Top LibraryReads March Pick:

9780812993103_f08deThe #1 pick on the just-released LibraryReads list for March is The Summer Before the War, Helen Simonson (PRH/Random House; Random House Audio; BOT). This is only Simonson’s second novel; her first was the bestselling Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.

Paulette Brooks of Elm Grove Public Library, Elm Grove, WI says the following in her annotation:

“Fans of Simonson’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand have reason to rejoice. She has created another engaging novel full of winsome characters, this time set during the summer before the outbreak of World War I. Follow the story of headstrong, independent Beatrice Nash and kind but stuffy surgeon-in-training Hugh Grange along with his formidable Aunt Agatha. Make a cup of tea and prepare to savor every page!”

9780399169496_dec56Another fan-favorite author, Lyndsay Faye, makes the list with Jane Steele (PRH/Putnam; BOT), an historical crime novel using Charlotte Brontë’s
Jane Eyre as a launching pad.

Abbey Stroop of Herrick District Library, Holland,
MI describes it:

Jane Steele is a great read for lovers of Victorian literature who especially love their characters to have a lot of pluck! Jane Steele is the adventurous, irreverent, foul-mouthed broad that I so often loved about Jane Eyre, but in more wily circumstances. Remember that fabulous scene in Jane Eyre when she stands up to her aunt for the first time, and how you wanted to stand up from your comfy reading chair and cheer for her? Imagine an entire book just of those sorts of scenes. Absolutely fabulous fun!”

9781451686630_0a0baLisa Lutz, who grabbed readers with her Spellman Files books takes a turn to thrillers, in The Passenger (Simon & Schuster).

Beth DeGeer of Bartlesville Public Library, Bartlesville, OK writes:

“This is a compulsively readable story of a young woman who has to keep switching identities and stay on the run. Is she a reliable narrator or not? What was the original event that sent her on the run? There is a lot of action and suspense as she tries to survive and evade the law while trying to keep her moral center intact. Unlike Lutz’s Spellman books, this reads more like a Charles Portis road novel, though considerably more serious and dangerous. Highly recommended.”

9781616205027_7fcfeNovelist Lee Smith takes a turn to nonfiction in
her memoir Dimestore: A Writer’s Life (Workman/Algonquin Books).

Lois Gross, Hoboken Public Library, Hoboken, NJ writes:

“Evenly divided between a book about Smith’s process and her life, first as a Southern mountain child and, later, as the parent of a schizophrenic child, this book is interesting and compelling. Despite being surrounded by loving family and being blessed with an active imagination, Lee copes with a mentally ill mother. Later, her son’s mental illness and early death brings her to the breaking point but she is saved by her writing. This is a read-alike for Karr’s The Liars Club. It desperately needs a cinematic translation for it’s elegant and evocative writing.”

Two debuts make the list, The Nest, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Harper/Ecco; HarperAudio) and The Madwoman Upstairs, Catherine Lowell (S&S/Touchstone; Blackstone Audio).

9780062414212_2b722 Mary Kinser of Whatcom County Library System, Bellingham, WA says the following about Sweeney’s debut, which is also a top 15 Most Anticipated title:

“If you think your family is dysfunctional, move over, because here come the Plumbs. Suddenly faced with the dismantling of the nest egg they’ve counted on to solve their financial woes, the four Plumb siblings have to grow up, and fast. But though they all do some terrible things in the name of ambition, there’s something lovable about the Plumbs. You can’t fail to be moved by the beating heart of this novel, which seems to say that family, for good or ill, unites us all.”

9781501124211_01013Kristen McCallum, Algonquin Area Public Library, Algonquin, IL offers this recommendation for The Madwoman Upstairs, another riff on Jane Eyre:

“Meet Samantha Whipple, a descendant of the Bronte family, who arrives at Oxford to study literature, as her father did before her. She receives a copy of Jane Eyre – a volume that she thought was destroyed in the fire that took her father’s life. When a second Bronte novel belonging to her father turns up, she is convinced he has staged an elaborate treasure hunt for her promised inheritance. Enlisting the help of her sexy, young professor, Samantha sets out on a quest to find buried treasure and learns the value of friendship and courage along the way.”

The full list of suggestions is available beginning today.

Our GalleyChatters were also fans of many of these books (see here, here, and here).

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