Abandoned by her parents, Olga is raised by her grandmother in a Prussian village around the turn of the 20th century. Smart and precocious, endearing but uncompromising, she fights against the prejudices of the time to find her place in a world that sees women as second-best. When Olga falls in love with Herbert, a local aristocrat obsessed with gaining all the power, glory and greatness the modern age can provide, her life is irremediably changed. Their love goes against all odds and encounters many obstacles, entwined with the twisting paths of German history, leading us from the late 19th to the early 21st century, from Germany to Africa and the Arctic, from the Baltic Sea to the German south-west. Unfolding across centuries, Olga is an epic romance, and a wrenching tale of devotion to a restless man in a fateful moment of great rebellion. Though Olga lives her life within the margins of others, her magnetic presence breathes vivid life into these pages. Told in three distinct parts—which brilliantly shift from different points of view to the epistolary form—Schlink paints a full portrait of a singular woman’s complex life.
In this stunning debut novel—a tale of self-discovery and feminist awakening—a feisty Nigerian-Ghanaian girl growing up amid the political upheaval of late 1960s postcolonial Ghana begins to question the hypocrisy of her patriarchal society, and the restrictions and unrealistic expectations placed on women.
An exhilarating, provocative novel of motherhood in extremis. Tiny is pregnant. Her husband is delighted. “You think this baby is going to be like you, but it’s not like you at all,” she warns him. “This baby is an owl-baby.” When Chouette is born small and broken-winged, Tiny works around the clock to meet her daughter’s needs. Left on her own to care for a child who seems more predatory bird than baby, Tiny vows to raise Chouette to be her authentic self. Even in those times when Chouette’s behaviors grow violent and strange, Tiny’s loving commitment to her daughter is unwavering. When she discovers that her husband is on an obsessive and increasingly dangerous quest to find a “cure” for their daughter, Tiny must decide whether Chouette should be raised to fit in or to be herself—and learn what it truly means to be a mother. Arresting, darkly funny, and unsettling, Chouette is a brilliant exploration of ambition, sacrifice, perceptions of ability, and the ferocity of motherly love.
In his first work of narrative nonfiction, Matthew Pearl, bestselling author of acclaimed novel The Dante Club, explores the little-known true story of the kidnapping of legendary pioneer Daniel Boone’s daughter and the dramatic aftermath that rippled across the nation. On a quiet midsummer day in 1776, weeks after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, thirteen-year-old Jemima Boone and her friends Betsy and Fanny Callaway disappear near the Kentucky settlement of Boonesboro, the echoes of their faraway screams lingering on the air. A Cherokee-Shawnee raiding party has taken the girls as the latest salvo in the blood feud between American Indians and the colonial settlers who have decimated native lands and resources. Hanging Maw, the raiders’ leader, recognizes one of the captives as Jemima Boone, daughter of Kentucky’s most influential pioneers, and realizes she could be a valuable pawn in the battle to drive the colonists out of the contested Kentucky territory for good. With Daniel Boone and his posse in pursuit, Hanging Maw devises a plan that could ultimately bring greater peace both to the tribes and the colonists. But after the girls find clever ways to create a trail of clues, the raiding party is ambushed by Boone and the rescuers in a battle with reverberations that nobody could predict. As Matthew Pearl reveals, the exciting story of Jemima Boone’s kidnapping vividly illuminates the early days of America’s westward expansion, and the violent and tragic clashes across cultural lines that ensue. In this enthralling narrative in the tradition of Candice Millard and David Grann, Matthew Pearl unearths a forgotten and dramatic series of events from early in the Revolutionary War that opens a window into America’s transition from colony to nation, with the heavy moral costs incurred amid shocking new alliances and betrayals.
A Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings’ family explores America’s racial reckoning through the prism of her ancestors—both the enslaver and the enslaved.
