Book, Meet Book: Two Novels About Lost Loves

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Sometimes we find novels that just have a certain connection– so much so we feel they must meet each other (and you!) right away! These two novels are about lost loves… that might not stay that way.

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One True LovesOne True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

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Everything We KeepEverything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale

Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.

A luminous debut with unexpected twists, Everything We Keep explores the devastation of loss, the euphoria of finding love again, and the pulse-racing repercussions of discovering the truth about the ones we hold dear and the lengths they will go to protect us.

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Our Pre-Summer Thriller Roundup

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Summer is fast approaching, which means it’s time to start stocking your beach bags with page turners so riveting you’ll forget to reapply sunscreen. We’re getting your list started with a bang today– better stock up on aloe while you’re at it!

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Dont You cryDon’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under the stranger’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

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woman with a secretWoman With A Secret by Sophie Hannah

Traffic on Elmhirst Road has come to a halt. The police are stopping cars, searching for something. Nicki Clements waits patiently, until she glimpses a face she hoped she’d never see again. It’s him—and he’s the cop checking each car. Desperate to avoid him, she makes a panicky U-turn and escapes.

But Nicki’s peculiar behavior did not go unnoticed, and now the police have summoned her for questioning. A resident of Elmhirst Road has been murdered—a controversial newspaper columnist named Damon Blundy. The detectives begin peppering her with questions. Why was she seen fleeing the scene? What is her connection to the victim? Why was the knife that killed him used in such a peculiar way? Why were the words “HE IS NO LESS DEAD” painted on the wall of Blundy’s study—and what do they signify?

One simple answer could clear her. But she can’t explain why she fled Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her.

Nicki isn’t guilty of murder. But she’s far from innocent. . . .

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the other widowThe Other Widow by Susan Crawford

Everybody’s luck runs out. This time it could be theirs . . .

It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . .

Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious e-mails. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.

Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.

As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge . . . closer to each other . . . to a terrifying truth . . . to a shocking end.

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I let you goI Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

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The Girl From HomeeThe Girl From Home by Adam Mitzner

Jonathan Caine is a true master of the universe—a currency wizard with a trophy wife, a penthouse condo with a view of the Statue of Liberty, and the desire for more—when his world comes crashing down, spiraling him into a relentless fall from grace. Devastated, Jonathan returns to his hometown to care for his ailing father and attend his twenty-fifth high school reunion, where he becomes reacquainted with former prom queen Jacqueline Williams. Back in the day, Jackie didn’t even know Jonathan existed. Now she is intrigued by the man he has become. But their budding relationship has problems, not the least of which is Jackie’s jealous and abusive husband. Jonathan is determined to learn from his mistakes, but is he capable of complete transformation? Or will a shocking temptation test his desire for redemption beyond anything he could have imagined?

 

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Book, Meet Book

Today we continue our “Book, Meet Book” series and introduce two novels to each other– and to you guys– because we think they have some things in common and would make a good match. Today’s books feature single parents, new places, and unexpected love. Will you add one– or both– to your “Want To Read” list? Let us know!

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Stepping Into a New DayStepping to a New Day by Beverly Jenkins

In Henry Adams, Kansas, you can’t start over without stirring things up . . .

Many a good woman has had to leave a no-good man, but how many of them took a back-seat to his 600-lb. hog? On her own for the first time, Genevieve Gibbs is ecstatic, even if certain people preferred the doormat version of Ms. Gibbs. Finding someone who appreciates the “new” her has only just hit Gen’s to-do list when T.C. Barbour appears in her life.

A tiny Kansas town is a far cry from his native Oakland, California, but it’s just the change T. C. needs. While helping his divorced nephew acclimate to single fatherhood, T. C. lands a gig driving a limo for the most powerful woman in Henry Adams. It’s a great way to meet people—and one in particular has already made the job worthwhile. All it takes is a short trip from the airport for Genevieve to snag T.C.’s attention for good.

But it wouldn’t be Henry Adams without adding more drama to the mix. When Gen’s ex Riley returns with his hog in tow, it sets off a chain of events that can ruin everything—unless the residents pull together once again to save the day.

