Eek! April! It’s just around the corner. Just last weekend we had snow on the ground and now it’s Spring! My, does time fly!
I’ve attempted to be a little more discerning when adding titles to these “highly anticipated” posts. As I looked back to see how many I actually read, it wasn’t many. So, going forth, I’m hoping to provide a list that’s a little more under control!
As always, I’ve included the titles, the publisher’s summary, and a quick note about why i’m excited about that particular title! Following are the titles publishing the first two weeks of April:
No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts (April 4):
JJ Ferguson has returned home to Pinewood, North Carolina, to build his dream house and to pursue his high school sweetheart, Ava. But as he reenters his former world, where factories are in decline and the legacy of Jim Crow is still felt, he’s startled to find that the people he once knew and loved have changed just as much as he has. Ava is now married and desperate for a baby, though she can’t seem to carry one to term. Her husband, Henry, has grown distant, frustrated by the demise of the furniture industry, which has outsourced to China and stripped the area of jobs. Ava’s mother, Sylvia, caters to and meddles with the lives of those around her, trying to fill the void left by her absent son. And Don, Sylvia’s unworthy but charming husband, just won’t stop hanging around.
JJ’s return—and his plans to build a huge mansion overlooking Pinewood and woo Ava—not only unsettles their family, but stirs up the entire town. The ostentatious wealth that JJ has attained forces everyone to consider the cards they’ve been dealt, what more they want and deserve, and how they might go about getting it. Can they reorient their lives to align with their wishes rather than their current realities? Or are they all already resigned to the rhythms of the particular lives they lead?
No One Is Coming to Save Us is a revelatory debut from an insightful voice; with echoes of The Great Gatsby it is an arresting and powerful novel about an extended African American family and their colliding visions of the American Dream. In evocative prose, Stephanie Powell Watts has crafted a full and stunning portrait that combines a universally resonant story with an intimate glimpse into the hearts of one family.
I’ve always been drawn to small-town America stories. It certainly sounds like an interesting story; I’m sure you’ve all heard of the phrase “You can’t go home again.” It certainly sounds fitting for this particular novel.
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (April 4):
Twenty-six years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Nine years ago: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. Today: with the remainder of the giant robot found and assembled, every question answered about the mysterious contraption raises two more. But the team behind the greatest discovery of the last millennium might be out of time when a second robot suddenly appears, looming over downtown London.
Last year, I devoured (and adored) the audiobook of the first book in this series, Sleeping Giants. It was one of my favorite titles of last year. I cannot wait to start this one. I have the hard copy in hand, thought I’m torn about whether I should wait for the audiobook.
A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain (April 4):
Former FBI agent Kendra Donovan’s attempts to return to the twenty-first century have failed, leaving her stuck at Aldridge Castle in 1815. And her problems have just begun: in London, the Duke of Aldridge’s nephew Alec—Kendra’s confidante and lover—has come under suspicion for murdering his former mistress, Lady Dover, who was found viciously stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved up in a bizarre and brutal way.
Lady Dover had plenty of secrets, and her past wasn’t quite what she’d made it out to be. Nor is it entirely in the past—which becomes frighteningly clear when a crime lord emerges from London’s seamy underbelly to threaten Alec. Joining forces with Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly, Kendra must navigate the treacherous nineteenth century while she picks through the strands of Lady Dover’s life.
As the noose tightens around Alec’s neck, Kendra will do anything to save him, including following every twist and turn through London’s glittering ballrooms, where deception is the norm—and any attempt to uncover the truth will get someone killed.
Once again, this is another second book in a new series, the first title I thoroughly enjoyed.This is an incredibly unique premise. Again, can’t wait to dive in!
Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg (April 4):
Don’t go Outside. Don’t let the Bad in. These are the rules of Foxlowe, where the ragtag Family live under the watchful eye of their leader, Freya. For Green, the youngest, it’s not just home, but everything she knows.
Outside, people live in little square houses, with unhappy families and tedious jobs. At Foxlowe, Green runs free among the wild moors and magical Standing Stones. Outside, people are corrupted by money. At Foxlowe, the Family share everything. Outside, the Bad is everywhere. At Foxlowe, the Family are safe, as long as they follow Freya’s rules and perform her rituals. But the arrival of Blue, Green’s baby sister, upsets this precarious order. Her interest in the Outside grows irrepressible, and before long she starts to talk about becoming a Leaver….
Building inexorably to its terrifying climax, FOXLOWE tells a chilling, irresistible story of superstition and survival, betrayal and redemption, and a utopia gone badly wrong.
Everything about this title sounds spooky an ominous, from the summary to the cover. Definitely my kind of read!
If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (April 11):
Oliver Marks has just served ten years for the murder of one of his closest friends – a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he’s released, he’s greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened ten years ago.
As a young actor studying Shakespeare at an elite arts conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same roles onstage and off – villain, hero, tyrant, temptress – though Oliver felt doomed to always be a secondary character in someone else’s story. But when the teachers change up the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into life.
When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
Sounds a bit like A Secret History, yes? Though quite intriguing, I’ll be interested to see where this one goes! I admit I was quickly won over by the cover (and Emily St. John Mandel’s blurb!)
The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova (April 11):
A young American woman traveling in Sofia, Bulgaria, helps a family into a taxi, only to discover once the car has driven away that she has mistakenly kept one of their bags. She is alarmed to find an urn inside, filled with ashes and engraved with a name, Stoyan Lazarov. Setting out on a journey to track down the Lazarov family and reunite them with their precious package, she finds ever more obstacles in her path even as her determination grows greater, and the mystery behind the significance of the urn deepens. Soon she will realize that this object is tied to the very darkest moments in the nation’s history, and that the stakes behind seeing it safely returned are higher than she could ever have imagined.
Elizabeth Kostova? Need I say more?
There you have it! The first half of my most anticipated reads of April. See anything that catches your eye?