10 Fresh Fiction Picks for Fall
Contributor
Written by
Cait Levin
July 2016
Contributor
Written by
Cait Levin
July 2016

Provectus: Survival of the Fittest by M.L. Stover

David Mariani is a successful doctor in Beverly Hills. Just as he begins to suspect a big-pharma conspiracy related to a number of his young patients, a mysterious and beautiful woman sweeps into his life, turning it upside down—but then, just as quickly as she appeared, she disappears with her young daughter, and the mild-mannered doctor finds himself pulled into the adventure of his life . . . unraveling a world of international intrigue and government conspiracies, and immersed in a genetic code mystery that could affect the future of the entire human race.

Peregrine Island: A Novel by Diane B. Saxton

The Peregrine family’s lives are turned upside down one summer when so-called “art experts” appear on the doorstep of their Connecticut island home to appraise a favorite heirloom painting. When incriminating papers, as well as other paintings, are discovered behind the artwork in question, the appraisal turns into a full-fledged investigation. Antagonism mounts between grandmother, mother, and child, who begin to suspect one another, as well as the shady newcomers in their midst, of foul play.

As the summer progresses and the Peregrines discover facts about their past in the course of the investigation, they learn that people—including them—are not always who they appear to be. But when they uncover the painting’s deepest secret, it gives them the gift of love that they have unconsciously been seeking all along.

Shelter of Leaves: A Novel by Lenore Gay

On Memorial Day, a series of bomb explosions shuts down major cities across the US. Her apartment in ruins, Sabine flees Washington DC and begins a grueling journey on foot that brings her to West Virginia, where she finds safety at an abandoned farmhouse with other refugees.

For Sabine, family is a vague memory—she can’t even remember her last name. Without an identity, she hides—although thirty-five, she pretends to be twenty-eight, even to the refugee she falls in love with. But Sabine wants to recover her identity. Despite gangs, bombings, riots, and spreading disease, she longs to return to a family she has begun to recall—a mother, a father, and brothers. Are they alive, surviving, in hiding as she is? Do they await news, and hope to reconcile?  Even in harrowing times, Sabine’s desires to belong and to be loved pull her away from shelter.

An Address in Amsterdam: A Novel by Mary Dingee Fillmore

Rachel Klein hopes that she can ignore the Nazis when they roll into Amsterdam in May 1940. She’s falling in love, and her home has been the safest place in the world for Jewish people since the Spanish Inquisition. But when Rachel’s Gentile boyfriend is forced to disappear rather than face arrest, she realizes that everything is changing, and so must she—so, although she is often tired and scared, she delivers papers for the underground under the Nazis’ noses. But after eighteen months, afraid of discovery, she pushes her parents to go into hiding with her. The dank basement where they take refuge seems like the last place where Rachel would meet a new man—but she does.

An Address in Amsterdam shows that, even in the most hopeless situation, an ordinary young women can make the choice to act with courage—and even love.

In A Silent Way: A Novel by Mary Jo Hetzel

In a Silent Way chronicles the coming of age in the late sixties of young Jeanna Kendall as she quietly facilitates a close-knit community of learners in a progressive urban school, grapples with racism and sexism within her community activist group, and experiences the extreme highs and lows of her first intimate relationship—which happens to be with a revered and powerful community leader.

Jeanna encounters all the same issues we confront today: youth of color demeaned and destroyed, wise community elders discounted by leaders who “know better,” and the “sexploitation” of women in the movement. Gradually overwhelmed by the mounting challenges she faces on all fronts, and on the verge of a breakdown, a crisis emerges within her movement group that transforms everything and everyone and opens up a new world of possibilities—ones deeply relevant to us today.

Keep Her: A Novel by Leora Krygier

Destiny doesn’t factor into seventeen-year-old adoptee Maddie’s rational world, where numbers and scientific probability have always proven to be the only things she can count on as safe and reliable. Still, Maddie is also an artist who draws on instinct and intuition to create the collages she makes from photographs and the castoff scraps she saves. But when her brother falls in with a Los Angeles street gang, Maddie loses her ability to create art.