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The Summer of MeThe Summer of Me by Angela Benson

As a single mother, Destiny makes sacrifices for her children—including saying goodbye for the summer so they can spend time with their father and stepmother. Though she’ll miss them with all her heart, the time alone gives her an opportunity to address her own needs, like finish getting her college degree. But Destiny’s friends think her summer should include some romance.

Destiny doesn’t want to be set up…until she meets Daniel. The handsome, warm and charming pastor soon sweeps Destiny off her feet. But is romance what she really wants? Or needs?

As the days pass, Destiny will make new discoveries—about herself, the man she’s fallen for, and the people around her. And she’ll face challenging choices. But most of all, she’ll grow in ways she never imagined, learning unexpected lessons about trust, forgiveness, and the price of motherhood…and truly become the woman she wants to be.

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The Lighter Side of Spring

Today’s post by Marybeth Whalen | @MarybethWhalen

Whether laugh out loud funny or just plain heartwarming, these recent releases focus on the lighter side of life– and spring is the perfect time for lightening things up!

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Wedding GirlWedding Girl by Stacey Ballis

You’ve Got Mail meets Julie & Julia in the new foodie fiction from the author of Recipe for Disaster.

Top pastry chef Sophie Bernstein and her sommelier fiancé were set to have Chicago’s culinary wedding of the year…until the groom eloped with someone else in a very public debacle, leaving Sophie splashed across the tabloids—fifty grand in debt on her dream wedding and one-hundred percent screwed on her dream life. The icing on the cake was when she lost her job and her home…

Laying low, Sophie moves in with her grandmother, Bubbles. That way, she can keep Bubbles and her sweater-wearing pug company and nurse her broken heart. But when Sophie gets a part-time job at the old-fashioned neighborhood bakery, she finds herself up to her elbows in dough and reluctantly giving a wedding cake customer advice on everything from gift bags to guest accommodations. Before she knows it, she’s an online wedding planner. It’s not mousse and macarons, but it pays the bills. But with the arrival of unexpected personal and professional twists, Sophie wonders if she’s really moving forward—or starting over from scratch…

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Rejected WritersThe Rejected Writer’s Book Club by Suzanne Kelvin

Librarian Janet Johnson is puzzled when she is invited—and practically dragged—to her first meeting of the Rejected Writers’ Book Club. This quirky group of women would much rather celebrate one another’s rejected manuscripts over cups of tea and slices of lemon cake than actually publish a book. But good friends are exactly what Janet needs after moving to the small town of Southlea Bay, Washington. Just as the ladies are about to raise a teacup to their five hundredth rejection letter, they receive bad news that could destroy one member’s reputation—and disband the group forever. To save the club, Janet joins her fellow writers on a wild road trip to San Francisco in search of the local publisher who holds the key to a long-buried secret. As they race to the finish line, they’ll face their fears—landslides, haunted houses, handsome strangers, ungrateful children—and have the time of their lives.

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Where We FallWhere We Fall by Rochelle Weinstein

By all accounts, Abby Holden has it all. She’s the mother of a beautiful teenager and the wife of a beloved high school football coach. And all it took to achieve her charmed life was her greatest act of betrayal.

Coach Ryan can coax his team to victory, but he can’t seem to make his wife, Abby, happy. Her struggles with depression have marred their marriage and taken a toll on their daughter, Juliana. Although this isn’t the life he’s dreamed of, he’s determined to heal the rifts in his family.

Chasing waterfalls and documenting their beauty has led photographer Lauren Sheppard all around the world. Now it has brought her back home to the mountains of North Carolina—back to the scene of her devastating heartbreak.

For the first time in seventeen years, a trio of once-inseparable friends find themselves confronting past loves, hurts, and the rapid rush of a current that still pulls them together…

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Will YouWill You Won’t You Want Me? by Nora Zelevansky

Marjorie Plum never meant to peak in high school. She was Queen Bee. Now, 10 years later, she’s lost her sparkle. At her bleakest moment, she’s surprised by renewed interest from a questionable childhood crush, and the bickering with her cranky boss–at a potentially game-changing new job–grows increasingly like flirtatious banter. Suddenly, she’s faced with a choice between the life she always dreamed of and one she never thought to imagine. With the help of a precocious 11-year-old tutee, who unknowingly becomes the Ghost of Marjorie Past, and a musician roommate, who looks like a pixie and talks like the Dalai Lama, Marjorie struggles with the ultimate question: Who does she want to be? Nora Zelevansky’s Will You Won’t You Want Me? is a funny, often surprising, novel about growing up when you are already supposed to be grown.

