Bilan des sorties VO lues • Janvier à Juin 2021

Depuis un peu plus d’un an, je propose un tour d’horizon des sorties VO (en anglais) qui me tentent énormément. J’en lis un certain nombre, mais sans toujours les chroniquer sur le blog. Le mois de Juin vient de toucher à sa fin et, avec lui, la moitié de l’année. L’occasion parfaite pour un petit bilan mi-parcours des parutions déjà lues et celles que j’aimerai encore découvrir.

En cliquant sur les mois, vous accédez à l’article sur les sorties VO correspondant.

Janvier

Livres lus

The House on Vesper Sands – Padraic O’Donnell

On the case is Inspector Cutter, a detective as sharp and committed to his work as he is wryly hilarious. Gideon Bliss, a Cambridge dropout in love with one of the missing girls, stumbles into a role as Cutter’s sidekick. And clever young journalist Octavia Hillingdon sees the case as a chance to tell a story that matters—despite her employer’s preference that she stick to a women’s society column. As Inspector Cutter peels back the mystery layer by layer, he leads them all, at last, to the secrets that lie hidden at the house on Vesper Sands.

J’avais hâte de pouvoir le lire, car il avait de bons arguments : un policier historique, la période victorienne, un meurtre qui semble mettre en oeuvre des forces occultes… Mais au bout d’un gros tiers, l’intrigue n’a toujours pas démarré et le livre commence à devenir trop lent et mon attention descendait en flèche. Même en dépassant la centaine de pages, je n’avais pas le sentiment que l’intrigue avait réellement commencé alors que quasiment un tiers était lu.

The Heiress, The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh – Molly Greeley

As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.

Le livre prend place dans l’univers de Jane Austen et notamment Pride & Prejudice, en s’intéressant à la cousine de Fitzwilliam Darcy, Anne de Bourgh. Pas un coup de coeur car, malheureusement, le roman souffre de trop nombreuses longueurs. Cependant, Anne est un personnage attachant à suivre, surtout quand elle sort de son cocon. L’aspect historique est également bien développé.

Lore – Alexandra Bracken

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

Lore est un roman d’action qui s’inspire de la mythologie grecque. Ce n’est pas totalement un coup de coeur, mais j’ai vraiment passé un bon moment. Il y a une bonne dose d’actions, de rebondissements… L’idée de départ est originale et bien développée.

Don’t tell a soul – Kirsten Miller

All Bram wanted was to disappear—from her old life, her family’s past, and from the scandal that continues to haunt her. The only place left to go is Louth, the tiny town on the Hudson River where her uncle, James, has been renovating an old mansion. But James is haunted by his own ghosts. Months earlier, his beloved wife died in a fire that people say was set by her daughter. The tragedy left James a shell of the man Bram knew—and destroyed half the house he’d so lovingly restored.

The manor is creepy, and so are the locals. The people of Louth don’t want outsiders like Bram in their town, and with each passing day she’s discovering that the rumors they spread are just as disturbing as the secrets they hide. Most frightening of all are the legends they tell about the Dead Girls. Girls whose lives were cut short in the very house Bram now calls home. The terrifying reality is that the Dead Girls may have never left the manor. And if Bram looks too hard into the town’s haunted past, she might not either.

En un seul mot… Creepy. L’histoire est dérangeante à souhaite et il y a quelques moments qui font bien frissonner. Il m’est arrivé à plusieurs reprises de devoir le mettre de côté, quand j’étais toute seule en soirée. L’auteur maîtrise parfaitement le suspens et à chaque page tournée, je voulais connaître la vérité, car il y avait quelques bizarreries qui interviennent durant la lecture… J’ai adoré l’évolution de l’intrigue et le livre est un coup de coeur.

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

Our darkest night de Jennifer Robson ; The Divines d’Ellie Eaton ; The last garden in England de Julia Kelly ; Faye, faraway d’Helen Fisher ; The Historians de Cecilia Eckbäck ; In the garden of spite de Camilla Bruce ; The Children’s train de Viola Ardone.

