Every Rising Sun, by Jamila Ahmed
In twelfth century, Persia, clever and dreamy Shaherazade stumbles on the Malik’s beloved wife entwined with a lover in a sun-dappled courtyard. When Shaherazade recounts her first tale, the story of this infidelity, to the Malik, she sets the Seljuk Empire on fire.
Enraged at his wife’s betrayal, the once-gentle Malik beheads her. But when that killing does not quench his anger, the Malik begins to marry and behead a new bride each night. Furious at the murders, his province seethes on rebellion’s edge. To suppress her guilt, quell threats of a revolt, and perhaps marry the man she has loved since childhood, Shaherazade persuades her beloved father, the Malik’s vizier, to offer her as the next wife. On their wedding night, Shaherazade begins a yarn, but as the sun ascends she cuts the story short, ensuring that she will live to tell another tale, a practice she repeats night after night.
This suspenseful first-person retelling is vividly rendered through the voice of a fully imagined Shaherazade, a book lover whose late mother bestowed the gift of story that becomes her power. Created over fourteen years of writing and research, Jamila Ahmed’s gorgeously written debut is a celebration of storytelling and a love letter to the medieval Islamic world that brings to life one of the most enduring and intriguing woman characters of all time.
Rootless, by Krystle Zara Appiah
On a Spring afternoon in London, Sam hops the stairs of his flat two at a time. There’s money missing from his and his wife, Efe’s, shared bank account and his calls are going straight to voicemail. When he finally reaches someone, he learns Efe is nearly 5,000 miles away as their toddler looks around and asks, “Where’s Mummy?”
When Efe and Sam met as teens headed for university, it seemed everyone knew they were meant to be. Efe, newly arrived in the UK from Ghana and sinking under the weight of her parents’ expectations, found comfort in the focused and idealistic Sam. He was stable, working toward a law career, and had an unwavering vision for their future. A vision Efe, now a decade later, finds slightly insufferable. From the outside, they’re the picture-perfect couple everyone imagined, but there are cracks in the frame.
When Efe and Sam are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, they find themselves on opposing sides. Fatherhood is everything he has dreamed of, but Efe feels stuck in a nightmare. And when a new revelation emerges, they are forced to confront just how radically different they want their lives to be. Already swallowed by the demands of motherhood and feeling the dreams she had slipping away once again, Efe disappears.
Rootless is a heartrending love story about motherhood and sacrifice, providing an intimate look at what happens after a marriage collapses, leading two people to rediscover what they ultimately want–and if it’s still each other. As Efe says, “Love and regret aren’t mutually exclusive.”
Dead of Winter, by Darcy Coates
When Christa joins a tour group heading deep into the snowy expanse of the Rocky Mountains, she’s hopeful this will be her chance to put the ghosts of her past to rest. But when a bitterly cold snowstorm sweeps the region, the small group is forced to take shelter in an abandoned hunting cabin. Despite the uncomfortably claustrophobic quarters and rapidly dropping temperature, Christa believes they’ll be safe as they wait out the storm.
She couldn’t be more wrong.
Deep in the night, their tour guide goes missing…only to be discovered the following morning, his severed head impaled on a tree outside the cabin. Terrified, and completely isolated by the storm, Christa finds herself trapped with eight total strangers. One of them kills for sport…and they’re far from finished. As the storm grows more dangerous and the number of survivors dwindles one by one, Christa must decide who she can trust before this frozen mountain becomes her tomb.
Return to Valetto, by Dominic Smith
On a hilltop in Umbria sits Valetto. Once a thriving village-and a hub of resistance and refuge during World War II-centuries of earthquakes, landslides and the lure of a better life have left it neglected. Only ten residents remain, including the widows Serafino – three eccentric sisters and their steely centenarian mother – who live quietly in their medieval villa. Then their nephew and grandson, Hugh, a historian, returns.
But someone else has arrived before him, laying claim to the cottage where Hugh spent his childhood summers. The unwelcome guest is the captivating and no-nonsense Elisa Tomassi, who asserts that the family patriarch, Aldo Serafino, a resistance fighter whom her own family harboured, gave the cottage to them in gratitude. Like so many threads of history, this revelation unravels a secret – a betrayal, a disappearance and an unspeakable act of violence – that has impacted Valetto across generations. Who will answer for the crimes of the past?
Dominic Smith’s Return to Valetto is a riveting journey into one family’s long-buried story, a page-turning excavation of the ruins of history and our commitment to justice in a fragile world. For fans of Amor Towles, Anthony Doerr and Jess Walter, it is a deeply human and transporting testament to the possibility of love and understanding across gaps of all kinds – even time.
The Dissident, by Paul Goldberg
On his wedding day in 1976, Viktor Moroz stumbles upon a murder: two gay men, one of them a U.S. official, have been axed to death in Moscow.
Viktor, a Jewish refusenik, is stuck in the Soviet Union because the government has denied his application to leave for Israel; he sits “in refusal” alongside his wife and their group of intellectuals, Jewish and not.
But the KGB spots Viktor leaving the murder scene. Plucked off the street, he’s given a chance to find the murderer or become the suspect of convenience. His deadline is nine days later, when Henry Kissinger will be arriving in Moscow. Unsolved ax murders, it seems, aren’t good for politics.
