds a shocking connection between her own family and this once-infamous event – a murder mystery that has never been resolved satisfactorily.
Carmen and Grace by Melissa Coss Aquino (April 4)
Carmen and Grace by Melissa Coss Quino sounds like such an intriguing coming-of-age tale. The story follows two cousins lured into the underground drug trade at a young age. One becomes obsessed with power, while the other one seeks to escape it. Here’s the synopsis:
Carmen and Grace have been inseparable since they were little girls—more like sisters than cousins, survivors of a childhood marked by neglect and addiction and a system that never valued them. For too long, all they had was each other. That is, until Doña Durka swept into their lives and changed everything, taking Grace into her home, providing stability and support, and playing an outsize role in Carmen’s upbringing too.
Durka is more than a beneficent force in their Bronx neighborhood, though. She’s also the leader of an underground drug empire, a larger-than-life matriarch who understands the vital importance of taking what power she can in a world too often ruled by violent men. So, when Durka dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances, Carmen and Grace’s lives are thrown into chaos. Grace has been primed to take over and has grand plans to expand the business. While Carmen is ready to move on—from the shadow of Durka and her high expectations and, most of all, from always looking over her shoulder in fear. She’s also harboring a secret: she’s pregnant and starting to show, and desperate to build a new life before the baby arrives.
But how can Carmen leave the only family she’s ever known—this tight sisterhood of women known as the D. O. D., a group of lost girls turned skilled professionals under Durka’s guiding hand, all bonded in their spirituality and merciless support for one another—especially now, when outside threats are circling, and Grace’s plans are speeding recklessly forward?
The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho by Paterson Joseph (April 11)
The Secret Diaries of Charles Ignatius Sancho is based on a true story about the first Black man to vote in Britain. Award-winning actor Paterson Joseph has been fascinated by Sancho for many years. He wrote and starred in the play Sancho: An Act of Remembrance in 2018, which was staged in the UK as well as the US. This is his debut novel. It sounds so fascinating! Here’s the synopsis:
It’s 1746 and Georgian London is not a safe place for a young Black man, especially one who has escaped slavery. After the twinkling lights in the Fleet Street coffee shops are blown out and the great houses have closed their doors for the night, Sancho must dodge slave catchers and worse. The man he hoped would help him―a kindly duke who taught him to write―is dying. Sancho is desperate and utterly alone. So how does the same Charles Ignatius Sancho meet the king, write and play highly acclaimed music, become the first Black person to vote in Britain, and lead the fight to end slavery?
It’s time for him to tell his story, one that begins on a tempestuous Atlantic Ocean and ends at the very center of London life. And through it all, he must ask: Born among death, how much can he achieve in one short life?
Happy Place by Emily Henry (April 25)
Emily Henry’s novels are everywhere now!! And for good reason. They’re entertaining and quite heartfelt. Each of her stories have a special charm to it. Her latest follows an estranged couple who pretend to still be together during their annual reunion trip with their best friends. Here’s the synopsis:
Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.
They broke up five months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.
Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blissful week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.
Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week…in front of those who know you best?
Lucky Girl by Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu (May 2)
Lucky Girl is the debut novel of journalist Irene Muchemi-Ndiritu. The story follows a young Kenyan woman who comes to NYC where all her beliefs about race, love and family will be challenged. It sounds like such an impactful story and I’m looking forward to it. Here’s the synopsis:
Soila is a lucky girl by anyone’s estimation. Raised by her stern, conservative mother and a chorus of aunts, she has lived a protected life in Nairobi. Soila is headstrong and outspoken, and she chafes against her mother’s strict rules. After a harrowing assault by a trusted family friend, she flees to New York for college, vowing never to return home.
New York in the 1990s is not what Soila imagined it would be. Instead of finding a golden land of opportunity, Soila is shocked by the entitlement of her wealthy American classmates and the poverty she sees in the streets. She befriends a Black American girl at school and witnesses the insidious racism her friend endures, forcing Soila to begin to acknowledge the legacy of slavery and the blind spots afforded by her Kenyan upbringing. When she falls in love with a free-spirited artist, a man her mother would never approve of, she must decide whether to honor her Kenyan identity and what she owes to her family, or to follow her heart and forge a life of her own design.
Lucky Girl is a fierce and tender debut about the lives and loves we choose—what it meant to be an African immigrant in America at the turn of the millennium, and how a young woman finds a place for herself in the world.
Paper Names by Susie Luo (May 2)
I’m ready to read Paper Names by Susie Luo right now. I can tell this will be a major book club selection. An unexpected act of violence brings together a Chinese-American family and a wealthy white lawyer. Here’s the synopsis:
Set in New York and China over three decades, Paper Names explores what it means to be American from three different perspectives. There’s Tony, a Chinese-born engineer turned Manhattan doorman who immigrated to the United States to give his family a better life. His daughter, Tammy, whom we meet at age nine and follow through adulthood, and who grapples with the expectations of a first-generation American and her own personal desires. Finally, there’s Oliver, a handsome white lawyer with a dark family secret who lives in the building where Tony works. A violent attack causes their lives to intertwine in ways that will change them forever.
Taut, panoramic and powerful, debut novelist Susie Luo’s Paper Names is an unforgettable story about the long shadows of our parents, the ripple effect of our decisions and the ways in which our love transcends difference.
The Half-Moon by Mary Beth Keane (May 2)
I really enjoyed Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. So I’m especially looking forward to her latest: The Half-Moon. The story follows a couple in a small town as they navigate marriage, family and longing. Here’s the synopsis:
Malcolm Gephardt, handsome and gregarious longtime bartender at the Half Moon, has always dreamed of owning a bar. When his boss finally retires, Malcolm stretches to buy the place. He sees unquantifiable magic and potential in the Half Moon and hopes to transform it into a bigger success, but struggles to stay afloat.
His smart and confident wife, Jess, has devoted herself to her law career. After years of trying for a baby, she is facing the idea that motherhood may not be in the cards for her. Like Malcolm, she feels her youth beginning to slip away and wonders how to reshape her future.
Award-winning author Mary Beth Keane’s new novel takes place over the course of one week when Malcolm learns shocking news about Jess, a patron of the bar goes missing, and a blizzard hits the town of Gillam, trapping everyone in place. With a deft eye and generous spirit, Keane explores the disappointments and unexpected consolations of midlife, the many forms forgiveness can take, the complicated intimacy of small-town living, and what it means to be a family.
No Two Persons by Erica Bauermeister (May 2)
There’s just something special about novels that features writers and book lovers as a main plot point. Erica Bauermeister (author of the bestseller The Scent Keeper) explores how one book will change ten lives. Here’s the synopsis:
Alice has always wanted to be a writer. Her talent is innate, but her stories remain safe and detached, until a devastating event breaks her heart open, and she creates a stunning debut novel. Her words, in turn, find their way to readers, from a teenager hiding her homelessness, to a free diver pushing himself beyond endurance, an artist furious at the world around her, a bookseller in search of love, a widower rent by grief. Each one is drawn into Alice’s novel; each one discovers something different that alters their perspective, and presents new pathways forward for their lives.
Together, their stories reveal how books can affect us in the most beautiful and unexpected of ways—and how we are all more closely connected to one another than we might think.
Long Gone, Come Home by Monica Chenault-Kilgore (June 6)
I’m so looking forward to the historical fiction novel, Long Gone, Come Home by Monica Chenault-Kilgore. The story spans from the peak 1930s jazz era to the Great Depression and civil rights movement as it follows one woman as she learns the true meaning of home. Here’s the synopsis:
Birdie Jennings dreams of a big life beyond her small town of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky—beyond her mundane job tying tobacco leaves at Wrights Factory, beyond her position as the baby of the family. Her life changes when she meets smooth-talking Jimmy Walker. Jimmy makes big promises for an exciting life together, and Birdie is quickly swept off her feet. But some short years after they marry, Jimmy disappears without a trace, leaving Birdie hurt and alone with their two toddlers. Out of money and out of options, Birdie moves back home with her overbearing mother.
Just as she’s settling into her new life, Birdie witnesses a gruesome murder and is urged to flee Mt. Sterling to avoid questioning. With nothing but a borrowed suitcase and a questionable note about a house in Cincinnati promised to Jimmy, she travels to the big city just as she and Jimmy dreamed, determined to put her life back together. Plunged into the bustling jazz scenes of the hottest nightclubs and backwoods juke joints, Birdie learns that finding her place among criminals and saints is tough—but she is tougher. Even when some harsh lessons threaten the life she’s created on her own terms…
Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See (June 6)
Lisa See’s latest historical fiction novel is inspired by the true story of a woman physician from 15th-century China. It will be one of those stories that will people will talk about for years to come. Here’s the synopsis:
According to Confucius, “an educated woman is a worthless woman,” but Tan Yunxian—born into an elite family, yet haunted by death, separations, and loneliness—is being raised by her grandparents to be of use. Her grandmother is one of only a handful of female doctors in China, and she teaches Yunxian the pillars of Chinese medicine, the Four Examinations—looking, listening, touching, and asking—something a man can never do with a female patient.
