EVERYONE HAS HAD THEIR SAY ABOUT WHICH NOVELS WERE THEIR FAVORITE FOR 2016! WELL, NOW IT’S MY TURN! TAKE A LOOK AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK!
I’m surprised Affinity Konar’s, MISCHLING (Lee Boudreaux Books), hasn’t been on more “Best novels of 2016” lists. I first got the opportunity to meet Konar and hear about MISCHLING in May at Book Expo. I thought it would take the literary world by storm. She turns one of the greatest horrors mankind has experienced and turns it into a story of beauty and survival. Stasha and Pearl are twin sisters sent to Auschwitz. Seen as “special,” they are taken to Josef Mengele’s, “Zoo,” where he performed horrifying experiments on children during the Holocaust. I thought I would want to turn away from this novel, considering the subject matter. But in Konar’s skillful hands, MISCHLING offers hope and a surprise ending.
In Barbara Claypole White’s, ECHOES OF FAMILY (Lake Union Publishing), Marianne Stokes flees England at seventeen, spiraling into manic depression that takes over her life. She leaves behind secrets, memories, and tragedy. Three decades later she’s finally found peace in the North Carolina recording studio she runs with her husband, Darius, and her almost-daughter, Jade – until another fatality propels her back across the ocean to confront her long-buried past. Tempers clash when everyone tries to help, but only by finding the courage to face her illness can Marianne heal herself and offbeat family. I was completely amazed by White’s powerful storytelling ability and honesty with giving a face to manic depression, a disease so many people still don’t fully understand.
Unexpected tragedies leave Miranda in shock amid the ruins of her broken family, in Laurel Saville’s NORTH of HERE (Lake Union Publishing). She searches for new meaning in her life and finds quiet refuge with her family’s handyman, Dix, in his cabin in the dark forests of the Adirondack Mountains. Dix is kind, dependable, and the right man to help the sheltered Miranda heal, but ultimately, her sadness creates a void even he can’t fill. When a man from her distant past turns up, he offers Miranda a chance to do meaningful work at The Source, a secluded property filled with his nature worshipers. Miranda feels this charismatic guru is the key to remaking her life, but her grief and desire for love also create an opportunity for his deception. Laurel Saville’s ability to create characters that are so real, honest, flawed and vulnerable makes me hunger to read more of her prose.
New York Times bestselling author, Shilpi Somaya Gowda returns with an unforgettable story of family, responsibility, love, honor, tradition, and identity in THE GOLDEN SON (William Morrow). Two childhood friends in the Indian countryside, a young doctor and a newly married bride, must balance the expectations of their culture and their families with the desires of their own hearts.The first of his family to go to college, Anil Patel, “the golden son,” carries the weight of tradition and his family’s expectations when he leaves his small village to begin a medical residency in the United States. Back home in India, Anil’s closest childhood friend, Leena, struggles to adapt to her demanding new husband and relatives. THE GOLDEN SON is a timely story that illuminates the immigrant experience of people caught between past and present, tradition and modernity, duty and choice; and the painful decisions made to find their true selves.
In Cristina Alger’s, THIS WAS NOT THE PLAN (Touchstone), Charlotte, a gifted young musician, has been blindsided by a betrayal in her promising career when she takes a babysitting job with the McLean’s, a glamorous Upper East Side Manhattan family. At first, the nanny gig is just a way of tiding herself over until she has licked her wounds and figured out her next move as a composer, but as it turns out, Charlotte is naturally good with children and becomes as deeply fond of the two little boys as they are of her. When an unthinkable tragedy happens, Charlotte is not the only one who realizes that she’s the key to holding little George and Matty’s world together. Suddenly, in addition to life’s usual puzzles, she finds herself with an impossible choice between her life-long dreams and the torn-apart family, she’s come to love.
In Shari Lapena’s thrilling novel, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR (Viking), Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all – a loving relationship, wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Immediately they are the suspects, but the truth is a much more complicated. Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened begins to unfold. Detective Rasbach knows the couple are hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for many years.
Ann Hood has once again delivered another unique story in THE BOOK THAT MATTERS MOST (W.W. Norton), that will grab readers in search of meaningful characters and a narrative delivered in very unique complex layers. Ava’s 25-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Alternating with Ava’s story, is that of her troubled daughter Maggie.
In Steena Holmes latest novel, SAVING ABBY (Lake Union Publishing), all children’s book illustrator Claire Turner ever wanted was to be a mother. After six years of trying to conceive, she and her husband, Josh, accept she will never be pregnant with a child of their own. Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, Claire goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. As her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s, debut novel, THE NEST (Ecco) introduces readers to the spectacularly dysfunctional Plumb family. Years of tension finally reaches a breaking point as Melody, Beatrice and Jack Plumb gather to confront older brother, Leo, freshly out of rehab. Months earlier, a wasted Leo gets into in a car accident that endangers the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are only months away from finally receiving. Now, the siblings must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives. And horror of horrors, they all may end up broke!
READING in 2016 has been so much fun! 2017 is going to be even better! There are so many exciting books being published this year. We’ve given you a taste over the past couple of weeks! So long 2016, hello 2017! Wishing all of you, our delightful blog followers of THOUGHTS on THIS ‘n THAT a wonderful, healthy, happy New Year! xxx
To ring in 2017, we have four NEW novels being published in 2017 to giveaway! Just tell us what your favorite book or books were in 2016! We’ll announce FOUR winners FRIDAY, JANUARY 6th.
We’re giving away:
SISTERS ONE, TWO, THREE by Nancy Star (Lake Union Publishing, Pub. Date Jan. 1st)
LUCKY BOY by Shanthi Sekaran (Putnam, Pub. Date Jan. 10th)
TWO DAYS GONE by Randall Silvis (Sourcebooks, Pub. Date Jan. 10th)
THE FIFTH PETAL by Brunonia Barry (Crown Publishing, Pub. Date Jan. 24th)
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!!!