Fiction Books with Buzz: 8 Recommended Reads

An open book on an antique chair set in a field.

Photo: the_burtons 2018/Getty Images

From dark thrillers to hot historical fiction to a tale of multi-generational mayhem, pick up these books (and you just may not be able to put them down again).

Book Cover: The Only Woman in the Room

ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM (Sourcebooks Landmark) by Marie Benedict

Not just a pretty face. Did you that Austrian-born film actress Hedy Lamarr (perhaps best known for her 1940’s Oscar-nominated films Algiers and Sampson and Delilah) also supported the Allies in the Second World War by helping to invent an anti-jamming device for torpedoes? (The frequency-hopping technology used for this back in 1941 actually became a  precursor to secure wi-fi, GPS and Bluetooth.) Written in memoir style and based on her real life, Only Woman in the Room tells the story of a Jewish woman who flees the Nazis and her wealthy Austrian munitions manufacturer husband by sneaking away in the middle of the night on a bicycle. She eventually makes her way to London, via Paris, where she meets Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio head Louis B. Mayer. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

 

Book Cover: Courting Mr. Lincoln

COURTING MR. LINCOLN (Algonquin) by Louis Bayard

Was Abraham Lincoln gay? The questioning of the 16th President’s sexuality is not exactly new, and of course, it’s long on speculation and short on proof. But in his new novel, Louis Bayard (The Pale Blue Eye, Mr. Timothy) skillfully explores the idea that the president was involved in a subtle love triangle with his wife Mary Todd and his best friend and one time roommate, Joshua Speed (the two men, while single, actually shared a bed for several years, a practice that was apparently not uncommon at the time). Bayard’s Todd, far from the difficult and mentally unstable woman so often depicted, draws comparisons with Jane Austen’s intelligent, fiercely independent Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. And while Lincoln woos Todd through their shared love of politics, the ambiguous tete-a-tetes between Lincoln and Speed may make you wonder who really was courting who.

 

 

Book Cover: Little Darlings

LITTLE DARLINGS (Harper) by Melanie Golding

If deliciously dark with a hefty dose of supernatural creepy is what you’re going for, pick up this book. Part psychological thriller, part sinister fairy-tale, the story gives a modern twist to the changeling myth when a new mother is convinced her newborn twins have been switched after birth following a terrifying incident in a U.K. hospital. Plans are in the works to make the book into a film, written and directed by Notting Hill director Roger Michel.

 

Book Cover: Keep You Close

KEEP YOU CLOSE (Doubleday) by Karen Cleveland

Her debut Need to Know was described by O: The Oprah Magazine as “Pulse-pounding … Think Homeland by way of Gone Girl.” Her new book about an FBI agent and single mother who is told by colleagues that her teenage son is  planning a terror attack against Washington’s most powerful political elites, is equally unputdownable.

Available May 28, 2019

 

 

Book Cover: Young Jane Young

YOUNG JANE YOUNG (Viking) by Gabrielle Zevin 

If you missed this book when it first came out, pick it up. Young Jane Young is a witty multi-generational tale that’s sassy, hilarious, tragic and ultimately, empowering. Reminiscent of the ordeal faced by White House intern Monica Lewinsky in the 1990’s, it’s the story of the particular hell a family faces when trying to survive scandal in an unforgiving digital age, a drama set against the backdrop of sunny Boca Raton, Florida.

 

 

Book Cover: An Anonymous Girl

AN ANONYMOUS GIRL (St. Martin’s Press) by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

From the best-selling duo of The Wife Between Us, comes this thriller about the increasingly creepy relationship between a beautiful, but manipulating New York City psychiatrist and her twenty-something patient. Lines become blurred when doctor-patient confidences transcend the therapy couch and become dangerously real.

 

 

Book Cover: Beautiful Bad

BEAUTIFUL BAD (Harper Collins) by Annie Ward

For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, this twisty read is about a devoted wife, a devoted husband, their little son and a woman with whom they both share a tangled, tumultuous past. Spanning from the Balkans to Britain, Iraq to Manhattan to a quiet family home in Kansas, the book recounts their shared adventures and finally, a much anticipated reunion that ends in a stunning crime. You won’t see this one coming.

 

 

Book Cover: Cari Mora

CARI MORA (Grand Central) by Thomas Harris

From the legendary creator of Hannibel Lector, comes this story about a savage treasure hunter who will stop at nothing to find $25 million of Pablo Escobar’s cartel gold that is buried beneath a mansion on the Miami Beach waterfront. The caregiver of the house, Cari Mora, an immigrant who has escaped violence in her native country and is on a wobbly Temporary Protected Status visa, luckily has developed some surprising survival skills along the way.