Log In

Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the Table-of-Contents Database.

Get a digital subscription to Publishers Weekly for only $18.95/month.

Your subscription gives you instant access exclusive feature articles on notable figures in the publishing industry, he latest industry news, interviews of up and coming authors and bestselling authors, and access over 200,000 book reviews.

PW "All Access" site license members have access to PW's subscriber-only website content. To find out more about PW's site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time.

Home All Along

Beth Wiseman. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4016-8597-3

In the delightful final installment of Wiseman’s Amish Secrets series (after Love Bears All Things), heroine Charlotte must examine her commitment to her boyfriend, Daniel, as well as her desire to serve God. The story opens with the funeral of Charlotte’s estranged mother, and readers who are new to the series may have trouble following all the dynamics at play; even though Daniel is at Charlotte’s side, some of her Amish friends are missing from the event, among them Lena and Amos, her surrogate parents. It becomes evident that Charlotte, an “English” (non-Amish) transplant, is on shaky ground within the Amish community, and her troubles are compounded by the unexpected arrival of her long-lost younger sister, Andrea, with a baby (and suspect motives) in tow. Outside of Charlotte’s own spiritual struggles, many characters from earlier books face their own dilemmas, which Wiseman uses to slow the pace and examine sticky religious, moral, and ethical issues. Wiseman also ruminates at length on Charlotte’s misery and uncertainty. The conclusion will surprise and please readers who have been rooting for Charlotte to finally find happiness. Agent: Natasha Kern, Natasha Kern Literary. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/15/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Perfectly Undone

Jamie Raintree. Graydon House, $15.99 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-525-81137-1

Raintree’s emotionally intense debut enthralls as one woman attempts to move past the guilt she feels over her sister’s death. Dylan Michels seems to have the perfect life working as a successful ob-gyn in Portland, Ore. But when her pediatrician boyfriend, Cooper, proposes to her, she feels as though she can’t say yes to him. Dylan still harbors secrets about the death of her older sister, Abby, years before, and it holds such influence over her that it she can’t just let herself be happy and get engaged. Her indecision over Cooper’s proposal threatens their relationship, as do her workaholic tendencies, which always caused strain between them. In a surprising mid-story twist, Cooper reveals the sins of his past, and Dylan must decide how to finally absolve herself of responsibility for Abby’s death while considering her future with Cooper. Raintree’s lead characters are vividly realized, and readers will be moved by Dylan’s attempt to come to terms with the blame she has carried for years. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/15/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Under a Pole Star

Stef Penney. Quercus, $26.99 (608p) ISBN 978-1-68144-117-7

This rich, thoroughly satisfying historical tale from Penney (The Invisible Ones) binds together adventure, passion, and love. The story opens with a frame sequence in 1948, as the elderly Flora Cochrane and young Randall Crane are set to fly to the North Pole as part of an American expedition. Randall is fascinated by Flora, so she recounts for him the Arctic explorations that she led a half-century before, a tale that makes up the bulk of the novel. It is on that earlier expedition that she met American geologist Jakob De Beyn, and a spark was struck between them. Though the two parted ways after the expedition, they carried a flame for each other despite living on opposite sides of the Atlantic and Flora’s marriage to another man. Penney’s prose is rapturous, whether she is describing the “overwhelmingly rich—glorious and unnecessary” landscape, or in her detailed and richly imagined passages on the attraction and intimacy between Flora and Jakob. By telling their story through recollection and the letters that they send, Penney imparts an additional layer of suspense, with neither the reader nor the characters knowing what may come, resulting in an exciting and transportive novel. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/15/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The History of Bees

Maja Lunde. Touchstone, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6137-7

In her first adult novel, Norwegian children’s author Lunde posits an apocalyptic future, weaving together stories on three continents in three different time periods that revolve around honeybees. In 2098, Tao, a human pollinator for fruit trees in a world devoid of bees, struggles along with her husband to make ends meet. She’s is devoted to her three-year-old son, Wei-Wen, who suddenly has a mysterious and catastrophic accident. In 1851, William Savage, a father of eight in Hertfordshire, England, believes he has finally come up with an ingenious design for the perfect beehive, which will not only save the family from financial decline but will also bond him with his only son, Edmund. George, a beekeeper in 2007 Ohio, is desperate to have his son, Tom, take over the family business, even though Tom is pursuing an academic career. George prides himself on his work and the hand-built hives that have been in his family for generations, but everything changes when disaster strikes apiaries across the U.S. As the author adroitly switches back and forth among the intense stories, she explores the link between parents and children, and the delicate balance of expressing parental expectations versus allowing grown children to follow their own passions. There is also the strong theme about the potentially bleak outcome for a world that ignores the warning signs of environmental catastrophe and allows honeybees to disappear. Lunde’s novel provides both a multifaceted story and a convincing and timely wake-up call. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 09/15/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Pieces of Happiness

Anne Ostby. Doubleday, $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-54280-7

Ostby’s compassionate and uplifting debut novel is an examination of the intricacies of friendship, the power of freedom, and the potential of inspiration. Kat, owner of a cocoa farm in Fiji, reconnects with her old high school girlfriends by offering them a tempting opportunity: leave their homes in Norway and live together in paradise. The thought of uprooting all they’ve ever known is daunting, but with minimal hesitation, Sina, Ingrid, Lisbeth, and Maya, all in their 60s, soon land on Fijian soil. Each has a defining problem: Sina has a parasitic son, Lisbeth is shackled to a not-so-idyllic marriage, Ingrid has always suppressed her adventurous spirit, Kat wrestles with the fact that the situation with her longtime partner is no longer sustainable, and Maya faces a progressive illness. But together, the friends bloom with confidence and are reinvigorated by the bonds of friendship and the prospect of a successful business endeavor—chocolate making. Finding strength and comfort in one another, the women rediscover the gift of friendship and the blessing of independence. The cast of rich and textured characters drives home the hopeful themes of love and companionship. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 09/15/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Proof of Life: A J.P. Beaumont Novel

