Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Stewart’s novel tells the story of the Kopp Sisters and the one moment that changes the course of their lives. A collision between the sister’s wagon and a dangerous silk factory owner’s automobile sets in motion a year of adventure. The factory owner, Mr. Kaufman, refuses to assist, apologize, or compensate the sisters for the accident, and after Constance Kopp confronts him he begins a harassment that lasts for months. With the help of the local sheriff, the sisters arm themselves and prepare to defend their property, earning a headline in the papers: Girl Waits with Gun. Based on true events, the story of the Kopp Sisters is great fun, with an ever-present danger that adds an unexpected grit that readers will love.
The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza (Doubleday) Reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada, The Knockoff tells the story of Imogen, a fashion prodigy who isn’t sure how to function at her magazine when the focus shifts from print to social media and hackathons. Can she rise to the occasion and save not only her own job but also the magazine?
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
(St. Martin’s Press) Allen’s captivating tale about how what we lose is as much a part of us as what we find comes alive through her vivid imagery and beautiful writing. Lost Lake hums with hope and satisfies in that deep down good way.
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (Scout Press) Clegg’s stunning, beautiful debut novel opens on a tragedy: a house fire has killed a young bride-to-be, her fiancé, and many of her family. Did You Ever Have a Family tracks the now permanently interconnected lives of those left behind after the fire, exploring the many ways we carry guilt, regret and loneliness within ourselves and the power of hope in the most hopeless of times.
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (Ballantine) Beryl Markham grew up in colonial Kenya, a place of questionable morals and fascinating people. Although she was too young and too poor to be at the core of the Happy Valley set, she was old enough to know the principals (Karen Blixen, Denys Finch Hatten, Berkeley Cole, Lord Delamare) and to be a part of their world. McLain’s Circling the Sun perfectly captures the personalities of the European expats, the complexities of colonial culture, and the details of the African landscape. Told from Markham’s perspective, the novel resembles a well-crafted memoir, taking readers on a roller-coaster adventure of incredible successes and deep sorrows. Despite an unprecedented string of professional achievements, Markham was nearly lost to history; now, thanks to McLain’s riveting account, the world will once again be talking about this intriguing, strong woman.