What kind of year will 2014 be for books? Will this first month of the year set the tone for the rest? Here are the new book releases that show promise for January, including a recommendation from Oprah, the continuation of popular series and a hot debut.
'The Invention of Wings' by Sue Monk Kidd - January 7
I loved Sue Monk Kidd's debut novel, The Secret Life of Bees
. Unfortunately, I did not like her next novel, The Mermaid Chair
. Her third novel, The Invention of Wings
, was chosen for Oprah's Book Club
before it was even published. The Invention of Wings
is based on the real historical figure, Sarah Grimke, with the details embellished. It is the story of a young girl in Charleston in the nineteenth century who is given ownership of her own slave. The book follows these two women over their life and looks at their relationship and their struggle against the constraints on each of them as women and as a slave.
'The Visionist' by Rachel Urquhart - January 14
A new year, a new author. This debut novel is about a teenager in the 1840s who hides in a Shaker community after killing her abusive father. The girl is seeking refuge, but finds new problems within the community. This book has received a lot of pre-publication buzz.
'Hollow City' by Ransom Riggs - January 14
is the sequel to Ransom Riggs' bestselling young adult novel, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
. Hollow City
picks up right where the first novel ends, and, like the first novel, it is peppered with odd old photographs throughout. These books have appealed to adults as well as teenagers.
'Before We Met' by Lucie Whitehouse - January 21
Before We Met is a suspense novel about an American woman who marries a British man and then suspects he might be having an affair when he doesn't return from a business trip on time. She also learns about lies he has told co-workers. This novel takes some twists and turns while Hannah tries to find out the truth.
'Still Life with Bread Crumbs' by Anna Quindlen - January 28
Anna Quindlen's new novel is about a woman in her 60s who leaves her Manhattan apartment for a cabin in the woods after her marriage ends. She is a photographer looking for new inspiration, and she finds that, plus friendship with a local roofer at her cabin. To me, this sounds like Nicholas Sparks
; but surely Quindlen has more up her sleeve than sad romance.
'The Ghost of Mary Celeste' by Valerie Martin - January 28
The Ghost of Mary Celeste is historical fiction based on a ship that was found off the coast of Spain in 1872. The ship, named Mary Celeste, showed no sign of struggle and the cargo was all there but the crew was missing. Valerie Martin explores this mystery while telling the story of a young writer and looking at religious fervor during this period.
'The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches' by Alan Bradley - January 14
This is the sixth novel in a crime series about an 11 year old detective -- Flavia de Luce -- who lives in England just after World War II. In this latest installment, Flavia is at the train station to meet the remains of her mother (who died many years before but whose remains were just discovered) when a stranger whispers a cryptic message in her ear. Minutes later, the stranger is pushed in front of a train and dies.