Will They Come Together Or Be Torn Apart?

Fiction 5

These August new releases are centered around relationships – family, friends or partners. Some characters are building relationships to overcome adversity, some are repairing relationships and others might be tearing relationships apart. Either way these tales will give you compelling insight into these characters lives. You’ll definitely want to keep reading to see if the relationships last.

1. Fast Girls by Elise Hooper

Hooper explores the gripping, real life history of female athletes, members of the first integrated women’s Olympic team, and their journeys to the 1936 summer games in Berlin, Nazi Germany. Perfect for readers who love untold stories of amazing women, such as The Only Woman in the Room, Hidden Figures and The Lost Girls of Paris.

In the 1928 Olympics Chicago’s Betty Robinson competes as a member of the first-ever women’s delegation in track and field. Destined for further glory, she returns home feted as America’s Golden Girl until a nearly-fatal airplane crash threatens to end everything.

Outside of Boston, Louise Stokes, one of the few black girls in her town, sees competing as an opportunity to overcome the limitations placed on her. Eager to prove that she has what it takes to be a champion, she risks everything to join the Olympic team.

From Missouri, Helen Stephens, awkward, tomboyish and poor, is considered an outcast by her schoolmates. She dreams of escaping the hardships of her farm life through athletic success. Her aspirations appear impossible until a chance encounter changes her life.

These three athletes will join with others to defy society’s expectations of what women can achieve. As tensions bring the United States and Europe closer and closer to the brink of war, Betty, Louise and Helen fight for the chance to compete as the fastest women in the world amidst the pomp and pageantry of the Nazi-sponsored 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Fast Girls is a compelling, thrilling look at what it takes to be a female Olympian in pre-war America. Rich with historical detail and brilliant story-telling, the book follows three athletes on their path to compete – and win – in a man’s world.” –Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The House Girl and The Last Romantics


2. The River Home by Hannah Richell

Lucy Sorrell begged her family to attend her last-minute wedding. Each member has their own concerns about coming together. Her little sister, Margot, is estranged from their mother. Margot left home after their last argument. Her older sister, Eve, is distracting herself from her own messy life by taking over wedding preparations. Lucy’s long separated artist parents are forced to play gracious hosts as the wedding is taking place at the family home.

While they all come together for a week of celebration, there is also confrontation, painful memories and strained relationships to deal with. Will this family really come together or will they be completely torn apart?

“No one does dark family secrets like Hannah Richell . . . Beguiling, beautifully written and richly evocative, The River Home will sweep you away.” –Veronica Henry, author of How to Find Love in a Bookshop


3. The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals by Becky Mandelbaum

Ariel discovers her mother Mona’s animal sanctuary in Western Kansas has not only been the target of anti-Semitic hate crimes—but it’s also for sale, due to hidden financial ruin. She’s living a new life in Lawrence, and has been estranged from her mother for six long years. Ariel knows she has to return to her childhood home—especially since her own past may have played a role in the attack on the sanctuary. She expects tension, maybe even fury. However, she doesn’t anticipate that her first love, Gideon, will still be working at the Bright Side.

Back in Lawrence, Ariel’s charming but hapless fiancé, Dex, grows paranoid about her sudden departure. After uncovering Mona’s address he sets out to confront Ariel. Instead finds her grappling with the life she’s abandoned. Amid the reparations with her mother, it’s clear that Ariel is questioning the meaning of her life in Lawrence. Does she belong with Dex or with someone else? Does she belong somewhere else?

“Mandelbaum’s heartwarming and sharp-witted debut features an estranged mother and daughter better at connecting with injured and abandoned animals than with each other… In Mandelbaum’s bighearted, emotionally intelligent tale, the love for animals proves irresistible.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)


4. With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt

“After almost twenty years together, Stella and Simon are starting to run into problems. An up-and-coming rock musician when they first met, Simon has been clinging to dreams of fame even as the possibility of it has grown dimmer, and now that his band might finally be on the brink again, he wants to go on the road, leaving Stella behind. But when she falls into a coma on the eve of his departure, he has to make a choice between stardom and his wife-and when she wakes a different person, with an incredible artistic talent of her own, the two of them must examine what it is that they really want”–Provided by publisher

“A wonderful novel about life as mess and disappointment, life as catastrophe and regret, but also life as transformation and resilience. Leavitt’s characters are great company, and watching them find a way forward in their suddenly altered world is a joy. Deeply engaging, tense but hopeful, and completely recommended.” —Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves


 5. The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel that captures the hardship, oppression, opportunity and hope of a trio of women’s lives—two English convicts and an orphaned Aboriginal girl.

In 1840 Evangeline is a naive young governess in London who is fired when her pregnancy is discovered. Even though the father is her employer’s son, she is sent to prison. After a few months she is sentenced to a penal colony in Australia. Evangeline will certainly give birth on the long voyage.

During the ocean voyage Evangeline befriends Hazel, another prisoner. Hazel is shrewd and clever. She is also a skilled midwife and herbalist who offers remedies to prisoners and sailors in return for favors.

Aboriginal people lived in Australia for more than 50,000 years by 1840. However, the British government considered it uninhabited and unsettled. The government viewed the natives as an unpleasant nuisance. When the prisoner ship arrives, many of the Aboriginal people have been forcibly relocated, their land seized by white colonists. One of these relocated people is Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the Chief of the Lowreenne tribe. She has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land.

“Both uplifting and heartbreaking, this beautifully written novel doesn’t flinch from the ugliness of the penal system but celebrates the courage and resilience of both the first peoples and the settlers who came after, voluntarily or not, to create a new home for themselves and their children.” –Library Journal (starred review)


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!”