Louise Erdrich, S.A. Chakraborty, & Elizabeth Berg | November Fiction on Audio

Baart, Nicole. Little Broken Things. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501980176. Reader TBA.
When Quinn Cruz receives a cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn’s house just hours later, she has with her a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy. While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing.

Banville, John. Mrs. Osmond. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525588221. Reader TBA.
Banville extends the story of Isabel Archer, the heroine of Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, into unexpected territory. Isabel Archer is a young American woman, swept off to Europe in the late nineteenth century by an aunt who hopes to round out the impetuous but naïve girl’s experience of the world. When Isabel comes into a large, unexpected inheritance, she is finagled into a marriage with the charming, penniless, and—as Isabel finds out too late—cruel and deceitful Gilbert Osmond, whose connection to a certain Madame Merle is suspiciously intimate. On a trip to England to visit her cousin Ralph Touchett on his deathbed, Isabel is offered a chance to free herself from the marriage, but nonetheless chooses to return to Italy.

Berg, Elizabeth. The Story of Arthur Truluv. Recorded Books. ISBN  9781501954535. Reader TBA.
Arthur, an old widower struggling to overcome his grief, meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who avoids school by hiding out where Arthur goes every day for lunch. The two strike up a friendship that draws them out of isolation. Maddy gives Arthur the name Truluv for his positive responses to every outrageous thing she says or does. When Arthur’s nosy neighbor Lucille horns in on their friendship, they create an unconventional family, sometimes bickering, but most often believing that life’s most precious moments are sweeter when shared.

Cantrell, Julie. Perennials. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538469811. Read by Brittany Pressley.
Lovey grew up safe and secure in Oxford, MS, surrounded by a rich literary history and her mother’s stunning flower gardens. But a shed fire, and the injuries that it caused, seemed to change everything, especially when her older sister, Bitsy, blamed Lovey for the irreparable damage. At 18, suffocating in her sister’s shadow, Lovey fled to Arizona. In time, she became a successful advertising executive and a weekend yoga instructor, carving a satisfying life for herself, free from Bitsy’s vicious lies. But now that she’s turning 45, Lovey is feeling more alone than ever and questioning the choices that have led her here. When she gets a call from her father insisting that she come home three weeks early for her parents’ fiftieth anniversary, Lovey is welcomed home by a secret project—a memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise for her mother. As she helps create this sacred space, Lovey begins to rediscover her roots, learning to live perennially in spite of life’s many trials and tragedies.

Chakraborty, S.A. The City of Brass. HarperAudio. ISBN 9781538456125. Reader TBA.
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th-century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills, a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive. But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to question all she believes. For the warrior tells her an extraordinary tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass—a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. In Daevabad, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. A young prince dreams of rebellion. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal, that magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics, that even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

Erdrich, Louise. Future Home of the Living God. HarperAudio. ISBN 9781538456156. Read by the author.
Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar this change is profound and deeply personal: she is four months pregnant. Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. Society begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity. There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.

Fitch, Janet. The Revolution of Marina M. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478998785. Read by Yelena Shmulenson.
St. Petersburg, New Year’s Eve, 1916. Marina Makarova is a young woman of privilege who aches to break free of the constraints of her genteel life, a life about to be violently upended by the vast forces of history. Swept up on these tides, Marina will join the marches for workers’ rights, fall in love with a radical young poet, and betray everything she holds dear, before being betrayed in turn. As her country goes through almost unimaginable upheaval, Marina’s own coming-of-age unfolds, marked by deep passion and devastating loss, and the private heroism of an ordinary woman living through extraordinary times.

Hill, Donna. A House Divided. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501954429. Read by Karen Chilton.
Journalist Zoie Crawford had to leave New Orleans to finally make her own life. Her grandmother, Claudia, inspired her to follow her dreams—just as her mother, Rose, held on too tight. But with Claudia’s passing, Zoie reluctantly returns home. And there she discovers a stunning, painstakingly kept secret-one that could skyrocket her career, but destroy another woman’s—and change both their vastly different lives, for better or for much worse. Zoie has always put the truth first. Now, as the line between the personal and professional blurs, and she tries to understand her relatives’ deception, she must face some tough questions. 

