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May 6, 2017

So Many New Books This Month

by Susan Roberts

I've read a lot of wonderful books that are publishing in May 2017 - so many that I divided them into two posts. Publishers know that people have more time to read in the summer and this is the time of the year that many of the best books are published.

Amazon affiliate links are used in this post. ARCs were provided for honest reviews.

All the Best People
May 2017; Berkley; 978-0399583490
ebook, audio, print (368 pages)
women's fiction
All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg

ALL THE BEST PEOPLE is a novel about mental illness and its effect on three generations of a Vermont family. It's a fantastic novel and the characters are extremely well written. It also shows how mental illness was dealt with in the past by family and society.

Solange is the first member of the family to suffer a breakdown in the novel. Her story takes place in the 30s when she was a young girl from the 'wrong side of the tracks'who fell in love with a rich man. They disagreed vehemently about how the poor and the mentally ill should be treated until their lives were so far apart that they began to dislike each other. They had a child, Carole, and then later a second child who inadvertently was the reason that Solange was sent to a mental hospital, where she remained for the rest of her life. Carole is Solange's daughter and she is having hallucinations and no longer able to cope. She is afraid to tell anyone and just pulls more into herself much to her family's confusion and dismay. Allison is one of Carole's children and her only daughter. She is totally bewildered by what is going on with her mother and she feels unloved as her mother retreats into her own world.

The characters are fantastically written in this novel. The way that the author tells us Carole's story as she becomes more and more detached from reality is so well done that I could feel her pain and confusion. The ending of the novel is perfect and now that I've finished the book, I'd like to check back with Carole and her family to see how they are doing!

My prediction is that this is going to be one of the top books of 2017. Get your copy as soon as it publishes - you need to and want to read this book!

Buy All the Best People at Amazon

The Baker's Secret
May 2017; William Morrow; 9780062369581
ebook, audio, print (320 pages)
historical fiction
The Baker's Secret by Stephen P. Kiernan

I read a lot of WWII fiction and this is one of the best that I've read that concentrates on the suffering of a small town in France during the occupation. The people in the town don't have any real idea of what is going on in the big picture of the war, they mainly know how it is affecting them to have German troops occupying their town and ruling their lives.

The novel takes place in Vergers, a small village in France about a mile from the ocean near Normandy and centers around the town baker, Emma. Emma had been ordered by the German command to bake 12 loaves of bread for them every day and was given enough flour to bake just 12 loaves and no more. Instead she mixed ground up straw with her dough so that she had enough dough to make 14 loaves and could share 2 loaves with the people in town who were the hungriest.   Her mentor had been killed by the Germans, her father had been sent away on a train and her boyfriend had been sent to join the German army, Emma feels that it is her duty to help the people in her town as best she can. Emma is courageous and puts her life on the line to help other people. She doesn't think of herself as heroic but feels that she is doing what needs to be done to help people get through each day.

The author does a fantastic job of depicting the realities of war on the people who are not part of the fighting but are the collateral damage of the war. He gives an honest portrayal of the indignities that the Germans forced onto the citizens and depicts the lives of the people who are starving and desperate in detail. This is a novel about looking for a flicker of light in the darkness and being able to find it with the help of friends.

Buy The Baker's Secret at Amazon 

The Book of Summer
May 2017; St. Marten's Press; 9781250070623
ebook, audio, print (416 pages)
women's fiction
The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

I loved this book. All of the main characters were fantastic and so well written with all of their character flaws on display. The main characters are Bess - a physician from California who has returned to Nantucket to help her mom pack up her house; Cissy - Bess's mom who is a real rebel;
Ruby - Bess's grandmother who is long deceased but tells much of the story and The Cliff House - the magnificent house, build by Bess's parents that is now close to falling into the sea due to erosion of the cliffs. The story is told in alternating time periods - Cissy and Bess in modern day and Bess's narrative takes place in the 40s. It's a story of love and loss, family and forgiveness. But overall it's the story of a house and the women who lived in it and tried to live their lives as well as they could despite issues that were going on in the world outside their door. I have read all of Michelle's books and they are all fantastic.

Available May 9
Buy The Book of Summer at Amazon

I'll have more May books that I've read later in the month.  Thanks for reading and let me know what new releases you are reading!

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends.  She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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