Février

Livres lus

The Paris Dressmaker – Kristy Cambron

Paris, 1939. Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila’s life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners of the city, the faithful pledge to resist. Lila is drawn to La Resistance and is soon using her skills as a dressmaker to infiltrate the Nazi elite. She takes their measurements and designs masterpieces, all while collecting secrets in the glamorous Hôtel Ritz—the heart of the Nazis’ Parisian headquarters. But when dashing René Touliard suddenly reenters her world, Lila finds her heart tangled between determination to help save his Jewish family and bolstering the fight for liberation.

Paris, 1943. Sandrine Paquet’s job is to catalog the priceless works of art bound for the Führer’s Berlin, masterpieces stolen from prominent Jewish families. But behind closed doors, she secretly forages for information from the underground resistance. Beneath her compliant façade lies a woman bent on uncovering the fate of her missing husband . . . but at what cost? As Hitler’s regime crumbles, Sandrine is drawn in deeper when she uncrates an exquisite blush Chanel gown concealing a cryptic message that may reveal the fate of a dressmaker who vanished from within the fashion elite.

Je ressors extrêmement déçue par ce roman. En soi, il avait de quoi me plaire : la mode et plus particulièrement la Maison Chanel, Paris sous l’Occupation, la Résistance et le destin de deux femmes… Malheureusement, l’auteur alterne non seulement les deux points de vue, et deux époques différentes : le début de la guerre et 1944. Cela fait quatre trames différentes, et elles ne sont pas d’égal intérêt. J’ai eu du mal à m’attacher à Simone et Lila.

The Shadow War – Lindsay Smith

World War II is raging, and five teens are looking to make a mark. Daniel and Rebeka seek revenge against the Nazis who slaughtered their family; Simone is determined to fight back against the oppressors who ruined her life and corrupted her girlfriend; Phillip aims to prove that he’s better than his worst mistakes; and Liam is searching for a way to control the portal to the shadow world he’s uncovered, and the monsters that live within it–before the Nazi regime can do the same. When the five meet, and begrudgingly team up, in the forests of Germany, none of them knows what their future might hold.

As they race against time, war, and enemies from both this world and another, Liam, Daniel, Rebeka, Phillip, and Simone know that all they can count on is their own determination and will to survive. With their world turned upside down, and the shadow realm looming ominously large–and threateningly close–the course of history and the very fate of humanity rest in their hands. Still, the most important question remains: Will they be able to save it?

Il y a de bonnes idées : la Seconde Guerre mondiale, des forces occultes et un monde parallèle, une mission impossible… L’intrigue possède beaucoup trop de personnages et de points de vues différents pour que la lecture soit agréable. Je m’y perdais. Par ailleurs, les personnages sont plus des archétypes que réellement travaillés et nuancés. L’histoire traine en longueur alors que je m’attendais à plus d’action.

The Witch’s Heart – Genevieve Gornichec

Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

J’adore les réécritures, que ce soit de contes ou de la mythologique. Genevieve Gornichec s’inspire d’une des épouses de Loki, Angrboda la sorcière. Ce type d’ouvrages se veut dans une lignée féministe, mais il rate quelque peu son effet. J’en ai lu la moitié avant d’abandonner. Le livre a été d’un tel ennui que je suis même étonnée d’avoir eu la patience de tenir jusque là.

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

While Paris slept de Ruth Druart ; The house upstairs de Julia Fine ; The invisible woman d’Erika Robuck ; A history of what come next de Sylvain Neuvel ; All Girls d’Emily Layden ; The kitchen front de Jennifer Ryan.

Mars

Livres lus

After Alice felll – Kim Taylor Blakemore

New Hampshire, 1865. Marion Abbott is summoned to Brawders House asylum to collect the body of her sister, Alice. She’d been found dead after falling four stories from a steep-pitched roof. Officially: an accident. Confidentially: suicide. But Marion believes a third option: murder.

Returning to her family home to stay with her brother and his second wife, the recently widowed Marion is expected to quiet her feelings of guilt and grief—to let go of the dead and embrace the living. But that’s not easy in this house full of haunting memories. Just when the search for the truth seems hopeless, a stranger approaches Marion with chilling words: I saw her fall.

