**NB: Imprint Friday will return next with the results of my survey (there is still time to answer the 7 questions) and hints of what's to come.
Yesterday I mentioned that my favorite panel at BEA each year is the one geared to book clubs. Here is Part 2 of my recap of that event, covering four of the eight publishers that stopped by my table to present their hottest book club titles for the coming seasons. (Be sure to check out BEA Book Group Speed Dating Session: Part 1, which I posted yesterday.)
Here are the books I learned about at the session, plus my top pick from each publisher. Titles in boldface are books that made it to my wish list.
Random House Publishing Group
- The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen: alternate history in which Anne has a son who becomes king; second in a series
- The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin: historical novel focusing on the life and accomplishments of Anne Morrow Lindbergh
- Defending Jacob by William Landay: contemporary novel; a lawyer must defend his young son who has been accused of murder
- A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee: contemporary novel; can a family survive a man's poor choices?
- Perfect by Rachel Joyce: contemporary novel; how much does a young teen really know about his perfect mother? [This is my real top pick, but the publisher's summary and book cover are currently unavailable.]
Once a privileged and loving couple, the Armsteads have now reached a breaking point. Ben, a partner in a prestigious law firm, has become unpredictable at work and withdrawn at home—a change that weighs heavily on his wife, Helen, and their preteen daughter, Sara. Then, in one afternoon, Ben’s recklessness takes an alarming turn, and everything the Armsteads have built together unravels, swiftly and spectacularly.What will book clubs talk about? Marriage, trust, forgiveness, how far can a family bend without breaking, moving on, second chances. On sale August 6; ISBN 13: 9780812983388
Thrust back into the working world, Helen finds a job in public relations and relocates with Sara from their home in upstate New York to an apartment in Manhattan. There, Helen discovers she has a rare gift, indispensable in the world of image control: She can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances. Yet redemption is more easily granted in her professional life than in her personal one.
As she is confronted with the biggest case of her career, the fallout from her marriage, and Sara’s increasingly distant behavior, Helen must face the limits of accountability and her own capacity for forgiveness.
Sourcebooks / Landmark
- Book of Someday by Dianne Dixon: contemporary novel; three women unexpectedly connected and forever changed over the course of a summer
- Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson: contemporary novel; two points of view; how a couple tears apart their family
- Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure: historical fiction; how an architect creates hiding places for Jews during the German occupation
Like most gentiles in Nazi-occupied Paris, architect Lucien Bernard has little empathy for the Jews. So when a wealthy industrialist offers him a large sum of money to devise secret hiding places for Jews, Lucien struggles with the choice of risking his life for a cause he doesn't really believe in. Ultimately he can't resist the challenge and begins designing expertly concealed hiding spaces--behind a painting, within a column, or inside a drainpipe--detecting possibilities invisible to the average eye. But when one of his clever hiding spaces fails horribly and the immense suffering of Jews becomes incredibly personal, he can no longer deny reality.What will book clubs talk about? Morality, ethical dilemmas, selflessness, religion, tolerance. On sale October 1; ISBN 13: 9781402284311
Written by an expert whose knowledge imbues every page, this story becomes more gripping with every life the architect tries to save.
- Swimming in the Moon by Pamela Schoenewaldt: historical fiction about a mother and daughter in the early 1900s during a time of social change
- Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson: southern fiction; messy love story
- The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly: historical fiction about the 1927 Mississippi flood
- The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle: contemporary fiction; a happy, successful family is torn apart when the parents discover that their teenage daughter is having an affair with a married teacher
- Help for the Haunted by John Searles: contemporary novel; the deeper a young girl looks into the death of her parents the more she realizes she cannot trust anyone
- The House Girl by Tara Conklin: contemporary and historical; intertwined stories of two women: one a New York lawyer and one a runaway slave
It begins with a call in the middle of the snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is differnt than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behnd the church's red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.What will book clubs talk about? Family secrets, sisters, spirituality, truth, ghosts, loss, death. On sale September 17; ISBN 13: 9780060779634
Nearly a year later, we meed Sylvie again, struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, Rose, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter. As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family's past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years. (Note: copy from publicity memo; no summary available.)
- The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood: historical fiction (1919 and 1961); two women living in different time periods that were marked by great changes in women's rights
- Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III: contemporary; stories about finding fulfillment via food, sex, work, and love
- A Guide for the Perplexed by Dara Horn: contemporary and historical novel involving twin sisters; about jealousy, memory, and secrets from the historic past
- Brewster by Mark Slouka: historical fiction about two teens and their dreams for a better life beyond the confines of their small town
The year is 1968, a year after the summer of love and the peak of the Vietnam War. The world is changing, and sixteen-year-old Jon Mosher is determined to change with it. Racked by guilt over his older brother's childhood death, Jon turns his rage into victories running track. When he meets Ray Cappicciano, a local legend in the making, a rebel as gifted with his fists as Jon is with his feet, he recognizes a friendship with the potential to save him. Realizing that Ray needs saving too, Jon sets off on the race of his life--a race to redeem his past and save them both. Reverberating with compassion, heartache, and grace, Brewster is sure to remind readers of Andre Dubus III and Richard Russo.What will book clubs talk about? Redemption, forgiveness, hopes, dreams, friendship, life before modern technology, social change On sale August 5; ISBN 13: 9780393239751
Don't forget that discussion guides will be available for all these titles. Check ReadingGroupGuides.com and the publishers' websites for more information about book club resources, the books, and the authors.