The Book of Speculation
Protagonist Simon might be a librarian by trade, but no training could prepare him for the book this novel’s named for, one that unravels the story of the remarkable women in his family—all circus performers who’ve mysteriously drowned on the same date. Part sideshow and part thriller, the smart story follows Simon as he races to discover the secret behind his family’s curse with only days before his troubled, beloved sister could become its next victim.
Among the Ten Thousand Things
It isn’t long after Jack’s mistress shares an anthology of his love letters with his blindsided wife that his life—the comfortable existence of a middle-aged, Manhattan-based artist—changes drastically for the worse. What comes next in this nimbly written tale aren’t more endings but instead beginnings—and moving ones—for Jack, his wife, Deb, and their two children. Pierpont’s debut artfully charts how a family is undone and then carefully patched back together.
Church of Marvels
The New York City of 1895, a brutal yet poignant place with its Coney Island attractions, Lower East Side tenements, underground opium dens and island lunatic asylums, comes vividly alive in Parry’s novel. With adeptly shifting viewpoints, the storyline follows the fate of four outsiders—Belle, Odile, Alphie and Sylvan—all of them strangers whose fates weave together in a resolution that is both satisfying and deeply affecting.
Luckiest Girl Alive
This darkly twisted spin on having it all comes from a former Cosmopolitan editor, and fittingly, its ambitious protagonist is an editor at a glossy magazine with an old-money fiancé, a Tribeca loft and a 25-inch waist. But shocking traumas from her past threaten to destroy her carefully constructed facade. A gesture to Knoll’s own experiences in the vicious world of women’s magazines, her debut novel is a sharp, cattily funny, self-aware and captivating read.