Now Marion is more determined than ever to find out what happened that night at Brawders, and why. With no one she can trust, Marion may risk her own life to uncover the secrets buried with Alice in the family plot. 

Un roman rempli de secrets de famille avec une atmosphère loure. Malgré quelques lenteurs qui peuvent parfois ponctuer le livre, les pages se tournent facilement, car l’envie de savoir ce qui est arrivé à Alice est plus forte, tout comme celle de découvrir le ou les secrets du frère de Marion et de son épouse. Pas un coup de coeur, mais une bonne lecture.

The Women of Château Lafayette – Stephanie Dray

A founding mother…
1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband’s political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must choose to renounce the complicated man she loves, or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.

A daring visionary…
1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Astor Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing–not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France and delivering war-relief over dangerous seas, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what’s right.

A reluctant resistor…
1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan’s self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become. 

Lafayette revient à la mode après la sortie de la comédie musicale Hamilton. Stephanie Dray en fait l’élément central de son nouveau roman en explorant le destin de trois femmes durant la Révolution française, la Première et la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Même si les époques sont totalement différentes pour ne pas être confondues, certaines sont plus intéressantes que d’autres. Néanmoins, cela reste un livre que j’ai abandonné.

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

Under the light of the Italian moon de Jennifer Anton ; Vera de Carol Edgarian ; The lost village de Camilla Sten ; The Rose Code de Kate Quinn ; The lost apothecary de Sarah Penner.

Avril

Livres lus

Sistersong – Lucy Holland

535 AD. In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, King Cador’s children inherit a fragmented land abandoned by the Romans.

Riva, scarred in a terrible fire, fears she will never heal.
Keyne battles to be seen as the king’s son, when born a daughter.
And Sinne, the spoiled youngest girl, yearns for romance.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold – a last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. But change comes on the day ash falls from the sky, bringing Myrddhin, meddler and magician, and Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear the siblings apart. Riva, Keyne and Sinne must take fate into their own hands, or risk being tangled in a story they could never have imagined; one of treachery, love and ultimately, murder. It’s a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.

Le résumé me faisait penser à une pièce de Shakespeare : trois soeurs aux destins différentes et dramatiques. J’ai adoré suivre l’histoire de ces soeurs, d’apprendre à les connaître, leurs secrets, leurs rêves et leurs espoirs. Elles sont différentes et je ne saurai dire laquelle a été ma préférée. Elles m’ont plu pour des raisons diverses. J’ai adoré à la fois le contexte historique (la Grande-Bretagne après la chute de l’Empire romain) et fantastique (la présence de magie et de Merlin). Le coup de coeur n’était pas loin, mais c’est un très bon roman que je ne regrette pas d’avoir découvert.

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

Ariadne de Jennifer Saint ; Near the bone de Christina Henry ; Ophelia de Norman Bacal ; The Mary Shelley Club de Goldy Moldavsky ; The last bookshop of London de Madeline Martin ; The Dictionnary of lost words de Pip Williams.

Mai

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

The Radio Operator d’Ulla Lenze ; Madam de Phoebe Wynne ; The lights of Prague de Nicole Jarvis.

Juin

Ceux que j’aimerais lire

The Wolf and the Woodsman d’Ava Reid ; Daughter of Sparta de Claire M. Andrews ; The nature of the witches de Rachel Griffin ; The Maidens d’Alex Michaelides ; For the Wolf d’Hannah F. Whitten.

Top 5 Wednesday #2 • Family Dynamics

Le thème de cette semaine m’inspire énormément. Le 15 mai a eu lieu la journée mondiale de la famille, d’où ce sujet pour ce mercredi. Il est pris dans un sens très large, car il est autant question des liens du sang que de la famille que l’on se crée. J’ai essayé, dans la mesure du possible, de piocher dans mes récentes lectures. La semaine dernière, sur le thème des « lieux communs », j’écrivais que j’aimais beaucoup les sagas familiales… Cet article est un peu la continuité de ce dernier.

