What Book Should I Read Next?

With Love, From Europe

From today’s Dublin Strand to the Ritz in 1940’s Paris; to a modern-day Dutch housing estate/isolated Scottish isle, these three novels will take you on a satisfying, if whirlwind, tour of Europe.

The one set in Ireland

LyingLying in Wait
by Liz Nugent
Paperback $16
On Street: February 2019
Scout Press / Simon & Schuster

Something’s rotten in the country of Ireland…it could be the dead body of Annie Doyle, a drug-addled prostitute, or it could be the creepy, overly-intimate relationship of the wife and son of the man who killed her.

Dad Andrew is a respected judge; he lives with his wealthy wife in Avalon, the five bedroom Georgian house in South County, Dublin, where she was raised. Son Laurence may be overweight, ungainly, and mercilessly bullied at school, but he’s more clever than he is given credit for, especially by his devoted mother. When Karen, the sister of the missing woman, crosses paths with Laurence, he already knows something is very wrong in his home–even if he doesn’t know about the body buried in the family’s tidy garden. Now he is determined to unearth the truth.

Why it’s Worth Choosing

  • In addition to creating a chilling psychological thriller, the author has written a detailed study of the sinister sociopathic mind.
  • Liz Nugent was named Irish Woman of the Year in Literature for 2017.
    • Her first novel, Unraveling Oliver, was named Crime Novel of the Year by the Irish Book Awards.

The One Set in France

MistressMistress of the Ritz
Melanie Benjamin
Hardback: $28
On Street: May 21 / Delacorte Press

Famous occupants of Paris’s Ritz Hotel:

  • George Balanchine
  • Coco Chanel
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Doris Duke
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Cole Porter
  • the Duke and Duchess of Windsor

Infamous occupants of Paris’s Ritz Hotel in March 1940:  Hermann Goering and his Nazi bullyboys. But Blanche, the manager’s Jewish American wife, isn’t about to give up without a fight. She and her patriotic husband join the Resistance, risking their marriage, their freedom, and ultimately their lives in the fight to liberate France.

Why it’s Worth Choosing
This novel is inspired by real WWII French Resistance heroes Blanche Auzello and her husband Claude. It is always a joy to read a novel in which a place like the luxurious Ritz Hotel, created in 1898, becomes a character. And nobody examines the complexities of women’s loves and lives like this author. For proof, read Melody Benjamin’s Swans of Fifth Avenue or The Aviator’s Wife.

The one set in Holland/Scotland

DarknessThe Darkness That Divides Us
Renate Dorrestein
Paperback, $16.99
On Street: May 21, 2019 / World Editions

Living on an idyllic Dutch housing estate, Lucy used to be the most popular girl in elementary school. But when a bizarre crime rocked her world and sent her mother to prison, Lucy’s childhood exploded into an ordeal of constant, vicious bullying. Now her mother is out of prison, so they decide to make a clean start on a rugged Scottish isle. But escaping your past is never that easy.

Told in the alternating voices of Lucy and her bullies, this darkly atmospheric and emotionally spellbinding story is part family drama and part mystery.

Why it’s Worth Choosing

  • Award-winning author Dorrestein is known internationally for her unsentimental depiction of children and their flawed families.
  • Her wicked humor offsets the darkness of the subjects.
  • All the chapters have “Sue Grafton-inspired titles” (my observation) like A is for Abacus, B is for Beetles, C is for Crisis, etc. How fun is that?
  • It is translated from the Dutch, so we’re lucky to even be able to read it.

 

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