The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (9780062188502 $26.99) An orchardist who has lost his family and lives alone; two sisters who escape the brothel where they have been held captive and seek shelter like skittish stray kittens on the orchardist’s land; an infant whom the orchardist raises as best he can; and the wise woman from town whose life is enmeshed with what happens at the farm struggle to make sense of their world and each other. In this evocative debut novel, author Amanda Coplin leaves much unspoken, yet because of her astonishing skill the reader is able to sense the underlying currents that are at the heart of this moving story.
John Saturnal’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk (9780802120519 $26.00) Historical fiction at its best, this intricately woven tapestry of a book tells the story of the orphan son of an herbalist mother and his journey to become a master of the culinary arts. The book is thick with the smells and textures and tastes of early 17th century life in England. It is a tale of superstitions, intrigue and secrets. I found myself pulled deep into John Saturnal’s world.
What Happened to Sophie Wilder by Christopher Beha (9781935639312 $15.00)When Sophie Wilder suddenly reappears in Charlie Blakeman’s life, he cautiously welcomes her back. Ten years since they last saw each other, they are now both vulnerable and confused about their paths. He is a not so successful writer. She is reeling from her experience taking care of a dying old man she barely knew. Gradually, they open to each other but then Sophie disappears. A modern ghost story. A meditation on belief. Compellingly told.
Defending Jacob by William Landay (9780385344227$26.00)Ostensibly a legal thriller – and I guarantee that you will not guess the ending – this is a novel that probes deeply into the relationship between parents and their children. How far do you go to defend a child? To believe in the goodness of that child? What if you doubt? Does one always doubt? What does it mean to protect that child? Jacob Berber is accused of murder. His father Andy, the Assistant DA, believes he is innocent and takes on his son’s defense. After that, nothing in this story is simple.
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (9781451681734 $25.00)When I was ten, I longed to live in a lighthouse but I never imagined anything quite like this story: Tom and Isabel take up life in a remote lighthouse after Tom returns from the Western Front. They long for a child but Isabel suffers miscarriages and a heartbreaking stillbirth. And then, she hears a baby cry, a baby in a boat. A mesmerizing story.