Thème : Family dynamics

Among the leaving and the dead d’Inara Verzemnieks

Inara Verzemnieks was raised by her Latvian grandparents in Washington State, among expatriates who scattered smuggled Latvian sand over coffins, the children singing folk songs about a land none of them had visited. Her grandmother Livija’s stories vividly recreated the home she fled during the Second World War, when she was separated from her sister, Ausma, whom she wouldn’t see again for more than fifty years.

Journeying back to their remote village, Inara comes to know Ausma and her trauma as an exile to Siberia under Stalin, while reconstructing Livija’s survival through her years as a refugee. In uniting their stories, Inara honors both sisters in a haunting and luminous account of loss, survival, resilience, and love.

Cet ouvrage est un plus un essai autour de la famille, l’importance de cette dernière dans la construction d’un individu et de son histoire. L’auteur écrit à propos de sa grand-mère et de la soeur de cette dernière, de sa volonté de comprendre ses racines, leurs histoires. Il est dommage que parfois l’écriture poétique et lyrique de l’auteur prend trop le pas sur le sujet abordé, apportant des longueurs.

L’Assommoir d’Émile Zola

Qu’est-ce qui nous fascine dans la vie « simple et tranquille » de Gervaise Macquart ? Pourquoi le destin de cette petite blanchisseuse montée de Provence à Paris nous touche-t-il tant aujourd’hui encore? Que nous disent les exclus du quartier de la Goutte-d’Or version Second Empire? L’existence douloureuse de Gervaise est avant tout une passion où s’expriment une intense volonté de vivre, une générosité sans faille, un sens aigu de l’intimité comme de la fête. Et tant pis si, la fatalité aidant, divers « assommoirs » – un accident de travail, l’alcool, les « autres », la faim – ont finalement raison d’elle et des siens. Gervaise aura parcouru une glorieuse trajectoire dans sa déchéance même. Relisons L’Assommoir, cette « passion de Gervaise », cet étonnant chef-d’oeuvre, avec des yeux neufs.

Comment ne pas parler de dynamiques familiales sans évoquer Zola ? Sa série Les Rougon-Macquart rentre pleinement dans cette catégorique. Elle est en l’exemple même, car Zola étudie à travers une famille les prédispositions à l’alcoolisme, par exemple, ou à la folie… J’en suis au septième tome, L’Assommoir et jusqu’à présent, rares sont les tomes qui m’ont déçue.

After Alice fell de Kim Taylor Blackemore

New Hampshire, 1865. Marion Abbott is summoned to Brawders House asylum to collect the body of her sister, Alice. She’d been found dead after falling four stories from a steep-pitched roof. Officially: an accident. Confidentially: suicide. But Marion believes a third option: murder.

Returning to her family home to stay with her brother and his second wife, the recently widowed Marion is expected to quiet her feelings of guilt and grief—to let go of the dead and embrace the living. But that’s not easy in this house full of haunting memories.

Just when the search for the truth seems hopeless, a stranger approaches Marion with chilling words: I saw her fall.

Now Marion is more determined than ever to find out what happened that night at Brawders, and why. With no one she can trust, Marion may risk her own life to uncover the secrets buried with Alice in the family plot.

Sorti cette année, ce roman serait presque un huis clos au sein d’une famille. En effet, la mort de la plus jeune soeur, Alice, rend les relations tendues entre Marion et son frère et sa belle-soeur. Il n’y a pas que la mort de la plus jeune des soeurs qui empoisonne l’atmosphère, mais bien d’autres sombres secrets. C’est un roman que j’ai beaucoup aimé.

