GalleyChatters Lead Us Into Spring

The following post is from our GalleyChatter columnist, Robin Beerbower:

During the October GalleyChat over 400 tweets were exchanged so winnowing the 100 plus titles down to a reasonable number was a challenge, but a few front runners did emerge.

For a complete list of all 110 titles, click here.

Front Runners

9780399174124_9316cThe phrases “grand gothic manor” and “Kate Morton readalike” piqued our curiosity about Eve Chase’s Black Rabbit Hall (PRH/Putman, February). Multiple family secrets? Check. Set in England? Check. Full of chilling atmosphere? Check. We can’t wait. Andrienne Cruz (Azusa, CA, City Library) said “Reading this book makes you feel like that intrigued neighbor who stumbles upon the juicy details of a seemingly perfect family next door.” EDITOR’S NOTE: Join us for a chat with the author on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

9781400067695_73fa3-2 My Name is Lucy Barton, Elizabeth Strout (PRH/Random House, January), by the author of the unforgettable Olive Kitteridge, was also a popular pick. Vicki Nesting from St. Charles Parish Library (LA) described it best: “Stunning! Lucy ends up in the hospital for an extended period of time which gives her plenty of time to reflect on her life, particularly when the mother she hasn’t seen in years comes to sit with her. Strout’s prose is luminous, almost poetic, and completely unforgettable.”

9781451686630_85bcdAlready a hit on Edelweiss, fans of Lisa Lutz’s Spellman Files series will flock to her non-series book, The Passenger (Simon & Schuster, March). Janet Lockhart (Wake Country Library, NC) and Booklist’s Rebecca Vnuk enjoyed this dark comedic thriller about a woman going on the lam after her husband is found dead at the foot of the stairs. Rebecca forecasts it will be the smash hit of the spring saying, “Relentless and full of surprises, it’s the story of a woman on the run from her old life. Harlan Coben meets, well, Lisa Lutz!”

Send in the Clones

Poised to follow in the footsteps of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and to become a book group favorite is Jessica Chiarella’s And Again (S&S/Touchstone, January). Cynthia Baskin, discerning reader and devoted GalleyChat participant, echoes my love for this book saying, “Who wouldn’t want a second chance at life with no more terminal illness, no more looming death? Through cloning, four ‘lucky’ people have the opportunity to experience this. The novel’s fascinating concept plays itself out in unexpected ways.”

Tense Suspense

9781101885864_ade43This month’s psychological suspense selection is brought to you by Jane Jorgenson of Madison (WI) Public Library who found the main protagonist of Holly Seddon’s Try Not to Breathe (PRH/Ballantine, February) very appealing. She went on to say “Freelance reporter Alex Dale is doing research on long-term, comatose patients when she comes across Amy Stevenson. Fifteen years ago Amy went missing and was found three days later near death. Alex, who is in denial about her own mess of a life, strives to piece together what went wrong for Amy.”

Historical Characters

9780345528698_a23c9While book groups have discovered Melanie Benjamin, she has always flown a little under the radar but watch for Swans of Fifth Avenue (PRH/Delacorte, January) to be her break out book. Jennifer Winberry from Hunterdon County Library (NJ) said, “This delightfully dishy novel perfectly captures the glamour and glitz of mid-20th century New York, breathing life into such characters as Truman Capote and William and Babe Paley making them and their friends seem alive.”

9781605989013_58aacVicki Nesting loved Dana Chamblee Carpenter’s Bohemian Gospel (Norton/Pegasus, November) so much she volunteered to write the description for this column: “13th century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a young woman, especially one like Mouse, an orphan with a sharp mind and mysterious powers. This is an absorbing historical novel with the pacing of a thriller and it kept me up late nights as I raced through it to see what would happen to Mouse. If you like character-driven historical fiction, don’t miss this one.”

9780385540025_7ab3aTold from the viewpoint of the only woman to fly on a zeppelin, the tragedy of the Hindenburg disaster is the focus of Ariel Lawhon’s intriguing Flight of Dreams (PRH/Randon Hpuse, February). Beth Mills (New Rochelle Public Library) reported the passengers and crew are brought to vivid life and “…readers will be anxiously turning pages to see who lives and who dies. The historical background is impeccably done, from the looming menace of the Nazi rise to power to the fascinating description of the elegance of the doomed airship.”

Memoir of the Month

9780738218311_229aaIn Raising the Barre: Big Dreams, False Starts, and My Midlife Quest to Dance the Nutcracker (Perseus/De Capo, November), Lauren Kessler proved it’s never too late to follow your dreams. She was a devotee of the Nutcracker so despite a busy schedule as a mother, university professor, and writer, Kessler devoted herself to getting in shape to dance in her city’s yearly ballet production. This is a perfect book for those of us in our midlife years yearning to realize our dreams of roller derby participation or of learning to execute a double Axel in figure skating.

Please join us next week on November 3 for another lively and fast-paced chat.

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