The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

My first five-star read of the year. The story follows Yale Tishman, the development director for a university art museum, and Fiona, the younger sister of the first of his friends to die of AIDS. The novel follows two timelines: the 1980s AIDS crisis in Chicago and...

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Kacey and Mickey grow up poor in a neighborhood rocked by the opioid crisis; their mother was lost to addiction when they were young. Kacey is now an addict living on the streets, while Mickey has become a police woman working in the neighborhood. When Kacey...

The Mother in Law by Sally Hepworth

A twisty domestic thriller. When Lucy meets her wealthy, elegant, and controlling mother in law Diana, she is aware that she doesn’t quite measure up. Five years later, Diana is found dead, an apparent suicide, but there is none of the poison from the bottle she is...

The World that We Knew by Alice Hoffman

In 1940 Berlin, two Jewish families come together as the Nazi grip tightens. Hanni, mother of 12-year-old Lea, goes to the daughter of a renowned rabbi and asks her to create a female golem to guard her daughter in her stead. Ava the golem and Lea head to Paris, as...

The Playground by Jane Shemilt

Three very different couples living in London become connected, first through their children, then to each other. The parents are self-absorbed, careless, neglectful of their children, and mostly unlikable.  A tragedy midway through the book, domestic abuse, and...

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

On her 25th birthday, Libby Jones receives a letter from an attorney advising her that her birth parents have left her a mansion worth millions in London’s Chelsea section. Twenty-five years ago, baby Libby was found in her cot in that same mansion, with three dead...