J.A. Jance. Morrow, $27.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-265754-1

In bestseller Jance’s entertaining 24th J.P. Beaumont mystery (after 2015’s Dance of the Bones), the 72-year-old retired Seattle homicide cop learns that reporter Maxwell Cole, a fraternity brother of his at the University of Washington, has died in a house fire. Maxwell, afraid that he might be murdered, told a family friend, Erin Howard, that he wanted Beau to investigate if he died, because he didn’t trust the Seattle police to do the job. Beau’s complex past history with Erin leads him to agree to take the case, and Beau’s established contacts with computer whiz Todd Hatcher and medical examiner Rosemary Mellon pave the way as he gathers leads and discovers suspicious anomalies. Beau’s wife, Mel Soames, the police chief of Bellingham, lends a hand, and both tread carefully when clues suggest that former Seattle police chief Lawrence Harden, still a powerful figure, might be involved in Maxwell’s death. Complications in Beau’s personal life, such as fostering Rambo, a 100-pound Irish wolfhound, add spice to this winning blend of humor, compassion, danger, and love. Agent: Alice Volpe, Northwest Literary. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/15/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Atwelle Confession

Joel Gordonson. SelectBooks, $22.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59079-430-2

St. Clement’s, a church in the small English town of Atwelle, is the setting for this inventive, centuries-spanning mystery from Gordonson (That Boy from Nazareth). In 2017, Margeaux Wood, an academic fellow at Cambridge University, comes to St. Clement’s, which is undergoing restoration, to do research. She and architect Don Whitby join forces after discovering that some unusual gargoyles within the church may have something to do with a series of murders in the town. Meanwhile, back in 1532, the year Henry VIII began his attack on the Catholic Church, conflicts arise between the local priest and the villagers as St. Clement’s is being built. As in the present, there’s infighting among the powerful, problems with fund-raising, and murder. Gordonson is at his best when depicting the tensions within the past and present communities. Less convincing are the occult doings in 2017, though the suspense raised by the gargoyle carvings and how they might tie into the murders makes the pages fly in the last third of the book. Agent: William Gladstone, Waterside Productions. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/15/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Doll’s House: A Kate Pearson Novel

Louise Phillips. Polis, $16 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-444743-06-7

In Irish author Phillips’s fascinating follow-up to 2016’s Red Ribbons, Kate Pearson, a psychologist and criminal profiler for the Dublin police, teams up with Detective Inspector O’Connor to investigate the murder of well-known TV personality Keith Jenkins, whose body turned up one morning in Dublin’s Grand Canal. An eyewitness saw two men get out of a car and throw Jenkins into the water. The police autopsy concludes that Jenkins was stabbed multiple times before drowning. Kate thinks it odd that the killer or killers didn’t finish the victim off in the initial knife attack, and odder that they drove a half-dead man to a canal to drown him, leaving the body where it was easily found. Phillips uses multiple points of view to propel the narrative, most strikingly the chapters narrated by Clodagh, a middle-aged woman frightened by the huge gaps in her childhood memories. The suspense rises with Clodagh’s risky decision to go to a hypnotherapist to uncover the secrets in her past, leaving the reader to wonder how her story affects the murder investigation. This entry, winner of the Best Irish Crime Novel of the Year Award, bodes well for future installments. Agent: Ger Nichol, Book Bureau. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 09/15/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Need You Now

Emma Douglas. St. Martin’s, $7.99 mass market (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-11098-5

In this charming but shallow debut, a small California island community’s annual music festival plays host to a romance between a rock star’s daughter and a recently retired tennis champion. Faith Harper is very busy trying to organize the festival her legendary father started, but when she encounters Caleb White, who’s come to CloudFest to figure out his postretirement strategy, she realizes there may be room for some stress-relieving fun and flirtation. Despite instant, easy chemistry and the mutual fulfillment they find in each others’ arms, Faith and Caleb still have to deal with the realities of a relationship born during pressure and uncertainty; their temporary fling might not survive to the end of the week. The core romance is delightful, and the setting feels comfortable, but the inevitable relationship drama comes rather late in the narrative, making the conflict feel both overdue and too hastily resolved. And Faith’s family issues get significant time, but Caleb’s personal problems are much less elaborated upon, contributing to an imbalance in focus and development. It’s a fun, fluffy story, but there’s room for improvement. Agent: Miriam Kriss, Irene Goodman Literary. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/15/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Wychwood

George Mann. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-78329-409-1

An ancient pagan legend concerning a murderous mage casts its dark shadow over contemporary events in this sinuous occult thriller. Elspeth Reeves is newly returned to her mother’s house in Wilsby-under-Wychwood following the loss of her job and her lover. She takes on freelance work writing up a recent series of ritual murders for the local paper. Someone is mimicking the exploits of the Carrion King, a self-proclaimed sorcerer who, legend has it, lived in the nearby forest Wychwood in the ninth century C.E. and killed a cohort of disciples who betrayed him. Mann (Further Associates of Sherlock Holmes) provides readers with several possible suspects to consider, among them an academic and an author who have written on the king and personnel associated with a stage adaptation of his story. The tale’s resolution is formulaic, but Mann’s characters are well drawn, and the culprit’s genuine occult powers add a frisson of the uncanny. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/15/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.