Quand Hitler s’empara du lapin rose de Judith Kerr

Imaginez que le climat se détériore dans votre pays, au point que certains citoyens soient menacés dans leur existence. Imaginez surtout que votre père se trouve être l’un de ces citoyens et qu’il soit obligé d’abandonner tout et de partir sur-le-champ, pour éviter la prison et même la mort. C’est l’histoire d’Anna dans l’Allemagne nazie d’Adolf Hitler. Elle a neuf ans et ne s’occupe guère que de crayons de couleur, de visites au zoo avec son « oncle » Julius et de glissades dans la neige. Brutalement les choses changent. Son père disparaît sans prévenir. Puis, elle-même et le reste de sa famille s’expatrient pour le rejoindre à l’étranger. Départ de Berlin qui ressemble à une fuite. Alors commence la vie dure – mais non sans surprises – de réfugiés. D’abord la Suisse, près de Zurich. Puis Paris. Enfin Londres. Odyssée pleine de fatigues et d’angoisses mais aussi de pittoresque et d’imprévu – et toujours drôles – d’Anna et de son frère Max affrontant l’inconnu et contraints de vaincre toutes sortes de difficultés – dont la première et non la moindre: celle des langues étrangères! Ce récit autobiographique de Judith Kerr nous enchante par l’humour qui s’en dégage, et nous touche par cette particulière vibration de ton propre aux souvenirs de famille, quand il apparaît que la famille fut une de celles où l’on s’aime…

J’ai déjà eu l’occasion d’évoquer ce roman et son adaptation cinématographique sur le blog. [lien] C’est une très belle histoire d’une famille qui reste unie malgré les épreuves et qui fait preuve d’une grande résilience. Il y a un beau message dans ce roman, où la famille, le fait de rester ensemble malgré les difficultés sont les choses les plus importantes.

Guerre & Paix de Léon Tolstoï

1805 à Moscou, en ces temps de paix fragile, les Bolkonsky, les Rostov et les Bézoukhov constituent les personnages principaux d’une chronique familiale. Une fresque sociale où l’aristocratie, de Moscou à Saint-Pétersbourg, entre grandeur et misérabilisme, se prend au jeu de l’ambition sociale, des mesquineries, des premiers émois.

1812, la guerre éclate et peu à peu les personnages imaginaires évoluent au sein même des événements historiques. Le conte social, dépassant les ressorts de l’intrigue psychologique, prend une dimension d’épopée historique et se change en récit d’une époque. La “Guerre” selon Tolstoï, c’est celle menée contre Napoléon par l’armée d’Alexandre, c’est la bataille d’Austerlitz, l’invasion de la Russie, l’incendie de Moscou, puis la retraite des armées napoléoniennes.

Entre les deux romans de sa fresque, le portrait d’une classe sociale et le récit historique, Tolstoï tend une passerelle, livrant une réflexion philosophique sur le décalage de la volonté humaine aliénée à l’inéluctable marche de l’Histoire ou lorsque le destin façonne les hommes malgré eux.

Un autre auteur spécialisé dans les chroniques familiales, Léon Tolstoï. Dans ce récit, il s’intéresse à plusieurs familles de l’aristocratie russe. Il montre les relations au sein d’une même famille et celles qu’elles entretiennent entre elles. C’est une très bonne lecture que je recommande. Mon avis est disponible sur le blog. [lien]

Sorties VO • Mars 2021

The Ladies of the Secret Circus • Constance Sayers • RedHooks • 23 mars • 469 pages

Paris, 1925: To enter the Secret Circus is to enter a world of wonder-a world where women tame magnificent beasts, carousels take you back in time, and trapeze artists float across the sky. But each daring feat has a cost. Bound to her family’s strange and magical circus, it’s the only world Cecile Cabot knows-until she meets a charismatic young painter and embarks on a passionate love affair that could cost her everything.

Virginia, 2005: Lara Barnes is on top of the world-until her fiancé disappears on their wedding day. Desperate, her search for answers unexpectedly leads to her great-grandmother’s journals and sweeps her into the story of a dark circus and a generational curse that has been claiming payment from the women in her family for generations.

In the Quick • Kate Hope Day • Random House • 2 mars • 272 pages

June is a brilliant but difficult girl with a gift for mechanical invention, who leaves home to begin a grueling astronaut training program. Six years later, she has gained a coveted post as an engineer on a space station, but is haunted by the mystery of Inquiry, a revolutionary spacecraft powered by her beloved late uncle’s fuel cells. The spacecraft went missing when June was twelve years old, and while the rest of the world has forgotten them, June alone has evidence that makes her believe the crew is still alive.