From a young age, Yunxian learns about women’s illnesses, many of which relate to childbearing, alongside a young midwife-in-training, Meiling. The two girls find fast friendship and a mutual purpose—despite the prohibition that a doctor should never touch blood while a midwife comes in frequent contact with it—and they vow to be forever friends, sharing in each other’s joys and struggles. No mud, no lotus, they tell themselves: from adversity beauty can bloom.
But when Yunxian is sent into an arranged marriage, her mother-in-law forbids her from seeing Meiling and from helping the women and girls in the household. Yunxian is to act like a proper wife—embroider bound-foot slippers, pluck instruments, recite poetry, give birth to sons, and stay forever within the walls of the family compound, the Garden of Fragrant Delights.
How might a woman like Yunxian break free of these traditions, go on to treat women and girls from every level of society, and lead a life of such importance that many of her remedies are still used five centuries later? How might the power of friendship support or complicate these efforts? Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a captivating story of women helping other women. It is also a triumphant reimagining of the life of a woman who was remarkable in the Ming dynasty and would be considered remarkable today.
The Paris Daughter by Kristin Harmel (June 6)
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel is such a great historical fiction novel—definitely add it to your list if you haven’t read it yet. I’m excited to read her latest novel, The Paris Daughter. This is a historical fiction novel about two mothers who must make unthinkable choices in the face of the Nazi occupation. Here’s the synopsis:
Paris, 1939: Young mothers Elise and Juliette become fast friends the day they meet in the beautiful Bois de Boulogne. Though there is a shadow of war creeping across Europe, neither woman suspects that their lives are about to irrevocably change.
When Elise becomes a target of the German occupation, she entrusts Juliette with the most precious thing in her life—her young daughter, playmate to Juliette’s own little girl. But nowhere is safe in war, not even a quiet little bookshop like Juliette’s Librairie des Rêves, and, when a bomb falls on their neighborhood, Juliette’s world is destroyed along with it.
More than a year later, with the war finally ending, Elise returns to reunite with her daughter, only to find her friend’s bookstore reduced to rubble—and Juliette nowhere to be found. What happened to her daughter in those last, terrible moments? Juliette has seemingly vanished without a trace, taking all the answers with her. Elise’s desperate search leads her to New York—and to Juliette—one final, fateful time.
You Were Always Mine by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza (June 13)
I really enjoyed We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza (highly recommend if you haven’t read it yet) and I’m thrilled the authors have collaborated again! You Were Always Mine follows a Black woman who finds an abandoned white baby, sending her on a collision course with her past, her family, and a birth mother who doesn’t want to be found. Here’s the synopsis:
Cinnamon Haynes has fought hard for a life she never thought was possible—a good man by her side, a steady job as a career counselor at a local community college, and a cozy house in a quaint little beach town. It may not look like much, but it’s more than she ever dreamed of or what her difficult childhood promised. Her life’s mantra is to be good, quiet, grateful. Until something shifts and Cinnamon is suddenly haunted by a terrifying question: “Is this all there is?”
Daisy Dunlap has had her own share of problems in her nineteen years on earth—she also has her own big dreams for a life that’s barely begun. Her hopes for her future are threatened when she gets unexpectedly pregnant. Desperate, broke, and alone, she hides this development from everyone close to her and then makes a drastic decision with devastating consequences.
Daisy isn’t the only one with something to hide. When Cinnamon finds an abandoned baby in a park and takes the blonde-haired, blue-eyed newborn into her home, the ripple effects of this decision risk exposing the truth about Cinnamon’s own past, which she’s gone to great pains to portray as idyllic to everyone…even herself.
As Cinnamon struggles to contain old demons, navigate the fault lines that erupt in her marriage, and deal with the shocking judgments from friends and strangers alike about why a woman like her has a baby like this, her one goal is to do right by the child she grows more attached to with each passing day. It’s the exact same conviction that drives Daisy as she tries to outrun her heartache and reckon with her choices.