Then fate deals Maddie a card she can’t ignore: Aiden, a young filmmaker she meets when a water main bursts inside a camera store. Aiden is haunted by the death of his younger brother, and a life-changing decision he must now make—whether or not to keep his baby daughter. Caught in a whirlpool of love and loss, Maddie and Aiden find that art and numbers, a mission to save endangered whales, and a worn-out copy of Moby Dick all collide to heal and save them both.

Tzippy the Thief: A Novel by Pat Rohner

Tzippy is a wealthy widow, feisty, determined, vain and living in Florida. Her three children will be visiting for Tzippy’s 80th birthday celebration and will be bringing with them the old wounds that Tzippy did more than her fair share to inflict.As her birthday approaches, the death of a close friend as well as the aches, pains and daily indignities of aging are preying on her mind. Tzippy wonders how she will be remembered?

Her relationship with her children is not good, particularly with Shari, her youngest and most screwed up. Shari is a problem drinker and still plagued by the eating disorder she’s had since adolescence. She always blamed her mother for her problems and lately Tzippy has had the uncomfortable feeling Shari may be right.

On the day of the party, on edge and anxious, Tzippy decides on a shopping trip to Saks which is always her quick fix, and while there, sees a brooch she wants, but not enough to pay for it. It finds its way into her purse and as she is making her get away—unlike the other times—she is caught and hauled off to the police station.

Now that Tzippy is turning 80, there is not an infinite amount of time left. Will She be able to repair the damage that has taken a lifetime to create?

In the Heart of Texas: A Novel by Ginger McKnight-Chavers

Pitched as “a poor man’s Halle Berry,” forty-one-year-old soap star Jo Randolph, has successfully avoided waiting tables since she left Midland, Texas at eighteen. But then, in the span of twenty-four hours, Jo manages to lose her job, burn her bridges in Hollywood, and accidentally burn down her lover/director’s beach house—after which she is shipped home to Texas by her agent to stay out of sight while she sorts out her situation.

The more Jo reluctantly reconnects with her Texas “roots” and the family and friends she left behind, the more she regains touch with herself as an artist and with what is meaningful in life beyond the limelight. The summer of 2007 is cathartic for Jo, whose career and lifestyle have allowed her to live like a child for forty years, but who now must transition to making grown-up decisions and taking on adult responsibilities. In the Heart of Texas is a wry, humorous commentary on the complexities of race, class, relationships, politics, popular culture, and celebrity in our current society.

Magic Flute: A Novel by Patricia Minger

Liz Morgan is a talented, ambitious flutist headed for a brilliant career. But before she can achieve the world-class recognition she craves, an accident puts an end to her dreams. Desperate to fulfill her mother’s musical legacy, she fights to reinvent her path, and settles on a new passion: singing. She even leaves San Francisco and returns to the town in Wales where she spent her early childhood to do it. But as Liz works to perfect her voice and launch a new career, she is confronted with her mother’s other legacy: the choice between the seduction of fame and the constancy of an ordinary life.

Magic Flute is an intimate exploration of the world of grand opera. Amid the backstage detail is a story of passions and choices that explores the humanity behind the most dramatic of art forms.

Size Matters: A Novel by Cathy Novak

John Frederick is a man of considerable substance, in every sense of the word. Rich, intelligent, reclusive, and very large, John Frederick lives to eat. His everyday needs are tended to by Mrs. Floyd, his house manager, and by a never-ending parade of personal chefs.

Enter Lexie Alexander, the latest applicant for that once-again vacant position. A young woman of magical sensibilities, fresh out of culinary school and still recovering from a recent personal tragedy, Lexie lives to cook. As time passes, a love of food, musical comedy, and tea begins to weave a connection between John Frederick and his new chef—but then a major medical crisis completely turns life at Frederick House upside down, threatening the bond John Frederick and Lexie have forged.

Size Matters is the story of how people interact with each other and with the world, and what happens when the structure of a person’s life, their self-image, and all their familiar coping mechanisms are shattered.

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