This is Not Over by Holly Brown
Dawn and her husband stay at gorgeous upscale rental on the California coast and live the high life for a weekend. When Dawn returns home, she is shocked to learn that Miranda, the home owner, intends not to return the full deposit as the sheets were, in Miranda’s opinion, ruined with a gray like stain in the center of them. Now through threatening e-mails and bad reviews on Getaway.com the two women begin cyberbullying, each trying to teach the other a lesson. Both women are stubborn and determined to hold their ground but as the story unfolds, told in alternating points of view, it becomes clear that neither woman is as stable as they think they are and each has secrets they are keeping, secrets that hold them back from uncovering the truth of what really occurred during that weekend. But in the end, it is this ferociousness and stubbornness that will save both women from themselves and from each other. A quick read that sometimes gets bogged down in repetition, but that has an ending worth waiting for even if neither woman is ever redeemed in the reader’s eyes.
The Sleepwalker by Chris Bohjalian
Twenty-one-year-old Lianna Ahlberg’s world is turned on end when her mother Annalee disappears one night, sleepwalking, Lianna fears. Annalee suffered terribly from sleepwalking, causing her family great concern over the years, Lianna even had to pull her off a bridge railing one night while Annalee was posing, naked, as one of the decorative angels. As long as her husband, Warren, was in bed with her, Annalee didn’t seem to have a problem, but after years of treatment and no nocturnal wonderings, he decides it is safe to leave their Vermont home and attend a conference in Iowa for a short time. Lianna’s twelve-year-old sister Paige is understandably upset by her mother’s disappearance, almost fierce in her quest to find her while Lianna is, by contrast, almost preternaturally calm. A piece of Annalee’s nightshirt caught on a branch by the river seems to confirm everyone’s worst fears though Annalee had yet to be found. Gavin Rikert, from the state police, has taken a special interest in the case, though Lianna cannot figure out why, and eventually, he develops a special interest in Lianna. Lianna, deciding not to return for the fall semester of her senior year in college, attempts to hold the family together while at the same time continuing the search for Annalee, a search that takes her into places in her parents’ marriage a daughter shouldn’t have to go, a search that will lead her to places she never thought she’s have to go, places from which she can never return.
The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
After filling out a detailed and unusually intense, probing application, Jane scores an ultra-modern, high-tech London apartment that seem to anticipate all her needs…but does it know her too well? Once in the apartment, Jane learns that the previous occupant, Emma, died in the apartment under perhaps, mysterious circumstances. Jane embarks on a dangerous cat and mouse game with her landlord but who is the aggressor and who is the pretty? A tale of obsession that switches between Jane and Emma’s stories, weaving them together irrevocably in this tale of obsessions with twists and turns that don’t stop until after the final page is turned.
My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry
Lily, a young lawyer, has married Ed an artist, and plans to make a fresh start at life, moving on from family secrets and guilt she has been carrying since she was a teenager. An appeal case, Lily’s first murder case, her firm has taken on changes everything. When Lily meets the clever, smart Joe who has been convicted of killing his girlfriend, she is drawn into a dangerous cat and mouse game that will change her life for years in unforeseen ways. At the same time, there is a nine-year-old girl living in Lily and Ed’s building who lives with her single mother who moved from Italy to London. Carla has more secrets than any nine-year-old should have, but has also learned that knowledge is power and has learned to manipulate people to get whatever she wants. Sixteen years later, Lily and Ed have an autistic son and Ed’s art has finally taken off, including some portraits he did of Carla when she was a child. Now Carla returns with an agenda, an agenda that can only end in one way, and one that reintroduces Joe into Lily’s life asking questions that Lily is not ready to answer, even to herself.
