Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For March, we’re looking at a lighthearted romantic comedy set in the Regency period, a modern romantic comedy about a road trip to a wedding, a historical fantasy based on a classic murder ballad, a fresh look at one of the most infamous figures in ancient Roman history, and a sprawling family saga.
If you love romantic comedies:
Virginia Heath’s Never Fall For Your Fiancée (2021)*
Hugh is an English earl with a big problem. His mother and her matchmaking schemes. Hugh has no interest in getting married but thinks hiring a woman to pose as his intended is the key to getting his mother to butt out of his life for a bit. Complications–and shenanigans–ensue when he finds himself developing feelings for his fiancée for hire. First in a series.
*Also available as an ebook on Libby.
Recommended for those who enjoyed Martha Waters’s To Have and To Hoax.
Beth O’Leary’s The Road Trip (2021)**
If you prefer your romantic comedies more contemporary, try this one. Dylan and Addie dated for a couple of years after meeting on a French vacation, but their relationship is now very much a thing of the past. Still, they end up thrown together on a madcap road trip to a friend’s wedding, alongside some awkward third wheels. What could possibly go wrong?
**Also available as an ebook on Libby.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Emily Henry, Sophie Kinsella, and Jenn Mckinlay.
If you want historical fantasy:
Lucy Holland Sistersong (2021)
Retellings of myths are always a popular genre, but this book is instead a retelling of a classic murder ballad, “Twa Sisters.” At the risk of sounding incredibly creepy, that’s actually my favorite murder ballad–I have so many favorite versions of it! (I can babble more about them in the comments if you’re interested in my creepy music suggestions!) The spoiler-free summary is that it’s a tale of sibling rivalry gone horribly wrong. This particular version is set in Dark Ages Britain and features three sisters whose relationship is threatened when a handsome warrior arrives in their father’s kingdom.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Nghi Vo.
If you prefer nonfiction:
Philip Freeman’s Hannibal: Rome’s Greatest Enemy (2022)
Freeman is a classics professor who’s penned a popular biography of Julius Caesar. For his latest book, he’s turned his attention to famed Carthaginian general Hannibal, whose military success against ancient Rome is still studied today. Roman sources on Hannibal tend to be pretty negative, and one of Freeman’s endeavors for this book is stripping away that inherent bias to see how Hannibal instead looks from a Carthaginian point of view.
Recommended for ancient history buffs and fans of compelling biographies.
If you like literary fiction on audiobook:
Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads (2021)***
I once saw someone describe Jonathan Franzen’s work as a stab at the new Great American Novel, which strikes me as a pretty fair characterization of his writing style and focus, even if that’s not exactly his intent. And whether or not that idea appeals to you is probably a good litmus test for your interest in his latest novel. The first in a planned trilogy, Crossroads is set in early 1970s Chicago and follows the Hildebrandt family. The parents’ marriage is crumbling, each of their three kids has their own struggles, and a snowstorm is coming.
***Ebook and audiobook also available on Libby and as a physical book in the system.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Anne Tyler, Joyce Carol Oates, Marilynne Robinson, and Jonathan Safran Foer.
What’s your favorite new-ish books? What books are you buzzing about these days? Have you read any of these books? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on any of these items or to place them on hold.