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The ONe that Got AwayThe One That Got Away by Leigh Himes

Meet Abbey Lahey . . .

Overworked mom. Underappreciated publicist. Frazzled wife of an out-of-work landscaper. A woman desperately in need of a vacation from life–and who is about to get one, thanks to an unexpected tumble down a Nordstrom escalator.

Meet Abbey van Holt . . .

The woman whose life Abbey suddenly finds herself inhabiting when she wakes up. Married to handsome congressional candidate Alex van Holt. Living in a lavish penthouse. Wearing ball gowns and being feted by the crème of Philadelphia society. Luxuriating in the kind of fourteen-karat lifestyle she’s only read about in the pages of Town & Country.

The woman Abbey might have been . . . if she had said yes to a date with Alex van Holt all those years ago.

In the tradition of the romantic comedy Sliding Doors and Lionel Shriver’s The Post-Birthday World, Leigh Himes’s irresistible debut novel tells the funny and touching story of an ordinary woman offered an extraordinary opportunity to reboot her life, explore the road not taken, and ultimately, find her true self–whoever that may be.

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But When: A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock

Today’s post by Amber Brock | @AmberBrockWrites

Pay attention and you’ll notice something. It’s a phrase, often used in book descriptions or back cover copy: “But When.” It sounds simple enough but it changes everything. “But when an old friend comes to visit…” Or, “But when her son goes missing…” That single phrase is the beginning of everything going wrong for a character (and, let’s face it, when things really interesting for the reader). When we began to pay attention to this phrase we thought it was time to begin a new series. So we have invited Amber Brock to share a bit about her new novel, A FINE IMITATION in this latest installment of “But When.” Enjoy!

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Amber Brock -- photo credit Nina Parker

Amber Brock — photo credit Nina Parker

My novel, A Fine Imitation, is the story of two crucial moments in socialite Vera Bellington’s life—the first crossroads comes when she is a junior at Vassar in 1913, and the second is in 1923, when she’s living in the most luxurious penthouse in Manhattan, the Angelus, in an unhappy marriage. As a college student, she’s considering the immediate choices her future offers. She’s torn between the enticing possibilities college has opened up for her and the role prescribed for her by society. Ten years later, she is locked in a cycle of pointless social engagements, suffocating under her overbearing mother’s close watch, and slowly coming to the realization that the life she’s living is not one she would have chosen for herself.  She’s been playing the role of dutiful daughter and happy wife for too long, and she at last begins to admit to herself that the part she’s playing has brought her only misery.

Vera gets two “but when” moments, both of which involve free-spirited artists who cause her to question the life dictated by her place in society. In 1913, the turning point is a night out on the town with her friend Bea Stillman. When Vera agrees to sneak out with Bea, she sets in motion a chain of events that lead to more broken hearts than just Vera’s own. In 1923, still haunted by the choices she made in the fallout after that night, Vera meets a handsome, mysterious artist who brings up the same choice between her heart and her reputation. Emil Hallan, much like Bea did ten years before, pushes her to challenge the things she’s blindly accepted. In doing so, Vera reaches deep inside to find the college girl who once had hope about her circumstances and choices. But with that hope comes painful memories, and before she can claim a new life, she must confront the mistakes of her past.

Vera’s “but when” moment in 1923 doesn’t come with easy answers. Though she’s falling in love with Emil, she knows he’s hiding his true identity. His secrets could ruin her if she decides to follow her heart. And while the life she’s trapped in at the top of the Angelus building does offer comfort and security, it means remaining in a marriage with a man who will never really be her partner. Still, even if the choices aren’t easy, Vera begins to realize that simply having choices at all helps her find a new strength. Ultimately, that strength has the potential to save her.

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A Fine Imitation jacketSet in the glamorous 1920s, A Fine Imitation is an intoxicating debut that sweeps readers into a privileged Manhattan socialite’s restless life and the affair with a mysterious painter that upends her world, flashing back to her years at Vassar and the friendship that brought her to the brink of ruin.

