“Just the knowledge that a good book is awaiting one at the end
of a long day makes that day happier.” — Kathleen Norris
Light Between Oceans
M.L. Stedman (Scribner $16.00)
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. Against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
by Jess Walter (Harper Perennial $14.99)
Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.
Chris Cleave (Simon & Schuster $16.00)
IF your dreams pull you in one direction and your heart in another, which should you follow? This is the question that haunts Kate Meadows, a world champion athlete whose eight-year-old daughter Sophie is battling a recurrence of childhood leukemia just as Kate is about to compete for her last chance at an Olympic gold medal. For years, Kate has sacrificed everything for her family and watched her best friend and closest rival, Zoe Castle, conquer the world stage. Kate has never won gold and will have to go through Zoe—who has everything to lose—to get it. Now her child is facing a life-threatening illness, and the stakes are higher than ever. How can she do what is right for her daughter without abandoning all of her dreams
by Peter Heller Random House $15.00)
Leave it to Peter Heller to imagine a postapocalyptic world that contains as much loveliness as it does devastation. His hero, Hig, flies a 1956 Cessna (his dog as copilot) around what was once Colorado, chasing all the same things we chase in these pre-annihilation days: love, friendship, the solace of the natural world, and the chance to perform some small kindness.
by Lisa Genova (Gallery Books $16.00)
Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a “normal” life shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. He didn’t speak. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony was gone.
Now she’s alone on Nantucket, desperate to find meaning in her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman brings Anthony alive again in a most unexpected way. In a piercing story about motherhood, autism, and love, Lisa Genova offers us two unforgettable women who discover the small but exuberant voice that helps them both find the answers they need.
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
Jan Philipp Sendker (Other Press $14.95)
A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present. When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.
The Yellow Birds
by Kevin Powers (Back Bay Books $14.99)
by Erik Larson (Random House $16.00)
In The Garden of Beasts, Larson demonstrates his gift again as he unfolds the often startling story of William E. Dodd, the first American ambassador to Nazi Germany, and his family. History professor Dodd was an unlikely choice to represent the United States in Hitler’s Berlin; indeed, he was FDR’s fifth choice for the post. His on-the-job education in the barbarities of the “New Germany” sometimes contrasted with that of his romantic, impressionable, party-loving daughter Martha. Larson places these very personal stories within the context of the ever-worsening events.
by Rachel Simon (Grand Central $12.00)
It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish, forgotten. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. But the couple is not alone-Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: “Hide her.”
by Markus Zusak (Random House $11.99)
Liesel Meminger is only nine years old when she is taken to live with the Hubermanns, a foster family, on Himmel Street in Molching, Germany, in the late 1930s. She arrives with few possessions, but among them is The Grave Digger’s Handbook, a book that she stole from her brother’s burial place. During the years that Liesel lives with the Hubermanns, Hitler becomes more powerful, life on Himmel Street becomes more fearful, and Liesel becomes a fullfledged book thief. She rescues books from Nazi book-burnings and steals from the library of the mayor. This is a story of courage, friendship, love, survival, death, and grief. This is Liesel’s life on Himmel Street, told from Death’s point of view.