A roundup of titles that could get you sunburned on the beach or kill an afternoon on a shady porch
By Penny Vincenzi, Headline Review, 877 pages, $15.99
Topping the doorstop category, Vincenzi’s family epic tells of the lives, marriage and ugly divorce of property tycoon Matt Shaw and fashion editor Eliza Clark, spanning a period from 1960s London to the present, including their friendships, love affairs and business relationships. At the heart of it all is their much-loved daughter, Emmie.
By Kelley Armstrong, Vintage Canada, 790 pages, $29.95
If you missed the hugely popular Otherworld series by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong, this two-novel-one-novella omnibus volume (Bitten, Stolen and Beginnings) is a brilliant place to start. The first introduces Elena, the only female werewolf in existence. In the second, Elena must survive being kidnapped and imprisoned by a wealthy obsessive. Beginnings, a prequel published in Tales of the Otherworld, tells the story of Elena’s meeting with her lover, Clay.
By Stephen King, Anchor, 1,153 pages, $19.95
Stephen King’s monumental 1978 opus starts with a patient escaping from a secret biological testing laboratory. He is infected with a mutated super-flu virus that quickly wipes out 99 per cent of the world’s population. Two leaders emerge from the devastation: the benevolent Mother Abagail, who wants to build a peaceful community, and Randall Flag, the “Dark Man” who prefers chaos and violence.
The Scottish Prisoner
By Diana Gabaldon, Anchor Canada, 507 pages, $21
In the Lake District of 1760 England, Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner of war, finds himself at peace but troubled. But then his quiet life is interrupted by Lord John Grey, who takes him away to the dark and dangerous castles of Ireland, to investigate a case of corruption against a British officer.
By Helen Benedict, Soho, 310 pages, $17
In this war novel that is being called “The Things They Carried for women in Iraq,” 19-year-old Kate Brady joins the U.S. Army with the highest of intentions, but finds herself in 2003 in an obscure corner of Iraq, guarding a makeshift prison while facing the dangers of combat and the equally dangerous intentions of the men in her unit. She meets Iraqi medical student Naema Jassim, whose father and brother are imprisoned, and the two women have unforeseeable effects on each other’s lives.
22 Britannia Road
By Amanda Hodgkinson, Penguin, 321 pages, $17
and Silvana are reunited in London after the Second World War, which Silvana spent hiding in the forest in Poland with their son, Aurek, now 7. Janusz just wants to have a quiet, middle-class life in England, but Aurek is practically feral and Silvana is still damaged by a brutal wartime event.
By Frances Greenslade, Vintage Canada, 372 pages, $19.95
Two young girls in the B.C. Interior in the 1970s are shattered when their father dies and their mother drops them off at a friend’s place and doesn’t return. The two depend on each other for hope and comfort, imagining their mother fighting her way back to them. A celebration of sisterly love and the bonds of family.