She seeks out James, her uncle’s former protégée, also brilliant, also difficult, who has been trying to discover why Inquiry’s fuel cells failed. James and June forge an intense intellectual bond that becomes an electric attraction. But the love that develops between them as they work to solve the fuel cell’s fatal flaw threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to create–and any chance of bringing the Inquiry crew home alive.

Under the light of the Italian Moon • Jennifer Anton • Amsterdam Publishers • 8 mars • 396 pages

Fonzaso Italy, between two wars

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.

When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.

As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…

The phone booth at the edge of the world • Laura Imai Messina • The Overlook Press • 9 mars 416 pages

When Yui loses both her mother and her daughter in the tsunami, she begins to mark the passage of time from that date onward: Everything is relative to March 11, 2011, the day the tsunami tore Japan apart, and when grief took hold of her life. Yui struggles to continue on, alone with her pain.

Then, one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone booth in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone booth spreads, people travel to it from miles around.

Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone booth, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Instead she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of her mother’s death. Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World is the signpost pointing to the healing that can come after.

The Girl in the painting • Tea Cooper • Thomas Nelson • 9 mars • 384 pages

Australia, 1906 

Orphan Jane Piper is nine years old when philanthropist siblings Michael and Elizabeth Quinn take her into their home to further her schooling. The Quinns are no strangers to hardship— having arrived in Australia as penniless immigrants, they now care for others as lost as they once were.

Despite Jane’s mysterious past, her remarkable aptitude for mathematics takes her far over the next seven years, and her relationship with Elizabeth and Michael flourishes as she plays an increasingly prominent part in their business.

But when Elizabeth reacts in terror to an exhibition at the local gallery, Jane realizes no one knows Elizabeth after all—not even Elizabeth herself. As the past and the present converge and Elizabeth’s grasp on reality loosens, Jane sets out to unravel Elizabeth’s story before it is too late.

From the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, this compelling novel takes us on a mystery across continents and decades as both women finally discover a place to call home.

The Vietri Project • Nicola DeRobertis-Theye • Harper • 23 mars • 240 pages

Working at a bookstore in Berkeley in the years after college, Gabriele becomes intrigued by the orders of signor Vietri, a customer from Rome whose numerous purchases grow increasingly mystical and esoteric. Restless and uncertain of her future, Gabriele quits her job and, landing in Rome, decides to look up Vietri. Unable to locate him, she begins a quest to unearth the well-concealed facts of his life.

Following a trail of obituaries and military records, a memoir of life in a village forgotten by modernity, and the court records of a communist murder trial, Gabriele meets an eclectic assortment of the city’s inhabitants, from the widow of an Italian prisoner of war to members of a generation set adrift by the financial crisis. Each encounter draws her unexpectedly closer to her own painful past and complicated family history—an Italian mother diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized during her childhood, and an extended family in Rome still recovering from the losses and betrayals in their past. Through these voices and histories, Gabriele will discover what it means to be a person in the world; a member of a family and a citizen of a country—and how reconciling these stories may be the key to understanding her own. 

Murder & Magic, The Conductors • Nicole Glover • Del Rey • 4 mars • 432 pages

As an escaped slave, Hetty Rhodes helped dozens of people find their own freedom north using her wits and her magic. Now that the Civil War is over, Hetty and her husband, Benjy, still fight for their people by solving the murders and mysteries that the white authorities won’t touch. 

When they discover one of their friends brutally murdered in an alley, Hetty and Benjy mourn his loss by setting off to find answers. But the mystery of his death soon brings up more questions, more secrets, more hurt. To solve his death, they will have to not only face the ugly truths about the world but the ones about each other. 

After Alice fell • Kim Taylor Blakemore • Lake Union Publishing • 1 mars • 288 pages

New Hampshire, 1865. Marion Abbott is summoned to Brawders House asylum to collect the body of her sister, Alice. She’d been found dead after falling four stories from a steep-pitched roof. Officially: an accident. Confidentially: suicide. But Marion believes a third option: murder.