These two women, unlikely friends and kindred spirits must face down their secrets and trauma and unite for the sake of the baby they both love in their own unique way when Daisy’s grandparents, who would rather die than see one of their own raised by a Black woman, threaten to take custody.
The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hilderbrand (June 13)
The queen of impactful beach reads is back with another novel, The Five-Star Weekend. After tragedy strikes, food blogger Hollis Shaw gathers four friends from different stages in her life to spend an unforgettable weekend on Nantucket. Very excited for this one. Here’s the synopsis:
Hollis Shaw’s life seems picture-perfect. She’s the creator of the popular food blog Hungry with Hollis and is married to Matthew, a dreamy heart surgeon. But after she and Matthew get into a heated argument one snowy morning, he leaves for the airport and is killed in a car accident. The cracks in Hollis’s perfect life—her strained marriage and her complicated relationship with her daughter, Caroline—grow deeper.
So when Hollis hears about something called a “Five-Star Weekend”—one woman organizes a trip for her best friend from each phase of her life: her teenage years, her twenties, her thirties, and midlife—she decides to host her own Five-Star Weekend on Nantucket. But the weekend doesn’t turn out to be a joyful Hallmark movie.
The husband of Hollis’s childhood friend Tatum arranges for Hollis’s first love, Jack Finigan, to spend time with them, stirring up old feelings. Meanwhile, Tatum is forced to play nice with abrasive and elitist Dru-Ann, Hollis’s best friend from UNC Chapel Hill. Dru-Ann’s career as a prominent Chicago sports agent is on the line after her comments about a client’s mental health issues are misconstrued online. Brooke, Hollis’s friend from their thirties, has just discovered that her husband is having an inappropriate relationship with a woman at work. Again! And then there’s Gigi, a stranger to everyone (including Hollis) who reached out to Hollis through her blog. Gigi embodies an unusual grace and, as it happens, has many secrets.
You Can Trust Me by Wendy Heard (June 13)
It’s always good to throw a thriller or two in the mix each month. You Can Trust Me sounds very intriguing. It follows two best friends who grift their way through the California elite, until a scam goes awry. Here’s the synopsis:
Summer and Leo would do anything for each other. Inspired by the way each has had to carve her place in a hostile and unforgiving world, and united by the call of the open road, they travel around sunny California in Summer’s tricked-out Land Cruiser. It’s not a glamorous life, but it gives them the freedom they crave from the painful pasts they’ve left behind. But even free spirits have bills to pay. Luckily, Summer is a skilled pickpocket, a small-time thief, and a con artist—and Leo, determined to pay her own way, has learned a trick or two.
Eager for a big score, Leo catches in her crosshairs Michael Forrester, a self-made billionaire and philanthropist. When her charm wins him over, Leo is rewarded with an invitation to his private island off the California coastline for a night of fabulous excess. She eagerly anticipates returning with photos that can be sold to the paparazzi, jewelry that can be liquidated, and endless stories to share with Summer.
Instead, Leo disappears.
On her own for the first time in years, Summer decides to infiltrate Michael’s island and find out what really happened. But when she arrives, no one has seen Leo—she’s not on the island as far as they know. Plus, there was only one way on the island—and no way off—for the coming days. Trapped in a scheme she helped initiate, could Summer have met her match?
Excavations by Kate Myers (July 4)
If you’re on a bit of an Indiana Jones kick (which I liked the new movie BTW) and all things archeology, be sure to check out Excavations by Kate Myers. The story takes place at a remote archeological site in Greece where four women discover an unusual artifact. A great setting and interesting female dynamics makes this one quite compelling. Here’s the synopsis:
On a remote archeological site in Greece, the mythic home of the first Olympics, four women discover an unusual artifact. It’s a piece of history that definitely shouldn’t exist. And for the head archaeologist in charge, a relic himself, it means something’s gone horribly wrong.
Elise, Kara, Z and Patty all find themselves digging here together, but they couldn’t be farther apart. Kara’s a polished conservator calling off her wedding. Patty and her bowl cut are desperate for love. Millennial Z just got dumped and fired yet again. And Elise, their star excavator, is a lone wolf about to go rogue.
To figure out what they’re really digging for, and to topple the man who wants to hide their history, these dirt-crusted colleagues have to become what they’ve avoided for years—friends. If they put their own messes aside for one summer, they might just make the discovery of a lifetime.
