Book Buzz: Modern-Day David Copperfields, WWII Romances, Vacations, Rivers, and Journeys

Every month, we’re profiling new-ish releases that are getting critical and commercial buzz. For November, we’re looking at Barbara Kingsolver’s latest acclaimed novel, a Rebecca-esque romance set during WWII, a throwback to summer, the real-life story of a modern mythical figure, and an audiobook set in medieval Ireland.

If you enjoy literary fiction:

Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead (2022)*

Demon is born into crushing poverty in modern Appalachia, but it doesn’t stop him from making his way through life. Readers get a front-row seat to his adventures as he experiences soaring highs and crushing lows. If the title and plot summary reminds you a touch of Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield, congratulations, you are on the right track. Kingsolver has acknowledged the classic as an influence on this book and talked about how she wanted to transfer a tale of Victorian English poverty to the modern US.

*Ebook and audiobook both also available on Libby.

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Joanna Trollope, Annie Dillard, J. Courtney Sullivan, Richard Russo, and Amy Bloom.

If you prefer historical fiction with a side of romance:

Lindsay Jayne Ashford’s The House at Mermaid’s Cove (2022)

Set in Cornwall during WWII, this novel follows Alice, who washes ashore after the ship she’s traveling on is torpedoed by the Germans. Her reason for being aboard the ship is an unhappy one, and she’s relieved at the opportunity to start afresh with a new identity. She’s taken in by a suave, mysterious local viscount, who agrees to keep her secret and has secrets of his own. You know where this is headed. . . .

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Kate Quinn, Kristin Hannah, Jennifer Ryan, and Dinah Jefferies.

If you want to ignore all the unseasonal snow we’re having with breezy domestic fiction:

Meg Mitchell Moore’s Vacationland (2022)**

Cling to the memories of summer with this breezy beach read set in coastal Maine. Louise takes her three children to the family’s Maine summer home to finish writing her book, but there’s a lot to distract her there, from her own troubled marriage to her father’s diminishing health to her children’s summer adventures to the half-sister she never knew about who’s just arrived in town.

**Ebook also available on Libby.

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Elin Hilderbrand, Kristan Higgins, and Jamie Brenner.

If you enjoy nonfiction:

Ben McGrath’s Riverman: An American Odyssey (2022)

Dick Conant was an unusual man who made an impression wherever he went. And he went a lot of places! He specialized in solo canoe trips, paddling thousands of miles along the Mississippi, Hudson, and Ohio Rivers (among others) in his twenty-year career as an adventurer. This book–written by a journalist who had a brief but memorable personal encounter with Conant–tracks down all the stories about Conant, who disappeared mysteriously several years ago, on yet another canoe trip.

Recommended for those who enjoyed the work of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild.

If you prefer audiobooks and literary historical fiction:

Emma Donoghue’s Haven (2022)***

Three medieval Irish monks take to the ocean to find a remote place for a new monastery. They end up landing on the steep, barren island Skellig Michael. Artt (the ringleader) is high-handed with his companions and ignores basic survival needs to concentrate on building the monastery. What ensues is a quiet, absorbing, character-driven examination of themes about obedience and faith.

***Physical book also available in system.

Recommended for those who enjoy the work of A. S. Byatt, Shūsaku Endō, and Lauren Groff.

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.


Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

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