It’s the height of the Great Flu and the tail end of WWI, and seasoned nurse Julia Power finds herself in charge of her Dublin maternity ward, where each patient has the Flu. Over the course of three fraught days, she helps three women deliver with the help of new volunteer Bridie and revolutionary Dr. Lynn, two women destined to change her entire life. It’s always a big deal when Donoghue publishes a new book, and this is no exception. It’s a beautiful, often challenging slice of life in pandemic times that sometimes uncomfortably mirrors what we’re experiencing today.

Content warning: this novel contains child loss and detailed descriptions of medical procedures.

 Try it if you liked: My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira.

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Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for space ship captain Nia, who lives for nothing more than her next paycheck. When a young boy unexpectedly enters her life, she finds new purpose in raising him and hiding his existence from the company that stands to make a fortune by exploiting a genetic anomaly that only he has. This is a beautifully written, accessible novel for readers who’d like to try science fiction but aren’t sure where to start.

Try it if you liked: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel or Light From Other Stars by Erika Swyler.

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Morgan Christopher has a bright future in the art world when she takes the fall for her boyfriend after a drunk driving accident. After a year in prison, she’s approached by a lawyer with a proposition. If Morgan will restore a mural for an upcoming exhibition, he will petition for her early release. Now free, Morgan throws herself into researching and beginning to restore the bizarre WPA mural that artist Anna Dale had created for a North Carolina post office. Once a promising artist herself, Anna disappeared in 1940 before the mural could be completed. What happened to her, and how did the mural end up with one of her acquaintances? This is a compelling, twisty page-turner of a novel that tackles some truly thorny topics.

Try it if you liked: The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith, The Art Forger by BA Shapiro, or The Muse by Jessie Burton.

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Meg Mackworth has found a niche for herself in New York City designing personalized, hand lettered journals and planners for the elite. When she inks a hidden word into a wedding invitation for a clearly mismatched couple, her actions have far reaching consequences that put her on a collision course with the groom to be. This is a funny, sweet, and often thoughtful romance for readers that like complex characters that change and grow.

Try it if you liked: If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane, The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa, or Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey.

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Carly Kirk has always been fascinated by the story of her missing Aunt Viv. In 1982, Viv set out for New York City to become an actress, stopping to work along the way. She was last seen at her job at the Sun Down Motel in the tiny town of Fell, New York. Now it’s 2017 and Carly, at loose ends, decides to start looking into the disappearance. She travels upstate to the Sun Down and lands a job at the motel just as her aunt did, and quickly begins to realize that more is amiss than just one missing woman. St. James is well known for her creepy, unputdownable novels, and this book is no exception. 

Try it if you liked: The Shining by Stephen King, The Twisted Ones by T Kingfisher, or The Return by Rachel Harrison.

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Aging artist Julian Jessop often wonders what the world would be like if everyone didn’t always feel the need to pretend to be someone that they weren’t. One day, he decides to find out: he writes about his life in a small green notebook and leaves it in a local café for its owner Monica to find. Monica reads Julian’s story and then writes about her own life and how lonely she is. She leaves the book at the wine bar across the street for someone else to find and write in. With this plot device, we meet six different characters who are brought together into a kind of found family. This is a funny, heartwarming novel for readers who could use a pick me up, as well as a solid book club selection.

Try it if you liked: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, or A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

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True crime buffs will find lots to like in this debut biography of Frances Glessner Lee, the mother of modern forensics. Born in Chicago in the 1870s, Lee was a wealthy socialite when she began to develop an interest in crime. When she learned that detectives received no real training in working with crime scenes and routinely destroyed evidence, she was inspired to begin her life’s work, the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. This series of dollhouses appears normal until you spot the small details; overturned chairs, blood stained carpets, and tiny bodies that wore clothing that she knit on sewing pins. Because of this work, detectives for the first time had a chance to study and practice their craft, and procedures were finally developed to standardize the way that scenes were investigated. Goldfarb is the current curator of the Nutshell Studies, and he’s written a fascinating, hard to put down portrait of an early feminist and formidable thinker.

Try it if you liked: Netflix’s Mindhunter, Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, or Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann.

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This is the highly anticipated second novel in the Children of Orisha duology (after Children of Blood and Bone), an award winning young adult fantasy series. Once, the world of Orisha had magic running through it, and the maji who wielded this power were treated with respect and care. When the magic suddenly disappeared and a new monarch took power, the maji were systematically punished and driven underground. At the beginning of Children of Blood and Bone, Zelie Adebola happens upon an object that could change the course of the world (as seems to often be the case in YA fantasy). This is a fabulous series, but one that DOES need to be read in order.

Try it if you liked: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova, or The Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao.

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Longtime Preston & Child readers will be delighted to see some old favorite characters in this series launch. Nora Kelly (previously seen in The Cabinet of Curiosities and other Pendergast novels) is now a curator at the Santa Fe Institute of Archaeology. When historian Clive Benton comes to her with a long lost diary pointing to the location of the notorious Lost Camp of the Donner party, she can’t resist the temptation to investigate. Once at the site, though, a series of present day murders brings in rookie agent Corrie Swanson (Still Life with Crows). Like most of the Pendergast novels it's all very implausible and rather bloody, but also great fun. This is the perfect pick for a hard to put down holiday weekend read.

 

Try it if you liked: The Pendergast novels, or anything by Steve Berry, Raymond Khoury, or Robert Masello.

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Two boys are sentenced to reform school in the deep south in the 1960s. With racism and abuse rampant throughout the school, Elwoods’ nonviolent ideals sharply-and disastrously-conflict with the pragmatism of his friend Turner. Whitehead is the author of the runaway hit The Underground Railroad, and his new book is not to be missed. Click here to place your hold

Try it if you liked: Delicious Foods by James Hannaham (which is fabulous!), The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, or anything by Toni Morrison.

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All across the country, people are waking up to different lives than those they had when they went to sleep. Is it a disease? A trick of reality? Crouch has written several books, but didn’t really make it to the big time until Dark Matter. His new book is a tricky mix of science fiction and thriller that’s almost certain to be one of the biggest books of the summer. Try it if you liked: The Punch Escrow by Tal M Klein, Sleeping Giants by Sylvian Neuvel, or Artemis by Andy Weir.

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Brilliant neurosurgeon Dr Trish Raje might be considered brainy and accomplished to most people, but in her traditional Indian family, she still has much to prove. When she meets chef DJ, she has to figure out how-and if-to incorporate him into her life. Dev writes books that are sweet and funny with plots and themes that often feel much more substantial than lots of other romances. Click here to place your hold.

Try it if you liked: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang, or The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger.

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