The Summer of Songbirds by Kristy Woodson Harvey (July 11)
Kristy Woodson Harvey is a popular author of Southern fiction. And her latest, The Summer of Songbirds, sounds like such a great read, especially during the summer months. It follows four women who band together to save the summer camp that changed their lives. Here’s the synopsis:
Nearly thirty years ago, in the wake of a personal tragedy, June Moore bought Camp Holly Springs and turned it into a thriving summer haven for girls. But now, June is in danger of losing the place she has sacrificed everything for, and begins to realize how much she has used the camp to avoid facing difficulties in her life.
June’s niece, Daphne, met her two best friends, Lanier and Mary Stuart, during a fateful summer at camp. They’ve all helped each other through hard things, from heartbreak and loss to substance abuse and unplanned pregnancy, and the three are inseparable even in their thirties. But when attorney Daphne is confronted with a relationship from her past—and a confidential issue at work becomes personal—she is faced with an impossible choice.
Lanier, meanwhile, is struggling with tough decisions of her own. After a run-in with an old flame, she is torn between the commitment she made to her fiancé and the one she made to her first love. And when a big secret comes to light, she finds herself at odds with her best friend…and risks losing the person she loves most.
But in spite of their personal problems, nothing is more important to these songbirds than Camp Holly Springs. When the women learn their childhood oasis is in danger of closing, they band together to save it, sending them on a journey that promises to open the next chapters in their lives.
From an author whose “writing coats your soul with heart” (E! Online), The Summer of Songbirds is a lyrical and unforgettable celebration of female friendship, summertime freedom, and enduring sisterhood—and a love letter to the places and people that make us who we are.
Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead (July 18)
Colson Whitehead is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author of Harlem Shuffle. In Crook Manifesto, he continues his Harlem saga in a powerful and hugely-entertaining novel that summons 1970s New York in all its seedy glory. This is one of the most anticipated novels of the year. Here’s the synopsis:
It’s 1971. Trash piles up on the streets, crime is at an all-time high, the city is careening towards bankruptcy, and a shooting war has broken out between the NYPD and the Black Liberation Army. Amidst this collective nervous breakdown furniture store owner and ex-fence Ray Carney tries to keep his head down and his business thriving. His days moving stolen goods around the city are over. It’s strictly the straight-and-narrow for him — until he needs Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter May and he decides to hit up his old police contact Munson, fixer extraordinaire. But Munson has his own favors to ask of Carney and staying out of the game gets a lot more complicated – and deadly.
1973. The counter-culture has created a new generation, the old ways are being overthrown, but there is one constant, Pepper, Carney’s endearingly violent partner in crime. It’s getting harder to put together a reliable crew for hijackings, heists, and assorted felonies, so Pepper takes on a side gig doing security on a Blaxploitation shoot in Harlem. He finds himself in a freaky world of Hollywood stars, up-and-coming comedians, and celebrity drug dealers, in addition to the usual cast of hustlers, mobsters, and hit men. These adversaries underestimate the seasoned crook – to their regret.
1976. Harlem is burning, block by block, while the whole country is gearing up for Bicentennial celebrations. Carney is trying to come up with a July 4th ad he can live with. (“Two Hundred Years of Getting Away with It!”), while his wife Elizabeth is campaigning for her childhood friend, the former assistant D.A and rising politician Alexander Oakes. When a fire severely injures one of Carney’s tenants, he enlists Pepper to look into who may be behind it. Our crooked duo have to battle their way through a crumbling metropolis run by the shady, the violent, and the utterly corrupted.
A Twisted Love Story by Samantha Downing
For thriller loves, A Twisted Love Story by Samantha Downing sounds interesting. It follows a couple when things are good, it’s amazing and when things are bad—it’s a nightmare. Here’s the synopsis:
Wes and Ivy are madly in love. They’ve never felt anything like it. It’s the type of romance people write stories about.
But what kind of story?
When it’s good, it’s great. Flowers. Grand gestures. Deep meaningful conversations where the whole world disappears.
When it’s bad, it’s really bad. Vengeful fights. Damaged property. Arrest warrants.
But their vicious cycle of catastrophic breakups and head-over-heels reconciliations needs to end fast. Because suddenly, Wes and Ivy have a common enemy–and she’s a detective.
There’s something Wes and Ivy never talk about–in good times or bad. The night of their worst breakup, when one of them took things too far, and someone ended up dead.
If they can stick together, they can survive anything–even the tightening net of a police investigation.
Because one more breakup might just be their last…
Just Another Missing Person by Gillian McAllister (August 1)
Last year Reese’s Book Club selected Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister for its monthly pick and it was a great choice! I so enjoyed the thrilling novel. So I’m especially excited to see what Gillian has in store for Just Another Missing Person. This one follows a detective on the search for a missing person. Here’s the synopsis:
22-year-old Olivia has been missing for one day…and counting. She was last seen on CCTV, entering a dead-end alley. And not coming back out again.
Julia, the detective heading up the search for Olivia, thinks she knows what to expect. A desperate family, a ticking clock, and long hours away from her husband and daughter. But she has no idea just how close to home this case is going to get.
Because the criminal at the heart of the disappearance has something she never expected. His weapon isn’t a gun, or a knife: it’s a secret. Her worst one. And her family’s safety depends on one thing: Julia must NOT find out what happened to Olivia – and must frame somebody else for her murder.
If you find her, you will lose everything. What would you do?
This clever and endlessly surprising thriller is laced with a clever look at family and motherhood, and cements Gillian McAllister as a major talent in the world of suspense and a master of creating ethical dilemmas that show just how murky the distinction between right and wrong can be.
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (August 1)
Ann Patchett is known for her literary fiction novels that cover families and relationships. Her latest novel Tom Lake takes place during the global pandemic in 2020 and features a mother and her daughters as they recall the past and examine their own relationships and lives. Here’s the synopsis:
In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.
Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.
The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store by James McBride (August 8)
Deacon King Kong by James McBride was an Oprah selection and one of the most popular books of 2020. In The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store, the author takes a closer look at small town secrets. Here’s the synopsis:
In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe.
As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community—heaven and earth—that sustain us.
Bringing his masterly storytelling skills and his deep faith in humanity to The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride has written a novel as compassionate as Deacon King Kong and as inventive as The Good Lord Bird.
Happiness Falls by Angie Kim (August 29)
By far, one of my most-anticipated novels of 2023 is Happiness Falls by Angie Kim. Her 2019 novel Miracle Creek was so compelling and fascinating. She’s such a fantastic writer. In Happiness Falls, a father goes missing and his family’s desperate search leads them to question everything they know about him and one another. Here’s the synopsis:
“We didn’t call the police right away.” Those are the electric first words of this extraordinary novel about a biracial Korean American family in Virginia whose lives are upended when their beloved father and husband goes missing.
Mia, the irreverent, hyperanalytical twenty-year-old daughter, has an explanation for everything—which is why she isn’t initially concerned when her father and younger brother Eugene don’t return from a walk in a nearby park. They must have lost their phone. Or stopped for an errand somewhere. But by the time Mia’s brother runs through the front door bloody and alone, it becomes clear that the father in this tight-knit family is missing and the only witness is Eugene, who has the rare genetic condition Angelman syndrome and cannot speak.
What follows is both a ticking-clock investigation into the whereabouts of a father and an emotionally rich portrait of a family whose most personal secrets just may be at the heart of his disappearance. Full of shocking twists and fascinating questions of love, language, and human connection, Happiness Falls is a mystery, a family drama, and a novel of profound philosophical inquiry.
Evil Eye by Etaf Rum (September 5)
A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum was such an impactful and compelling read so I’m especially looking forward to her latest, Evil Eye. This novel explores the expectations of Palestinian-American women, the meaning of a fulfilling life, and the ways our unresolved pasts affect our presents. Here’s the synopsis:
Raised in a conservative and emotionally volatile Palestinian family in Brooklyn, Yara thought she would finally feel free when she married a charming entrepreneur who took her to the suburbs. She’s gotten to follow her dreams, completing an undergraduate degree in Art and landing a good job at the local college. As a traditional wife, she also raises their two school-aged daughters, takes care of the house, and has dinner ready when her husband gets home. With her family balanced with her professional ambitions, Yara knows that her life is infinitely more rewarding than her own mother’s. So why doesn’t it feel like enough?
After her dream of chaperoning a student trip to Europe evaporates and she responds to a colleague’s racist provocation, Yara is put on probation at work and must attend mandatory counseling to keep her position. Her mother blames a family curse for the trouble she’s facing, and while Yara doesn’t really believe in old superstitions, she still finds herself growing increasingly uneasy with her mother’s warning and the possibility of falling victim to the same mistakes.