Hunter, Megan. The End We Start From. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538439722. Read by Louise Brealey.
As London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, she and her baby are forced to leave their home in search of safety. They head north through a newly dangerous country seeking refuge. The story traces fear and wonder, as the baby’s small fists grasp at the first colors he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.

Jordan-Lake, Joy. A Tangled Mercy. Brilliance. ISBN 9781536656213. Read by Angela Dawe & JD Jackson.
After the sudden death of her troubled mother, struggling Harvard grad student Kate Drayton walks out on her lecture—and her entire New England life. Haunted by unanswered questions and her own uncertain future, she flees to Charleston, SC, the place where her parents met, convinced it holds the key to understanding her fractured family and saving her career. Kate is determined to unearth groundbreaking information on a failed 1822 slave revolt—the subject of her mother’s own research. Nearly two centuries earlier, Tom Russell, a gifted, enslaved blacksmith, grappled with a terrible choice: arm the uprising spearheaded by members of the fiercely independent African Methodist Episcopal Church or keep his own neck out of the noose and protect the woman he loves. Kate’s attempts to discover what drove her mother’s dangerous obsession with Charleston’s tumultuous history are derailed by a horrific massacre in the very same landmark church.

Joseph, Nic. The Last Day of Emily Lindsey. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501955037. Reader TBA.
Detective Steven Paul has had the same nightmare for as long as he can remember, a strange symbol figuring prominently into his terror. He decided long ago that the recurring dreams are nothing more than an unfortunate side effect of his often traumatic profession. Until, that is, he’s assigned to the case of Emily Lindsey, the beautiful, elusive, and controversial blogger found alone, holding a hunting knife and covered in someone else’s blood. As Steven questions Emily, she repeatedly scratches out the same odd symbol he sees when he closes his eyes. 

Knight, Michael. Eveningland. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501969409. Reader TBA.
In these short stories, a teenaged girl with a taste for violence holds a burglar hostage in her house on New Year’s Eve; a middle aged couple examines the intricacies of their marriage as they prepare to throw a party; and a real estate mogul in the throes of grief buys up all the property on an island only to be accused of madness by his daughters.

Manta, Lena. The House by the River. Brilliance. ISBN 9781536690927. Reader TBA.
Theodora knows she can’t keep her five beautiful daughters at home forever—they’re too curious, too free-spirited, too like their late father. And so, before each girl leaves the small house on the riverside at the foot of Mount Olympus, Theodora makes sure they know they are always welcome to return. A devoted and resilient mother, Theodora has lived through World War II, through the Nazi occupation of Greece, and through her husband’s death, and now she endures the 20-year-long silence of her daughters’ absence. Her children have their own lives—they’ve married, traveled the world, and courted romance, fame, and even tragedy. But as they become modern, independent women in pursuit of their dreams, Theodora knows they need her—and each other—more than ever.

Marone, Lorenzo. The Temptation To Be Happy. Brilliance. ISBN 9781543629118. Read by Arthur Morey.
Cesare is 77 years old, a widower and cynical troublemaker, a man who has always had trouble caring for others and has given up trying. Aside from an intermittent fling with a mature nurse called Rossana, who moonlights as a sex worker, he prefers to live his own life, avoiding contact with his neighbors and even his own children wherever possible. Until one day, the enigmatic Emma moves into the neighboring flat. Emma is married to a strange and sinister man. As Cesare investigates, he begins to rediscover an appetite for life, and soon he finds himself risking everything for a future he had never thought possible.

Maxwell, Eliza. The Unremembered Girl. Brilliance. ISBN 9781543602869. Read by Will Damron.
In the deep woods of East Texas, Henry supports his family by selling bootleg liquor. It’s all he can do to keep his compassionate but ailing mother and his stepfather—a fanatical grassroots minister with a bruising rhetoric—from ruin. But they have no idea they’ve become the obsession of the girl in the woods. Abandoned and nearly feral, Eve has been watching them, seduced by the notion of family—something she’s known only in the most brutal sense. Soon she can’t resist the temptation to get close. Where Henry’s mother sees a poor girl in need, his father sees only wickedness. When Henry forges an unexpected bond with Eve, he believes he might be able to save her. He doesn’t know how wrong he is.