Vera Bellington has beauty, pedigree, and a penthouse at The Angelus–the most coveted address on Park Avenue. But behind the sparkling social whirl, Vera is living a life of quiet desperation. Her days are an unbroken loop of empty, champagne-soaked socializing, while her nights are silent and cold, spent waiting alone in her cavernous apartment for a husband who seldom comes home.

Then Emil Hallan arrives at The Angelus to paint a mural above its glittering subterranean pool. The handsome French artist moves into the building, shrouds his work in secrecy, and piques Vera’s curiosity, especially when the painter keeps dodging questions about his past. Is he the man he claims to be? Even as she finds herself increasingly drawn to Hallan’s warmth and passion, Vera can’t suppress her suspicions. After all, she has plenty of secrets, too–and some of them involve art forgers like her bold, artistically talented former friend, Bea, who years ago, at Vassar, brought Vera to the brink of catastrophe and social exile.

When the dangerous mysteries of Emil’s past are revealed, Vera faces an impossible choice–whether to cling to her familiar world of privilege and propriety or to risk her future with the enigmatic man who has taken her heart. A Fine Imitation explores what happens when we realize that the life we’ve always led is not the life we want to have.

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“But When” The Moment That Changes Everything

Today’s post by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Pay attention and you’ll notice something. It’s a phrase, often used in book descriptions or back cover copy: “But When.” It sounds simple enough but it changes everything. “But when an old friend comes to visit…” Or, “But when her son goes missing…” That single phrase is the beginning of everything going wrong for a character (and, let’s face it, when things really interesting for the reader). When we began to pay attention to this phrase we thought it was time to begin a new series. So we have invited Yona Zeldis McDonough to share a bit about her new novel, THE HOUSE ON PRIMROSE POND in this latest installment of “But When.” Enjoy!

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head shotSusannah Gilmore, the protagonist of my seventh novel, The House on Primrose Pond, is determined to start over. After her husband is tragically killed in a bicycle accident, she packs up her two teen-aged kids and moves to Eastwood, New Hampshire, to take up residence in a house on a pond that her parents left to her.

But when she arrives, Susannah’s forward-thrust is derailed by the love letter that she finds tucked in a volume of poetry up in the attic. The letter is written to her mother—but it’s quite clear that the handwriting is not her father’s. So instead of moving ahead with her life, Susannah finds herself yanked back into the past, searching the house and property for other clues to her mother’s long-held secret. She extends her search by scoping out various men her mother knew, wondering which, if any, could be the man she is looking for, the man who will finally unravel the mystery that was her mother. In the process, she reconnects with Corbin Bailey, sexy guy who was the out-of-reach older brother of the boy she dated the one summer she spent on the pond. Is she ready to fall in love again? And if she is, is Corbin the one?

The next but when moment occurs when she decides to switch gears professionally. Instead of pursuing the minor European aristocrats who generally populate the historical novels she writes, Susannah decides to work on the tragic story of Ruth Blay, who, in 1768, was the last woman hanged in the state of New Hampshire. Blay, who was unmarried, was accused of killing her newborn baby girl. She maintained her innocence throughout her trial but was eventually found guilty of what was then a capital offense: concealing the birth of illegitimate child. She mounted the gallows on December 31, before a restless crowd in what is now Portsmouth’s South Cemetery. Although Susannah is fascinated by what she has learned, her editor is less keen on the idea and so Susannah must convince her that Ruth’s story is one worth telling.   The convergence of past and present, the themes of guilt, innocence and ultimately redemption are what bring this novel together and I hope my readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed the writing of it.

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2_HouseonPrimrose_4_withpeople-1A compelling novel about one woman’s search for the truth from the author of You Were Meant For Me.
 
After suffering a sudden, traumatic loss, historical novelist Susannah Gilmore decides to uproot her life—and the lives of her two children—and leave their beloved Brooklyn for the little town of Eastwood, New Hampshire.

While the trio adjusts to their new surroundings, Susannah is captivated by an unexpected find in her late parents’ home: an unsigned love note addressed to her mother, in handwriting that is most definitely not her father’s.