Shaken to the core by these indictments of her life, Yara finds her carefully constructed world beginning to implode. To save herself, Yara must reckon with the reality that the difficulties of the childhood she thought she left behind have very real—and damaging—implications not just on her own future but that of her daughters.
Scenes of the Crime by Jenny Gagnon (September 5)
I’m a big fan of locked-room style mysteries and it seems Scenes of the Crime by Jenny Gagnon will definitely fit that mold! The story follows a screenwriter who tries to solve her friend’s disappearance by re-creating their fateful final girls’ trip. Here’s the synopsis:
It should have been the perfect spring break: Five girlfriends. A remote winery on the Oregon coast. An infinite supply of delicious wine at their manicured fingertips. But then their center—beautiful, magnetic Vanessa Morales—vanished without a trace.
Emily Fischer was perhaps the last person to see her alive. But now, years later, Emily spots Vanessa’s doppelganger at a local café. At the end of her rope working a lucrative yet mind-numbing gig on a network sitcom, Emily is inspired to finally tell the story that’s been percolating inside her for so long: Vanessa’s story. But first, she needs to know what really happened on that fateful night. So she puts a brilliant scheme into motion.
She gets the girls together for a reunion weekend at the scene of the crime under the guise of reconnecting. There’s Brittany, Vanessa’s cousin and the inheritor of the winery; Paige, a former athlete, bullish yet easily manipulated; and Lydia, the wallflower of the group.
One of them knows the truth. But what have they each been hiding? And how much can Emily trust anything she learns from them . . . or even her own memories of Vanessa’s last days?
The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger (September 5)
A novel that will sure be a wonderful fit for your book clubs is The River We Remember by William Kent Krueger. In 1958, a small Minnesota town is rocked by the murder of its most powerful citizen, pouring fresh fuel on old grievances. Here’s the synopsis:
On Memorial Day, as the people of Jewel, Minnesota gather to remember and honor the sacrifice of so many sons in the wars of the past, the half-clothed body of wealthy landowner Jimmy Quinn is found floating in the Alabaster River, dead from a shotgun blast. Investigation of the murder falls to Sheriff Brody Dern, a highly decorated war hero who still carries the physical and emotional scars from his military service. Even before Dern has the results of the autopsy, vicious rumors begin to circulate that the killer must be Noah Bluestone, a Native American WWII veteran who has recently returned to Jewel with a Japanese wife. As suspicions and accusations mount and the town teeters on the edge of more violence, Dern struggles not only to find the truth of Quinn’s murder but also put to rest the demons from his own past.
Caught up in the torrent of anger that sweeps through Jewel are a war widow and her adolescent son, the intrepid publisher of the local newspaper, an aging deputy, and a crusading female lawyer, all of whom struggle with their own tragic histories and harbor secrets that Quinn’s death threatens to expose.
Bright Young Women by Jessica Knoll (September 19)
Jessica Knoll is an extremely talented writer of literary suspense. Her novels are intense and impactful. Her latest novel Bright Young Women is inspired by the real-life sorority and target of America’s first celebrity serial killer. Here’s the synopsis:
January 15, 1978, is a night of promise, excitement, and desire. A serial killer’s murderous spree in the Pacific Northwest couldn’t be further from the minds of the vibrant young women at the top sorority on Florida State University’s campus in Tallahassee.
That night, Pamela Schumacher, president of the sorority, makes the unpopular decision to stay home. Startled awake at 3 a.m. by a strange sound, she makes the fateful decision to investigate. What she finds outside her bedroom door is a scene of implausible violence—two of her sisters dead; two others, maimed.
On the other side of the country, in Seattle, Tina Cannon has found peace after years of hardship. A chance encounter brings twenty-five-year-old Ruth Wachowsky into her life and they forge an instant connection. But then Ruth goes missing from Lake Sammamish State Park in broad daylight, the same day as another young woman, surrounded by thousands of beachgoers. Both vanish without a trace. Tina is convinced Ruth was a target of the man the papers refer to as the All-American Sex Killer.
When she learns of the massacre in Tallahassee, Tina is convinced it’s him again. She rushes to Florida, on a collision course with Pamela—and one last impending tragedy.
Bright Young Women tells the story of two women from opposite sides of the country who forge a sisterhood in grief and in the fervent pursuit of justice. Toggling between those terrifying days in 1978 and a letter that brings them together in the present, this is a novel that flips the script on the oft-perpetuated glorification of a sadistic but ultimately average man and instead turns the spotlight on the exceptional women he targeted.
