There’s something about the darker days and colder weather that makes the pile of books on my nightstand grow even deeper. For me, the perfect ending to a winter day brings a pair of thick socks, a heated blanket, and a really good book.
Here are some of the great books that came to us in 2018 and are sure to provide our Savvy readers with enough pages to settle into a cozy hibernation.
Mystery & Intrigue
The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall
An examination of the American family, this novel tells the story of a father George, a beloved science teacher at the local school, who is known as a hero for stopping a school shooting, and his wife, Joan, a hardworking ER nurse, and the children they are raising in a quaint lakeside town. Until one night, when a police car pulls up to the family home and George is charged with sexual misconduct following accusations by students from his daughter’s school. The story follows the family as they wrestle with the truth and what it means to be loyal.
The Woman in The Window by A.J. Finn
A thrilling story about a reclusive woman, named Anna, who spends her days and nights bound to her New York City home. When a seemingly perfect family moves in across the street, she begins to watch them and one night sees something from her window that she shouldn’t. From then on, her world begins to fall apart. As the story unravels, Anna must decide what is real and who is in danger.
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott
The already unlikely high school friendship of moderately ambitious Kit and trailblazer Diane takes an unexpected turn the day Diane shares a secret that changes everything. A decade later, Kit thinks she’s put all it behind her until she faces Diane again when they are both competing for the same coveted position in a ground-breaking research project. They soon find themselves revisiting elements of their relationship that now threaten to destroy them both.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
This is the award-winning story of an 11-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation. Washington Black captures the attention of his master’s brother, Christopher Wilde, and becomes his manservant. He is surprised to discover his new master is an explorer and adventurer, and over time they begin to close the divide between them and see each other’s humanity. Then a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Washington’s head. Christopher and Wash take flight to the remote Arctic, and are eventually torn apart, leaving Wash to go even further across the globe in search of his true self.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
This historical fiction follows two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947. When Charlie flees to post-war Europe, pregnant and unmarried, she goes in search of her beloved cousin. There she meets Eve who is living alone and haunted by the betrayal that tore apart the Alice Network thirty years earlier. Together they go on a mission to find the truth and reunite with someone who meant something both of them.
Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
This is a story about a love that blooms in the darkest of conditions. In 1942, Lale, who speaks several languages is forced to work as a tattooist in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, where he tattoos the arms of thousands of prisoners and, ultimately, uses his position of power to exchange goods for food to feed his fellow prisoners. He encounters a woman named Gita, as she waits to have her number tattooed onto her arm. And at that moment, he vows to survive camp and marry her.
Women Talking by Miriam Toews
For two years, prior to the night eight women met secretly in a hayloft, hundreds of women in a Mennonite colony have been drugged and attacked by men from their own community. Now they must decide how to protect themselves and their daughters from further harm. The choice they face: do they stay in their world or dare to escape? This novel is based on the minutes taken during the women’s’ meetings and allow readers to bear witness to their uprising as they come together to reclaim their power.
Scarborough by Catherine Hernandez
Scarborough is a low-income, culturally diverse neighbourhood east of Toronto, and like many inner-city communities, it faces issues of poverty and crime. This novel follows the story of the people in this neighbourhood, including Victor, a black artist harassed by the police; Winsum, a West Indian restaurant owner struggling to keep it together; and Hina, a Muslim school worker and a feisty heroine, who witnesses first-hand the impact of poverty on education. The children in the story light up the pages with their resilience and inspire hope, even in the face of the despair their families face. This story reminds readers of our humanity and the importance of taking a closer look at the stories of the people around us.
The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown
A woman named Lucy discovers her vivid and very real-to-her memories are actually what’s medically known as false memory following a blow to the head that left her in a coma. The man she thinks she is married to is someone she broke up with four years earlier, and the man who is actually devoted to her is someone she remembers as nothing more than a work colleague. This story follows Lucy’s journey to discovering who she really is, as she faces difficult decisions about who she wants to be.
How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson
A perfect read for any mom moving from the mind-numbing baby days to the panic-inducing stage of navigating teenagers, which come during a time that our own identities are already so utterly confusing. This is a follow-up to the delightful I Don’t Know How She Does It and follows the life trajectory of beloved mom and wife, Kate Reddy, as she is forced to return to the workforce while navigating this turbulent stage of life. Readers will cheer for Kate as she faces unexpected challenges alongside the usual stress that comes with this phase of life with humour and poignancy.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
If you loved The Rosie Project then here comes another great read about the gifts that come from being an outlier. We meet and fall for Eleanor, who is socially awkward and can’t help saying exactly what she’s thinking. She has a routine that she is comfortable with, but it’s all turned on its head when she and a kind IT guy from her office, Raymond, save an elderly gentleman who falls on the sidewalk. The unlikely friendship that blooms between the three of them changes Eleanor’s life. Raymond’s kindness helps her to confront secrets she has avoided and finally step outside her routines to find friendship and even love.
Go ahead and build a pile of books to get you through the winter. Your warmest pyjamas and these wonderful stories are waiting for you.
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