Clock Dance by Anne Tyler (Knopf, 2018). A woman who has been pining for grandchildren suddenly finds herself in a variation of that role. Classic Tyler!
The Ensemble by Aja Gabel. (Riverhead, 2018). This novel digs deep into the dynamics of a classical music quartet. Physical, mental and musical intimacy make for many complications.
Girl on the Leeside by Kathleen A. Kenney (Anchor, 2018). Siobhan, a shy orphan who loves myths and legends, grows up behind the bar at her uncle's pub in western Ireland. Well into her twenties, she begins to emerge from her shell due to surprising interactions with two visitors.
Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen (MIRA, 2018). A widower quits the Forest Service to go live in an enchanted treehouse. Second chances are the big theme here. One of my favorite characters was an elderly librarian whose library is falling into decrepitude.
Heartland: a Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh (Scribner, 2018). Smarsh gives poverty in America a complete examination, using economic, historical and sociological lenses. Stark and unrelenting, ripping off the scabs from the wounds of poverty the author's family has endured, Heartland begs for group discussions.
Miss You by Kate Eberlen (Macmillan, 2016). Tess and Gus meet in Florence the summer they are both eighteen. Readers then follow them through their young adult years in separate chapters, wondering if or how they might meet again. A suspenseful, saga-like novel which I dearly missed once it ended.
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2002). Imagine that your bother commits murder trying to protect your family. Then he breaks out of jail. Would you try to find him? That's what the Land family must do, setting off on a quest through the Dakota Badlands. Miracles and revelations follow. I hope this books stays in print forever; it reads like a classic.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (Viking, 2011). A love triangle pulls apart the lives of those involved, very much testing the concept of soulmates. Set in Manhattan during 1939, this novel was tense, colorful and hard to put down. Towles really knows how to spin a tale!
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2018). Survival, love, loss, art, ecology and the redemptive powers of nature all tangle together in this tale of a girl named Kya who just about raises herself deep in the marshlands of coastal North Carolina. Oh, and it's also a murder mystery of sorts. Everyone I know who has read this book absolutely raves about it.
The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook (Little, Brown and Company, 2018). When a boy in post-Civil War Texas is called upon by a judge to write letters of testimony about an accused murderer, he proves himself to be quite the colorful storyteller, detailing a madcap journey of revenge and adventure surrounding the hunt for the giant wild panther who killed his mother.