GalleyChatters’ Spring and Summer Recommendations

Our GalleyChatter columnist Robin Beerbower rounds up the most-mentioned titles from our latest chat below.

Some of these titles can still be nominated for LibraryReads. We’ve noted the deadlines in red.

Please join us for the next GalleyChat, today,
Feb. 3, 4 to 5 p.m. ET, 3:30 for virtual cocktails. Details here.
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For those snug at home staring at the snow, January’s recommendations will be just the ticket for taking you away from the dreary days. If you’ve exhausted Netflix, practice a little binge-reading on any of the following forthcoming titles.

Check here for a complete list of titles mentioned during the chat.

Novel History

The Scribe of Siena

Time travel fans will enjoy The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer (S&S/Touchstone, May; LibraryReads deadline: March 20), an absorbing combination of contemporary and historical fiction. Neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato is in Italy to take care of her brother’s estate but finds herself in 14th century Siena on the eve of the Black Plague investigating a 700-year-old conspiracy. Jen Dayton, collection development librarian from Darien (CT) Library, says this “smartly written novel” is a “wonderful travel log to life in 14th century. I loved this total immersion into life in Renaissance era Siena.”

A Twist in TimeIn the first book of the Kendra Donovan series, Murder in Time, the former FBI agent was transported from the modern times to an English castle in 1815 to find a killer. In the follow-up, Twist in Time (Norton/Pegasus, April; LibraryReads deadline: Feb. 20), Julie McElwain continues Kendra’s perilous adventures after she fails to return to the 21st century. Jane Jorgenson of Madison (WI) Public Library said of the sequel, “Her sponsor’s nephew Alec is under suspicion in the stabbing death of his former mistress so Kendra and the Duke rush to London. Once again McElwain blends history, a touch of fantasy, and procedural to fun and intriguing effect.”

The Women in the CastleGathering “much love” votes on Edelweiss far in advance of its pub date at the end of March is Jessica Shattuck’s The Women in the Castle (HC/William Morrow). One of those votes come from Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis (TX) Community Library who says in her review, “This book looks at Nazi Germany through the eyes of a special set of victims, the widows of three German men who were executed for their part in an attempt to assassinate Hitler. After the war, the women band together in a crumbling estate to raise their children and to try to keep each other going. It is a guidebook on the human side of war where the lines are blurred between hero and victim.”

For Your Binge-Reading Pleasure

9781501139239_3ebc7In novels filled with tangled relationships Taylor Jenkins Reid has been inching her way into readers’ hearts. Her next book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (S&S/Atria, June; LibraryReads deadline: April 20) is poised to be a winner. Tracy Babiasz, acquisitions manager for Chapel Hill Library, NC, says, “Former Hollywood A-lister Evelyn Hugo is finally going public with the story of her seven husbands, ready to reveal the love of her life, so she calls in a journalist to write her coveted biography…but the answer’s going to surprise everyone! This one left me thinking about what truly makes a family.” Jenna Friebel, materials selection librarian from Oak Park (IL) Public Library, adds, “I didn’t think Taylor Jenkins Reid could outdo her last several amazing books, but oh she did! I truly hopes this becomes THE beach read of summer 2017!”

9781476759944_97f27Another author developing a dedicated following is Lucinda Riley, the Irish author of the Seven Sisters series. The Shadow Sister (S&S/Atria, April; LibraryReads deadline: Feb. 20), the sequel to The Seven Sisters (a favorite of GalleyChatters in April of 2015) and The Storm Sister, continues the journeys of the siblings in their world-wide quest to discover their heritages. Beth Mills of New Rochelle (NY) Public Library says she is becoming a fan of these epic dual timeline stories and recommends it for readers of Susanna Kearsley, Kate Morton, and Lauren Willig.

9780062271631_76794One of the joys of an unread mystery series is starting with the first entry and plowing through all of the titles not only for plot, but also character development. Those lucky people who haven’t yet discovered Deborah Crombie’s series featuring Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James are in for such a treat. Of the 17th title in the series, Garden of Lamentations (HarperCollins/Morrow, February), Beth Mills from New Rochelle Public Library said in “this compelling new story,  Gemma is investigating the puzzling death of a nanny while Duncan is dealing with what looks disturbingly like corruption in the police force. As always in Crombie’s novels the look we get at the domestic lives of Duncan, Gemma and their children is as interesting as the mystery.”

Debut Novel

9781941040560_7e248GalleyChatters love an off-center novel and it’s an added bonus if it’s humorous and tender. Regular GalleyChat contributor Cynthia Baskin says Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett (Norton/Tin House, March) is such a book, “Narrated by 12-year-old Elvis, Anne Hartnett’s debut novel is about grief, mental illness, and family bonds. A quirky family deals with the loss of its sleep-swimming matriarch with equal parts drama and comedy. Rabbit Cake is engrossing, compelling, and lovely, and I enjoyed every bit of it!”

Never Too Late For a Resolution…

9781492633556_46f3aIt’s never too late to resolve to improve your life and reading Eve Shaub’s Year of No Clutter: A Memoir (Sourcebooks, March) might be just the ticket for spring cleaning inspiration. Andrienne Cruz from Azusa City Library says, “If you’ve read most if not all of the books that talk about getting rid of stuff, add this to your list. The author takes you to her realm and you stay there like the very clutter she tries to get rid of.”

Please join us for the next GalleyChat on Tuesday, February 7, with virtual happy hour at 3:30 (ET) and the chat at 4:00, and for updates on what I’m anticipating on Edelweiss, please friend me.

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