Reeling from the thought that she never really knew her mother, Susannah finds mysteries everywhere she looks: in her daughter’s friendship with an older neighbor, in a charismatic local man to whom she’s powerfully drawn, and in an eighteenth century crime she’s researching for her next book. Compelled to dig into her mother’s past, Susannah discovers even more secrets, ones that surpass any fiction she could ever put to paper…

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Save The Date: September Book Club Adventure

save the date image

 

We have one task for you today: flip your calendar open and draw a big red circle around September 18th. Our second live #READ event will be in Savannah, Georgia in partnership with the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. Just imagine a long weekend with your book club in one of the loveliest cities in America, capped off by a day spent celebrating books with some of the most critically acclaimed authors in the country. We have so much more to share with you in the coming days–including a keynote speaker so amazing and beloved we’re still pinching ourselves–but we wanted to give you a chance to save the date and start making plans.

Here’s what you need to know for now:

  • The #READSavannah event will be held at the Hilton Savannah DeSoto on Sunday, September 18th.
  • Space is limited. Registration details are coming soon but just know that you’ll need to act quickly when things go live.
  • We would really love to meet you!

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“But When” The Moment That Changes Everything

Today’s post by New York Times bestselling author, Karen White | @KarenWhiteWrite

Pay attention and you’ll notice something. It’s a phrase, often used in book descriptions or back cover copy: “But When.” It sounds simple enough but it changes everything. “But when an old friend comes to visit…” Or, “But when her son goes missing…” That single phrase is the beginning of everything going wrong for a character (and, let’s face it, when things really interesting for the reader). When we began to pay attention to this phrase we thought it was time to begin a new series. So we have invited Karen White to share a bit about her new novel, FLIGHT PATTERNS in this latest installment of “But When.” Enjoy!

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Karen White

Karen White

In my new novel, Flight Patterns, the main protagonist, Georgia Chambers, lives and works as an antiques dealer in New Orleans, specializing in old china.  She’s estranged from her family—sister Maisy, their unstable mother Birdie, and their beekeeper grandfather.  A serious rift between the sisters has exiled Georgia from Apalachicola and her dysfunctional family for over a decade, a distance she can accept as just punishment for old sins.

Georgia thinks she’s content with her life, collecting remnants of other people’s pasts, finding them easier to face than her own.  She collects antique keys and locks, always hoping to find a matched set so she can believe that every problem has a solution, every question an answer.  Except her own.  Her mother always told her that the greatest sin was that of being ordinary.  To Georgia, that is now what she strives for.

But when a new client, James Graf, approaches her with a request for an appraisal of his grandmother’s antique Limoges china, the past and present collide.  The china has an usual pattern of bees in flight, with vivid and memorable colors.  There is no name stamped on the bottom, and Georgia is sure she doesn’t recognize it from her vast collection of china identification books.  But she has seen it before—on a china cup found in her mother’s closet when she was a young girl.  A scene she remembers clearly because Birdie told her to keep it a secret.

This “but when” moment opens up a Pandora’s box into a past that goes back to World War II France, intersecting James’s life with Georgia’s in surprising and unexpected ways.  James has his own complicated past, one he only reluctantly shares with Georgia when he recognizes a fellow wounded soul.  They travel to Apalachicola together, both hoping for quick answers, neither realizing the story of family, love, and betrayal they are about to unearth.

Georgia’s sister, Maisy, is also struggling.  Left to care for their elderly grandfather and unbalanced mother, she is on the verge of divorce while trying to be the best mother she can to her young daughter.  She’d made her sister promise to never come back to Apalachicola, but now Georgia is home, searching for an illusive piece of china.  And even, perhaps, a forgiveness that Maisy is not sure she can give.  Or accept.

Set amidst the backdrop of their grandfather’s beehives, where the lives of the bees closely mimic those of the central players, Georgia and Maisy are forced to dig into their mother’s past to confront their own.  Except neither Georgia, Maisy or James are prepared for the revelations of the past, all set in motion by one “but when” moment when a set of china with a unique pattern of bees in flight and unknown provenance interrupts their lives.

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Flight PatternsThe New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Glass and coauthor of The Forgotten Room tells the story of a woman coming home to the family she left behind—and to the woman she always wanted to be…

Georgia Chambers has spent her life sifting through other people’s pasts while trying to forget her own. But then her work as an expert of fine china—especially of Limoges—requires her to return to the one place she swore she’d never revisit…

It’s been ten years since Georgia left her family home on the coast of Florida, and nothing much has changed, except that there are fewer oysters and more tourists. She finds solace seeing her grandfather still toiling away in the apiary where she spent much of her childhood, but encountering her estranged mother and sister leaves her rattled.