A Newlywed’s Guide to Fortune and Murder (Countess of Harleigh Mystery #6), by Dianne Freeman
With her new husband George busy on a special mission for the British Museum, Frances has taken on an assignment of her own. The dowager Viscountess Winstead needs someone to sponsor her niece, Kate, for presentation to Queen Victoria. Frances—who understands society’s quirks and constraints as only an outsider can—is the perfect candidate.
Kate is charming and intelligent, though perhaps not quite as sheltered as she might first appear. More worrying to Frances is the Viscountess’s sudden deterioration. The usually formidable dowager has become shockingly frail, and Frances suspects someone may be drugging her. The spotlight falls on Kate, who stands to inherit if her aunt passes, yet there are plenty of other likely candidates within the dowager’s household, both above and below stairs.
Joining forces with her beloved George, Frances comes to believe that the late Viscount, too, was targeted. And with the dowager seeming to be in greater danger every day, they must flush out the villain before she follows in her husband’s footsteps, directly to the grave . . .
A Man of Lies, by Ben Crane
Barrett Rye has always been told he can be only one thing in an enforcer. He’s a seven-foot wall of muscle and the most effective collector in the largest criminal enterprise in the Midwest. After he realizes he wants more out of life than hurting people, he and his mob accountant boyfriend, Mickey, decide to steal enough money from their boss to disappear and start over. But they get caught, Mickey is killed, and Barrett is given one chance to pay back his debts.
His plan is simple. He knows that Henry Holzmann, a small-time mafioso in Omaha, has a lead on the score of a lifetime. Barrett can’t get the prize himself, but he’s not trying to. He just needs a piece of it. He is going to cause so much chaos—and throw Holzmann’s life into such disarray—that the man will pay him anything to make it stop.
But nothing ever stays simple, and Barrett has always been too clever for his own good. As the mayhem he has seeded spirals out of control, it will take all his prodigious strength and wit to stay alive, and he’ll have to. Does he want to win, or does he want to be the better man that he has always wanted to be?
Boys in the Valley, Philip Fracassi
St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys.
Turn of the century, in a remote valley in Pennsylvania.
Here, under the watchful eyes of several priests, thirty boys work, learn, and worship. Peter Barlow, orphaned as a child by a gruesome murder, has made a new life here. As he approaches adulthood, he has friends, a future… a family.
Then, late one stormy night, a group of men arrive at their door, one of whom is badly wounded, occult symbols carved into his flesh. His death releases an ancient evil that spreads like sickness, infecting St. Vincent’s and the children within. Soon, boys begin acting differently, forming groups. Taking sides.
Others turn up dead.
Now Peter and those dear to him must choose sides of their own, each of them knowing their lives — and perhaps their eternal souls — are at risk.
The Possibilities, Yael Goldstein-Love
Hannah is having a bad day. A bad month. A bad year? That feels terrible to admit, since her son Jack was born just eight months ago and she loves him more than anything. But ever since his harrowing birth, she can’t shake the feeling that it could have gone the other way. That her baby might not have made it. Terrifying visions of the different paths her life could have taken begin to disrupt her cozy, claustrophobic days with Jack, destabilizing her marriage and making her husband concerned for her mental health. Are the strange things Hannah is seeing just new-mom anxiety, or is something truly weird and sinister afoot? What if Hannah really did unlock a dark force during childbirth?
When Hannah’s worst nightmare comes true and Jack disappears from his crib, she must tap into an extraordinary ability she never knew she had in order to save him: She must enter different versions of her life while holding on to what is most important to her in this one to bring her child back home.
The Siberia Job, Josh Haven
A thrilling adventure inspired by true events, The Siberia Job charts a course through one of the most impactful periods in recent Russian history, whose reverberations continue to be felt in the present day.
After the demise of the Soviet Union, the newly established Russian government privatized its industry by issuing vouchers to all of its citizens, allowing them the chance to be shareholders in the country’s burgeoning businesses. The slips are distributed among the population, and auctions are arranged where they can be exchanged for actual shares. For the country’s rural populations living in abject poverty, the vouchers appear to be little more than pieces of paper, totally separated from the far-off concept of potential future fortunes.
But for Texas businessman John Mills and his Czech companion, Petr Kovac, the seemingly valueless chits suggest a lucrative potential, worth much more than what the current owners are willing to sell them for. They travel to the farthest, coldest reaches of the country to acquire vouchers for the country’s national oil company, Gazneft, roving from town to town with suitcases full of cash. But they quickly learn that the plan has complications–for example, the fact that the auctions at which these vouchers are traded for actual shares have been planned at the most remote, inaccessible locations possible to deter outsiders from buying in. When the Russian mafia and the oligarchs in charge of Gazneft catch wind of their successes, the stakes become suddenly more deadly.
Tress of the Emerald Sea, by Brandon Sanderson
The only life Tress has known on her island home in an emerald-green ocean has been a simple one, with the simple pleasures of collecting cups brought by sailors from faraway lands and listening to stories told by her friend Charlie. But when his father takes him on a voyage to find a bride and disaster strikes, Tress must stow away on a ship and seek the Sorceress of the deadly Midnight Sea. Amid the spore oceans where pirates abound, can Tress leave her simple life behind and make her own place sailing a sea where a single drop of water can mean instant death?
The Egyptian Midwife, by Naomi Munts
Ani and her aunt Hasina are midwives serving the Hebrew community in the ancient Egyptian town of Rowaty. Faced with a cruel royal decree, they must make a terrible betray their calling and be guilty of innocent blood – or risk everything for those who have been declared their enemies…