Returning to her family home to stay with her brother and his second wife, the recently widowed Marion is expected to quiet her feelings of guilt and grief—to let go of the dead and embrace the living. But that’s not easy in this house full of haunting memories. Just when the search for the truth seems hopeless, a stranger approaches Marion with chilling words: I saw her fall.

Now Marion is more determined than ever to find out what happened that night at Brawders, and why. With no one she can trust, Marion may risk her own life to uncover the secrets buried with Alice in the family plot. 

The Women of Chateau Lafayette • Stephanie Dray • Berkley • 30 Mars • 576 pages

A founding mother…
1774. Gently-bred noblewoman Adrienne Lafayette becomes her husband’s political partner in the fight for American independence. But when their idealism sparks revolution in France and the guillotine threatens everything she holds dear, Adrienne must choose to renounce the complicated man she loves, or risk her life for a legacy that will inspire generations to come.

A daring visionary…
1914. Glittering New York socialite Beatrice Astor Chanler is a force of nature, daunted by nothing–not her humble beginnings, her crumbling marriage, or the outbreak of war. But after witnessing the devastation in France and delivering war-relief over dangerous seas, Beatrice takes on the challenge of a lifetime: convincing America to fight for what’s right.

A reluctant resistor…
1940. French school-teacher and aspiring artist Marthe Simone has an orphan’s self-reliance and wants nothing to do with war. But as the realities of Nazi occupation transform her life in the isolated castle where she came of age, she makes a discovery that calls into question who she is, and more importantly, who she is willing to become. 

Red Island House • Andrea Lee • Scribner • 23 mars • 288 pages

Shay is surprised when her husband Senna declares his intention to build her a spectacular dream house on an idyllic beach in the tropical island nation of Madagascar.

But the Red Island House casts a spell from the moment she sees it, and before she knows it Shay has become the somewhat reluctant mistress of a sprawling household, caught between her privileged American upbringing and education, and her connection to the continent of her ancestors.

At first, she’s content to be an observer of the passionate affairs and fierce ambitions and rivalries around her. But as she and her husband raise children and establish their own rituals on the island, Shay finds herself drawn ever deeper into an extraordinary place with its own laws and logic, a provocative paradise full of magic and myth whose fraught colonial legacy continues to reverberate. Soon the collision of cultures comes right to Shay’s door, forcing her to make a life-altering decision.

Vera • Carol Edgarian • Scribner • 2 mars • 336 pages

Meet Vera Johnson, the uncommonly resourceful fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s most legendary bordello and ally to the city’s corrupt politicians. Vera has grown up straddling two worlds—the madam’s alluring sphere, replete with tickets to the opera, surly henchmen, and scant morality, and the violent, debt ridden domestic life of the family paid to raise her.

On the morning of the great quake, Vera’s worlds collide. As the shattered city burns and looters vie with the injured, orphaned, and starving, Vera and her guileless sister, Pie, are cast adrift. Vera disregards societal norms and prejudices and begins to imagine a new kind of life. She collaborates with Tan, her former rival, and forges an unlikely family of survivors. Together they navigate their way beyond disaster.

The Vines • Shelley Nolden • Freiling Publishing • 23 mars • 391 pages

In the shadows of New York City lies forbidden North Brother Island, where the remains of a shuttered hospital hide the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned by contagions and the doctors who torment her. When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past—and his own family’s dark secrets. By unraveling these mysteries, will he be able to save Cora? Will Cora meet the same tragic ending as the thousands who’ve already perished on the island?

The lost village • Camilla Sten • Minotaur Books • 23 mars • 352 pages

Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

But there will be no turning back.

Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

They are not alone. They’re looking for the truth… But what if it finds them first?

The Rose Code • Kate Quinn • William Morrow • 9 mars • 656 pages

1940. As England prepares to fight the Nazis, three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes. Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets. Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband. Both Osla and Mab are quick to see the potential in local village spinster Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles, and soon Beth spreads her wings as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts. But war, loss, and the impossible pressure of secrecy will tear the three apart. 

1947. As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum. A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together. But each petal they remove from the rose code brings danger–and their true enemy–closer…

The lost apothecary • Sarah Penner • Park Row • 2 mars • 320 pages

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.