THE EVENING AND THE MORNING, Ken Follett. A small cast of characters in 997 CE — Europe’s Dark Ages — must contend with a chaotic, changing world, including invading Vikings and war with the Welsh. “Readers will gobble up this exciting prequel to his 1989 classic, The Pillars of the Earth,” writes Library Journal. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.
PIRANESI, Susanna Clarke. In one of my favorite novels of 2020, a mysterious man named Piranesi works to uncover the identity of a stranger in his House, which encompasses the entire world and in which only one other person lives. Magical, haunting, and sensitive. “To abide in these pages is to find oneself happily detained in awe,” writes Ron Charles in the Washington Post. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.
THE GLASS HOUSE, Beatrice Colin. A secret threatens to destroy the fragile friendship between a wealthy artist and her estranged brother’s wife in early 20th century Scotland. Bookshop.
THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM, Signe Pike. I rarely include sequels in this list, but I adored this epic continuation of Pike’s The Lost Queen. The series follows a young Merlin (whose name was Lailoken) and his sister, Languoreth, who becomes queen of an early British nation called Strathclyde. Read my mini-review here. Bookshop.
TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS, Christopher Paolini. A space explorer makes contact with aliens, setting into motion a galactic war that could destroy Earth and its colonies. From the author of Eragon. Bookshop.
THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS, Micah Nemerever. In 1970s Pittsburgh, a friendship between two college students becomes obsessive and dangerous. “Aptly titled, These Violent Delights is exhilarating, but not without pain and peril,” writes Bookpage. Aggregated critical reviews, Bookshop.
GROWN, Tiffany D. Jackson. After the R&B artist who discovered her — and became abusive — is found dead, a young singer finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. Bookshop.