McKibben, Bill. Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780525523246. Reader TBA.
As the host of Radio Free Vermont—”underground, underpowered, and underfoot”—72-year-old Vern Barclay is currently broadcasting from an “undisclosed and double-secret location.” With the help of a young computer prodigy named Perry Alterson, Vern uses his radio show to advocate for a simple yet radical idea: an independent Vermont, one where the state secedes from the United States and operates under a free local economy. But for now, he and his radio show must remain untraceable, because in addition to being a lifelong Vermonter and concerned citizen, Vern Barclay is also a fugitive from the law.

Morrison, Mary B. The One I’ve Waited For. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501954351. Read by Bishop Banks, Ebony Ford, Angela Lewis, Diana Luke, Kentra Lynn, & Isis Washington.
Now that she’s happily married-for-security, there’s nothing Mercedes Crystal won’t do to hold on to what she’s got. She didn’t sweat it when her rich businessman husband had a down-and-dirty ego-boosting affair. But she’s not going to stand for him falling in love with luscious Arizona Remington—or Arizona unleashing all kinds of shenanigans to keep him. Gorgeous Devereaux Crystal has the hottest show on television. She’s in love with her financially challenged fiancé but is tiring of supporting him. Before she walks down the aisle, Mercedes convinces Devereaux to do a background check on Phoenix. The discovery is devastating. Devereaux knows she has to let Phoenix go—and she’ll need every weapon imaginable not to take him back.

Namdar, Ruby. The Ruined House. HarperAudio. ISBN 9781538455975. Reader TBA.
Andrew P. Cohen, a professor of comparative culture at New York University, is at the zenith of his life. Adored by his classes and published in prestigious literary magazines, he is about to receive a coveted promotion—the crowning achievement of an enviable career. He is on excellent terms with Linda, his ex-wife, and his two grown children admire and adore him. His girlfriend, Ann Lee, a former student half his age, offers lively companionship. A man of elevated taste, education, and culture, he is a model of urbanity and success. But the manicured surface of his world begins to crack when he is visited by a series of strange and inexplicable visions involving an ancient religious ritual that will upend his comfortable life.

Niederhoffer, Galt. Poison. Macmillan Audio. ISBN 9781427294623. Reader TBA.
Abigail and Benjamin Borden have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the modern family dream. Their family, including Abigail’s two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Seattle—a new start for their new lives. Abigail and Benjamin have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace.

Pochoda, Ivy. Wonder Valley. HarperAudio. ISBN 9781538456064. Reader TBA.
Traffic jams are a familiar sight in Los Angeles, but this one is different—a naked runner is dodging and weaving between the cars at an astonishing clip. This seemingly mundane highway backup turns into a seminal moment for a handful of Angelenos—people whose lives are in desperate need of a change. There’s Ren, from Brooklyn and just out of juvie, who makes his way to L.A. to look for his mother on Skid Row who has been lost to him for years. There’s Owen and James, 14-year-old twins who live in a desert commune, where their father, Patrick, a self-proclaimed healer, holds a powerful, dangerous sway over his many disciples. There’s Tony, a successful lawyer who hates his job and his marriage and is looking for meaning. And there’s Blake, a violent drifter laying low in the desert, who unwittingly gets caught up with James and Patrick and the whole sham healing game.

Richardson, Kim Michele. The Sisters of Glass Ferry. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538431580. Reader TBA.
Glass Ferry, KY, is bourbon country. Whiskey has been a way of life for generations, enabling families to provide and survive even in the darkest times. Flannery Butler’s daddy, Beauregard “Honey Bee” Butler, was known for making some of the best whiskey in the state. Flannery is the only person Honey Bee ever entrusted with his recipes before he passed on, swearing her to secrecy as he did so. But Flannery is harboring other secrets too, about her twin sister, Patsy,  who disappeared on prom night along with her date. Every succeeding year on the twins’ birthday, Flannery’s mother bakes a strawberry cake, convinced that this is the day Patsy will finally come home. But it will be two tumultuous decades until the muddy river yields a clue about what happened that night, compelling Flannery to confront the truth about her sleepy town, her family’s past, and the choices she and those closest to her have made in the name of love and retribution.