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
On New Year’s Eve 1984, 84-year-old Lillian Boxfish, once the highest paid advertising woman in America decides to take a walk from her Murray Hill apartment; through lower Manhattan, she meets new people, and revisits her life, making peace with her choices and with her future. Heading out to get a pre-supper drink, Lillian has a final Negroni of 1984, finds she is too full from half a package of Oreo cookies to have supper at her usual restaurant; a restaurant she learns is going to be sold to the owner’s nephew in the new year. Deciding to walk almost three miles to Delmonico’s where she and her ex-husband had their divorce dinner almost thirty years prior, Lillian takes the time to reflect on coming to Manhattan from Washington D.C. in the 1920’s. Her dry wit and delightful verse earned her a spot on R.H. Macy’s advertising team and quickly catapulted her to the top of her trade. Lillian eschewed marriage and motherhood and was a surprised as anyone when she fell head over heels in love with a seventh floor carpet salesman Max and had to leave her job almost a decade later, pregnant with their only child, Gian. Lillian recalls her books on “lunch time” poetry that were published in the 1930’s and muses on the state of the city mid-1980’s. Along her walk, Lillian encounters kind people giving her hope that the city will get better as it always has in the past. Alternating chapters recount Lillian’s present day journey and her journey in life, including a difficult time mid-century when she sunk into a deep depression that required intensive treatment, but Lillian came through with the grace and aplomb that served her well throughout her life, the same grace and aplomb she exhibits on her ten-mile-walk through Manhattan on a chilly evening. Lillian Boxfish is an engaging heroine, someone to delight in and yearn to be like. Her candid reflections of the growth of a city and the snapshot view of her present day city bring Manhattan to life the way many of the most beloved writers of the twentieth-century did, a remarkable feat for Kathleen Rooney a resident of Chicago. Rooney, who is a young writer, also portrays an elderly woman reflecting on her life with the same acuity she portrays the hopes and dreams of a young woman of Lillian’s memory. Lillian Boxfish is indefatigable in not only her instance on making this New Year’s Eve journey on her terms, but in the way she lived her life---so far---on her terms.
Home Sweet Home by April Smith
Living in New York City during the 1950’s, Calvin Kusek, a World War II pilot hero and an attorney, and his wife Betsy, a nurse, should be at the top of their game. They met after Betsy was arrested in a department store protest supporting unionization and a brief stint as a member of the Communist Party. Eager to escape all the trappings they fear for their family, they decide to move across the country to a small town in South Dakota where a war buddy of Cal’s offers the two a chance to start over and even try their hands at cattle ranching. Hard work though it is, Cal and Betsy, and their daughter Jo and son Lance, quickly fall in love with this new way of life; though they are ideologically different than their neighbors they are respected and fit comfortably into the community. When a State Assembly seat becomes open, Cal runs for and easily wins three turns. When his ambitions turn to the U.S. Senate, his friends and opponents become suspicious of him and Betsy finds the FBI investigating her and her activities as a young woman and a smear campaign begins, turning neighbor against neighbor and entire state against Cal and his family; a libel lawsuit vindicates the family but causes deep ruptures in their relationships, ruptures that don’t heal until one night thirty years later when Lance and his family are brutally murdered in their home. A town now comes to Jo’s side, though she has been living in the Pacific Northwest for many years, supporting her and offering their assistance into finding out who committed such a heinous crime, even if it means opening up wounds that never really healed, but have stayed dormant, a series of events that not only reunites families but will preserve the land for generations to come.
Calvin Kusek and his family move from 1950’s New York City to South Dakota where they embrace a new way of life, learning to fit in with their new neighbors in spite of their liberal tendencies. Everything changes when Cal runs for public office and the family finds themselves under a cloud of suspicion, one that will tear their lives apart until many years later, a horrific event brings a daughter back to her home town and gives everyone a chance to heal and move forward. For fans of Jane Smiley
Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
Kate Priddy agrees to swap her London apartment with a distant cousin, Corbin Dell in Boston hoping that the time away will help heal her neurotic tendencies after being kidnapped and held hostage by an ex-boyfriend. Once in Boston, however, Kate is shocked to learn that Corbin’s next door has been murdered and that the police are interested in talking with Corbin. Curiosity gets the better part of Kate, especially after she meets her neighbor across the courtyard who, though he didn’t know the murdered woman, seems to know an awful lot about her, including the fact that Corbin frequently visited her in spite of his not admitting to knowing her that well. The more Kate learns about her cousin, the less she knows what is real and as a killer is slowly revealed she finds herself in a dangerous maze in which she’ll have to trust someone, but will she pick the person who can keep her alive? Full of twists and turns, Peter Swanson once again plumbs the depth of human emotion keeping the tension high, even until the last page that may leave some readers wondering if Kate has made the right choice, the choice that will keep her alive.
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
When Louise kisses the man at the bar she has no idea he is her new boss David, her new married boss, nor does she have any idea that she and his beautiful wife Adele will become close friends, keeping their relationship a secret from David. As Louise observes David and Adele’s relationship from the point of view of first a secretary, then a friend, then a lover, she knows something isn’t quite right in the marriage but the more questions she asks the more things don’t seem right. A frightening tale of coming undone with an unforeseen, shocking twist at the end; it has been said before "You'll never see this ending coming" but never has it been more true than with this debut.