Forthcoming books I can’t wait to read

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Book of speculation by Erika Swyler

This debut novel is being recommended for those who enjoyed the Night Circus and Water for Elephants, but since I have not yet had a chance to read Book of speculation, I can’t say for sure.  Oddly enough, Night Circus and Water for Elephants bear no similarity to each other except for the fact that they both have a circus setting, and apparently Book of speculation does as well.  The book introduces us to Simon Watson, a young librarian on the verge of losing his job, who has a younger sister Enola who works with a travelling carnival.  One day, Simon is sent an ancient book which he discovers  is a log book of a travelling circus from over 200 years ago and apparently his grandmother’s name appears in it.  He also discovers through this book that the women in his family  seem to drown on July 24. Is it possible that the book describes some sort of curse on his family, and could Enola, who has suddenly turned up at home for the first time in six years, risk the same fate? In order to save her–and perhaps himself–Simon must try urgently to decode his family history while moving on from the past. (June publication)

Circling the sun by Paula Mclain

Paula Mclain, the author of The Paris Wife returns with Circling the sun, another fictional account of factual characters.  This time, Mclain depicts the life of Beryl Markham, a British-born Kenyan expat who was the first female horse trainer in Kenya, and became the first woman aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic from East to West.  The novel delves into the love triangle between Markham, Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton, whose lives and tumultuous romance can be read and seen in Out of Africa.  (July publication)

Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman

When God was a rabbit, Winman’s previous debut novel, was nominated for and won several awards.  She now brings us A Year of Marvellous ways, the story of a 90-year-old woman named Marvellous Ways who lives alone beside a remote creek.  Drake, a young soldier returning from World War II, washes up on the shores of Marvellous’ creek and she comes to his aid and heals him in body and in spirit.  A friendship grows between the two as they help each other come to terms with living and with dying.  This is a poetic, complex, literary novel. (June publication)

Last bookaneer by Matthew Pearl

As crazy as it sounds, bookaneers were once a real thing.  Near the end of the 1800’s, proper copyright law had not been established and men and women were employed by publishers to steal and smuggle manuscripts by popular authors so that the publishers could print unauthorized editions and make a lot of money, while depriving the  actual author of any of the profit.  The Last Bookaneer chronicles the imaginary mission of two such bookaneers commissioned to steal Robert Louis Stevenson’s final manuscript before the new copyright laws are implemented. (May publication)

Girl at war by Sara Novic

A debut, coming-of-age novel, Girl at war, chronicles the life of 10 year old Ana Juric growing up in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, in 1991, just before the start of the civil war with Yugoslavia.  As war tears her country apart, Ana is forced to bear witness to the horrors and atrocities and to do whatever is necessary to survive.   Ana eventually makes her way to the United States as a college student but finds herself continuously shaped and haunted by her memories of war, so much so that she returns to Croatia to face her fears, rediscover her home and ultimately find closure.  Early reviews of this book have been fantastic and it is being described as ‘phenomenal’, ‘astounding’, ‘unflinching’, ‘intense’, ‘powerful’, and ‘profoundly moving’. (May publication)