Sweetbitter meets The Firm in this buzzy, page-turning debut novel—already optioned to Netflix—about sex and power in the halls of corporate America. Alex Vogel has always been a high achiever who lived her life by the book—star student and athlete in high school, prelaw whiz in college, Harvard Law School degree. Accepting a dream offer at the prestigious Manhattan law firm of Klasko & Fitch, she promises her sweet and supportive longtime boyfriend that the job won’t change her. Yet Alex is seduced by the firm’s money and energy . . . and by her cocksure male colleagues, who quickly take notice of the new girl. She’s never felt so confident and powerful—even the sexual innuendo and chauvinistic banter with her brash male colleagues and clients feels fun. In the firm’s most profitable and competitive division, Mergers and Acquisitions, Alex works around the clock, racking up billable hours and entertaining clients late into the evening. While the job is punishing, it has its perks, like a weekend trip to Miami, a ride in a client’s private jet, and more expense-account meals than she can count. But as her clients’ expectations and demands on her increase, and Alex finds herself magnetically drawn to a handsome coworker despite her loving relationship at home, she begins to question everything—including herself. She knows the corporate world isn’t black and white, and that to reach the top means playing by different rules. But who made those rules? And what if the system rigged so that women can’t win, anyway? When something happens that reveals the dark reality of the firm, Alex comes to understand the ways women like her are told—explicitly and implicitly—how they need to behave to succeed in the workplace. Now, she can no longer stand by silently—even if doing what’s right means putting everything on the line to expose the shocking truth.
The Ghost Factory is a powerful debut novel set against the backdrop of the Irish Troubles, ideal for fans of Roddy Doyle and Jezz Butterworth’s The Ferryman. The Troubles turned Northern Ireland into a ghost factory: as the manufacturing industry withered, the death business boomed. In trying to come to terms with his father’s sudden death, and the attack on his harmless best friend Titch, Jacky is forced to face the bullies who still menace a city scarred by conflict. After he himself is attacked, he flees to London to build a new life. But even in the midst of a burgeoning love affair he hears the ghosts of his past echoing, pulling him back to Belfast, crying out for retribution and justice. Written with verve and flair, and spiked with humor, The Ghost Factory marks the arrival of an auspicious new talent.
Written with the haunting emotional power of Elizabeth Strout and Barbara Kingsolver, an astonishing debut novel that explores the lingering effects of a brutal crime on the women of one small Texas oil town in the 1970s. Mercy is hard in a place like this . . .It’s February 1976, and Odessa, Texas, stands on the cusp of the next great oil boom. While the town’s men embrace the coming prosperity, its women intimately know and fear the violence that always seems to follow. In the early hours of the morning after Valentine’s Day, fourteen-year-old Gloria Ramirez appears on the front porch of Mary Rose Whitehead’s ranch house, broken and barely alive. The teenager had been viciously attacked in a nearby oil field—an act of brutality that is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, one of the town’s women decides to take matters into her own hands, setting the stage for a showdown with potentially devastating consequences.
Valentine is a haunting exploration of the intersections of violence and race, class and region in a story that plumbs the depths of darkness and fear, yet offers a window into beauty and hope. Told through the alternating points of view of indelible characters who burrow deep in the reader’s heart, this fierce, unflinching, darkly funny, and surprisingly tender novel illuminates women’s strength and vulnerability, and reminds us that it is the stories we tell ourselves that keep us alive.
Recently married, psychologist Bea and Dan, a mixed-race artist, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic.
When Alex and Bea’s parents make a surprise visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea is so appalled, or why she’s never wanted him to know them; Liv and Griff Adamson are charming, and rich. They are the richest people he has ever met. Maybe Bea’s ashamed of him, or maybe she regrets the secrets she’s been keeping.
Tragedy strikes suddenly, brutally, and in its aftermath the family is stripped back to its heart, and then its rotten core, and even Bea with all her strength and goodness can’t escape.
A chilling page-turner and impossible to put down, The Snakes is Sadie Jones at her best: breathtakingly powerful, brilliantly incisive, and utterly devastating.
With the masterful pacing of Before the Fall, the charged domestic drama of Big Little Lies, and the audacious structure of The Girl on the Train comes a thrilling novel centered around a group of women whose lives become indelibly connected when one of their newborns goes missing. Unfolding over the course of thirteen fraught days and culminating in an exquisite and unexpected twist, The Perfect Mother is the perfect book for our times—a nuanced and addictively readable story that exposes the truth of modern mothers’ lives as it explores the power of an ideal that is based on a lie.