“The Summer Before the War: A Novel” by Helen Simonson.
I have not forgotten her quirky, fun and charming novel “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.” Recently released the new novel is set in the village of Rye, England and tells the adventures of a young teacher just at the opening of World War I. It is called “addictively readable by Maya Stanton in Entertainment Weekly. A blog reader has already told me this is terrific fun.
“Noonday” by Pat Barker.
This is Barker’s thirteenth novel. She so often writes of the First World War; her Regeneration trilogy is absolutely memorable. Here we read of London, 1940, the bombs and a love triangle that has existed for thirty years. This book too is part of a trilogy. We first met the major characters in “Life Class”, then “Toby’s Room” and now we have the third volume.
“The Edge of the Orchard” by Tracy Chevalier
Perhaps you read “The Last Runaway” or “Remarkable Creatures”. These were dramatic stories of people from the past. Now she brings us a story of pioneers in the first half of the 19th century experiencing the brutal frontier life in the muddy swamps of northwest Ohio.
“The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became An American Hero” by Timothy Egan
For me, this author’s The Worst Hard Times is one of the finest pieces of history I have read. Newly released is this biography. It takes readers along with a colorful Irishman and his adventures as he lives nineteenth century America.
“Twenty Yawns” by Jane Smiley
Though some of you may not remember Jane Smiley’s novels of the Midwest with the degree of adulation I do, here’s your chance to experience her writing in a different genre. Her latest is a children’s book out April 1. The illustrator is the Caldecott Honor Artist Lauren Castillo. It’s a bedtime story evoking the mysteries of the night. Can’t wait to get a look at this one.
“The Excellent Lombards” by Jane Hamilton
In her new book of fiction Hamilton writes a tender coming-of-age story. Ann Patchett calls it excellent. It will be published this month.
“The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New” by Ann Dillard
Who can forget Pilgrim at Tinker Creek? In this volume she has selected and revised some of the best essays she has written over a period of forty years. Though she has no doubt given careful thought to the ordering of these essays (not in the order they were written), I confess that when I read a book of essays, I often follow my interests rather than the author’s selected path. So I know when I get to these essays, the struggle will be: what to read when. New York Times Reviewer Donovan Hohn writes of his “gratitude for the bounty.”
“Everyone Brave is Forgiven” by Chris Cleave
I found his novel Little Bee intensely moving. Now he takes us inside World War II in England, and according to many reviewers dazzles us with engaging characters who cause readers to think about how people are changed by wartime experiences. This novel will be released in May and is in part based on letters between his grandparents.
“LaRose: A Novel” by Louise Erdrich
Coming in May, Ms Erdrich has again written of justice and atonement in the Native American Culture. There’s tragedy here that makes one want to turn away. But Erdrich’s breathtaking prose will no doubt make that an impossible task. Many readers and reviewers are excited about this book. If you are a reader who has been less enthusiastic about her work, I urge you to consider reading this new book (I have not yet read it) or Plaque of Doves, or The Roundhouse. She writes so beautifully.