The List by Yogi Adegoke (October 3)
I’m so looking forward to reading Yogi Adegoke’s debut novel, The List. It covers very relevant topics, especially regarding social media. This will be a book that will have people talking all year into next for sure. The story follows a high-profile female journalist whose world is upended when her fiancé’s name turns up in a viral social media post. Here’s the synopsis:
Ola Olajide, a celebrated journalist at Womxxxn magazine, is set to marry the love of her life in one month’s time. Young, beautiful, and successful—she and her fiancé Michael are considered the “couple goals” of their social network and seem to have it all. That is, until one morning when they both wake up to the same message: “Oh my god, have you seen The List?”
It began as a crowdsourced collection of names and somehow morphed into an anonymous account posting allegations on social media. Ola would usually be the first to support such a list—she’d retweet it, call for the men to be fired, write article after article. Except this time, Michael’s name is on it.
Compulsively readable, wildly entertaining, and filled with sharp social insight, The List is a piercing and dazzlingly clear-sighted debut about secrets, lies, and the internet. Perfect for fans of Such a Fun Age, Luster, and My Dark Vanessa, this is a searing portrait of these modern times and our morally complicated online culture.
What We Kept to Ourselves by Nancy Jooyoun Kim (October 10)
The Reese Book Club Pick The Last Story of Mina Lee was very impactful and heartbreaking. The author Nancy Jooyoun Kim returns with her second novel, What We Kept to Ourselves. This story is about a family’s search for answers following the disappearance of their mother. Here’s the synopsis:
1999: The Kim family is struggling to move on after their mother, Sunny, vanished a year ago. Sixty-one-year-old John Kim feels more isolated from his grown children, Anastasia and Ronald, than ever before. But one evening, their fragile lives are further upended when John finds the body of a stranger in the backyard, carrying a letter to Sunny, leaving the family with more questions than ever about the stranger’s history and possible connections to their mother.
1977: Sunny is pregnant and has just moved to Los Angeles from Korea with her aloof and often-absent husband. America is not turning out the way she had dreamed it to be, and the loneliness and isolation are broken only by a fateful encounter at a bus stop. The unexpected connection spans the decades and echoes into the family’s lives in the present as they uncover devastating secrets that put not only everything they thought they knew about their mother but their very lives at risk.
The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok (October 10)
The Leftover Woman by Jean Kwok sounds like such an impactful story. An evocative family drama and a riveting mystery about the ferocious pull of motherhood for two very different women. Here’s the synopsis:
Jasmine Yang arrives in New York City from her rural Chinese village without money or family support, fleeing a controlling husband, on a desperate search for the daughter who was taken from her at birth—another female casualty of China’s controversial One Child Policy. But with her husband on her trail, the clock is ticking, and she’s forced to make increasingly risky decisions if she ever hopes to be reunited with her daughter.
Meanwhile, publishing executive Rebecca Whitney seems to have it all: a prestigious family name and the wealth that comes with it, a high-powered career, a beautiful home, a handsome husband, and an adopted Chinese daughter she adores. She’s even hired a nanny to help her balance the demands of being a working wife and mother. But when an industry scandal threatens to jeopardize not only Rebecca’s job but her marriage, this perfect world begins to crumble and her role in her own family is called into question.
The Leftover Woman finds these two unforgettable women on a shocking collision course. Twisting and suspenseful and surprisingly poignant, it’s a profound exploration of identity and belonging, motherhood and family. It is a story of two women in a divided city—separated by severe economic and cultural differences yet bound by a deep emotional connection to a child.
The Women in Me by Britney Spears
The long-awaited memoir of Britney Spears is scheduled to release at the end of October. There is a ton of buzz with this book and the world is eager to hear her story on her terms. I do wonder why they chose an older photo of her for the cover? Here’s the synopsis:
In June 2021, the whole world was listening as Britney Spears spoke in open court. The impact of sharing her voice—her truth—was undeniable, and it changed the course of her life and the lives of countless others. The Woman in Me reveals for the first time her incredible journey—and the strength at the core of one of the greatest performers in pop music history.
Written with remarkable candor and humor, Spears’s groundbreaking book illuminates the enduring power of music and love—and the importance of a woman telling her own story, on her own terms, at last.
Check back for the rest of the months!