Welcome back to the Fiction Reboot! Today is the Friday Fiction Feature, rather like a #ff for new releases, debut novels and just plain great reads. Since it’s summertime (and, in the US, a heatwave), I have also been on the lookout for good titles to bring to the beach. If you have authors you would like to recommend (or, if you are an author anticipating a new release) please contact me at bschillace. Reader participation is always welcome!
SHADOW OF NIGHT by Deborah Harkness is the second book in her All Souls Trilogy. The first book, A Discovery of Witches, was one of Bestsellers Top 10 Books of 2011, and I have been hearing quite a bustle about it in the twitterverse. You can follow Deb @DebHarkness. This new book plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies and subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night. The mission is to locate a witch to tutor Diana and to find traces of Ashmole 782, but as the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them they embark on a very different journey, one that takes them into heart of the 1,500 year old vampire’s shadowed history and secrets. For Matthew Clairmont, time travel is no simple matter; nor is Diana’s search for the key to understanding her legacy.
Yet to release (but coming soon), Chris Bohjalian returns with a novel that takes place in Syria in 1915 and present-day New York. It is both a love story in the aftermath of the Armenian genocide, and a story of one woman’s search into her family’s past. In his fifteenth book, THE SANDCASTLE GIRLS, he brings us on a very different kind of journey. When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Syria, the First World War is spreading across Europe, and she has volunteered on behalf of the Boston-based Friends of Armenia to deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian genocide. There, Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. When Armen leaves Aleppo to join the British Army in Egypt, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, and comes to realize that he has fallen in love with the wealthy, young American woman who is so different from the wife he lost. Flash forward to the present, where we meet Laura Petrosian, a novelist living in suburban New York. Although her grandparents’ ornate Pelham home was affectionately nicknamed the “Ottoman Annex,” Laura has never really given her Armenian heritage much thought. But when an old friend calls, claiming to have seen a newspaper photo of Laura’s grandmother promoting an exhibit at a Boston museum, Laura embarks on a journey back through her family’s history that reveals love, loss—and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.
The second in Janet Evanovich’s Lizzy and Diesel series, WICKED BUSINESS continued to turn Lizzy Tucker’s once normal life as a pastry chef in Salem, Massachusetts, trns upside down as she battles both sinister forces and an inconvenient attraction to her unnaturally talented but off-limits partner, Diesel. When Harvard University English professor and dyed-in-the-wool romantic Gilbert Reedy is mysteriously murdered and thrown off his fourth-floor balcony, Lizzy and Diesel take up his twenty-year quest for the Luxuria Stone, an ancient relic believed by some to be infused with the power of lust. Following clues contained in a cryptic nineteenth-century book of sonnets, Lizzy and Diesel tear through Boston catacombs, government buildings, and multimillion-dollar residences. On their way they’ll leave behind a trail of robbed graves, public disturbances, and general mayhem. On July’s NYT best-seller list!
Another not-yet-released but coming soon book is Lucienne Diver’s CRAZY IN THE BLOOD. Latter-Day Olympians, Book 2 promises to be as exciting as the first–I have been watching the steady boil of enthusiasm on twitter and note that you can now pre-order the book on Amazon. A short snippet of good things to come: Tori Karacis’s family line may trace back to a drunken liaison between the god Pan and one of the immortal gorgons. Or…maybe it’s just coincidence that her glance can, literally, stop men in their tracks. But just a few weeks after Tori prevented some rogue gods from blowing L.A. into the ocean, more dead bodies are turning up near the leftover crater. Bodies that have been shredded by something too big to be…shall we say, of this world? Worse, Uncle Christos has disappeared after stumbling onto a deadly cult masquerading as the Back to Earth movement.
Published in 1988 but still great (and still a top seller and highly recommended by readers), Paulo Coelho’s THE ALCHEMIST has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom points Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transformation power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts