Entangled Lives

Fiction 5

Uncover tales that examine complicated lives touched by heartache, grief and forgiveness. From modern times to colonialism, these new releases give us varying perspectives on the ways lives are intertwined.

1. Separation Anxiety by Laura Zigman

Judy’s willing to try anything to fix her life. Her husband has become a pothead and thanks to her tanking writing career she can’t afford to divorce him. Her teenage son ignores her. Her best friend is dying. Judy’s solution is to put her dog in a baby sling so she can feel connected to another living being.

“I love Separation Anxiety…. Laura Zigman is an emotional sharp-shooter—she is able to home in on the most tender, revealing, exquisitely painful aspects of our relationships with others and with ourselves. And somehow she manages to come out the other end with hope, having found what was most meaningful after all. And by the way, I can totally relate to the desire to wear one’s dog. If I could, I would.” –Chelsea Handler author of Life Will Be the Death of Me

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2. On the Corner of Hope and Main by Beverly Jenkins

“The residents of Henry Adams, Kansas, prepare to elect a new mayor.

“Town matriarch Bernadine Brown is dealing with problems both personal and professional. Bernadine is struggling to move forward with her lover, Malachi July, after a terrible betrayal, and she sees how the upcoming mayoral election is causing fractures and fault lines in families throughout Henry Adams. The 10th installment of Jenkins’ (Rebel, 2019, etc.) Blessings series is filled to the brim with characters and subplots, and if it starts off with perhaps too much exposition about events from past books, the people are still compelling. Women prioritizing their own feelings and needs in order to forgive and move forward is the thematic and emotional core of the book. Of particular note is the focus on longtime married couple Sheila and Barrett Payne. Sheila is still reeling from the devastating discovery of her husband’s infidelity despite her years of unwavering support for his military career. Barrett announces his plans to run for mayor and expects Sheila’s support, but Sheila has her own plans to run for mayor. Like most of the candidates, Sheila lacks political experience, but she presents a well-researched platform that will benefit all the town’s citizens. When Barrett tells her that she ‘[doesn’t] know the first thing about running a town,’ Sheila stands up for herself and her dreams. As the election continues, Bernadine’s ex-husband, Leo, appears in town, hoping to gain revenge for perceived slights in the past. Although the multiple long-running plotlines and extensive backstories might prove to be an impediment to new readers, this is still a charming installment full of warm, interesting characters. The small-town drama is intense, but Jenkins merrily moves the plot forward, always rewarding good people and punishing wrongdoers.” – Kirkus Reviews

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3. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Lydia and Freddie have been in love for more than a decade and they’re finally engaged. Their future is shattered when police officers arrive at Lydia’s door with the news that Freddie is dead. He was in a car crash with his best friend Jonah. Jonah walked away from the crash, but Freddie didn’t.

The only way Lydia finds to survive the crushing grief is a new drug that helps her sleep. In the drug-induced dreamworld Freddie is alive and their life is continuing as planned. In the real world Jonah and Lydia’s sister are trying to help her move on with her life and maybe find love again.

Will Lydia choose to live in the dreamworld or the real world?

“I read The Two Lives of Lydia Bird in a single sitting—crying, laughing, and rooting for the heroine, who reminds us that the people we love, and the people we lose, change us, and that who we are at the beginning of our story is never who we are at the end of it. What a beautiful, emotional gift Josie Silver has given us.”—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light

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4. Beheld by TaraShea Nesbit

Two women from very different stations in life tell the harsh story of the Plymouth Rock settlers. The new world is not the utopia of religious freedom that was advertised. The puritans prohibit residents from living as they choose. When a new colonists arrive the Anglican outsiders have had enough.

This is the story of conflicting desires, questionable behavior and murder.

“In a gripping retelling of the Plymouth colony’s first murder, we finally hear the voices of women–and they speak an unvarnished truth that turns history on its pointy-hatted head. Truly a riveting read.” ―Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and The Summer Before the War

“TaraShea Nesbit’s puritans are passionate and vengeful and entrancing. Part mystery, part love story, beautifully told and meticulously researched, Beheld reanimates and complicates the mythologies of America’s earliest settlers. I was sad when it ended.” ―Anton DiSclafani, author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

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5. These Ghosts are Family by Maisy Card

Stanford Soloman has a shocking 30-year-old secret that’s about to change the lives of everyone around him. Stanford is really Abel Paisley, a man who faked his death and stole his best friend’s identity. Abel is nearing the end of his life and his new home health aide is actually his firstborn daughter.

This tale revolves around the consequences of Abel’s actions and the story of the Paisley family from colonial Jamaica to present day Harlem. Slavery, migration, infidelity, lost love and regret are all parts of this family’s history.

“Every family’s got secrets but Abel Paisley’s secret is monstrous and mesmerizing. These Ghosts are Family begins with energy and intrigue and, really, never lets up. This book is painful and shocking but it can be funny as hell, too. What a talented writer. Maisy Card has written one of the best debut novels I’ve read in many years.”
—Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

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Jennifer Jones

I’m the library’s fiction selector and I’ve been suggesting new books to library and bookmobile customers for over 17 years. I keep up on all the new book reviews, and my favorite question is “What are you reading?” I love to talk about books and to read books. I like to tell library customers, “Try something new. If you don’t like it, at least the price is right!”