Seeing them after all this time makes Georgia realize that something has been missing—and unless she finds a way to heal these rifts, she will forever be living vicariously through other people’s remnants. To embrace her own life—mistakes and all—she will have to find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past and the secrets she was forced to keep…

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Six Historical Novels You Don’t Want To Miss This Spring

As far as we’re concerned, historical fiction is always in season. And we’ve found six new titles you won’t want to miss this spring.

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The Secrets of LifeThe Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler

This captivating, breakout novel—told in alternating viewpoints—brings readers from the skies of World War II to the present day, where a woman is prepared to tell her secrets at last.

Estranged from her family since just after World War II, Mary Browning has spent her entire adult life hiding from her past. Now eighty-seven years old and a widow, she is still haunted by secrets and fading memories of the family she left behind. Her one outlet is the writing group she’s presided over for a decade, though she’s never written a word herself. When a new member walks in—a fifteen-year-old girl who reminds her so much of her beloved sister Sarah—Mary is certain fate delivered Elyse Strickler to her for a reason.

Mary hires the serious-eyed teenager to type her story about a daring female pilot who, during World War II, left home for the sky and gambled everything for her dreams—including her own identity.

As they begin to unravel the web of Mary’s past, Mary and Elyse form an unlikely friendship. Together they discover it’s never too late for second chances and that sometimes forgiveness is all it takes for life to take flight in the most unexpected ways.

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While You Were MineWhile You Were Mine by Ann Howard Creel

Everything she loved could so easily be lost.

The end of World War II should have brought joy to Gwen Mullen. But on V-J Day, her worst fear is realized. As celebrating crowds gather in Times Square, a soldier appears on her doorstep to claim Mary, the baby abandoned to Gwen one year earlier. Suddenly Gwen is on the verge of losing the child she has nurtured and loves dearly.

With no legal claim to Mary, Gwen begins to teach Lieutenant John McKee how to care for his child, knowing that he will ultimately take Mary away. What starts as a contentious relationship, however, turns into something more, and Gwen must open her heart to learn that love means taking chances.

While You Were Mine paints a vivid portrait of 1940s New York and tells an enchanting tale of the nature of love and trust.

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The Memory of UsThe Memory of Us by Camille Di Maio

Julianne Westcott was living the kind of life that other Protestant girls in prewar Liverpool could only dream about: old money, silk ball gowns, and prominent young men lining up to escort her. But when she learns of a blind-and-deaf brother, institutionalized since birth, the illusion of her perfect life and family shatters around her.

While visiting her brother in secret, Julianne meets and befriends Kyle McCarthy, an Irish Catholic groundskeeper studying to become a priest. Caught between her family’s expectations, Kyle’s devotion to the Church, and the intense new feelings that the forbidden courtship has awakened in her, Julianne must make a choice: uphold the life she’s always known or follow the difficult path toward love.

But as war ripples through the world and the Blitz decimates England, a tragic accident forces Julianne to leave everything behind and forge a new life built on lies she’s told to protect the ones she loves. Now, after twenty years of hiding from her past, the truth finds her—will she be brave enough to face it?

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The Railwayman's WifeThe Railwayman’s Wife by Ashley Hay

In 1948, in the strange, silent aftermath of war, in a town overlooking the vast, blue ocean, Anikka Lachlan has all she ever wanted—until a random act transforms her into another postwar widow, destined to raise her daughter on her own. Awash in grief, she looks for answers in the pages of her favorite books and tries to learn the most difficult lesson of all: how to go on living.

A local poet, Roy McKinnon, experiences a different type of loss. How could his most powerful work come out of the brutal chaos of war, and why is he now struggling to regain his words and his purpose in peacetime? His childhood friend Dr. Frank Draper also seeks to reclaim his pre-war life but is haunted by his failure to help those who needed him most—the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps.

Then one day, on the mantle of her sitting room, Ani finds a poem. She knows neither where it came from, nor who its author is. But she has her suspicions. An unexpected and poignant love triangle emerges, between Ani, the poem, and the poet—whoever he may be.