Ritter, Krysten. Bonfire. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524778989. read by Karissa Vacker.
It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small-town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands. But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, IN, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’s biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good. Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as she tries desperately to find out what really happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. 

Silber, Joan. Improvement. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538473740. Reader TBA.
Reyna knows her relationship with Boyd isn’t perfect; yet she sees him through a three-month stint at Riker’s Island, their bond growing tighter. Kiki, now settled in the East Village after a youth that took her to Turkey and other far-off places around the world, admires her niece’s spirit but worries that motherhood to four-year-old Oliver might complicate a difficult situation. Little does she know that Boyd is pulling Reyna into a smuggling scheme, violating his probation. When Reyna takes a step back, her small act of resistance sets into motion a tapestry of events that affect the lives of loved ones and strangers around them.

Stratton, Shelly. Between Lost and Found. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501954733. Read by Susan Spain.
Janelle Marshall’s life is finally going according to plan. And with luck, Little Bill, the grandfather who raised her, will someday understand why she’d rather play it safe than be impulsive. But just when she should be happiest, she gets a distressing call: Little Bill has gone missing. Now Janelle must go to the tiny mountain town of Mammoth Falls, SD. Tracking down her eccentric grandfather is easier said than done, and Janelle has no choice but to stay as long as it takes. Yet little by little, she’s drawn in by the unique town, the helpful locals, and their distinctly straightforward ways. As Janelle learns to draw on their support and hard-won experience, she’ll challenge her past, come to terms with her present, and chart her own surprising course forward.

Taylor, C.L. The Missing. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538499788. Reader TBA.
When 15-year-old Billy Wilkinson goes missing in the middle of the night, his mother, Claire Wilkinson, blames herself. She’s not the only one. There isn’t a single member of Billy’s family who doesn’t feel guilty. But the Wilkinsons are so used to keeping secrets from one another that it isn’t until six months later, after an appeal for information goes horribly wrong, that the truth begins to surface. Claire is sure of two things—that Billy is still alive and that her friends and family had nothing to do with his disappearance. A mother’s instinct is never wrong. Or is it…?

Weiner, Matthew. Heather, the Totality. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478922728. Read by the author.
In the debut novel from Mad Men creator Weiner, a privileged family and a dangerous young man are on a collision course.

Weir, Andy. Artemis. Brilliance. ISBN 9781543658026. Reader TBA.
Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself – and that now her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

Wendig, Chuck. Unclean Spirits. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501969508. Reader TBA.
For five years, Cason Cole has been a chew toy for a god. He walked away from his wife and son and devoted his life to a predator who holds nothing and no one dear. Now, as the man he loves and hates lies dying at his feet, the explosion still ringing in his ears, Cason is finally free. For centuries, the swarming gods of the Earth were content to lounge in Heaven, forgetting the mortals they left behind; but 30 years ago, the all-powerful “Usurper” ejected them all, to a man and woman. Now it’s back to the bad old days: cults and sycophants, and the terrible retribution the gods visit on those who defy them.

Willis, Connie. A Lot Like Christmas. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501976230. Reader TBA.
These stories both send up and embrace many of the best Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas newsletter, Secret Santas, office parties, holiday pageants, and Christmas dinners (both elaborate and spare). There are ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come; debates over which is the best Christmas movie (Willis argues for the original Miracle on 34th Street, hands down); Rockettes; modern-day Magi; and the triumph of generosity over greed.

Wright, Julie. Lies Jane Austen Told Me. Blackstone. ISBN 9781538487976. Read by Justine Eyre.
Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she’s regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious, and she throws herself deeper into her work. She loves her work, and she’s good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake’s younger brother, Lucas. Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is kind and attentive. What she can’t understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake’s arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him. Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it’s time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it’s time for him to love her back.

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Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

Stephanie Klose (sklose@mediasourceinc.com, @sklose on Twitter) is Media Editor, Library Journal.