Written in clear, shining prose, The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings—and how difficult it can be to tell them apart. It is an exploration of life, loss, and what comes after, of connection and separation, longing and acceptance, and an unadulterated celebration of love that will break your heart open.

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The Midnight WatchThe Midnight Watch by David Dyer

As the Titanic and her passengers sank slowly into the Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg late in the evening of April 14, 1912, a nearby ship looked on. Second Officer Herbert Stone, in charge of the midnight watch on the SS Californian sitting idly a few miles north, saw the distress rockets that the Titanic fired. He alerted the captain, Stanley Lord, who was sleeping in the chartroom below, but Lord did not come to the bridge. Eight rockets were fired during the dark hours of the midnight watch, and eight rockets were ignored. The next morning, the Titanic was at the bottom of the sea and more than 1,500 people were dead. When they learned of the extent of the tragedy, Lord and Stone did everything they could to hide their role in the disaster, but pursued by newspapermen, lawyers, and political leaders in America and England, their terrible secret was eventually revealed. The Midnight Watch is a fictional telling of what may have occurred that night on the SS Californian, and the resulting desperation of Officer Stone and Captain Lord in the aftermath of their inaction.

Told not only from the perspective of the SS Californian crew, but also through the eyes of a family of third-class passengers who perished in the disaster, the narrative is drawn together by Steadman, a tenacious Boston journalist who does not rest until the truth is found. David Dyer’s The Midnight Watch is a powerful and dramatic debut novel–the result of many years of research in Liverpool, London, New York, and Boston, and informed by the author’s own experiences as a ship’s officer and a lawyer.

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The WinemakersThe Winemakers by Jan Moran

Many years ago, the Rosetta family’s hard-won dreams of staking their claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition. Now high-spirited, passionate Caterina Rosetta, who has inherited both her mother’s talent for crafting the finest wines and also her indomitable will, wants nothing more than to win her mother’s approval and work at her side. But that can never happen, because Caterina is keeping a secret that could ruin her: a daughter of her own, fathered by the love of her life, who left her without explanation. Just as she feels she has nowhere to turn, Caterina discovers that she has inherited a vineyard in the Tuscan countryside in Italy, from a grandmother she’s never heard of, and she seizes the chance to start a new life for herself and her child.

But the past is not so easily outrun. In the country of her ancestors, Caterina meets the family of the father she never knew, and discovers that her mother is also hiding her own secret―a secret so devastating it threatens the future of everything her family has worked for. As an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragedy that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past―if she has the strength to face it.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.

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A Story Built On A Dream: J.T. Ellison on the origins of NO ONE KNOWS

Today’s post by New York Times bestselling author, J.T. Ellison | @thrillerchick

J.T. Ellison is the author of NO ONE KNOWS, one of our spring book club selections, and an all-around fantastic person. You can read about the dream that inspired her novel here and, if you haven’t already, you can pick up a copy of NO ONE KNOWS anywhere books are sold. Signed copies are available at Parnassus Books in Nashville.

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A story built on a dream, five years in the making, NO ONE KNOWS is my first standalone novel, a psychological thriller set in Nashville, Tennessee. Aubrey Hamilton is the girl next door, a sweet Montessori teacher facing a terrible nightmare—a lifetime ahead without her first love. When her husband Josh disappears, she discovers the fine line between truth and lies. The book opens the day Aubrey’s husband Josh is declared legally dead by the State of Tennessee, a ruling that will trigger the fulfillment of a $5 million life insurance policy.

Aubrey doesn’t want the money. She wants her husband, her old life, back. An orphan twice over, brought up in the foster system, she’s fought hard to find normalcy. Joshua Hamilton was a dream come true for her—her childhood sweetheart, a noble man who was training to be a doctor when he went missing, five years earlier, leaving behind only a pool of blood on their living room floor. She’d never hurt him. Would she?

The death declaration breaks open a rift in Aubrey. She has one last chance to find out what really happened to her husband—and others are interested in the truth as well. Questions arise quickly. Is Aubrey as innocent as she seems? Is Josh Hamilton dead? And who is the mysterious stranger who’s appeared in her life, a man who reminds her of her lost husband?

Madness. Lies. Deceit. Who is telling the truth? No one knows…

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